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• Thursday, July 09th, 2015

Steve and Adele Knudson
Service Missionaries at the Beaver Ridge LDS Girls Camp, 8 June – 23 July 2015
Located in the mountains west of Coalville, south of Morgan, and north of Park City, Utah

Introduction
Near the end of March 2015 Steve and I were asked to be service missionaries at the Beaver Ridge LDS Girls Camp and serve as the Safety and Security Chaperons. We were to arrive June 8th and live at the campground in our motor home for six weeks. As different groups arrived to use the camp, we were to check them in and review the camp rules with their leaders, and prior to their leaving we were to go over the check sheet showing they had cleaned up and put things back in order. Also, we were asked to watch for trespassers who may try to ride their off-road vehicles through the property. If we see trespassers, we were told we should approach them and let them know they had trespassed onto private property and ask them to leave. We were to notify the sheriff’s office if they didn’t. We were told there would be cell service at the camp so we could use our smart phones as a hot spot to use the internet. There would not be any power, but there was water and sewer hookups for our motorhome.

We accepted the calling and began to make preparations for the trip. I bought a small solar panel to help charge up the coach battery when it got low. I also found online some mosquito netting, hats, and covers. With the hope that I would have time to work on some of my family history while we were away, we purchased a new laptop and I loaded it up with software and files.

Shortly after we were asked to serve, Steve hurt his knee and on May 7th he had arthroscopic surgery on it. He was in a lot of pain for a couple of weeks and couldn’t do much. By the third week, the knee pain had gone down quite a bit, but he was now experiencing serious bouts of anxiety and depression. We asked our doctor about it and he put Steve on some anti-anxiety medication. About two weeks later, that was beginning to get under control and he started getting severe pains in his back and in his legs and arms. He could hardly move because of the pain. Again we checked with the doctor and were told he had gotten a virus and it would probably go away in a few weeks. By now we were both getting very discouraged. It was June 3rd and we had planned to take the motorhome up on the 6th of June and leave it, and then bring the truck and trailer up a few days later. The 6th was the day planned as Camp Clean-up Day for the several stakes that use the property. Since Steve was not yet able to drive, I drove the Honda and we went up just to see the camp on the June 6th. Mike and Connie Mascherino came up also. They will be the service missionaries for the second half of the summer.

While up at the camp, we visited with Verl Greenhaulgh and Dave Godfrey, the two men who are in charge of this camp. They showed us around and talked about the issues confronting them—and us—this year at the camp. We learned there may not be water available at all, and that we would have to bring all our own water. We also learned that cell service is good for Verizon customers, but not good at all for T-Mobile customers. We are T-Mobile customers. I was very disappointed. But we still planned to go forward and serve as we were called. We bought a pay-as-you-go Verizon phone so we could have contact with people, and we forwarded our phones to it. We chose not to purchase the data plan because it was so expensive. I was very disappointed that I would not have internet access while we were on the mountain.

When we got home, Steve was exhausted and had to rest for a while. I decided to dig in and start cleaning up the motorhome with the hope we would still be able to make our commitment to be there June 8th. While vacuuming it out, I opened the cupboard under the bathroom sink and was shocked to see it full of shredded toilet paper. A mouse had made a nice TP bed and had also left a nice mess for me. I’m glad I didn’t see the mouse. I vacuumed it all out and cleaned it up. Yuck! Then I wiped down everything with Lysol and dusted and cleaned until I felt the place was clean enough for us to live in for six weeks.
We didn’t make it up the mountain by the 8th of June, but a few days later Steve had a good day and we were able to get the motorhome loaded with non-perishable foods and bedding and other items. We took it up the mountain on June 10th and we came back home to finish loading the trailer with our quads and equipment, coolers full of ice and food, some clothes, our toiletries, electronics, games, books, tools, bedding, etc.

Day 1—Thurs June 11
On Thursday, June 11th, we drove the Ford Ranger pulling our 12-foot trailer, fully loaded, up the mountain. The truck tires spun out on the steep parts of the gravel road a couple of times, and Steve had to shift it into 4-wheel low to get going. But we finally made it to the camp and the designated spot where we were to make our home for a few weeks.

The following directions are to the camp from our home.
· From I-80 east bound, take Park City/Kimball Junction exit (35.8 miles).
· Go left to Frontage Road, then right. In about two miles there will be a round-about. Go north up the mountain off the round-about to Basin Road (3.7 miles miles) and turn right.
· Continue 3/10 of a mile to a locked gate called the Stagecoach Gate. Here you will need to enter a code on the key pad to open the gate. It will close automatically after you drive through.
· Drive to North Church Road (2.8 miles) and turn right.
· Continue 9/10 of a mile to the Bitner Gate. This gate has four lock boxes on the right side. You will need to know which box belongs to your stake and have the code to open that lock box to get a key that will unlock the padlock on the gate. With the key, step through the gate to the other side, and at the opposite end of the gate, in the hole in the pipe, is a padlock which the key will open. After you drive through, be sure to securely lock the padlock and replace the key in the lock box.
· Drive three more miles to the Beaver Ridge campground. You will pass a metal sign just before you get there that says Beaver Ridge Camp. Past the sign you come to a fork in the road with a sign that says West Camp (left) and East Camp (right). You will go to the East Camp. Do not take the road that goes straight ahead as that goes off Church property. You will pass the camp chaperons on your way in.
· Be aware that the road up the mountain is paved off and on up to the Bitner gate. From there it turns to a dirt road which is more like a two-track 4-wheeling road.

When we got there, it had just started to lightly rain. Steve was still experiencing the effects of what the doctor called a virus which affected his muscles in his arms and legs and back. So when we got to camp, he laid down and rested for quite a while. The rain was getting worse and I didn’t want to be out in it, so I just began getting things unpacked and set up in the motor home. It felt good to finally be there so we could make our home a nice place, and be able to do the things we had been called to do. Shortly before leaving home, we got a call from Dave Godfrey telling us that there would be plenty of water at the camp after all, but it would not be drinkable. They were having a new well dug and when it was finished in a few weeks, there would be plenty of potable water. We had about 75 gallons of good water in the motorhome and would use that until it was gone, hoping the well would be finished by then.

The first stake, Salt Lake Little Cottonwood Young Women, had arrived Monday, June 8th and were to leave Friday the 12th. After Steve rested a while, we went up to the area where the girls were camping to visit the leaders. They were all so nice and the girls looked like they were really having a great time. The rain was starting to let up and they were doing activities under the covered pavilion out of the mud. They even had a nice fire in a fire pit nearby. We let the leaders know that we would be back in the morning to help with the checkout, then we went back to the motor home to dry out and get the thick mud off our shoes. We made up the bed, folded blankets, put away food, organized our clothes and things, and started dinner. First night we cooked up the two TV dinners we brought. We slept well that night.

