Adventures in Central and Southern Utah

This weekend I was able to accompany some youth, including my oldest son, on a church sponsored trip to Central and Southern Utah to do some hiking. Photos from the adventure are below.

 Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

 Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh.

Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh.

 Wild Horse Butte, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Wild Horse Butte, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

 Goblin Valley, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Goblin Valley, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

 Goblin Valley, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Goblin Valley, Utah. June 14, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

 Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. June 15, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. June 15, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

 Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. June 15, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. June 15, 2018. Photo by Abel Keogh

Grand Canyon (North Rim)

"You ever been to the Grand Canyon? Its pretty, but that's not the thing of it. You can sit on the edge of that big ol' thing and those rocks... the cliffs and rocks are so old... it took so long for that thing to get like that... and it ain't done either! It happens right there while your watching it. Its happening right now as we are sitting here in this ugly town. When you sit on the edge of that thing, you realize what a joke we people really are... what big heads we have thinking that what we do is gonna matter all that much... thinking that our time here means diddly to those rocks. Just a split second we have been here, the whole lot of us. That's a piece of time so small to even get a name. Those rocks are laughing at me right now, me and my worries... Yeah, its real humorous, that Grand Canyon. Its laughing at me right now. You know what I felt like? I felt like a gnat that lands on the ass of a cow chewing his cud on the side of the road that you drive by doing 70 mph."  -- Danny Glover, Grand Canyon.

North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, July 15, 2014

 

 

Where Am I #6

Here's the last vacation photo--probably the toughest of the bunch. If you’d like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. If you haven't already, feel free to guess the other photos here, here, here, here, and here. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I’ll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here’s the fifth photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I’ll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #5

Not sure how easy this one is. If you’d like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I’ll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here’s the fifth photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I’ll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #4

OK, this one is easy. I’m on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you’d like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I’ll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here’s the fourth photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I’ll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #3

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the third photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

 

Where Am I #2

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the second photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

Where Am I #1

I'm on vacation for the next week or so and will be posting the occasional photo of my travels. If you'd like to win one of my books (your choice), feel free to take a guess where the photo was taken. Each guess will give you one entry into a drawing to win. If you guess correctly, you get a bonus entry. By the time my vacation is over, I'll pick three random posters to win one of my books. Here's the first photo. Look for the next one tomorrow. I'll list the locations and the winners when I get back. Have fun and good luck!

A Lost Vacation

LOST Vacation

A coworker is heading to Hawaii next month for vacation. He’s going to unwind, relax, spend time with his family, and go see all the places on Oahu where they film LOST.

Yeah, I’m jealous.

Sure, swimming in the ocean and eating pineapple would be nice. But it would be really fun to take some pictures of some of the more famous places in LOST and send emails back to friends and family telling them how your plane had crashed and you found yourself stuck on an island with smoke monsters and the Dharma Initiative.

That would be fun.

***

Speaking of LOST, I’m impressed with the way the writers are driving the show home. We’re getting more answers then questions every week and I’m actually enjoying the “side” universe that the characters are experiencing. I just hope the “side” universe has a point to it. I’m nowhere close to figuring out what it is but so far the writers have been good so I’m going to trust them.

As for what’s going to happen on the island? I don’t know. I’m done trying to predict the show. I’m just kicking back and enjoying the ride. :-)

How Big Oil Killed Popeyes

Casper, Wyoming

My dad has some unexpected surgery last week, so I took the two boys on a quick two day trip to Casper, Wyoming over the weekend to see him. (He’s recovering quite nicely, for those who are curious.)

It was interesting returning to a town I haven’t lived in for over a decade and haven’t visited for over five years. For the most part, it appears the town has changed for the better. There’s a lot of growth on the east side and there’s plenty of jobs thanks to the energy boom Wyoming is experiencing. (More on that in a minute.)

The first thing I noticed driving in was a Popeyes. Popeyes! I would have fallen over if I wasn’t already sitting down. Marathon Girl and I first had Popeyes back in Houston and loved it. When we find ourselves out of state, we always hope we see a Popeyes so we can eat there.

