Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snow Canyon, Lava Tubes and Sand Dunes

 After the picnic and the splashing, the kids wanted to come back to Snow Canyon, so we did. It is really a breathtaking park.
 I convinced Maddie, Sebi and Joss to come with me on a short hike to the lava tubes. It was short, but hot and with challenging terrain. We saw a young family with a wailing toddler and I was so grateful that my kids were older and more independent and helpful. This trip would not have been possible even two years ago without Rob.
 We went back to the campsite and convinced Will that he had to come with us. Once we got here to the sand dunes I think he was glad he came.
 As they all were. They ran and slid and posed and played.
We stayed and played until we saw the other two vans driving by and we followed them back to the campsite for dinner.
The plan at this point was that I'd put all of the kids to bed and drive the 15 minutes down to pick up Rob at midnight in downtown St. George at the shuttle stop. However, he'd had lots of trouble on the way out to Chapel Hill because of tornados in Texas.
As the evening wore on, Molly got some strange message from Rob in some airport. My phone of course had no reception and no minutes left. But Molly patiently helped me reload more minutes on my phone and I had seven messages from Rob.
I went into town to buy something and listened to them all in Walgreens, growing more and more concerned. First he called to say that he was stuck in Austin on the Tarmac. Then he called from Dallas/Ft. Worth and couldn't get out at all. Then that he was thinking of flying either to Tuscon or Albuquerque and driving (!) up to meet us in a rental car. Finally that he'd wangled his way onto a flight back to Las Vegas and they'd bumped him to first class (Rob's never flown first class anywhere, and this was definitely an item on his bucket list). That was the good news. The bad news was that he was going to miss the last shuttle to St. George and wouldn't make it that night. 
I considered my options very carefully for a full two minutes as I was in the Walgreens.
I had mentally paced myself to be a single parent only until Saturday at midnight. I was not prepared to deal with camping alone or taking the four kids to his family's farewell the next morning. 
So I bought a Wild Cherry Pepsi and checked out of the Walgreens determined to drive down to Las Vegas and pick him up myself (precisely the thing I had told him I would not do weeks earlier when he was changing his reservation). I had to take Maddie back to the campsite or I would have just left from there. I extracted a promise that she'd get the boys to bed and I'd have a dad for her in the morning.
When I got back, Molly said that she'd come with me and that we'd take her van (I think she was certain that the old camry wouldn't have made it, or maybe that I wouldn't have).
The drive is a full 2 hours and smidgen from Snow Canyon to Las Vegas airport and since I didn't get his messages earlier, we didn't leave until after 10:00pm. We thought he'd be on the ground waiting for us for a long time, but we forgot about the time change. So by the time Rob called to let me know that he'd arrived safely in Las Vegas, we were only about half an hour away. He was audibly relieved when I told him that we had gone rogue and were coming to pick him up -- it had been a long day of travel.
Molly drove down and I drove back, and that Pepsi works wonders when you haven't had any in years -- even after we got back to Snow Canyon at about 2:40am and the other two were asleep, I was on top of my sleeping bag and wired.
It was insanity and we got away with it. The kids were SO happy to see him in the morning!

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