Friday, October 7, 2011

Vacation Fun Is Exhausting!

We've just had 8 lovely days!  We drove to Salt Lake City for LDS General Conference, then on to Idaho to visit family and enjoy the desert scenery.  Conference was wonderful, and I'm still on a spiritual high!  There is nothing more relaxing to me that a drive through the desert, and we drove through some of the most beautiful desert scenery in the country this last week.  I told Danny that photographs and even an artist's painting can't do justice to the desert.  The shadows on the hillsides, the colors of pinks, browns, purples, and blues all blending together amidst puffs of clouds that you feel you can reach up and grab from the sky -- none of that can be recreated.  It truly takes the hand of the Master.

After leaving Salt Lake, we stopped in Brigham City to visit the grave site of my third great grandmother, Ingeborg M. Nielsen Jensen, who was a handcart pioneer.  A few years ago, our family took up a collection to place a grave stone for Ingeborg.  We finally purchased the stone, took it to Brigham City, but there was too much snow to place the stone, so the cemetery had to place the stone after we left Utah.  So this time I was able to get pictures of the stone placed in the cemetery for the family.

We traveled to Pocatello, Idaho, which is one of the few places in Idaho I had never seen.  Quite by accident, we discovered Garrett Road, and the Garrett Business Center.  My father-in-law, Lon White, was a truck driver for Garrett Freightlines for 25 years.  A few years ago, Garrett went out of business, so the old trucking facility in Pocatello has been turned into a business park.  It was so much fun to walk around and take pictures.  I only wish I could have gotten a good picture of the street sign, but it would have required standing in the middle of a very busy 4-lane street, and I value my life.

Trust me, there's a road sign there that says "Garrett Way."
Neely, Idaho is the site of a beautiful cemetery which has a great number of relatives, so we stopped there for a bit and marveled at the beautiful view on all sides of the cemetery!  We stopped briefly in Burley, Idaho to see a cousin, Dale Whipple.  It was pouring down rain when we got to Burley, but by the time we left, the sun was beginning to shine again.  I always feel so much at home in Dale's house, and he's a real sweet man.  I was glad we were able to connect with him, even if it was only for a few minutes.

We spent that night in Twin Falls -- and Danny scored with the hotel room!  The Shilo Inn in Twin Falls is beautiful, and for $76, we had a full suite -- with not one, but two television sets!  Actually, we didn't have a bad room for the entire trip, but the Shilo Inn in Twin Falls and the Best Western Plus in Winnemucca were the best.  (Best Western Plus was a little more expensive.)  Danny was born in Twin Falls, so we enjoyed cruising the area, especially around the new temple.  We had the opportunity on a previous trip to Idaho to attend the open house of the Twin Falls Temple, and it is a really beautiful temple.

We drove to the Nampa/Caldwell area, and spent two nights in Nampa visiting Danny's brother and sister-in-law.  It is always fun to spend time with Dick and Barbara.  We took a tour of all the old stomping grounds in Caldwell where Danny was raised, and visited Danny's parents' graves, as well as the grave of his best friend, Colin Lamb, who was killed in Vietnam.  (I had been inspired the day before to get all the details on the Lamb family in the cemetery, because now that Colin's parents have passed, we can easily do the temple ordinances for Colin and his family.  Danny was thrilled at the thought, and especially that we might be able to get our son, Ezra, whose middle name is Colin, to do some of the work.)

We also checked up on my daughter's rental home in Caldwell to make sure it is looking good.

One night we went to Boise to have dinner with Danny's nephew's ex-wife and her husband.  Diane will always be my special friend, and she will always be part of our family.  I made up my mind that Ed and Diane may have divorced, but we didn't divorce Ed OR Diane.  Her second husband, Fred, is a really fine man, and it turns out that Danny went to school with Fred's brother.  Diane's youngest, Spencer, was with us for dinner, and it was fun to see him again.  He was very young the last time we saw him, and he didn't remember us, but we remember him!

The 20 or 30-mile trip back from Boise to Nampa that night was eventful -- to say the least!  I don't know how we got back to the hotel alive!  Some roads were extremely confusing on our trip -- and that night trip back from Boise included my navigator directing me down the wrong way on a freeway ramp -- among other things!

We had a truly lovely drive from Nampa to Winnemucca, Nevada.  We got into Winnemucca about 2:00 or 2:30 p.m., so we had some time to explore.  We walked a block or two down to the only theater in Winnemucca to see the movie "Dolphin Tale."  We were the only people there, so we had a private showing, which was really kind of fun!  After a bite to eat, we vegged in front of a wide flat screen television in our room.

Today we drove from Winnemucca through Reno and back to Sacramento over Donner Summit.  It was a beautiful drive.  The sun was shining, and the snow had all melted from the road, but the snow was still on the trees, making a splendid winter wonderland!  It was a wonderful trip, but I'm glad to be home -- and from the looks of it, my dog is glad we're home too.  We had a house sitter for the first time, and it was great to know that everything was being watched over while we were gone, and that our dog was in good hands.  We have had dog watchers before, but we've never had someone (other than our kids) actually stay in the house and take care of things, but I'm so glad we did it.

Just a bit of commentary:  While California gave back some of their "stimulus money" because they didn't spend it on road construction fast enough, Utah, Idaho, and Nevada apparently spent every penny offered to them.  The roads will be beautiful when they are finished, but I'm here to tell you that there is an abundance of road construction projects!  I love the fact that we are restoring the infrastructure in this country, but I would like it even more if they would just say, "Hey, our roads stink, and we're going to spend a gazillion dollars fixing them."  While they are putting lots of road construction crews to work (at least in three states), I'm not sure what that is doing to "stimulate" the rest of the economy.  Hey, Washington, D.C., there are plenty of other people out of work besides road crews!  Also, a reminder to those of us driving through these construction zones -- please be careful, slow down, and remember that these highway workers want to go home to their families at the end of the day just as we do!

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