Of course my first thought was: How on earth did Wyoming get a Popeyes before Utah?

Then I thought: I get to take the boys to Popeyes! Marathon Girl’s going to be jealous!

Then I noticed the giant For Sale sign in front of the building. My hopes were crushed. There wasn’t going to be any Popeyes for me or the boys. How can the people of Casper not support a Popeyes? Don’t they know there’s not a chicken place in the entire state that’s better than this?

We arrived at the hospital a short time later. After taking to my dad for a bit, he asked if Casper had changed much. I mentioned the Popeyes I had seen on the drive in and said something about the people of Wyoming not being ready for such tasty food.

“It was getting plenty of business,” my dad said. “The reason it closed was because they couldn’t find enough people to staff it.”

I asked my dad what he meant and he explained that a lot of people were now working for the oil companies and making a lot of money doing it. As a result there was a shortage of workers in Casper. And despite paying about $10 an hour, the local fast food establishments can’t find enough people to work there.

Admittedly, I was a little skeptical. An abundance of jobs wasn’t something the Casper I lived in for two years had. Any job that could be found didn’t pay much higher than minimum wage.

An hour later, I took the boys out for dinner so my dad could rest. As I drove around town, it did seem that just about every fast food place I passed had a sign in the window or words on their marquee saying they were hiring – always a sign of a strong economy IMHO. Still, I remained skeptical.

Then on the way out of town the next day, I stopped at McDonalds (instead of Popeyes) to feed the boys before the long drive home. Since it was a Sunday afternoon about two, I was surprised to find a long line at the McDonalds. Had I been traveling alone, I would have skipped McDonalds entirely and eaten elsewhere. But the kids love McDonalds and since I actually wanted them to eat something before driving home, I opted to stand in line.

The McDonalds was understaffed. A total of four employees ran store. And though they were working hard and fast, there simply wasn’t enough of them to get the orders out fast enough. As a result, I stood in line for nearly 30 minutes before ordering. (Boys, know I must really love you to do that.)

Behind me in line stood a husband and wife dressed in camouflage. They had spent the morning in the mountains hunting and come to town to eat and got a kick out of watching my boys trying to behave while we waited in line. We started talking and I started asking them about the job market. They confirmed my dad’s observations about the shortage of labor and a lot of people going to work in the oil fields. When I brought up Popeyes, they too said that it had been a popular place to eat but the owner couldn’t find people to work there. The guy mentioned that there was no reason to be unemployed in Casper and, if you were, it was your own damn fault.

After feeding the kids, we headed back on the seven hour drive home. I was a little more observant on the way home and noticed a plethora of new oil wells and exits raps that dotted the sagebrush along I-80 as well as a huge open pit coal mine East of Rock Springs and two giant windmill farms East of Evanston. Apparently the Wyoming economy is doing quite well despite the economic problems the rest of the country is experiencing.

Observations aside, the trip was a great bonding experience for the three guys in the family. Despite 14 total hours of driving, the boys really enjoyed having time alone with dad in the car talking, singing along with whatever CDs dad put in the stereo, and learning the difference between cows, antelope, deer, and horses.

Though the circumstances of our unplanned trip weren’t optimal, I’d be up for another long drive with the boys anytime.

Finally, A Vacation

Phoenix, Arizona

The phone call came like an answer to a prayer.

For several days Marathon Girl and I had been discussing when to take some time off and where to go on vacation. The phone rings. On the other end is my friend Brent.

Brent calls just to see how things are going and then mentions that the Tigers will be in town soon to play the Diamondbacks.

The Tigers are coming to Phoenix? I’m stunned. I looked at their schedule back in March and didn’t remember seeing that. I get online and discover that the Tigers do have three game series in Phoenix in mid-May.

Suddenly family vacation plans materialize. A trip to Phoenix to enjoy the company of friends, see their two kids, and squeeze in a Tigers baseball game.

And our trip would coincide with a wonderful event for Brent and his wife. The adoption of their second child is scheduled to be finalized that week and they have some fun things planned in celebration.

We’re still working out the details but it looks like the family heading to Phoenix sometime in mid-May.

Suddenly, I'm not so tired anymore.