Day 2—Friday June 12
I got up early and rode up the hill (about 200 yards) to see how the young women were doing with their camp cleanup. They were nearly all packed and were cleaning the area. I came back and started breakfast and after we ate, we rode our quads up to the camp area to begin the check off list. The leaders had done a good job of making sure the camp sites were cleaned and that the pavilion and amphitheater were also cleaned up. After they had all gone, we rode around and did a double check of the area, locked up the pod—which I might add was not easy to do—and rode our quads the three miles down to the Bitner gate to be sure it was locked. Then we rode around the West camp. It was a lot more rustic than the East camp in that it was very over grown. However, it had two four-stall restrooms and a very old bowery. But I was glad we were staying in the East camp.

After we got back from our ride, Steve was in a lot of pain again and went in to lay down for a while. I put up the screen tent and got out the chairs and tables and generally started making our camp site look nice. He came out later and moved the trailer out of the way and situated the truck where we could get to the back to put the trash bags. Then we went in to make dinner and get ready for bed. For dinner I made up some yummy chicken salad and Steve grated and cooked some potatoes. We also had cantaloupe and rolls. We were both so tired that after we ate, we just went to bed. We made up the sofa into a bed before we retired for the night. Then if one of us should get restless and couldn’t sleep, we could just slip out and curl up on the sofa for a while.

Day 3—Saturday June 13
This morning Dave Godfrey came up to the camp a little before 7:00 a.m. to try to clean up some of the old piles of lumber left over from years ago when they took out the wooden camp tables and replaced them with cement tables. He worked over in the West camp for a while, and then since there were a few piles of boards around our site, he came by here and I helped him load his truck up with old lumber. He took the old wood to the West camp where they are piling up all the old lumber from both camps, then he headed home. He has made arrangements to have a service company bring a green waste bin up to remove the lumber. The county requires that all wood that is brought in, not natural to the area, be removed and not burned. Something about it having been treated and/or painted means it isn’t good for the natural habitat.

When Dave first got here I was just starting to make breakfast. I put that on hold until after he finished removing the old lumber so I could help him. Then Steve got up and we had hash browns, eggs, bacon, cantaloupe and toast (thank goodness for the generator!) Before I started to make breakfast, I was cleaning up the kitchen and noticed a couple of tall cups had been left in the sink from the night before. One was full of water and when I turned it upside down to dump it out, a DEAD MOUSE dumped out in the sink. Gasp!! Oh, YUCK!! That was so gross. I thought I would have a heart attack. A dead, drowned, fat mouse lying there in the sink. Thank goodness Steve was right there to get rid of it. I told him I’d never drink out of that cup again. It wasn’t easy eating breakfast after that. And I realized I had been sleeping on that sofa part of the night. Did that mouse climb over me to get to the sink? I probably won’t be sleeping out on the sofa bed again!

After breakfast I worked on the computer (not the internet) and I took some pictures. Steve saw a truck pulling a tent trailer drive past us, and since nobody was supposed to be here until Tuesday, we got on the quads and took out after it. It turned out to be Brother Ken Gritton from our stake. He was bringing a tent trailer up for his wife for girls’ camp next week. We visited for a while, then rode over to the pod to check things out in there, and then came back to the motor home.

After lunch I heard what sounded like four wheelers coming up the road from the Bitner gate. Since no off-road vehicles are are allowed up here except those of the camp hosts, we went looking for trespassers. We rode over to the West camp and rode around, then back to the East camp and rode around it. Couldn’t see anybody or hear any machines. Maybe it was someone from the well drilling crew going home. We came back and sat in our screen tent for a while enjoying the view. While there, a large cow moose came meandering into the meadow across the road and stayed quite a while eating the grass around a large bush. Eventually she walked away up into the camp area.

This place is amazingly beautiful. It is like some of the places we’ve gone four-wheeling with our friends—Wasatch Mountain State Park and Soapstone Basin. There are sky high aspens interspersed with just as tall pine trees surrounded by meadows and more quaking aspen. I was expecting a lot of mosquitos, but have seen only one or two in three days. There are all varieties of birds that sing from the tops of all the trees. Today has been blue sky and a soft breezes. This afternoon the wind was a little stronger, but it’s been just a wonderful day.

Since we had a late breakfast, we had a late lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and we had some of the chicken salad, cantaloupe and chips. Steve rested for a while and I worked on my computer. Later we played some games and went to bed.

Day 4—Sunday, June 14
Happy 70th Birthday to my honey! So sad he has been suffering for two weeks now with a virus that causes him so much pain. But he is getting better very slowly. He needs lots of rest and this is just the place for him to get it.

We had a nice birthday breakfast and afterwards I cleaned up the place a little. We read scriptures and then vacuumed out a few flies. Steve cranked up his new little generator to give a little charge to the coach battery and while it was running I washed my hair, used the blow dryer to dry it, and used the curling iron to curl it a bit. It felt so good. But when I reached under the bathroom cabinet where I keep my curling iron, and where we also keep a few extra rolls of TP, I was shocked again to see a fluffy pile of shredded toilet paper all over in the cabinet. So once again I vacuumed it up and cleaned up the cupboard, still having seen no mouse. This time I moved the TP to a higher cupboard.

After a while, we drove our rounds through the West camp and then over to the East camp. This time as I came to the top of the hill, I saw a young man lifting his bicycle over the fence into the Church property. I pulled up beside him and said hello and asked if he knew he was on private property. He said yes and that he knew it was the LDS girls’ camp but that he didn’t think he was hurting anything with his bicycle. His name was Nick and he was very nice. We asked if he would try to find a different bike route, but he said he’s been riding this route for years. He goes down through the East camp and over through the West camp and around the meadow and back up. He was staying at the cabin that is right through the trees on the south side of camp. He was alone and didn’t seem to be a threat to anybody or anything so we just reminded him it was private property.

We had a light lunch and were listening to the Messiah on the cassette tape player when a phone call came in from Connie Mascherino. She and Mike and the Olsons were on their way up the mountain and couldn’t get the lock box to open at the gate. I explained how it worked, but Mike was still having problems with it so I got on my quad and started the three miles down the road to let them in with my key. But they finally got the lock box to open and I met them half way down and escorted them in. They had come up for Steve’s birthday and brought with them cake and ice cream and a couple of small presents. We certainly enjoyed their company and their kindness in remembering Steve on his birthday. After they left, we made tacos for supper and then sat out in our screen tent for a long while watching the sunset and watching for the deer and moose that often come to graze in the meadow across from our site. When it was dark, we went in to bed and slept well.

Day 5—Monday, June 15
Another simply gorgeous day. Our motorhome faces west and our bedroom in the back of the motorhome faces east. We would leave the back window blinds all the way up when we went to bed so we could gaze up at the stars. But each morning as the sun came up, it would blast through our bedroom window and light up the room. It seemed as bright as noon day, yet it was only 6:30 in the morning. I loved it; Steve, not so much. He woke up again this morning with really bad pain in his hands and arms, so I had him stay in bed to rest while I got ready and made breakfast. But he was too tired to eat, so I saved it for later. As I was cleaning up the kitchen area, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a mouse dart across the floor from the direction of the door to under the sofa. Great! Now I couldn’t sit on the sofa. I-DO-NOT-LIKE-MICE! I called to Steve that we had a mouse in the house. But we didn’t know how to catch a mouse without bait or a trap. So I decided we would have to visit the IFA store when we got home next time and come back prepared to get rid of mice.

