Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 9, 2007

July 9th, 2007 - Monday - St. George, Utah
Even though we didn't have a door-lock, I wasn't concerned with the pick-up truck being stolen in the nice lot behind the College Inn here in beautiful St. George. But bright and early on Monday morning I called the GMC dealer, and got a 10 am appointment for repair of the door lock. But first things first - we walked a couple blocks to the "Bear Paw" cafe and had a great breakfast. The historic downtown St George is quite nice and interesting. There was a lot of water flowing down the gutters, and later I learned that people watered their yards with irrigation water that is turned over to the individuals at a specific time and day... just like the farms. The GMC dealer was easily found by 10 am. $195 and two hours later we were happily back in the pick-up with a new door handle/lock and a secure vehicle. After that we drove over to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum and historic house for a tour. I've never seen so many old "crayon" portraits of people assembled in one place. These are the portraits that were made before enlarging of photographs became practical. Evidently the negative image is put on heavy paper or a card stock and enlarged, but the details of the portrait had to be drawn in with a type of "crayon" to look sharp and clear. Anyway, there were a lot of old pioneer items to discover.

Next door is the historic Washington County Court House which is now the Chamber of Commerce offices. But upstairs the old court room is waiting for a jury, the same as in yesteryear. After we had a bite to eat at the Inn, we took a lady and her grandson with us, to the Rosensbruch World Wildlife Museum. It is a really large scale exhibit of 300 species of animals from all over the world that have been "stuffed." Not that seeing these animals alive isn't a better idea, but there is a connection with the World Wildlife Fund and efforts to preserve the various species. Interestingly there were huge mountain sheep or Algari (?) from Mongolia that were amazing. I didn't see any of those when I was in Mongolia - of course I was mostly in the Gobi area, where it's the camels that roam around. We returned to the Elderhostel group for dinner at the Gardner Center at Dixie State College followed by orientation to our week - Everyone introduced themselves - It looks like a great group. Then the paleontologist gave an introduction also, but Braden figured he already knew everything the paleontologist said. At this time the final count was taken to see who wasn't going to go horse riding at Bryce Canyon next Friday. For some reason Braden decided he hated horse riding, but after much persuasion he agreed to it, and then they rushed out to get in 20 minutes of swimming in before the pool closed at 10 pm.

July 8th, 2007 Sunday - Las Vegas, Nevada to St. George, Utah
I let the kids sleep late after getting to bed just before 2am. After a continental breakfast at Super 8 Motel we loaded up the pick-up truck (which thankfully was still parked where I left it, and was in good condition, minus the missing door lock). The first thing on the agenda was to drive downtown to the Las Vegas City Hall to file a police report about the "tampering and injuring of a vehicle." It was already very hot, and poor Emily was elected to remain in the truck to guard our suitcases in the back, and lock the doors from the inside. We parked in the covered city parking structure, but it was still hot. Braden and I went inside and waited an hour to begin the police interview to file the report. I must say, they were thorough. The interviewer said that he had heard of the death of my brother last October. My brother, Dick Hague, was retired from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and was a CSI type. He was a Crime Scene Analyst.

Finally we arrived at Chris' house and then took two cars to visit Dick's grave at Palm Cemetery. Little two-year old Michael knew his way to the grave site and ran ahead to find it.
The headstone Chris had selected looked very nice. We returned to Chris' house and all the nephews were there: Jim, Joe, Rich, and Ryan.

At last we had to leave and make our way up to Utah. We left Las Vegas at about 4:30 pm and the temperature was 117 degrees!! We drove up a very uninhabited highway I-15 towards Salt Lake City. Out of boredom we stopped at Gardener, NV for some ice cream and learned that I-15 was closed due to brush fires. Luckily we didn't have to go as far as where the fires were. 682 miles after we left Sierra Vista, AZ, we arrived at St. George, Utah.
Utah in summer is sizzling, or from the news, it's burning. Brush fires abound. We could see smoke rise to the south. St George is laid out like many Mormon Utah cities, in the grid pattern. So we found 123 South 100 East St. - the College Inn of Dixie State College - where our Elderhostel Intergenerational program is based. We found our college dormitory-type rooms with keys left in an envelope at the reception desk. Each room had a private bathroom. There are 33 in our group and about 44 in a group that is going to the Colorado River. The kids immediately jumped into the swimming pool and we met two other grandmothers/grandkids at the pool who were going on the trips. [see above for July 9th]

Saturday night - July 7th, 2007 - Sierra Vista, AZ to Las Vegas, NV
The great road adventure from Sierra Vista to Las Vegas started at 9:30 am Saturday with my two grandchildren, Emily (13) and Braden (10). The departure was not a problem, and Scott, luckily, decided that we should have a blue tarp with bungee cords to cover our suitcases in the back of the GMC pick-up truck that I would be driving, so he rushed out and got that. With a fond farewell to Alisa and Scott we got gasoline at $2.97 / gallon and headed to the Interstate to Tucson. It seemed that every mile we traveled north it became hotter and hotter. We left in 83 degrees and it was 111 by the time we got to Tucson, then 116 in Phoenix. Just before Kingman, AZ we made a rest stop and fixed the tarp a little. Too bad we didn't get gas there - at $2.79 / gal as this would be the cheapest we would find gas on the whole trip.

It was quite a treat for the kids and I to see Hoover Dam. I'd seen it before, but it was a first time for the kids and they were properly impressed. We took photos at every observation place, then slowly crossed over the top of the dam and the Colorado River into Nevada. From then it was an easy drive to Las Vegas. Braden saw the "Stratosphere" tower and hotel and restaurant and figured it was the airport control tower. The view from the hills was beautiful.

We found Super 8 motel, checked in and found we had time to see the "Vegas Strip." We stopped by Dick's house and picked up nephew Richie and his wife, Lucy, for a very slow and dramatic drive up and down the famous strip so Emily and Braden could see all the whoop-la. Braden liked the Pirate show as we drove by "Treasure Island" - they both liked to see the roller coaster at "New York, New York." Then we picked up my sister-in-law, Chris, and little great-nephew, Michael, and went to Sam's Town for dinner. By this time the buffet was closed (10 pm) so we had a huge meal at the Mexican restaurant. After dinner we walked around the waterfall area inside Sam's Town, said our goodbyes and went to our respective cars.

Unfortunately the key didn't seem to work in the pick-up door lock, and the door lock cylinder thing eventually fell into the door! Someone had "punched in" the door lock with some tool in an effort to enter the truck. But they failed to enter. (This is the second time my vehicle lock was punched in within the last couple months - first time with my Saturn in Hawaii.) With only one door lock on the vehicle we were unable to get into the truck I called Chris to drive by on their way home, and then called AAA. We were dying of thirst waiting, and finally security told us of a water fountain next to us at the Sam's Town RV Park. That helped the wait. Two hours later the locksmith had arrived, jimmied open the passenger door and we were on our tired way - the one block to Super 8 Motel. I was worried about having to leave the truck unlocked all night, but we couldn't lock it or we'd have to get the locksmith again to open the door. So I parked the truck 20 feet in front of the entrance to the door of the casino that adjoins Super 8 Motel. Braden chose to sleep on the floor, and I was peeking out the window all night to be sure the truck hadn't been stolen. Of course these things happen on the week-end. Quite a start for the first day of our big vacation! [see above for July 8th and 9th]

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