We have been on the road for two weeks and are looking forward to the week or so remaining until we are back home. It has been a great two weeks+a day. When Rita wrote last week we were in Arizona and about to head to the Grand Canyon. While we only visited the south rim of the canyon, that was enough to experience the grandeur of God’s creation. We took a shuttle bus along the rim of the canyon, getting off at some stops. Sometimes we got back on the bus to the next stop. Other times we walked the trail along the rim to the next stop. It was several hours of enjoying the beauty and thanking God over and over that we were allowed to experience it – especially to be there together. Everything about the Grand Canyon is enormous and majestic.
From Arizona we drove to Bryce Canyon in Utah. That trip was the first time I have ever been stopped for going less than 10 mph over the speed limit (74 in a 65 mph zone). Fortunately, I got off with a warning. We were relieved and it has kept me no more than 4-5 mph over the limit since. Rita always drives a little slower than I do, so we don’t worry about her being stopped.
Bryce Canyon is much smaller than the Grand Canyon and we were there only for a couple of hours. We saw it as just as magnificent as the Grand Canyon, but for a different reason – it contains an enormous array of unique sandstone formations like we have seen nowhere else. Rita had a great time picking out formations that resemble something – the Parthenon, a cowboy hat, and in front of it Jesus with his arms outstretched, among others. I was fascinated by the late afternoon sunlight as it lit up a group of rocks. We have been amazed on this trip at the many different landscapes we have seen in mountains in different states and areas. Bryce Canyon stands out as one of the finest.
On Friday we drove from Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City. We were stuck there at the airport for a few hours many years ago, but had never seen the city. The downtown area, at least, is very clean and modern and is dominated by the headquarters of the Mormon Church. We learned some facts about it and attended an organ recital on the magnificent organ used by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for its concerts. Saturday was rainy, so we decided to stay in our hotel and just take it easy. We had been running pretty hard, so it was good to read and doze and not be driving or sight-seeing. It helped that our hotel was the best on the trip.
Sunday we drove to Jackson Hole, WY. It was also rainy there and we arrived late in the afternoon, so we found a good barbecue place to eat, then spent some time looking ahead for things to see in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Monday morning was still rainy, so we went to Mass at the little Catholic church in Jackson in hopes that the weather would clear later in the day. Unfortunately, it did not , and our experience of the Tetons is driving by mountains mostly lost in the clouds. In spite of that we took some winding mountain roads and still found interesting streams and other sights. One section of road was marked as unpaved on maps, but looked to us like it was just in great need of repair. It reminded us of the roads in Haiti, but it wasn’t that bad. We stopped for lunch and had some good soups to tide us over until dinner. Our reservation for the night turned out to be a cabin in the woods, just south of the entrance to Yellowstone. It was much like a basic hotel room, but no internet, TV or cell phone service and nothing to do nearby. We stayed in our room for dinner and grazed on the food we brought with us in bags and a cooler. We managed to come up with some pretty decent nachos. Rita says that it was as close as she ever wants to get to camping. For years Rita has avoided playing Scrabble with me, saying that I always win. Last night we finally played a game and she won. Maybe she will be more willing to play in the future. I have to say that she was very kind and didn’t gloat.
Today, Tuesday, we spent a lot of time in the car, driving from one feature to another in Yellowstone. We very much enjoyed being together as we were in awe over the beauty of mountain rivers with rapids and water falls. We crossed the Continental Divide and saw many of the volcanic features of the park – mud pots, fumeroles and geysers. The crowning attraction was seeing the Old Faithful geyser erupt. What a magnificent sight! It was still raining off and on, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. One of the best features of the day was seeing a herd of bison in fact one was directly in front of us on the road. Rita got a great picture of him/her through the windshield. They are magnificent beasts but we understand quite dangerous.
We have seen so much beauty in these two weeks that it is hard to grasp what we have seen and will continue to see. It overwhelms the senses and the brain.
This trip has been very good for us. We have had time to be together without the distractions of everyday life. It is a great blessing to be able to experience these wonders of God’s creation and an even greater blessing to share the experience.
From here we will spend one more day exploring Yellowstone, then turn the car east and make our way home, stopping to see other sights along the way.
We hope that you are enjoying your lives together, wherever you are and what ever you are doing.