Steve got up to eat his breakfast about 11:00. As he was finishing eating, a car drove by and went up into the girls’ camp area. We both got on our quads and headed after him. We met him up by the pavilion checking out the camp. He was Rick Partridge from the Syracuse Stake. Their stake will be having their fathers and sons outing here Friday and Saturday. They had originally planned to have about 250 people, but he said it looked like it would be only about 100 or so people now. We showed him the area and explained some of the rules. He seemed excited to learn about the facility. He left and we went on back to the motorhome.

Dave Godfrey called to tell us he would be bringing a guy up on Wednesday with an 18-foot green waste dumpster. They planned to leave it at the west Camp by the woodpile so workers could load it with the wood. He would come back each week with an empty dumpster and haul out the full one. This was being done to get rid of all the old lumber from old camp tables and other items that had been built many years ago but were now rotted and falling apart. The county code did not allow burning any wood that had been brought in as building materials. It seemed the treated or painted wood would cause some problems with the environment when it was burned.

We finished off the chicken salad for a snack, and Steve laid down while I worked on the computer. Later, we sat out in the screen tent and enjoyed the view for a while, and then came in and made hot dogs for dinner. We played a game of farmer rummy and went to bed.

Days 5 and 6—Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16 and 17
We checked in the leaders from the Murray Little Cottonwood Stake (our own stake) and then packed up the truck and headed back down the mountain for a couple of days. We did the wash, bought groceries, picked up a few items we needed (like mouse traps and bait) and enjoyed a visit with some of our family. Then we packed some water jugs and the rest of our things and headed back up the mountain on Thursday afternoon.

Day 7—Thursday, June 18
We got back just in time to be invited to have pizza with or own ward girls and leaders. We stayed for the stake presentations at the amphitheater and then headed back to the motorhome. President and Marianne Ruben came up to visit us and we had a nice cozy chat sitting in our little motorhome. While they were here, a great big bull moose wandered past on the road and we were all liking that and taking pictures. After they left we had a late night snack and went to bed. Neither of us slept very well that night.

Day 8—Friday, June 19
We woke up to the sound of girls laughing and we knew the girls were getting ready to head for home. I got up and got ready, made us each a bowl of hot cereal, and we drove up to go over the checkout list with the leaders. They had done a great job getting everything cleaned up. Susan Condie, camp director, mentioned that there had been a mouse in the storage room adjacent to the bathrooms (East camp) and it had shredded the toilet paper and made a nest in it. (Do all mice think alike?) They cleaned it up and removed the rest of the TP. Also, she mentioned that the handle lock on the north middle bathroom door was broken, so they duct taped it shut. As they left for home, we wished them well and we were alone again. We drove through the campground looking closely at the camps, the pavilion, the amphitheater, and the bathrooms. It was a sorry sight to see some of the beautiful greenery smashed by car tires and people trampling through the brush. It was also sad to see several of the cement tables and benches broken or cracked off. This was not done recently, but we made note of the needed repairs. We also noticed some of the camp sites did not have number posts.

Steve’s hand had begun to really hurt again, so he drove up to the motorhome to get some ibuprofen. I was going to finish checking the rest of the camp sites, but as I got on my quad, I looked up and right across the road from me was the large moose eating in the brush. I decided it would be a good time to go back, also. We had lunch and then drove up to see how the well was coming. The ride was up to the top of the mountain behind our motorhome and there was one man there working. His name was Matt and said his other worker had taken today off, so he was working alone. He told us the springs that feed the camp are nearly dry and are barely refilling—about a teaspoon at a time is how he said it. We came back and had a little time to relax before the Syracuse Stake fathers and sons outing began coming in. I had spoken to one of their leaders a day or so earlier when he drove through the camp to see the layout. I told him then that they would need to use water sparingly, no off-road vehicles, and extra cars could park down by our motorhome. (The printed directions stated there were to be no more than two vehicles per campsite. I don’t think the leaders read all the directions.)

As the first vehicles began pouring in, it became obvious that the camp rules were not clearly communicated to those arriving. Several very large travel trailers came in first, and trucks and cars and more trailers. One trailer was about forty feet long and the truck driver just headed right on up the upper road with it. We knew it would get stuck because a smaller trailer got stuck up there last week. So we got on our quads and went after it. But when we got there, it was too late. It was already stuck. As the driver had been swinging wide to make a turn, the wheels slid to the right of the road and the trailer slipped and leaded onto a very big, very tall quaking aspen tree. If he were to try to move the trailer, it would rip his awning off and also damage the trailer. We didn’t want them to try to cut the tree down, so we tried to help them get the tree pulled away from the trailer just enough for him to pull out. With a lot of others coming to help, they got enough ropes and cables to reach out about fifty feet to a truck that pulled the tree away just far enough for him to get loose. He ended up bringing the big trailer back down to where we were and parked along the roadside and stayed there for the night.

By the time the vehicles stopped coming in, we were pretty sure there were about fifty vehicles and hundreds of people. They ran out of camp spots way before the cars stopped coming in. This was partly because several of the first ones in had set up their tents and then parked their vehicles in the adjacent tent sights. So the later campers didn’t have enough tent spots and were pulling their cars into every nook and cranny to be had. There were three or four big tents in the volleyball area with their cars parked around it. And there were cars parked all along the road from there to our motorhome and further down the road. Right around our motorhome there were about five tents up quite close together and a few further up the hill. There were also cars parked tight together on the left side of the lower road leading up to the pavilion and they had put up several tents in the meadow in front of those cars. The sound of children and boys and their dads was all over the place up until about ten p.m.

The campers who were right around our motorhome had built a campfire and the smoke was coming in our windows, so we closed them. We were having trouble getting our new Verizon phone to charge, so Steve took it out to try charging it in his truck. That worked, so we will have a phone that works tomorrow.
The activities outside quieted down by about 10 pm, and Steve and I played a couple of games of farmer rummy and then went to bed. We both expected it to be a very interesting night.

Day 9—Saturday, June 20
I woke early, about 7:30, and waited to hear people stirring outside our motorhome. It was quiet until a little while later just as the sun broke over the mountain. Then all of a sudden I was hearing children playing, people talking, car doors closing, and lots of activities right around our motorhome. I got up and ready for the day and made a big breakfast for Steve and me—bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

After breakfast, Dave Godfrey and Van Anderson and a member of the 8th ward bishopric all stopped by to see us. They had come up to lead the way for the guy driving the truck with the dumpster on it, and had loaded the dumpster with trash lumber from the West campground. The driver was contracted to bring an empty dumpster and haul out the full one each week until all the old lumber and boards were cleared out of both campgrounds. Dave told us of some of the improvements they were working on and I let him know of a couple of things that we had noticed that also needed taking care of. These included getting new locks on the bathroom doors, letting camp leaders know to have their TP in enclosed containers to keep the mice from shredding it, moving a fire pit that was too close to a traffic area, etc. We would see Dave again the next week.

