When I was a recruiter for USU, I repeatedly told students USU was “only an eight hour drive away from home and therefore the perfect distance from family.” The eight hour buffer gives you space, but you also can make if home if something important comes up. While there is some truth to the buffer theory, the eight hour drive is a lie and one I have been guilty of perpetuating. Sure Google maps will support the eight hour theory, but it’s only a reality if the weather is perfect, you are able to forgo food and bathroom breaks for the entire trip, and you manage to never encounter stop lights or traffic in the Metro area. For the average person, the drive to Utah actually takes 8 1//2 to 9 hours. For people like us whose car upholstery and mental sanity depend on frequent stops, it’s more like 10 or 11. Still, we do it several times a year so we can be part of special moments in the lives of people we love. This past weekend was one of those moments.
A few weeks ago we took the kids to Dinosaur Ridge and Noel, having done some growing up in Vernal, UT, was pretty underwhelmed. He expressed a desire to take the kids to Dinosaur National Monument some day. It occurred to us that camping there overnight on this trip would be the perfect way to break it up so we made our reservation. We rolled into our campsite pretty late Friday night thanks to a blinding downpour and heavy holiday weekend traffic only to find that the tent hadn’t actually made it into the car. We folded down the backseat of the car and the kids and I
wrestled cuddled up for the night while Noel slept in his hammock that was tied between our VW and a tree.
After a terrible night’s rest we headed to the quarry exhibit hall. The quarry is pretty cool and has around 1500 dinosaur bones. (Really, it’s a mass grave, but let’s not think about that.) It definitely puts Dino Ridge to shame.
After getting our fill of dinosaurs, we got back in the car and finished the first half of our drive to meet up with family. The reason for our trip happened on Sunday when Porter was given a name and a blessing in our church. Baby blessings are such sweet moments and Porter’s was especially so since he’s my nephew.
The next morning we were able to squeeze in a tour of the Ogden temple and brunch. It was nice to end the trip with almost my entire family in such a peaceful setting. (Only my brother Spencer was missing. He’s in the middle of a two-year church mission, so he had a good excuse.) The kids were even pretty good with Ellen melting my heart when she said “I love you” right before heading into a sealing room and making me forget that she’d caused everyone to laugh irreverently when she threw a fit because we wouldn’t let her go for a swim in the baptismal font.
After that, it was back in the car for our ten hour trek back home via the badlands of Wyoming. A big thanks to all our family members who housed us, fed us, and sent us home with produce and other gifts! And of course, thank you Porter for giving us an occasion to visit!