Millennium Mom

Monday, June 17, 2013

Moab Day 1 - June 10th

Happy 2nd week of our adventure, wow we packed a lot of miles into the first week, that is for sure.  Thankfully we got through Colorado before the wild fires began, so sad for everyone affected by it.

We are going to be behind a bit on the updates, as we are often without any cell service.  We do have a Verizon MiFi in the RV, but when you are in the middle of no where, it doesn't help, it has to get service from somewhere and there aren't many cell towers in national recreation areas (where we stayed, all by ourselves at the Hite location of Glen Canyon recreation area) or in Navajo territory, which is what we drove through yesterday and now even at the Grand Canyon where I fear the signal is to little to upload pics, but I will try.  If this goes up today (June 14th - it worked, if tomorrow June 15th, it didn't).

Day 2 in Moab was going to be a bit of an odd day, in that I had to travel for business.  I am officially in between jobs, and will go back to a new assignment, yet to be determined when I go back.  But before I left my boss and President asked me if I would close out one item for a big project and I agreed.  I can't tell you much about it, but I would need to travel to Los Angeles and likely NY during my time away.  The good news is we could not travel commercially as we would have some new products with us for the meeting, and they can not be checked, so my President would arrange for one of the company planes to pick me up.  Three days before leaving for the trip we go the date for the LA meeting and began to arrange for travel.  Unfortunately the runway at the Moab airport is not long enough to land the plane, so I would drive to Grand Junction, Colorado and meet it there, about a 90 minute drive.  My biggest issue was finding a rental car in Moab from a company open on a Sunday when I would need to pick it up.  Thankfully my admin Susan worked her wonders as she always does and found us one.  The good news is it was in the same building as Moab Adventure Center, so we booked our excusions as the same time :)

So we were all set, I left early to be sure having never done the drive and got to the airport at 8:15 am.  I had no idea where to go to meet the plane, so I asked in the main airport and they gave me directions.  The plane was due to arrive at 9:30am, but go there a bit before 9am so I was glad I got there early.  It was so nice to see Jennifer's face when I walked to the plane, while it has only been a week since I left, Jennifer was in Japan my last week so I had not seen her in over 2 weeks.  The trip to LA was fine, great views of Utah national parks and Vegas from the plane and smooth landing at LAX.  Our car was able to come early and we even had time to meet our agency partners at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and drive them to CAA.  The meeting could not have gone better.  Despite me having vacation brain, I was able to pull it all together and deliver a strong pitch to the audience.  They liked what we presented and we met our objective.  We were all very excited as it could not have gone better.  We did a quick debrief on the sidewalk outside as my main objective now was to make it back to Moab by our 6:15pm Hummer tour.  We called ahead to the plane and told them wheels up would be 1:30 vs. 2:15 as planned, and off we went 45 minutes early.  Here are some pics of my trip. 

While I was gone the rest of the gang headed to Arches national park, which was about 5 miles up Rt 191 from our campground.  The goals was to be there by 8am to see if they could get a ranger guided tour to the Fiery Furnace (FF).  We tried back in April to book it but the earliest date available was in July.  People always cancel so Arnie was hoping for that, but it didn't work out.  The good news is you can get a back country hiking pass for the FF, you just have to watch a 5 minute video and get some instructions.  Before going to the FF, they hit some of the Arches for which the park is named after. 
The Fiery Furnace is not really that hot.  Moab in general is scorching as I said in a prior post, often well above 100 degrees, but as you make your way DOWN to the furnace (quite a climb down which  means you end with a long climb up) there are lots of canyons and other areas that well shading and quite cool, which is great when you are baking in the sun.  On the first hike down, which Arnie, Ben and Claire did (it was a bit much for Grandma, Grandpa and Sarah) they went "left" and got to some slot canyons which the kids loved.  They got to scale walls and that was all I heard about when I got back. 

They also went and saw many of the highlights of the park like the arches (Windows, Delicate, Balanced Rock, North Window, South Window, Double 0 and more).  That is me and the kids in the last photo...poor Arnie waited like 5 minutes for the nice German couple next to us to move but fnially gave up.  That reminds me, our friend Alecia nailed it when she told us "prepare for entering Germany and China" in the Grand Canyon.  I would say we entered it in Moab and it EXPLODED in the Grand Canyon.  You can tell whose economies are dueing well.  For every 1 Japanese we have encountered there have been 100 Chinese.  They are on tour buses, and as you would expect speak little English.  The German's are in RV's, typically cruise America, often younger than the Chinese, but 80% of the time without children.  I was very excited and impressed my kids the other day when we met a family (that means we took each others's pictures for one another) and I was right when I said I thought they were Norwegion, and even more impressed was the family :)

The second time we went to the FF we want "right" and boy did mom hear about it the entire time, how boring this side was, and so on.  Let me tell you, it is VERY hard to please a 10, 9 and 7 year old on a daily basis for 12+ hours...hard work.  On these "back country" hikes they actually tell you to "not" follow the ranger guides (not sure why, guessing they don't want their groups too big).  But when you are in the middle of no where, are told to stay on the trails, and in sand shoe prints show up quite well, it is impossible.  But this drove Ben nuts, "mom you are breaking the rules" was all I heard.  So we would end up finding the ranger group - which made me happy as I was confident we weren't going to get lost, and then just hang back for 5 minutes and then go into where they went.  The only time we didn't follow them was the ascent out of the FF back to the parking lot, and let me tell you "the trail" that Ben found was not the right one.  Can't believe what we scaled to get back up to the top, thankfully we were all safe, but very hot and sweaty for sure. Here are some great pics from that day as well as Tuesday when they were kind enough to take mom back to Arches so I could see it.

When I arrived back in Moab, around 5:45 I quickly met the gang who was out to dinner and got the keys to the RV so I could change.  Thank goodness my father-in-law reminded me to pack a dress and heals for my meeting in LA, I would have totally forgot.  But I was excited to get out of my heals and back into my flip flops, t-shirt and shorts for our Hummer tour.  We signed up for the Sunset tour which was from 6:51-9:15.  Really had no idea what to expect, but were excited.  The tour literally scales the canyons.  At times were were ascending rock faces about 300 yards high, at an angle of at least 50 degrees.  THe first half I sat in the back seat with the three kids, this is the bumpy and exciting area.  I wanted to take pics and didnt want them sitting alone.  But this was the real experience, like the back of the rollercoaster.  You felt everything and it wsa exciting.  We all screamed a lot.  Of course the kids told Daniel our driver to scare them, go as fast as he can and so forth.  They goated him the entire time. The second half of the tour Sean joined the kids.  Sean was the only non Zucker-Prokosch in our Hummer and he was great.  I would say he was a 26-28 year old Army reserve who lived in Virginia.  He is originally from PA, south of State college so we talked about that.  He also was a huge Boy Scout like my dad so they talked a ton about that.  He was on an adventure like us, but traveling alone since Memorial day and he had to be back by June 20th to the base in VA.  He had a blast with the kids too, he is pictured in one of the pics below.

All in all I highly recommend the offroad tour. I am not a big fan of motorcycles, motorbikes, ATV's, etc.  I had a lot of experience with them as a younger women, and not always pleasant so I tend to stay away from them.  But the Hummer was totally different, this thing was a machine, literally.  Was amazing what it could do and you felt so safe.  Others were in normal JEEPs and I don't think I would have felt the same.  After a wonderful sunset over snacks we headed back and ended our first day in Moab, which was wonderful for sure.  Tomorrow we will raft down the Colorado and head back to Arches, but you have already heard about that.

Bye for now.


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