The Syracuse stake fathers and sons outing was a real eye-opener. Cal Taylor and Rick Partridge were in charge and said they had no idea there would be this many people. There were about 250 people and over forty vehicles. He said they would like to do it again next year, but would have a better idea of how to handle traffic control and assigning people to camp areas. They did a good job of cleaning up the place and left about 1:00 in the afternoon. Steve and I drove our quads around through the camp sites to check them over. The place looked quite clean. We did a run through the West camp and came back for lunch. Steve then went down for a nap and I worked on the computer and read. Steve made spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. After we finished cleaning up, we used a tracking app on my phone and drove around the East camp. We stopped at each camp site, pavilion, and amphitheater. When we finished, I had recorded with GPS coordinates the entire camp with pictures of the sites. When we got back to civilization and internet, I had planned to download it and share with people who planned to use the camp. We planned to do the same for the West camp on Monday. We settled in for the night and went to bed about 10:00 o’clock.

Day 10–Sunday, June 21
We planned to go to Sacrament Meeting at one of the wards in Park City. Matthew had looked up some wards near Kimball Junction and gave us the address of one that started at 11:00. We were up, had breakfast, and were ready and out the door by 10:20, heading down the mountain in the truck. We got there just as the opening prayer was being said, then slipped into our seats. The talks were about fathers, the Primary children sang a couple of songs, and a member of the Bishopric spoke to the congregation about the importance of being reverent during the passing of the Sacrament—to put away electronic devices and ponder the life and mission of Jesus Christ. All in all, it was a good meeting.

After the meeting we came back up the mountain. On the way, Matthew called to ask for directions how to get to the camp. He wanted to come up for a visit and had deleted out his old emails, including the directions I sent him a week or so ago. So I resent the directions and we finished our ride back. I decided since it was Father’s Day, and since Matthew would be here with us, that I’d make a sort of nice meal. So I made some Rice-a-Roni, Caesar salad, Jiffy muffins, and some cut-up steak and chicken. For dessert I made Tapioca pudding. Matt and Kim got here about 4:00 and we sat down together and ate dinner. Matthew was being vegetarian for a while and didn’t eat any meat and Kim was probably a little uncomfortable being squished into a motorhome dinner table with people she didn’t know. But we were glad they came and wished them well when they had to leave a little later.

Just as we were about to sit down to dinner, two Razors and a quad went riding down out of the girl’s camp and past our place. I told Matt to finish cooking the meat and we’d be right back, and Steve and I shot out on our quads after them. I caught up with them when they stopped to look at the pond in the West camp, and I pulled up beside the leading vehicle and said hello. I asked if he knew they were on private property. He said he knew this was Church property but that he was a member of the Church and that his family had a cabin nearby and they had been riding these trails for years. I told him that the Church is pretty serious about not having people trespass on the property and asked if he had seen any No Trespassing signs. He said they were all over these mountains but that “You don’t know which ones to believe any more.”

Steve asked how they got onto the property and learned they came in the south end of the East camp. That meant they had to move the log Steve had put in place to hold up the cable fence that had previously been pulled down. We let them know that we were Service Missionaries and were here specifically to let trespassers know that they should not be on this property. These were nice people but obviously felt they had a right to ride the trails here. They said they would get off the property, but I wasn’t sure that meant they wouldn’t try to ride it again thru another entrance or another time.

After dinner, Matthew and Kim rode up through the camp and when they came back, he said that he had just seen a yellow Razor coming down out of the camp. We didn’t see it go past, but after Matthew and Kim left to go home, we went out looking for it. We found it just coming up the road toward our camp. I stopped the driver and asked if he knew he was on private property. He said yes, but that his family had always driven these trails. I told him we would try to post the property better. He said he would leave the same way he came in. Steve asked him if he would put the log back in place where the cable was lowered and he said he would.

About 8:00 we were just starting to relax for the evening and we saw another person walking his bicycle on the road right in front of our motorhome. Steve stepped out and asked if he knew he was on private property. He said he did, and that Brian Bitner had told him to go check out the property up here. He must have thought this was still Bitner property. He was nice enough, and left heading down the road. By 8:30, we finally got a chance to relax and read for a while. About 10:00 we played a game of Rubicube and called it a day.

Just as a note, this evening while we were cleaning up after dinner, the water tank in the motorhome ran dry. The faucet started sputtering and getting no water out. So we hooked up the motorhome to the non-potable water faucet outside and will have water for showers, flushing toilet, and general cleanup but not for washing dishes or brushing teeth. We had brought up good water from home in four five-gallon containers as well as four counter-top water jugs with spigots.

Day 11—Monday, June 22
This morning, just after breakfast, Dave Godfrey came up to the camp to haul some more trash lumber out of camp sites. Steve wasn’t feeling well, so I helped Dave load his truck a few loads and unload it at the wood pile over in the West camp. That was a lot of work, but the places we cleaned out looked much better.
After Dave left, Steve and I went up to the pavilion and cleaned up a little mess on the south side there. Then we got some cleaning items and rode over to the West camp and cleaned the bathrooms out in the four-plex bathroom. They were quite yucky with spider webs, bird droppings from the openings in the ceilings, and just dirt on everything. They looked and smelled better when we were done. We came back to the motorhome and had lunch and read for a while.

We were expecting some leaders from the next stake group, a youth conference with over 325 youth and leaders. When they didn’t get here by 8:00 p.m., I called the group leader to see when they were coming. I learned the leaders would be here Tuesday morning and other support personnel would come up during the day to set up scenery and staging, etc. for their Book of Mormon theme conference. They would be going home Tuesday evening and would return Wednesday about 11:00 a.m. with the entire group. They had done this big production a couple of times before and had it well planned and very well organized.
Steve and I planned to stay at the camp until they all geo here on Wednesday, then we would head home to get more food, do the wash, buy more ice, and all the other things on my list. Their production sounded like it would be a lot like the Manti Pageant, but spread over a few days. I had wanted to be here for Thursday’s events, but we were short on time and had a lot to take care of at home.
We cleaned things up and got to bed about 10:30 p.m.

Day 12—Tuesday, June 23
We were up a little late this morning. At about 8:30 I had just finished getting dressed and was brushing my hair when there was a knock at the door. Brother and Sister Lowe of the Herriman stake were letting us know they would be up here for the day with others who would be preparing for their youth conference the day. And since we didn’t have potable water at the camp yet, they were having two water trucks come up with 150 gallons of clean drinking water for the group.

When they left, Steve made breakfast of eggs, toast and juice. Then we made the bed and cleaned up after breakfast and took the quads out for a ride around the camp to see what was going on with the youth conference preparations. When we got back, Steve took a nap and I worked on the computer for a while. Later, he made tacos for lunch. They were good. I guesses that since it was my birthday, that he was taking over the cooking.

