Monday, February 2, 2009

Scenes from a west desert weekend

Friday night we loaded up the Honda Pilot and made the three hour trek to Garrison, Utah - home of my dad, Leslie (step mom), some cows, horses, and a few other folks. It's one of my favorite places to go for some unwind time - and it sounded like a nice place to go to celebrate my 33rd birthday and watch the Superbowl. Two dangers in driving across the west desert at night:

1 - breaking down, you may spend a night before potential help arrives via another vehicle coming by.
2 - Hitting a cow or antelope at night

We managed to dodge the black cow standing in the road about 20 miles outside of Delta - were fortunate enough to be watching and saw it with some room to make a Nascar pass around it. But as we pulled into my dad's driveway, we noticed right away that someone else hadn't been as lucky - and they were sitting at the kitchen table when we pulled in. My dad is the local constable so his place was where these locals came after hitting a bovine at about 55 mph. Yep - cows will leave a mark.
In the country you make do with the cards you've got in hand - so instead of calling AAA or a tow truck, the wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat (these folks must have been late 60's/early 70's) does her best to pick the glass off of her face after getting decked by the airbag, grabs the quilt she was knitting when the accident happened, and uses it to hold up the windshield as best she can while her husband, who was also rattled and had been decked by an airbag, drives the 40 miles to get to the next village - Garrison - where my dad lives. While desert climates can get toasty when the sun is up - they get brutal cold within a few minutes of the sun going down. I know my kids last about 5 seconds when I yell freeze out and row down the windows in high teen/low 20's temps - and their young with good circulation. Not sure what it might feel like to go 40 miles in said freezeout, i.e. no windshield, but am pretty sure it could not have been much better than miserable. Maybe the adreneline from the wreck helped, but probably not enough. This all happened Friday night - the photo was taken the following morning. A short follow up to this in a moment.

Annie and I took the road bikes down - so that I'd have something to distract myself from the homemade bread and other goodies in Leslie's kitchen - on the topic of cows, I tend to eat like one when I go to Garrison. Grazing begins just after hello hugs, and doesn't end until just prior to goodbye hugs. We got out Saturday morning for a couple of hours and rode up into Great Basin National Park until ice/snow on the road turned us back. All in all it was about 30 miles with about 2500 ft of steady climbing between miles 8 and 15. A solid workout where your burning up on the climb up, and bone cold on the decent. Am thinking this may be one of my best little training destinations this year as I try to get in shape for leadville - once the snow melts and the roads are clear all the way up, that mountain will be a stout ride.

One of the cons of being out in Utah's west desert - if you hit a cow, your not going to have much traffic come by to help. One of the pros of being out in Utah's west desert - if you feel like riding your road bike, for the most part, you've got two full lanes of prime road/highway pretty much to yourself - with some really fantastic climbing if you want it. Just don't hit the cow.

As we're descending from the park, the van pictured above that had been run over by the cow, comes cruising by with our new friend from the night before driving at about 35 mph - apparently taking his trusty steed home to be put out to pasture.

As much as I love a weekend in Garrison - the rats of the rug get even more excited about a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's. Horse riding, chores (feeding the animals), climbing haystacks, chasing cats, the nearby playground, the novelty of different toys, etc... and adoring grandparents all are things that they look forward to a lot.
Annie riding "Chief" - the girls favorite horse.
Queens of the haystack
Evening bull riding contest before bed. Chesney won this night.

Heck of a game Sunday night to cap it all off.


b_banks said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time! I have relatives in Delta and have been there many times. Garrison, on the other hand, has still not been crossed off my list. Happy Late Birtday you old man..............

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday you old fart.

You promised you would stop riding and eat more cookies so I can hang.... what the balls?

Anonymous said...

so are west desert cows really quick and stealthlike? otherwise how can you explain hitting one of them at 50 mph with NOTHING else around?

Anonymous said...

okay. i just watched the video. does annie know you plunked that in the blog? strip show? kai just watched with me and is now calling anne marie "sister hotty pants."

we need an mpaa rating on this blog.


Jason said...

Banks - forgot to mention I got pulled over in Delta on this trip. Got off due to being the son of a constable. If your going waayyy out in the desert by Garrison, you need to go to Baker too. It's the town featured in the video - and was also highlighted by Biff - David Letterman's sidekick who drove a motorhome out there and did a little spoof for the Late Show - my dad was featured briefly and got his 15 minutes of late night talk show fame.

Pat - you should be aware that the homemade bread and other food outpaced any exercise by 5 pounds that weeekend - I'm being serious.

Bodhi Zepha - your fine in daylight, but they do become stealthlike once it's dark - and contrary to quick, they don't budge. Have had plenty of close encounters, and don't recall ever seeing one react quick enough to so much as blink.

Yep - she knows it's up. It's actually a teaser/trailer for her "by subscription only" blog that launches next month. You know, tough economy, hungry kids.... smile. I'll give Kai 5 bucks if I hear him yell that in the hall it church.