Sunday, June 21, 2015

Trip to Utah Part B (2015 Summer Adventures Part 3)

At this point, I just want to skip ahead and tell you all about backpacking in the UK, but I also teach math (and am an istj), which means we must go in order:

On Friday, we broke camp and headed north towards Salt Lake City.  We stopped by Utah Lighthouse Ministries and met Sandra Tanner!  This has been on our (Ian's) bucket list for about 5 years, so it was really an amazing privilige to be able to meet Sandra Tanner and chat with her.  She was so nice!  We got to stay with some friends in the Salt Lake City area. Neal, the pastor of Mountain Road Church, and his wife, Christie, are such sweet people!  We had such a good time getting to know them.  Since we were staying with them, we stopped by the church and helped take down decorations from their week of Vacation Bible School.

On Saturday we enjoyed a slow morning of breakfast, coffee, and visiting with Neal and Christie.  We decided to head to Antelope Island State Park and go for a hike.  Antelope Island is a really cool little island.  You drive across a long bridge to get to the island.

Thank you Google Maps for showing us where Antelope Island is

We stopped by a the park office to get a map and buy postcards.  They have bison, antelope, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.  We tried to see some (or any) of these animals while we were driving to the trail head.  We did not see any animals (foreshadowing?).  The first thing I noticed when we parked at the trail head was the lack of trees.  I think Salt Lake City has a similar elevation of Denver and the sun is powerful in June.  We had already slathered ourselves with sunscreen so we set off.

We started hiking.  I said, "Wow!  There are a lot of grasshoppers!"  We kept hiking. We tried to talk, we tried to play games, we tried to pretend that the trail was not the incarnation of the plague of the grasshoppers (I am stretching it a bit...locust and grasshoppers are similar), but it.was.not.possible.

There were so many grasshoppers!  Each step there were 4 or 5 grasshoppers jumping up - which may not sound bad when you are at home in your jammies, sipping coffee and writing a blog post, but there is a reason that God sent a plague of locust/grasshopper. {Lordhavemercy, they are so annoying!} After about a mile, we stopped and tried to decide what we should do: Hike 6 miles with grasshoppers or turn around and do something else.  Since we were on vacation and there was no prize for enduring the grasshoppers, we turned around and headed back to the car.

We did take a picture before leaving Antelope Island.
We decided to drive east and check out Park City, Utah.  Ian drove the 2ish hours to Park City while I complained about dehydration and feeling nausea.  As soon as we arrived in Park City, I thought, "We are back in Colorado - this feels like a mountain town".  I am not exactly sure how to explain what that means, but Park City did not feel like the rest of Utah.  It was a cute town (by cute I mean, very clean, up to date, and suburb white girl).  We found the Wasatch Brew Pub and caught a World Cup Soccer Game while sipping a Polygamy Porter (actual name of the beer - no comment) and learning about the history of the Wasatch Brew Company.

So surprising/shocking that it is funny (that was my reaction at least)
We headed back to Salt Lake City - it was a pretty drive.  We enjoyed a fun evening of grilling out with Neal, Christie, their son, and grandkids.  It is so special to hear stories of God's faithfulness and mighty power.  Any time we have heard stories about God moving in great ways, we have also heard about the challenge, difficulty, and pain of following God - it helps keep our feet planted firmly.

Sunday we packed, headed to church, and then started our drive back to Colorado.  We took Interstate 80 back (instead of Interstate 70 which we drove on our way out).  This took us more through Wyoming.  I love driving on interstates in the west - it is so relaxing (to me).  I was somewhat concerned as we kept getting wind warnings (gusts of 60 mph!?!?) but we were fine.
One more picture from "Grasshopper" Island
I think we got home around 10pm and just went to bed.  It was so fun to camp and vacation in Utah.  The culture is different than Colorado.  The scenery is different than Colorado. We had a great time and made fun memories!

Up next: Our trip (in 25 blog posts probably) to the UK!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trip to Utah (2015 Summer Adventures Part 2)

We got back from IL at 10pm on a Friday night and we were back on the road Tuesday morning.  I am not sure if I have perfected the art of packing for a camping trip, but I am getting better (essentially I just pack the whole apartment).  We had a good drive to Utah.  Some things to note:
  • I thought it was cray cray that the speed limit in Colorado was 75 mph.  It is 80 mph in Utah (and Wyoming).
  • If you enter into Utah and see a sign on Interstate 70 that say, "No services for the next 110 miles".  Believe the sign - it is true.
  • If a bird flies into your windshield when you are driving 85 miles an hour, the bird will die.  And if the driver happens to be Alissa, the driver will scream {loudly}. 
They had a Welcome to Utah sign at a rest stop

We arrived in Richfield, Utah and set up camp at the KOA by 4 or 5pm.  We used Richfield as our "base camp" for the first part of our trip.  We were hoping to catch the USA Women's Soccer Game (it was during the World Cup).  We drove about 20-25 minutes and found a restaurant on the side of the road (not in a town, just in the middle of nowhere on its own) and got our fix of Women's Soccer - success!
Our campsite.  We were thankful for the shade!
Wednesday we had a relaxing morning with going for a run, showering, making breakfast, and reading.  In the afternoon, we drove to Bryce Canyon and went hiking.  Wow!  It was beautiful.  The rock formations called "hoodoos" are really incredible to see.  It is hard to believe that the rocks can "balance" on top of each other.