We went out again after lunch at about 4:00 and drove through the East camp and then through the West camp, using my cell phone app to track the route with GPS coordinates. We stopped at each camping place and took a picture to mark the spots. When we normally drive the camps, we just look for anything out of order, or for trespassers. Usually in the West camp we see a couple of deer sunning in the same spot each trip around. It’s a beautiful campground.

We got back and Steve rested for a while, so I decided to get my Total Gym out of the truck and set it up in the screen tent so I could use it. And I packed the truck for us to be ready to go home tomorrow. Then I was bored for a while. I got happy birthday texts and calls from lots of people and it made me feel really good. What a great family we have. I missed them a lot.

We have noticed the cabin battery doesn’t seem to hold a charge as long as it should. Steve ran the portable generator for about forty-five minutes this evening to get the battery charged up enough to stay running through the night so the fridge wouldn’t turn off when the battery got too low to keep it going. I didn’t know what was going to happen when we went home for a day or two. We had no ice left to keep the food cold in a cooler if we needed to take it home with us. While the battery was charging, I made me some dinner. Steve wasn’t very hungry and just wanted the little bit of left over spaghetti. However, I was feeling a little down since I couldn’t be with my family for my 70th birthday. So I made myself a birthday dinner of barbequed chicken, rice, peas and ice cream for dessert. It was good, but didn’t make me feel much better. After dinner, we cleaned up the place a bit and went to bed. It was 11:00 p.m.

Day 13—Wednesday, June 24
The Harvest Park Stake Youth Conference was being held here beginning today through Friday. We were expecting about 325 people to start pouring in by 10:00 a.m. The leaders and support personnel came up Tuesday and set up some tents, put up staging and props throughout the campground, and got the camp sites identified and ready for their wards. They had a Book of Mormon theme and came as assigned families with “Goodly Parents” and a few boys and girls to each family. Each family was to have three tents—one for the goodly parents, one for sons, and one for daughters. We planned to stay until they all got in, and then we would go home for a day.

We had a good night’s sleep, and when the sun came blasting through the window about 7:00, I had a hard time staying in bed any longer. So I got up and ready, then took a shovel and drove around the camp looking for fire pits that were too full of ash and charcoal. I had planned to dig them out and clean them up a bit for the group coming in. But they all looked good. Someone else did that yesterday. So back to the motorhome. Steve was still sleeping, so I got on my Total Gym and did my knee exercises. Then I sat in the gravity recliner chair for a while and enjoyed the brilliantly beautiful morning here in the mountains. Then I got bored again and went in the motorhome to work on the computer.

At about 9:00 a.m. Steve began to stir. I was hopeful that maybe I’d have some company for a while. That would be nice. When he got up, I made breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes. It was good. The first arrivals of the Harvest Park Youth Conference had arrived, and I rode up the hill to visit with them. Brother and Sister Lowe were in charge of the logistics of the conference and I went over camp rules with them and told them to let us know if they had any questions before we left. Everything seemed to be going well, so we packed up our trash and laundry and headed down the mountain.

We were so tired when we got back home that we stopped at In-N-Out on the way home for hamburgers, and just pulled in the garage and closed the garage door, hoping nobody saw us. We ate our lunch, unloaded the truck and I started the wash and then we both crashed for a while. After we each had a shower and got cleaned up, we got our list out and stated gathering food items and other things we would need. I really needed a haircut, so we stopped at a little salon near Walmart and I got a short haircut. We went to Walmart for small paper plates, plastic forks and spoons, Puffs Plus tissues, Tylenol, Sour Cream, and some oil for the chain saw. We went to State Trailer and bought a new cabin battery for $120. We went to Sam’s Club and bought a few flats of bottled water, fruits and vegetables, milk, Egg Beaters, Dunford donuts, and ice cream bars. And we stopped at Sportsman’s Warehouse to pick up a birthday gift card ($40) for Brett. We were hungry, so we picked up Panda Express on the way home. They messed up my order, but we were both pretty hungry so I ate it anyway.
When we finished shopping, we went home and unloaded the items into the house or the truck and watched a movie while we ate our dinner. We went to bed early and it was so nice to sleep in our big bed again.

Day 14—Thursday, June 25
We had planned to be on the road up the mountain by 2:00, but Steve’s hand was really hurting him so we called for an appointment to see if we could get in to see Dr. Romney. We learned he was out of the office until Monday, so we went to InstaCare. After about an hour, we were told it was probably carpal tunnel and were given a pair of hand braces for his hands and a phone number for someone to do a nerve test on Steve’s hands. As we were leaving, we just shook our heads. The hand brace on the right hand has proved to be some help in relieving the pain in that hand. We got out of InstaCare about 2:00 and went home to pack the truck. Steve went for ice and I had everything packed when he got back. So we put the ice and cold foods in the coolers, stopped by to give Brett his birthday gift card, and headed back up the mountain.

We arrived about 7:00 p.m. and unloaded the truck. There were still tents all around our motorhome and throughout the camp ground. The Youth Conference evening program included a presentation at the amphitheater about coming unto Christ. We had been invited to attend, but got back late and were so tired. We made tacos for dinner and went to bed.

Day 15—Friday, June 26
At 7:00 a.m. there was a knock on the door. I made Steve get up since he looks the same all the time. It was one of the leaders of the Youth Conference inviting us to come see their final presentation of Moroni testifying of and burying the gold plates. We were also invited to stay for breakfast. The presentation was very well done, moving and inspirational. They had also planned to have a follow-up fireside August 2nd for the stake youth at their stake center where they will have Joseph Smith open the stone box and remove the plates.

After the presentation, we visited with Annette Lowe and her husband about the cleanup routine when they all leave and about keeping the gate locked unless there is someone at the gate. A little after noon most of the youth and their ward leaders had gone, and we rode up to see how the cleanup was going. They had done a really good job of cleaning the bathrooms, the pavilion, and the amphitheater. I rode around and checked the camp sites and they looked good, too. About 2:00 we said our good-buys to the Lowes and they left. They were the last ones out. Then we rode over to check out the West camp. It had been used for a few leaders to camp and for cars to park. We found they had tossed some items in the dumper which Dave Godfrey had hired to have up here. He was concerned it would cause the dumper to be too full, but it wasn’t a problem after all. Everyone was gone, the campground was cleaned and in order, and we were tired and went back to the motorhome to rest a little while before the next group got here—the Murray Parkway fathers and sons outing.

About 3:30, Brother Dave Lyddall drove in with his three boys. He was the High Councilor in charge of this event. I rode up to meet him at the pavilion and explained a few things about the camp to him. I reminded him they were responsible for refilling the generator gasoline, bringing their own TP, it was to be quiet after 10:00 p.m., there was stinging nettle in abundance, people were to not trespass over the fenced boundaries, and that the water faucets in camp were not potable water. He did not know about that one. He said he would made some phone calls to have someone bring up some flats of water bottles. Other people started arriving and Steve and I slipped back into our motorhome for the evening. A little later it occurred to me he may not have cell service up here and wouldn’t be able to reach someone in time to have the water brought up. So I rode up and asked if he was able to make the call and he said he was having trouble getting a signal. I let him use my Verizon phone and he was able to make the call. He had brought food to make hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. And he was also planning to make his special chips. He was born in England and loves to make his “famous” chips (French fries but so much better) for special events. While they were all up at the pavilion eating, he walked down the road to our motorhome and brought us a bowl of his fresh, hot, deep fried chips. They were wonderful. He was so nice.

