The last two days have been great. Yesterday I got my house clean as well as my kitchen and it's stayed that way for a whole day! My goal was to get the house completely put together before the holidays officially started (Thanksgiving) and I think I just might make it! (except for laundry) I've had a lot of work during which I've started the first season of Gilmore girls. And feeling really great about about a clean kitchen I even did a mom thing and made cookies:) Yum!
Since I haven't officially blogged about it, and even though most reading this has probably already heard the news, I will share it anyway. Nate has officially changed his major. He will now be studying Fine Art - Teaching which means he will be done with his Bachelor in 2011 and his masters (according to the plan now) in 2012. With his previous degree, (fine art - sculpture) he would have been done with his bachelors in 2012 and we would have had another 2-3 years in a Masters program. So unless he chooses to go back for a second masters or for a phd we are DONE in 2012 and Nate will be teaching high school. Maybe even in Portland, OR! I must admit I cried a bit when it came time for him to drop all of his classes for the sculpting major. He has been working towards it for so long and it has been his dream for so long. Ultimately we know after many prayers and much research that the change was the way to go though, and it doesn't me he won't be able to do sculpture, it will just not be his main career.
So now on to the Kanab trip. It wasn't easy to start off. The night before Nate had run out to get something to munch on and our check engine light came on... BLINKING! The common response to this was "Our check engine light comes on all the time and it doesn't mean anything. It's nothing to worry about." To that I respond - It probably is something to check out, just not something immediate. - I myself drove around for 2 years with a check engine light and when I finally got it checked out it was a $1400 fix. It would have been that expensive had I gotten it checked immediately but it was on for that long and it wasn't nothing. Anyway back to this story. The light was BLINKING this time which means EMERGENCY - GET YOUR CAR TO A SHOP NOW OR GREAT COSTLY DAMAGE WILL BE DONE! We had already booked our room and it was too late to cancel it and we had to take the car into the shop which meant we would need a car to drive anyway so we decided to book a rental.
The next morning we set out to pick up our rental and get our car to the shop and get packed and Nate woke up sick. Doesn't want to get out of bed, bad stomach kind of sick. We got everything done it just took us longer than normal and we ended up getting out by noon. It was about a 5 1/2 hour drive and our car had GPS to get us there. Nice drive all in all. Our room was decent and it turned out to be right in the middle of everything... right on the main drag, a few blocks from the seminar, right next to the grocery store and gas station. Nate was still sick and lets just say it wasn't a quiet sleepful night.
The next day he woke up feeling a little better and I drove him to his seminar. Bud and I only had the room till 11:00 so we slowly got ready and packed up to leave. We had 5 1/2 hours to kill in a small little town that didn't seem to offer much. I had been considering driving to the grand Canyon since I was so close and the chance of going that direction that far south again was slim to none, BUT Nate had never been either and I wanted to save that experience as a family trip.
We started our drive to Zion National Park and went as far as the gate. We didn't have $25 to spare on the entry fee so we turned around and headed south again. I was debating whether to drive to Lake Powell or to go to the Grand Canyon and figured Lake Powell probably wouldn't cost $25 so I started to head east. I kept getting turned around and some how eventually ended up driving south so I decided not to fight the Grand Canyon. It was only an hour and a half from where we were and I figured I'd drive as far as the gate and turn around.
The Arizona desert right past the border was ... well ... ugly. But as soon as we got into the mountains it was BEAUTIFUL! Let me say it again. The northern Arizona mountains are beautiful! The higher up I got the prettier it was and that pretty was embellished with snow, on the ground as well as falling from the sky (Jacob's lake was particularly beautiful). I loved it. About 5 miles from the gate a man driving towards me flagged me down. Normally I wouldn't do this but my only thought was oh dear maybe he needs something! and I stopped. I think I lacked fear in stopping because he was in a moving vehicle. I locked my doors, rolled down the window and it turned out he was an older man with his wife. His purpose for stopping? He told me to "save [myself] $25" and totally gave me his gate pass! He didn't even know I wasn't going to go in because I couldn't afford $25. It made my day and it's an act that I would like to pay forward some day.
The Canyon was AMAZING! Trees everywhere and a huge lodge with little cabins for vacationers to rent. It would be a beautiful place to honeymoon at for a 5th or 10th anniversary. The canyon itself was a little foggy from some controlled burns around the area so I'm sure even my experience was on a smaller scale than it would otherwise have been, but it was still glorious. Bud and I walked down to the end of the trail to the look out. I've heard about the grand canyon, I've seen pictures, and it is afterall called the GRAND canyon, but never could I in my dreams could I perceive the grandeur of it with out having seen it. People have described it as "a big hole in the ground" but it is SO MUCH MORE! It wasn't just one canyon, it was amazing little flat and pointy top mountains where the earth went from an extremely low elevation to an extremely high elevation over and over again practically strait up and down in some places and at very steep slopes in others, creating multiple canyons. The colors were amazing too. Reds, whites, oranges, with green pine trees everywhere. And to illustrate just how grand the canyon is - to drive around the canyon to the south side would have taken 3 - 3 1/2 hours!
We didn't have much time to spend there because we had to get back to pick up Nate and with the snow on the ground I had to take it slow. Even with how slow I was driving (which may have still been a little too fast) I slipped pretty bad. So bad in fact I thought the car might go off the road. Bud and I wouldn't have been in too much danger, I was just worried about the car because we were in a rental and I don't think our terms included out of state driving. It would have been a bad place to crash.
We got back to Kanab just as Nate was done with the seminar and the 3 of us headed home - with snow heavy and light throughout our journey. It was a great drive and Bud handled it very well. Nate's seminar went very well as well. He learned a lot of important things to help him out as an artist.
In short, the trip was a SUCCESS and I am SO grateful to the kind man who flagged me down to give me an experience of a lifetime.
My pictures are smokey from all the fires. I wish they were more clear but I am grateful that I was able to document the experience.