There were so many spectacular views!
While we were hiking, we started talking to some other hikers.  They happened to be 2 guys that were studying to be priests in Cleveland, OH.  And they also happened to be from Daegu, South Korea (which is where we lived!!)  We ended up hiking with them for about a mile.  They were so much fun to talk to.  And Augustine (his English name) had a selfie stick.  

After hiking, we drove around to a different side of the park and did another short hike.  We found a place for pizza and then headed back to the main park. Once a year, Bryce Canyon has an astronomy festival.  They purposely schedule the festival during a new moon so that the sky will be really dark. There were volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society who had telescopes set up.  You could walk around to different telescopes.  We got to see Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.  The telescope viewing did not start until 10:30 and we are old so we did not hang out for too long.  We were about 2 hour drive from our campsite so it was a late night, but it was fun!

We slept in (as much as you can while camping) on Thursday.  We went for another run, showered, read, and relaxed.  In the afternoon it was pretty warm, so we went bowling (in air conditioning!).  Ian beat me.  We had  a good time.  In the evening we headed up to Sanpete County.  We wanted to check out Ephraim and Manti, especially during the Manti Pageant.  It was very encouraging to see so many Christians loving on Mormons and talking to them.  We saw a few missionaries and some high schoolers having really great conversations.  After we got back to our campsite, we had a fire and then headed to bed.

On Friday we broke camp and headed north to Salt Lake City.  I decided that our trip was too long for one post so stay tuned!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Trip to IL (2015 Summer Adventures Part 1)

School finished for me on a Thursday and 5am Sunday morning found us driving to Illinois.  We like to make the drive in one day.  We had a quick stop in Kansas City for a late lunch.
We were STARVING by the time we got here, but it was so worth it!

Since moving to Denver, we have made friends with a family that had lived in the Kansas City area for 6 years - they have some loved ones buried in KC, so we stopped by the cemetery to put flowers by their graves.  (If you want an interesting story, I will tell you about driving through the ghetto to buy the flowers - it was quite the experience).

My husband has amazing selfie skills!
After our quick stop, we got back on the road and made it central IL by 10pm.  We met our host family for the week (THEY WERE AMAZING!) and headed to bed.

Monday - Friday were spent learning about ministering in town and country churches.  We enjoyed learning about our "home culture" (I audited the class with Ian).  I, personally, had a good reminder how tiring it is to be a student and how hard it is to sit still.  We went on field trips to area farms, ag-related businesses, and small town services.  I could probably write so much more on all that we learned, but I am trying to be concise.

My favorite is our pig selfie

One of the blessings of the week was that Theresa's parents live in Morton, so I got to see Theresa!  We had a blast reflecting on the recent school year, what God is teaching us, and what our coming summers look like (hint: FULL of adventures for each of us).  It was so great to have a running buddy for a couple of days!

So, so, so great to get to see Theresa!  Happy Hearts!
Once we finished class on Friday (Happy 5th Anniversary to us! Woohoo!) we drove down to Ian's parents and hung out for a couple of days.  It was so great to see family and friends.  We were able to go to church on Sunday, which allowed us to see a lot of people and catch up!  And I was able to see some friends from college.

Ian's parents spoiled us the entire time we were there!  I also got to go to Greenville and see Theresa again.  And go running.

in Southern Illinois

at 3:35pm

in June


Beam me back to Colorado ASAP, Scotty.  I have turned into a humidity wimp.

Swell the chorus, speed it onward...
We then headed north and hung out with my parents for a few days.  And we got spoiled some more!  We made bubble pizza with Mom, heard the details about Dad's job (yes, you will use math in everyday life dear 15 year olds that know more than me...ahem!), and got to see my sister-in-law!  My brother was traveling for training for his job, but we had squeezed in a quick visit with them the week before.  We left for Colorado a day early so that we could stop in Iowa on our way through.  We got to see my Grandpa, his wife, Aunt Wanda, and Uncle Gary.  What a blessing family is!

The hubs comes through with his selfie skills again! (I think the picture is a bit fuzzy, but that is okay!)