Everyone can breathe deep; the cliffhanger is over! Various connectivity problems had us offline for a few days, but we're kinda sorta back online and I'm backdating our daily reports. Unfortunately no pics for now, though.
Ed arrived just as planned, but I was conked out, the sleep aid I bought in Kansas having worked just as planned as well. We woke super early , 5 a.m., and studied all weather reports, then hit the road as soon as we could in hopes of avoiding the worst of winter storm Triton. Driving into the moutains from Denver was like deja vu, coming home, and something new all at once. I had memories of driving certain stretches with certain people, certain times of year, headed to different destinations, all during last decade. But it was new to show the girls the beautiful moutains, the ski lifts, the Eisenhower Tunnel. I haven't driven from one side of the mountains straight to the other side in many years, and I was surprised how short it really was. We were in Glenwood Springs by 10 in the morning.
It was also fun to see Ed totally in his element. That man loves the mountains. I already knew this about him, but it was the first time he has been able to share the Rockies with the girls. He would point things out, "Look girls! See how the ice melts in formations there?" or "Hey girls, look over here - as we go by you'll be able to see right up that canyon!" For some reason, I felt a little sorry for him, expecting the girls to mildly not care like I do. But I was wrong; they ate it up. "Yeah, Dad, that's so cool!" Several times Ginger just gushed, "Oh thank you for taking us on this trip; I just love these mountains so much!" Gratifying indeed.
We had lunch in Fruita, Colorado, at a nicely modern McDonald's with two-story play area, then headed into the barren wasteland that is eastern Utah. "No Points of Interest" my iExit app said, for 90 miles or so. Best interstate app ever, by the way. I have used it constantly on this trip, and it has never failed me. Gas and snacks in Price, UT, then up over the pass to the western slope of the Wasatch range. It was sprinkling a bit in Price, then we had a bit of sleet and snow around Soldiers Summit, but on our way back down it was dry again, and that was all we saw of Triton.
Then we hit I-15 near Spanish Fork and we rode north through what I call Bizarreland. It's just a little unnerving to see ten Mormon steeples in range of the windshield, and that was just on the left side of the highway. On the right side it was billboards, Wal-Marts, and sprawling sprawl of shopping centers. Cafe Rio. Deseret Book. Smiths. More Wal-Marts. It's just been awhile since I was in Utah.
We landed at our hotel in Sandy, just south of Salt Lake, by about 4:30. Just enough time to unload, regroup, change clothes, drop our kids off at a church where Ed's brother and sister-in-law had arranged babysitting, and get to another church 20 minutes away where they were having the rehearsal dinner. We were only 20 minutes late.
The dinner was lovely. I hadn't seen Natalee, Ed's sister the bride, in four years. I had never met her fiance. She, he, his parents, everyone's relatives, were wonderful. The worst part, though, was when the groom's father called me out from the microphone as the woman who had driven alone with three small children to be there. "She must be a saint or crazy," he said. I didn't like those choices.
During dessert there was a short prrogram, with a slideshow of baby and growing up pictures of them both, then each of them had two siblings speak, then both sets of parents, then Natalee and Carson themselves. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Each told various stories about them both, then they got up and told everyone the story of them, which I was really glad for because I'd only had bits and pieces from a distance. It was fun to hear the story from beginning to end, the night before their wedding.
As usual, we got the kids to bed too late, and fell asleep exhausted ourselves.
DVD: Wallace & Grommit
Activity: Word Find books
Poppy: Cinderella & Prince Little People set
Snack: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzels
High Point: Waking up to find Ed in bed next to me
Low Point: After lunch when we all had to be quiet in the car while Ed was on a work call for like an hour. It was nice to have him with us, but he was cramping our style and our schedule for a bit.