Sadly, for reasons that did not ultimately hold to be true, I did not schedule any extra time in Salt Lake before or after my river trip. But luckily I still managed to squeeze in some quality time with friends and family. Mostly through subtle cajoling . . . or, more accurately, downright begging.
I arrived into town on the later side Thursday evening and managed to stay up on the late-ish side talking to my mom and my sister. Since my sister has a new house that was freshly painted, I stayed in her guest room which meant Friday morning was a little lonely after she and her husband rushed off to work. I had a couple of choices. I could either hang out, finish packing and scrounge up some cereal from the pantry. Or, I could call my dad and see what he was up to. Guess which option I chose? And let me tell you how glad I am that I called my dad that morning with my not so subtle hints at a breakfast date! He suggested a drive up the canyon to Silver Fork Lodge, a place I had driven past countless times but never tried. It was both delicious and beautiful. Plus, as an added bonus, I got some rare one-on-one time with my dad - something every girl can use.
As per my usual, I debated between the sweet and savory side of the menu before I settled on huevos rancheros on the waiter's recommendation. But just before the waiter left us to warm in the rising sun under that brilliant blue sky with the heavenly scent of pine surrounding us, he tossed out the suggestion of a cinnamon roll to start. I immediately declined but my dad - that smart man - caved.
I had not yet settled into my vacation mode of eating and told him I would only try a couple of bites. I tried to stick to that vow even after the beautiful fresh cinnamony roll appeared at our table on a piece of beautiful china. I repeated my decision to only have a few bites when my dad used his knife to cut the cinnamon roll in half. My dad - being my dad - saw through my protests and let me eat my half and reassured me that he had taken a bite or two as well.
The huevos were delicious as well and I highly recommend the place for the food, the view, the atmosphere and the friendly service. After I told the server I was visiting from NYC he explained that was his place of birth and pointed to a flag flying over the trees and said he put that up with thoughts of NYC that morning. Being away from NYC and in the midst of travel it took me a couple of beats to realize it was there for a reason - it was 9/11. My thoughts flew to that day and I shook my head at how quickly time slips by yet always leaves a twinge of the sadness that day carried.
My dad got me back to my sister's house after a brief stop at Walgreen's with enough time to re-pack my belongings before my ride to Vernal showed up. While I believe my parents would have been happy enough to drive me to Vernal and pick me up when the trip was over, just as they did with my river trip in Idaho last summer, I decided to try something different. A month or so ago I sent an email to my high school girls and asked if any of them wanted to road trip to Vernal eating junk food along the way and stay at the classy Holiday Inn Express.
To my surprise, my request was enthusiastically answered and before I knew it I had a date with three pregnant ladies to drive through the desert in a minivan. Liz showed up first clutching her pillow with a grin on her face and a bag full of treats. Andra followed sooner than either of us expected (we aren't a crew known for its punctuality when it comes to group events) and then we swung by Michele's parent's house just like the good old days and I walked straight in - just like the good old days. Unlike those days though, Michele kissed her two girls goodbye before we stole her away. Michele also came with a bag of road trip treats. We had enough to last days!
We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and surprisingly the conversation was not exclusively centered on pregnancy, child birth or children (THANKS GUYS!). We had lunch at the Dairy Keen in Heber where Michele and I both ordered shakes that were too big but ate them anyway and Liz and Andra swooned over the pebble ice and took to-go cups. I learned that I have to pee more frequently (or maybe just as frequently) as pregnant women.
We learned that some waitresses are not happy when everyone orders baked potatoes - even when they also order side salads - because that is not "dinner."
A couple of us learned that 2 out 3 pregnant women snore enough to keep you awake at night. Enough to make a couple of roommates reach for their ipods in the middle of the night. . . .
We all learned to never walk onto an elevator when the exiting patrons are pulling a sour face.
And most importantly, I learned that the best kind of friendships never change.
Thanks for the good times ladies! I love each of you and am so glad you were so excited about driving me to a hotel in the middle of nowhere just for the chance to catch up.