Sunday, July 3, 2016

Zion and Pink Coral Sand Dunes Parks

We woke up in St. George where the day got off to a rocky start.  I had a few errands I wanted to handle before we left for the canyons.

I was out of filtered water and we only had one coffee mug so I planned to fill up at a Glacier Water Dispenser for drinking water and stop at Starbucks for coffee. I also wanted to visit the Red Cliff National Conservation Visitor Center which was in St. George as well and make a side trip there before heading to Zion and then finally to the Smith Bed & Breakfast in Glendale, UT.

Nothing worked. First, there was a huge line at Starbucks. I mean like Disneyland long. And the staff was moving, too. It was chaos with a lot of shouting out of names. At any given time there were four or more drinks sitting on the counter waiting for someone to pick them up. It seems the woman behind the register wasn't so good at hearing people's names correctly. So no matter how loudly they called out the name, no one walked up to take the drink. Luckily, I was getting a triple espresso so when they called out "Trevor" I still knew that it was mine by the way it looked. You're wondering how she could mishear my name so badly as to call me Trevor? Because when I'm at places like this that ask for your name, I like to say River.

Fnally we had our coffee and I could go to the Glacier water dispenser I found in front of a Rite-Aid. But it wouldn't take my thirty cents. Every coin just fell right into the coin return. So I went inside to buy a new gallon. I got third in line where the clerk was asking the first customer for his name, which I thought was strange. Not like in a friendly, oh hi, this is Utah, what's your name, kind of way, but like a serious, sir we need your name, kind of way. (I wasn't going to tell him my name if he asked me I was going to say River.)
"Guiseppe", he said. I don't know if that's how you spell it, and I was wondering if the Indian man at the register knew how. But he didn't ask. He didn't have to ask how to spell his last name, because Guiseppe started spelling it right away. Then he asked him for his phone number. It was a Spanish phone number so he started rattling off a jillion numbers and the clerk balked and asked he he had a phone number 'from here'. The guy pulled out his phone and started to scroll through it looking lost. The cashier took the phone and started looking at it, too.
That's when I called out from the line asking why he needs to supply a phone number to buy something here. I didn't get an answer, but instead he asked me if I knew how to tell what the phone number is on someone's phone. I had never seen anything like this in the past; I was stunned. I looked at the phone for a little bit, but then I repeated my question about why he needed to have a local phone number. "Give him mine," I said, and started reciting my phone number, but he didn't go for that.  Guiseppe took his phone back and the clerk called for a second cashier as the line was growing long. At that point, I just set my jug of water down and walked out of that stupid store.
I stopped at a gas station and paid $2.35 for a gallon of warm water that tasted like plastic.

Next stop, Red Cliffs? Nope. The address I had didn't seem to lead to any such visitor center. It may have been one of the many offices inside a business park building that did not feature a prominent street address, but seemed to be standing in the place where 10 N 100 E St. would be. Now that I think of it, I might have been confused and looking for 100 N 100 E St. Oh well, it was at that moment that I decided the best thing for my emotional welfare would be to just get out of St. George and head right for Zion.

I tried to enter the address for the street address of the Zion National Park Visitor Center into Babe's Navigation. The address wouldn't take. It was suggesting there was no such address. Maybe  need to stop relying on Siri to give me addresses to places. I was doing my best not to get ruffled this morning, so I just entered a different street number and figured when I got there, we'd be able to find it. Boom. We were on our way.

After that, everything about this day was
 Wonderful

Marvelous

The town of Springdale is a Zion tourists haven. And on this Fourth of July weekend, it was to capacity. But I found a dead end street where we could stop the car and get out and run around with no one around. It was 
Amazing
So hot!
It was $30 to get into the National Park but there was no parking. It was full. And the scenic drive was closed to private vehicles, it could only be seen by tram. No dogs allowed, of course. So we didn't see the scenic drive, but we were allowed to drive along UT-9 all the way through the park and stop at several places that were 
 Breathtaking

Miraculous
Beautiful
We ventured down to a dry creek bed surrounded by sculpted walls. 

video
Zion was so
Deep

Jagged
Elevated

Zeke was in the passenger seat, so he was free to take pictures while I drove through Zion.
We followed UT-9 even after exiting Zion. It was interesting how immediate it was that the topography because a little bit less interesting. 
On our way to the B&B, we saw a sign for Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park. How could we pass that up? It was 12 miles out of the way, but we took the risk. And glad we did because it was 
Awesome

 River and I ran up one dune
And as soon as got to the top were dazzled to find a giant bowl of orange/pink sand just asking to be ran on. 


We played tag for a little bit. 
 
And at the bottom of the bowl was a patch of green grass that just had to be explored. I wasn't sure if there were thorns in the grass or the sand just got too hot, but River at one point rolled over onto his back and stuck all his legs into the air. When I saw that, I knew he was uncomfortable, so I scooped him up and carried him back to the top of the dune where he could run down to the car. 

I love that Zeke was there to photograph this. Funny stuff like this happens with River and I all the time, but I don't capture it so I tend not to bring it up. 

After Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park, we went to our final destination for the night. Or so we thought. Thanks again to relying on Siri for an address, I found that I had entered the correct street address in the wrong town, so we weren't anywhere near the hotel.

We ended up in a town called Kalab, Utah that called itself Little Hollywood. It was a podunk town but thought a lot of itself. It billed itself as "The Greatest Earth on Show" and proclaimed "Be Prepared to Say "Wow" A Lot." 

It also had a placed called the (top part of the sign broken off) Lodge: hotel to the stars. And a joint called Houston's Trail's End with a motorcycle gang eating to loud country music. Zeke went in and ordered our food while River and I sat at an outdoor table of a closed cafe. I had a burger that was one of the best I've had.   I'll write more about that on my burger & BBQ blog. 

It was a cute old town. An ambulance drove past at one point and it seemed like the driver was having a conversation on his CB radio unaware that he also had on his PA system. The part of the one-sided conversation we were privy to went something like this:

" At Sanderson and Jackson!!" 
pause
"It might need to be washed down for the parade tomorrow"
pause
"Yeah, I'll have a sandwich on rye."

It was a short and beautiful drive to Glendale where we found the Smith Hotel B&B as anticipated. By the way, I did have the right address written in my book, so had I looked there instead of asking Siri, I would never have enjoyed Kanab

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