Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oct 9, 2009
Well, tomorrow never came until today…
We are back home. It is hard to close my eyes and not see the vistas and visions of the “so many places we visited”. Four “Type A” personality, diabetic, retiree, Air Force and Army Vets made it 12 days and did not kill each other. In fact, we had a Great Time!
The 5,975 mile trip included:
1. The Badlands National Park
2. Mt. Rushmore National Monument
3. Custer State Park
4. Yellowstone National Park (East Side, Fire in the center which was closed and West Side)
5. Jackson Hole WY, (which should be a Park…)
6. The Grand Tetons National Park
7. Zion National Park
8. Glen Canyon National Park
9. Grand Canyon (North Rim) National Park… This is the place Wayne said he saw a sign reading, FILL DIRT WANTED! We did laugh a lot!
10. Bryce Canyon National Park with its Hoodoos
11. Bridges National Park
12. Red Canyon and Dixie National Forest
13. Canyonland National Park was as the Grand Canyon… Terrible erosion area. It was as wild as the Grand Canyon, only more strange! Another WOW!
14. Arches National Park

The Arches National Park allowed some captivating images the evening we arrived. We entered and were blown away with some of the sights. We found we turn 365 degrees and see wonder with each view. The rocks and arches are enough, but there are many other things to see too. Wolfe Ranch reminded us just how hard this country must have been for people to scratch out an existence. We stayed overnight in order to return to Arches again the next morning to see the locations in the morning sun. WOW, it was amazing! I took off on a trail to see some of the Arches. I was following behind Russ and Wayne trying to catch them. All was going well until I found a fork in the trail. As Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” So I did… You guessed it, I took the left which was a 7 mile trail and they of course to the trail to the right, which was only a half mile. About an hour (or maybe a little more) later as I was returning to the truck parking area still greeting everyone I met on the trail, I met Frank Thomas from Pasadena, CA. As I started to greet him, he beat me to the draw with, “You are Russ Johnson from Atlanta and your buddies are waiting for you at the truck”, I was shocked, but thanked him after our laugh and caught up with my disgruntled companions.
OK, they were worried when they did not know where I was. I will admit, it was not the first time we had gotten separated. It had happened in the Grand Canyon and at Zion too. We got over it, but they did shortened my leash. I had to tell them when I was going to the trash can or to the potty… I had to carry my cell phone too.
We came home via I-70 from the Arches National Park which brought us over the Rocky Mountains through snow and ice in the passes around Vail, Breckenridge and on through Denver. I slept listening to my i-pod in my own world while the other three spent some very tense moments with the snow and ice passing through the high elevations and sub-freezing temps. We know it would have been another beautiful area to see had it not been dark… Wayne called to find us a place to stay in a classy lodging where we enjoyed crackers and water for a really fine supper before bed. The owner was kind enough to turn on the lights and the heat before we arrived. What it lacked if class was made up for by a great breakfast the next morning at the Café. We enjoyed the balance in beautiful clear weather and uneventful moments until we arrived home. We dropped Bob first. He was glad to be home. I was next. We arrived and both Russ and Wayne assisted me in getting my gear from the truck to the house. Time, about 12:30 AM. And all three of us were out of the truck. We have no idea how, but the door shut and the lock clicked. The keys, in the truck of course. Near 6,000 miles and I think about 14 states, we were locked out of the truck… Thanks to AAA, Russ and Wayne were on their way and we ended our official Wild West Tour.
We were again made aware God’s incredible handiwork with each visit to the National Parks. We look forward to hearing how South Africa will be for Russ and Wayne as Russ and Eagles Cry take a group for a photo safari leaving November 1, 2009.
We hope you have enjoyed our blog.

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