I got back last night from a road trip to St. George, feeling sorta tired, sorta sore, and definitely grimy. But I had a lot of fun, too. :)
We (Brandon, Becca, Meili, and I) hit the road Saturday morning around 8, and made great time going south. I think the majority of the holiday traffic probably happened on Friday after work, and I really didn't have too many sarcastic comments to direct at my fellow drivers, at least not on Saturday. We took my Altima, and it performed admirably, getting between 26 and 27 miles per gallon, and making the whole trip down without our needing to stop and fill up. I made it to Cedar City before I had to stop and de-fill up.
Back seat society
Front seat society
We got to St. George around noon, and hit In-n-Out on our way into town, since our hotel rooms weren't guaranteed to be ready until 3:00. We got to the hotel and were told we might have to wait an hour or so, but then as we were walking away, one of the janitorial staff arrived and we were told that our rooms had just been readied. After a brief rest, we hit up the pool for some swimming and sunbathing. Which was a nice change from getting snowed on earlier that week in Salt Lake.
After getting our fill of pool time, it was back inside for more resting and then we headed out for dinner and fun. We ate at a Mexican place I've been to before called Pancho & Lefty's that is fairly decent.
After dinner, we went to a place called Fiesta Fun. One of those mini-golf, go-karts type places, where we played a round of putt-putt and then did a turn on the go-karts. I managed to tie for 2nd place in the golfing (Brandon beat us all by a good 10 strokes) and then got stuck with a two-seater go-kart that pretty much guaranteed my finishing last of our group, since they all got the apparently faster single-rider versions. We got ice cream at McDonalds afterward and then called it a night.
Apparently this is the secret to winning at miniature golf
I was very happy with my "2" on this hole.
Excited for Go-Kart action!
Sunday, we got up bright and early (at least for a vacation) and ate a decent hot breakfast at the hotel, and then headed over to the Bloomington area for church with my old roommate Ray and his family. After church, they invited us over for burgers at their place. I was really impressed with their place. It was really nice to catch up, as it's been a couple years since I saw them last. We ate and then played with their kids for a bit and then played scum for a little while.
The rest of Sunday was spent relaxing and swimming some more, then Sunday night we ate at Texas Roadhouse, which I always love. I didn't get the kabobs that I love so much, but the smothered chicken was pretty good, too.
Brandon's such a deep thinker
But he likes dinner, too.
Monday morning it was up and at 'em relatively early again, as we planned to head up to Zion National Park and do some hiking before making our drive home to Salt Lake. We got away from the hotel a little after 9, and were searching for parking at Zion around 10:15 or so. After not finding a spot at the visitor's center, we felt lucky to find one up the road a bit at the museum. Then we boarded the shuttle and made our way to "The Grotto", where the trailhead to Angel's Landing is located.
I've hiked Angel's Landing once before, about 7 years ago, and remembered being nervous that time because "there are sections with chains to save you from falling to your death!", but then discovering that it really wasn't too bad. There was one section that had sheer drop offs on both sides without chains but it was only 6 or 8 feet long and the rest of the chained section really didn't bother me too much. Well, in the past 7 years, it has remained at its same level of unscariness. (For me, at least. I know some people do have real problems with heights, so I don't want to make light of that) The section I remembered being the scariest now had a chain on one side of it, so it's not nearly as bad. Going up I figured that coming down might be a little more scary, but really even that wasn't so bad.
In any case, we made decent time on the hike and enjoyed the spectacular views along the way and from the top, and were able to feel good about ourselves for conquering the hike. Becca and I had both done that hike before, but Brandon and Meili were first-timers. Brandon and Becca made a little bit quicker time than Meili and I, but I think we had a lot of fun and paced ourselves pretty well and didn't get too exhausted. My knees got a little sore from the crouching coming down, and then just the impact of walking down the fairly steep slope of the trail. My feet were also pretty sore by the end, but I managed to avoid any blisters. I didn't take the best hiking shoes, just some older sneakers that I thought would be versatile enough to use throughout the weekend. Maybe not the best choice, but I guess I dodged a bullet there. They didn't really have any tread on the bottom and a couple times made some scary slidy noises that spooked a fellow hiker, but I really was never in any trouble of sliding to my death.
The view partway up the trail
Taking a break along the way
At the summit
This looked a lot steeper as I was looking up to take a picture than it felt coming down. So I guess that's good, right? :)
By the time we got to the bottom, we were pretty worn out and ready to eat lunch (it was around 3 or 3:30 at this point), so we caught the next shuttle back to our car and hit the road. We stopped for lunch in La Verkin and then got back on the road. I was worried I might get a little sleepy on the drive back and told everyone else to sleep if they needed to, so they could spell me later on. Fortunately, I never really felt that tired and was able to drive the whole way home. Everyone else stayed awake for most of the ride as well (I think Becca might have slept a bit) and did a great job of keeping me entertained, DJ-ing the ipod and listening to my sarcastic grumbling about my fellow drivers, e.g. "I'm the fastest RV in the world!" We made it back home around 8, and after dropping everyone off, I got unpacked, showered, ate a late dinner around 10, and got to bed before 11.
All in all, a nice road trip with a nice mix of doing stuff and not doing stuff.