As fun as exploring National Parks on our own was, everyone was more than excited to get to Utah to see Dad and stay with Grandpa. The drive up was short, but it was filled with pouring rains, flash floods and mountain roads, which in an RV is super fun. But we made it only a few short hours before Jedediah and waited what felt like an eternity to see him. It had been 26 whole days since we were together and everyone could not be more excited about his arrival.
Staying in Huntsville is always the perfect mid vacation stop because there is PLENTY to do, but also the perfect place to relax and do nothing, which is something we had done very little of up to this point in our summer. With enough lawn chairs for everyone sitting outside under the tree, we made plenty of use of them sitting with Dad, Grandpa, and Dana, catching up on everything we'd missed with each other.
While in Utah we also celebrated two birthdays, Holden and Jedediah. Holden's big birthday wish was to ride a horse, and in horse country that is a pretty easy thing to accommodate. Dana also threw in some goats for good measure and a trip to the most insane indoor arcade/ go-kart/ mini-golf place I'd ever seen.
The top thing to do on Asher's list was some star gazing, so most nights we waited for it to get dark around 9 pm and sat out until midnight watching the stars. We laid out blankets on the lawn and used the stargazing app on the iPod to help us locate Venus and Mars, Draco and Hercules. We watched as the international space station orbited overhead, made wishes on shooting stars, caught glimpse of a meteor shower, saw the black moon, wondering about millions of things about our galaxy, looked up some of the answers, and told ghost stories about La Llorona and El chupacabra.
The only planned activity for the week was a rock climbing course taught by a college instructor from Weber State. After spending all summer watching these kids climb as high as I was willing to let them go, which was still way too high for me to be comfortable, I knew they really should try real climbing, the right way, with someone who knew what they were doing. So with Joey's guidance, we all learned how to tie a dressed figure 8 retrace knot, hook up a harness, and properly belay. With the luck of some cloud cover, we were able to spend all afternoon climbing and repelling in Ogden canyon. I now think rock climbing will be a big part of our future as the kids seem to be hooked.
We also made a day of visiting our dear friend Evan Reilly, who attends boarding school in Utah, very far from his family and friends on the East Coast. His school and mom, let us steal him for the day and he showed us all his favorite places in Sandy, Utah. It was great to catch up with a friend from back home, especially Evan who we hadn't seen in so long. He took us indoor climbing, shopping and eating at our favorite Utah joint, Cafe Rio.
We could have spent a whole other week relaxing in Utah, enjoying the scenery and activities, but it was time to move on to the next leg of our journey and catch a flight to Hawaii.