We originally planned my father's memorial for Memorial weekend, but there was still a lot of snow up on the mountain so we rescheduled for July 4th. I've wanted to blog about getting ready for it, but with the money grubbing ex step family lurking around, I had to keep it all under wraps. I appreciate your patience and continuing to come back for more exciting stories in the Soap Opera that is my life.
My brother Shane and I had talked about getting one of those memorial tree trunks with a plaque or even a plaque to put on one of the trees at my dad's cabin, but we found Memorial Estate Boulders online and they looked beautiful. After finally picking one out and coming up with the epitaph, I got it ordered and we waited patiently for it to arrive. Many of you may have followed my tweets and saw that at one point the shipping company actually LOST the BOULDER! How do you lose a freakin' Boulder? Anyway, it was eventually found and delivered before the memorial.
Last weekend we all drove up to Monroe Mountain in Central Utah to celebrate my dad's life at his favorite place in the world, his cabin. My aunts and uncles, a few cousins and of course our Granny joined us.
We left Thursday night around 9 pm after Jory got home from work and I drove straight through the night. It took us about 8 hours to get there, arriving sometime around 6 am Utah time. I took this photo while driving up the mountain, it was so neat to see the clouds below me. I wanted to stop and take a few photos with my real camera but there was a truck following up and it's not really a two lane road.
We went straight to bed and slept until around 2 pm. When we got up, we found everyone already enjoying the campfire and had already taken excursions out on the Rhino, Polaris Rzrs and 4wheelers. Jory and I both had horrible headaches so we took it easy, sitting around the campfire and enjoying every one's company. It's so peaceful up there, it's magical.
LaDawn cooked up some mouth watering chicken and pork in the dutch ovens and gave Scott and Shane the instructions to keep the coals at exactly 350 degrees ;) Apparently sarcasm is in the blood, now I know where I get it from.
The weekend was filled with delicious meals. Scott's dutch oven biscuits and gravy, Shane & Jessi's handmade hamburgers, my strawberry jello salad(my mother's recipe) was a huge hit, especially with my uncle Keith and myself of course! I loved it, so yummy! Even Sunday's leftover dutch oven breakfast, which basically consisted of scrambled eggs and cheese poured over the biscuits and gravy...OH MY GAWD it was good! We seriously ate like the kings and queens.
Saturday Shane and my uncles dug a deep hole and filled it with cement and a chain to lock down the boulder permanently, just in case no one (I wonder who?) gets any ideas. We also planted a tree in my dad's memory a few feet behind the boulder.
We later decided to build a fence around the boulder with a removable front log because the snow will actually fully cover the boulder. Animals like Elk could possibly damage the boulder by walking on it or scratching their horns on it, so this fence should prevent that.
I had a great time taking my newly inherited Honda Foreman Rubicon (4wheeler) up the mountain with everyone. There are some seriously beautiful meadows up there. My dad really knew how to pick a mountain for his cabin!
We took another excursion up the mountain and at one point, Shane & Jessi took off up this really steep hill and headed in to the trees. I knew I could get up there, but with my fear of heights, I didn't want to have to come back down it. So I pulled over and waited for my uncles and cousin Riley to show up behind me and told them I wasn't going up there. My uncle Keith offered to drive the 4wheeler up and back down for me if I just wanted to ride in the Rzr with Jen, but by the time we had the plan in motion, Shane and Jessi were on their way back down. I hate that my fear can stop not only me from going somewhere, but it stopped all the others too. Although, I didn't feel too bad when Riley told me, he wouldn't be able to get his motorbike up there, so it worked out for the best.
We continued up the trail and even though the road got really scary with crazy dips, I was proud of being able to follow. I've ridden 4wheelers before, but really only around camping spots or Shane's house, so I still consider myself quite the amateur. Then of course Shane headed over some freaking trees and I knew at that point, it wasn't going to happen for me so I stopped again. Keith and Jen followed him in the Rzr and shortly returned. They said that they saw the Rhino's front wheels pop up on a huge log, then the whole Rhino slid down to the end of the tree, Shane gunned it and the back wheels popped over and they continued ahead. He's so crazy! After about 10 minutes of listening to them drive around, they finally returned with huge smiles!