Madeline and Eli had called earlier to see if they could come visit us. We were delighted to have the company. They arrived about dinner time and set up their tent as we made our supper. They had eaten before they came. We had a nice visit and we all tucked in for the night, too tired to even play games.

Day 16—Saturday, June 27
Although I had hoped to sleep in this morning, I was awake the moment the sun burst through the window. I knew Dave Godfrey would be up this morning, but didn’t know for sure what time. And Madeline and Eli had a person coming to their home that they needed to be there for but they didn’t know what time. So I wasn’t sure what time they would be getting up. So, I decided to get up and get ready for the day so if anyone came by I’d be ready.

They fathers and sons were up and stirring by about 7:00, so I guess there must have been a breakfast being served at the pavilion about that time. Madeline and Eli were also up, so we made a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit. It was good. We visited some more and then they headed for home.
The fathers and sons were also starting to close up their camps and head down the mountain. Brother Lyddall must not have read some of the instructions, because when everyone was gone he was left alone to clean up the bathrooms and the pavilion. One other man was still there and he offered to help. When it was done, it looked good and we went over the check sheet with him and wished him a safe trip down the mountain.

Shortly after he left, Dave Godfrey drove up to say the big dumper had gotten filled and it was on its way down the mountain. The new empty dumpster was here, and he and a couple of guys he brought with him were able to get all the rest of that trash pile loaded in the dumpster. He said he had family coming to town and probably wouldn’t be able to make it up here for a week or so. The new well should be finished in a week or two and when it was, they would have to turn off all the water to the camp for a couple of days to make the transition from the spring water to the well water. They headed out and Steve and I were alone again—until about 5:00 p.m. when our friends Craig and Renee Bevan, and Mike and Connie Mascherino came up to visit and have dinner with us.

They brought with them all the fixings for hamburgers, watermelon, beans, chips, and dessert. It was so nice to see them and we were so glad to be able to visit with good friends again. We visited a while outside under the awning in the shade, the came inside the air conditioned motorhome to make the food up and eat. After eating, we took dessert and drinks and games up into the campground pavilion and we all had a great game of hand and foot. The girls won, of course. And as we finished the game, the sun was beginning to set (an amazingly beautiful sunset) so we all went back to the motorhome and our friends packed up their things and headed back down the mountain in the dark.

Steve and I cleaned up the dishes and closed up the place and went to bed. It was a good day.

Day 17—Sunday, June 28
We got up to a beautiful Sabbath morning, got cleaned up and had a quick breakfast. Then we drove the forty minutes down the mountain to Sacrament meeting in a Kimball Junction ward. It was a great meeting—a missionary homecoming. The missionary had gone to the West Indies and had some great stories to tell. Another speaker taught about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. It was also a very good lesson. I was so grateful to be able to take the Sacrament. Since we were nearly out of ice, we had to stop and buy some on the way out of town. I pondered about doing this as we had just been taught about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and realized that Jesus taught us how to make these kinds of decisions.

When we got back to the motorhome, we changed clothes and made a lunch from the leftover hamburger fixings from the day before. It was really good. The rest of the day we read and I worked on the computer. About 3:30 we heard a car coming up the road into the camp. It was Matthew bringing Aubrey and Mackenzie up to see us. What a kind thing for him to do. I have missed my little girls so much and wish I could be more a part of their lives. Matthew and I each took one of the girls on the four wheelers and rode up through the East camp, and then over through the West camp. We came back and visited a while in the motorhome, gave the girls some ice cream, and they wanted another ride on the quads, so we took them up through the East camp one more time. Then they headed back home about 5:30. It was so nice to see my family.

After they left, for dinner we had fried potatoes and scrambled eggs and watermelon. Matthew said they had already eaten before they came, so we didn’t make dinner while they were here. We cleaned up and read scriptures together, then played a couple of games at the table and went to bed early.

Day 18—Monday, June 29
As I lay in bed this morning, I kept thinking I was hearing the sound of a car far in the distance coming up the road. It was so quiet that even the smallest sounds stood out. After listening for a long while, it became apparent that I was hearing a far-away airplane. I also heard birds from all sides of our motorhome tweeting and warbling and chirping through the trees. I heard the breeze blowing through the trees and rustling the awning on the motorhome. Once in a while I could hear the buzz of a bee near the window. There were no other sounds on this beautiful morning. The sun had burst through the windows some time earlier and I was trying to sleep in. But it just wasn’t going to happen. I was eager to get the day started even though there was nothing to do all day.

So I got up and put on some grubby clothes and went out in the screen tent to do my exercises on my Total Gym. After that, I got cleaned up, did something with my hair and put on makeup. About 9:30 I made French toast and cold cereal and cantaloupe. Steve got up to join me for breakfast. We did the few dishes together and then read books for a while. He got tired and laid back down on the bed for an hour while I finished my book.
A little after noon he rode his quad up through the East camp. I was getting hungry again but he wasn’t, so I had an apple for lunch. Later, we decided to ride the West camp and then come back and try to move some lodge poles over in front of the broken fence on the south end of the East camp where trespassers have come through in the past.

In the meantime, we thought it may be sporty to try to ride the Witness trail with our quads. The trail starts right by our camp and is the trail the Young Women fourth year campers take to pass off some of their requirements. One of the girls in the stake that took the hike two weeks ago told me that she didn’t think four-wheelers could ride that trail on the first half of it, but that the last half would be ok. We decided that since we didn’t know where the trail came out, we would see just how far we could ride it. Steve decided he would go ahead and check it out, so he took his quad and headed out.

I busied myself in the motorhome for a while until it seemed like he should have been back. I knew that he knew what he was doing, so I waited a while longer. I was watching a deer across the field through the binoculars for a while. But I started getting uneasy that it was so long and he wasn’t back yet. I asked Heavenly Father to please keep him safe and to let me know what I should do. I felt like I should start out on the trail to see how far I could safely go and maybe I’d see Steve. The girl was right. Quads could not get down this end of the trail which had steep, log stairs built into it. I had gone about half a mile before I could not safely go any further, so I stopped. That is when I noticed Steve sitting on a rock just a bit ahead of me down the trail. He had tried to go a little further, and his bike was wedged against a stump at the edge of the trail with one wheel hanging over the edge. It would have gone over if the stump hadn’t been there, and he couldn’t move it forward or backward without it going over.

Together, we put a log under the front wheels of his bike and we both worked it over to the other side of the trail away from the edge. Then we went back up the trail and he helped me get my bike turned around so I could ride back out the way I came in. We braked it and then went back down to his bike. He got on and put it in first gear, put on all the brakes, and I pulled the log out from under the front tires. He was able to slowly ride his bike down past that dangerous part and back onto the trail that opened up the rest of the way and took him back to the road. I rode back out and met him there. That was an adventure I hope to never repeat.

