Monday, July 21, 2014

Update - Enjoying life in Utah

Thought I would update my blog so you don't think I've dropped off the planet. 

My father always wanted to be a cowboy.  We literally grew up on John Wayne westerns and he had quite a library of western novels and movies (which I still have no idea what to do with).  At any rate my dad's final wish (besides dying at home) was a trip out west.  Unfortunately, by the time the weather was nice enough his health had deteriorated to the point where travelling without a nurse was out of the question and although we researched this possibility the expense was too great.  By then we realized how much home care was going to cost us and had no idea how long this would go on.  We promised that he would go one way or the other and we made arrangements to scatter they're ashes on the property of some friends we made while out there.  Hence, Utah. 

I discovered a real thing for these drift wood like trees out there framing scenery.  You don't realize how many shots you have until your sorting through hundreds of photos when you get back.  We're trying to weed it down to create a book for our kids but it's really hard when you're dealing with over 500 pictures.  These are just a few of the highlights.
We rented a car to travel around a bit and I suddenly had a better appreciation for my dad driving with a car and trailer pushing him from behind on twisting winding roads.  I didn't have a trailer, but winds really can whip you around out here.  Hence tumbleweeds.
Hogan Trading Company in Moab, Utah - the best place for stunning original pieces.  We shopped here four times and bought something every time we were in there.  There is just so much to see. 
I so wanted one of these but there is only so much you can buy when you're flying home.
I loved this vase but really couldn't afford it - I ended up buying a considerably smaller version and when I got home and saw how beautiful it looked wished I bought a couple more.  Ah well, live and learn.
Of course turquoise jewelry is a must and there are so many semi-precious stones used in these works of art.  This traditional color is actually harder to come by now since they found gold in the mines and it took precedence.  And naturally the prices go up.
So - I went with opals - my bracelet is the fifth one from the left.  I was looking to match a necklace and earrings set I already own at home.  I also purchased a turquoise pendant similar to the green one on the shelf above along with earrings to match. 
We chose to stay in Moab because it's centrally located to some of the best parks in the area and we visited them all. 
Park Avenue in Arches National Park.
We spent an entire day here and came no where close to seeing it all.  Hiking in 90 degree weather isn't easy.  We did some hiking but quickly discovered the rule of hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Just a short hike to some of the sites left us parched.  I can't recommend it enough though.  Its worth it if you're into hiking and in good shape.
Never tire of the mountains in the background. This area is just amazing.
Traveling along beside the Red River.  See, the mountains in the background never gets old.
On the other side of Dead Horse Point - just ask Thelma and Louis about this area.  Apparently the last I heard the car is still down there.  They couldn't get to it.  It was here that my fear of heights kicked in - that wall in front of me came to the tops of my knees.  I had to get down to take this photo since it felt like I was going to be blown over the edge.  My sister thought I looked hilarious trying plant myself to take pictures so that I didn't lose my balance.  The rich blue is a potash facility.  Blue dye, similar to food coloring, is added to the evaporation pond brines, to aid in absorption of sunlight, hence the rich turquoise blue shade.
Actual Dead Horse Point - the history of this is sad.  Someone had corralled wild horses out on the point here and the then disappeared.  They died so close to the water but unable to get to it.  The road you see there is for off roaders.  Trust me I wasn't brave enough for this - you'll see why below.  A lot of these roads were created by miners during the Uranium mine heyday.
Canyonlands National Park - one of my favorite places.
Seriously - I have a thing for these trees.  I also discovered the need for lens hoods here as the sun really washes out some of the photos.
The road down in the canyons - sorry no pictures - I just wasn't brave enough.  But the adventurous person would love this - so many camp and hike through there.  My sister's bad back and a lack of time was our excuse - and we're sticking to it.
Petroglyphs are right beside the road way - you don't even have to walk to these.
We drove pass twice before we saw the sign and stopped, then couldn't spot them.  My sister's eagle eye finally found them and suddenly we saw them everywhere.  Helps if you know what you're looking for.
We decided to follow the GPS home and it ended up taking us back through the mountain range on our way to Salt Lake City.  Believe it or not this shot is taken up in the mountains just before the snow line and across the valley to the other mountain range on the other side.  That's my arm in the shot but trust me it's a twisting winding highway with trucks following close behind.  Stopping to take pictures wasn't an option so we just drove through - both hands on the wheel and my foot hovering over the brake on the downgrades.  It would have to be my turn to drive.
Flying home over the mountains - that's Salt Lake City down there - you can just make out the Salt Lake on the horizon.  Yes those are the mountains I drove through.  We ran out of time to visit this and the Morman Tabernacle on Temple Square in Utah.  Sorry we missed it, but flights won't wait just so you can fit in your itinerary. 
A closer shot of the Salt Lake from the air.  I think I like this perspective anyway.
 So enough photo's for now.  Since this trip I've been very busy getting rid of all the medical equipment and the ramp we had for my dad.  We ended up donating it to a young firefighter who has developed MS.   So sad, but it's nice to know someone will get good use of it. 
Note to caregivers:  It's expensive and we used up so much of my dad's money from the sale of the house on his care.  However, what caught me off guard was the expense of putting my house back into order.  It cost more than we thought and a large junk of my inheritance went towards this.  I'd do it all over again.  But keep that factor in mind if you're considering it and sorting out your budgets. 
We're now in the process of clearing out the garage and basement which became storage areas during this time.  I need it in order before we leave on our next holiday in August - the last of my inheritance.  This will give you a hint - Ciao for now.

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