The trail we took circles around the valley and it was jaw droppingly(get over it I make up words all the time) gorgeous.
I wanted to stop and take pictures every 10 feet, but the sun was going to be setting and we wanted to get to an overlook of the cabin to take pictures as the sun set.
When we finally got to this perfect spot, you could see the whole valley where the cabin is perfectly set on the mountainside. We thought we could see someone on the balcony (later on Jory said it was him and our cousin Leah). We waved just in case, but it was too far away to see if anyone was waving back. It was the perfect last stop even though we didn't really get a sunset. It had rained really hard twice that day already so we weren't really surprised.
Shortly after getting back to the cabin, while cooking dinner it started to rain again, then hail! It was insane! I was too busy making my jello salad so I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of the hail. I just knew with our luck, it was going to snow, but it didn't. Thank gawd.
Jory had to work on Monday so we were supposed to leave Sunday around 10 am, but we both slept in until then. By the time we had everything packed and ready it was already noon. I went to get the 4wheeler packed on the trailer and found that Shane and my uncles were building a kool fence down the hill in front of the cabin. The trailer still had tree limbs in it. So I had to go down and disrupt their work to take the trailer. We did a quick little training on how to load and unload the wheeler. I was scared shit-less, but Shane was really nonchalant about it and that gave me a lot of confidence to just do it. I drove it up and backed it off successfully! When I was finished and we were tying it down, Jessi told me, she's never even drove one off before! I was glad she didn't tell me that before, I really was scared, I just knew I had to do it and get it done and when I did it and didn't die or get hurt, it felt great! It was funny though, when I was getting ready to back it down the ramp, I asked Shane if I was straight and he said ya, so I faced forward and said, "here we go!" and he said, "it helps to look back". LOL! I'm so glad he was there to help me, he gives me a lot of strength. He's always been there for me, not only like a big brother or a friend, but like a father since our own father wasn't really around growing up. Thank you Shane, I love you!
Hold on, let me dry my tears...
So we got the trailer loaded and hitched up and headed down the mountain in first gear. It took us an hour, but we made it all the way down without hitting a tree or losing our breaks! I have never ever towed anything so I knew the basics as far as taking wide turns but actually pulling into a gas station with a 13' trailer that has a 6' neck on it, is pretty freaking hard. The first gas station in Panguitch wasn't ideal, but we were almost completely out of gas and I was going to pee my pants LOL so I literally pulled in and parked all skiwampus at the pumps. People were trying to back out and three of the four cars and trucks nearly hit me. I was all jumping inbetween my car and theirs so Lucy 2.0 wouldn't get hit and it was one after another after another. I felt like I was playing Frogger but instead of avoiding getting hit I was literally jumping in harms way. LOL!
All the other gas stations on the way home were pretty easy, you just have to take up an entire row. I'm sure we looked pretty funny. A freakin' Honda CRV pulling a trailer that is longer and wider then the car! It killed our gas mileage. It went from an average of 30 mpg down to 13mpg...ouch. But we're planning on selling/trading in the trailer for a much smaller one so that won't be a problem in the future. Obviously the gas mileage will go down even with a small trialer, but it shouldn't cut it in half.
It took us 11 hours to get home...I never imagined it would take us that long, but going the speed limit and having to stop every 200 miles for gas really eats away the time. But we're home safe and that's all that matters.
I can't wait to go back up to the cabin in a couple weeks. Ideally I'd have a new trailer by then, but I know I won't so it will have to be sans 4wheeler :( but getting up there is all that matters to me. The summers on the mountain don't last that long so I need to take advantage while I can.
Love you Dad, miss you!