We rode up to see how the new well was coming along and then rode back through the West camp and returned to the motorhome. We made supper and cleaned up, then read for a while and went to bed about 10:00 p.m.

Day 19—Tuesday, June 30
This was a beautiful morning–the last day of June. It was my hope that we had done something worthwhile for the time we had been at the camp so far.
There were no groups scheduled to use the camp during the week, so we thought we would have to stay through the week until the following Tuesday or maybe, if a group came in on the weekend, then we could go home then. However, Dave Godfrey told us that it would be good for us to go home Tuesday even though nobody was up in the campground. He said it’s more likely we’d have trespassers come through on the weekend than mid-week. So we packed up and headed home again. This time, we detoured through Kamas and stopped for some of the world’s best apple fritters. They only had a couple left, so we bought them out.
We got home and unpacked and I went straight for the shower—hot water and plenty of it. Ahhh. Steve had still been suffering with pain and weakness from the virus that he got shortly after his knee surgery. He had been slowly getting better, but was not over it yet. He had to rest for a while when we got home. I got the wash started, worked on the computer, paid some bills and finally got to catch up on emails and my Facebook family photos. We watched a movie later that night and went to bed very tired.

Day 20 and 21—Wednesday/Thursday, July 1 and 2
Wednesday we had planned to get all our shopping done for the things we needed to take back up the mountain. While we were home this time, I was able to see Aubrey and Mackenzie for about an hour or so. I took them to the library to check out some books, but it was closed for remodeling. So we went to Deseret Industries and we all got books. It was so fun. I took them back to Matthew’s home and stopped for a few more items on the way home.

Steve and I had a relaxing time at home this time. We went shopping at Kohl’s for some shirts for him and picked up lunch while we were out. We had tried to think of a way to keep the hot afternoon sun from heating up the inside of the motorhome as it shone through the right side of the front windshield. We bought a single panel drape with a sun and heat blocking backing on it, and we bought some Command hooks and shower hooks. We thought maybe we could hook it up across the right side of the front window in the late afternoon. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

In the evening, we went to dinner with Craig and Renee Bevan at Su Casa. We always enjoy being with our great friends. We then headed back home and packed a few things for the trip up the mountain tomorrow.

On Thursday, we finished our shopping and finally headed back up the mountain about 7:00 p.m. and arrived about 8:30. Betty Bitner King had called to tell me she and a few of her immediate family were going to be camping overnight Thursday and Friday, and that about one hundred of the Bitner families would be having a reunion at the camp on Friday and/or Saturday. They drove in shortly after we got back. Everything was beautiful and quiet up on our mountaintop. We put things away and then rode through the camps. We came back and got ready for bed, read scriptures together, played some games, and went to bed.

Day 22—Friday, July 3
What a beautiful morning! Birds were singing, the sun was blasting into the bedroom, and a beautiful campground was spread all around us. I got up and ready for the day, then made breakfast of eggs, toast, and melons. We cleaned up and just lounged around all day. The wind kicked up quite a bit in the afternoon. Rain had been forecast for the Park City area, so thought maybe a storm was blowing our way, too. We tightened down the storm fly on the screen tent and sat out there for a while enjoying the quiet beauty of this place. We have our Total Gym set up in the screen tent, so I did some of my knee exercises on it while we were out there. Steve read his book and I worked on getting some of my mom’s favorite recipes typed up in the computer. She had been a cook all her life, and when she died I decided to cull through her recipes and find the best ones to use to make a recipe book. It seemed like a good time to get busy on that.

A number of the Bitner family started arriving in the afternoon. But when three quads and a Razor drove past, Steve hopped on his quad and rode up to them to let them know they were on private property and that only the campground hosts were to ride off-road vehicles here. They told him they had permission for this weekend, so he wished them a happy Fourth of July and left. We called Dave Godfrey later to ask about this circumstance and were told that with the Bitners, they can pretty much do as they choose. The LDS Church bought the property for this girls’ camp from the Bitner family and the agreement allows them a couple of weekends a year to use it. So we went back to what we were doing.

When it started to get dark, we made dinner of steamed carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy, hamburger patties, green salad, watermelon and cantaloupe, and tapioca pudding for dessert. So good! We cleaned up and got ready for bed and read for a while, then played Rubicub and went to bed.

Day 23—Saturday, July 4
Happy 4th of July! It was raining lightly in the early morning and it felt nice and cool. I got up and ready and worked on the computer for a while in the morning. Aaron had sent me a text saying that he was at Lisa’s and they had Stars and Stripes blasting on the sound system. He said it reminded him of when I did that when he was at our place. I love patriotic music. I told him thanks for reminding me, and I got the Shuffle out to play it, but found out I didn’t have any patriotic music on it. So sad.

Dave Godfrey came by about 11:00 to say he was going to be fixing some things at the West camp and then would come back to show us something about the generator. We had breakfast while he was gone—just toaster waffles and fruit. When he came back, we followed him up the road to the pod in the East camp where he showed us how to use the big generator and what all the switches do.

The fence that runs along the far south roadway up in the East camp is made with four-foot steel stakes about every ten feet and a one-inch steel cable welded along to the stakes about 2-1/2 feet off the ground with barbed wire secured to the stakes about 3-1/2 feet off the ground. A while back, at a place where an old trail comes from the other side of the fence and crosses over into our property, someone had cut the barbed wire and made it possible to hold the steel cable flat on the ground and ride an ATV over the cable onto our property. So while we were up there, we moved some large tree limbs from the other side of the fence to block that entrance. We hoped these branches would deter trespassers. Dave also strung a cord tightly across the tops of about four stakes, and he left some Posted signs and clips in the pod for us to attach them with, which we did later that day.

Dave headed home and we rode through the West camp one more time, then back to the motorhome. By late afternoon, most of the Bitner families had gone home, but one was still camped up in the trees. By one o’clock the wind was picking up again and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. Dave Godfrey called to say he had learned that the well that was being dug to provide potable water, would still be about two weeks out. It was looking like we wouldn’t have potable water while we served at the camp after all, but Mike and Connie would be able to enjoy it when they served here.

We made lunch—peanut butter sandwiches—and since Steve’s hand was really hurting this afternoon, he took a nap and I started a new book—The Christmas Train. Later we used the tow chain to drag up a couple of long tree logs and lay them across the trail that crossed into our property to help deter trespassers. There were still a couple of tents up in the campground where one of the Bitner families had stayed over to camp with their kids.

Later in the day, we sat out in the screen tent in our lounge chairs and enjoyed the beautiful weather for a while. It had been breezy all day, but by early evening the wind was really kicking up. By the time we were inside starting dinner, it was pounding the motorhome and causing it to sway back and forth. The awning was shaking and popping around, but it held tight. For dinner, Steve had the leftover hamburger patty from last night and I made some yummy chicken, and we shared the rest of the mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, green salad, and watermelon. After we cleaned up, we read for a while and went to bed about 10:30, just as it was just starting to lightly rain.

Day 24—Sunday, July 5
Today was Sunday. It had rained off and on all night and it was cold. It was still raining as the sun came up, so we didn’t really see the sun because there was a thick cloud layer. The family that had been camping in their tent the past two days was packing up to go home, and by 11:00 a.m. they were driving out of the campground as the rain was coming down even harder. Steve was still sleeping in the nice warm bed, but I couldn’t sleep any later so I turned on the water heater to heat up some water so I could have a hot shower.

The gauges showed that our propane had gotten very low, so we have avoided using the water heater in order to save the propane to keep the fridge going. We haven’t needed the furnace because it has been so hot lately. But today it was cold. And after I was cleaned up and dressed in layers to stay warm, I wanted to turn on some heat. But instead, I curled up and read the Ensign without the heat.

Steve got up about noon and made him a toaster waffle. He took a shower and dressed in warm clothes and read for a while. We finally turned on the heater for about twenty minutes to take the edge off the cold. About 2:00 he rode his quad up to the East camp to check for any problems, then came back and sat outside and read for a while. The clouds stayed heavy and low and threatened rain most of the day.

Since we had no water left in the motorhome, and since our propane was nearly gone, we decided to take the motorhome down the mountain on Monday to fill the water tank, the propane tank, and the gas tank. We had been told there was a Sinclar station at the Silver Creek junction at Hwy 40 and I-80 that sold propane.

In the afternoon I made up some chicken salad and a potato salad. We had some of that for supper and played games for a while and went to bed.

Day 25—Monday, July 6
It had been a chilly night, but the morning was beautiful. The warm blankets felt really good, but we had decided to take the motorhome down the mountain this morning to refill the tanks, so we got up a little after eight and got things going. We secured things inside and unhooked the hoses outside and headed down a little after ten. It was a slow, bumpy ride but Steve got us down the mountain in one piece.

At the Sinclair station we got 31 gallons of gasoline ($95) and eleven gallons of propane ($33). We have a 24-gallon propane tank, so this means our gauge was wrong and we really still had thirteen gallons of propane left. But the water was free and we filled up the 100-gallon water tank. While we were waiting for the water to fill, we went in the Sinclair station where they sold Blimpies and pizzas and we got an early lunch. We sat outside on their picnic table and ate and watched all the people come and go. When the water was filled, we headed back up the mountain. It was 11:30 when we left and we were back by 12:20. On the way back we caught up with a moose walking up the road ahead of us. But he darted off in the trees as we got closer. After we were back, we levelled the motorhome, set the stay-jacks, put out the awning and set everything back in place under it. Steve took a nap and I put things away inside and worked on the computer for a while. Steve got and was reading for a while and I decided to take a nap. It was nice.

Later, we rode up around the East camp and while we were up there, some of the husbands of the camp directors from one of the branches in the Cannon Stake came up to set up the tents for their Young Women and leaders. As they were leaving, it began to rain but didn’t rain very long. We rode up around the West camp and flushed out a half dozen large, beautiful birds as we were going in and a deer as we were coming out. The evening was partly cloudy but so beautiful. It was so very quiet, except for the beautiful songs of the birds across the treetops.

About 6:30, some of the husbands of the Spanish Branch young women leaders (of the Cannon Stake) drove in and set up camp for their wives and they left. A little later, the stake camp director, Kendra Garding, came in and set up her tent. Her husband was coming to join her a little later and they would be staying the night. She had gotten permission from Patti Godfrey to stay at the camp on Monday night. Steve and I sure hoped the rain would hold off until the girls had finished their camp on Thursday.

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• Tuesday, February 05th, 2013

The teenage years aren’t the only time of a person’s life that are whitewater years. I’ve found whitewater trials can come along any time in life. Even now, at the age when some people would refer to me as a senior citizen,  I’m finding disappointment and sorrow are still a part of life. There are many opportunities for joy and laughter, but it seems that lately many sad things are happening.

Last year my son Matthew and his sweet wife Natalie decided to end their marriage. That was a very hard blow to me and I’m still not sure I understand what happened, but I love them and support them in their decisions. Also, some of our dear friends recently experienced the death of their sweet dog, Addie, and we grieve with them through this painful time. Other family members are struggling with health issues and we pray for their return to good health.  Steve and I have our own share of health surprises once in a while, too. And I can hardly stand to read the news with the stories of so much pain and suffering. This has been a long, gloomy, cold winter and maybe that adds to my feelings of sorrow.

Ashtyn, the sweet 12-year-old daughter of our dear friend Suzanne has recently been diagnosed with a high risk type of lukemia. She has been through many tests, needles, procedures, and scans in the past week and will now start chemo therapy. This will make her very ill for a long time.  She is a brave girl, but is frightened and just wants to go home. Her mother has been living in her hospital room with her for a week now while other family members tend to the home and rest of the children. A blog has been created for Suzanne to post updates of the experience for friends and family to stay up to date with how Ashtyn is doing. And for others who may possibly gain any help from Ashtyn’s trial that may help them in their own current trials. The blog is at http://ashtynstriumph.com . We pray for Ashtyn and for her family and hope any others who can feel a tender heart towards this little girl will also offer prayers for her well being.

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• Thursday, October 06th, 2011

I love to go four-wheeling!

For over ten years now  Steve and I have loved the many experiences we have had with our friends and family taking our quads out in the hills. We have ridden up into the tops of the mountains, along the hillsides, down by the lakes, through small streams, on trails that go through tall pines, through mountain sides covered in brightly colored fall colors, sometimes in pouring rain and mostly on clear, bright blue-sky days. It is a thrill to me to be able to witness up close the glorious handiwork of God.

The springtime is a stunning show of green grasses, small streamlets, lots of ponds and puddles to ride through, and hillsides covered with flowers in brilliant colors of blue, red, and gold. By summertime, the trails get a little drier and the four-wheelers bring up the dust as we ride. I wear my bandana so I can pull it up over my nose to keep the dust out. Sometimes I pull it up over my nose to keep the bugs from hitting me in the face. By fall, the grasses are dry and most of the ponds and puddles are dried up. The trails are dusty, but the leaves are starting to change and the beauty in the hills and mountains is almost unbelievable. We’ve gone riding with Curtis and Kelly, Matthew and Natalie, Jenny and Ryan, Jason and Libby, and with our good friends Mike and Connie Mascherino, and Craig and Renee Bevan. Occasionally, we are able to take other friends with us, too.

We got interested in riding when our friends the Bevans invited us to go riding with them. It was so fun! Although we didn’t think we could buy our own machines, we did stop and look at a couple of Yamaha Timberwolfs we found for sale. And we ended up buying them. So then we had to buy a trailer to pull them. We bought an 8-foot trailer from Big Bubba’s in Ogden. But riding became so fun for us we wanted to share it with our family and friends, so we bought two more Timberwolfs. Then we needed to get a bigger trailer to pull four machines. So we sold the first trailer and bought a 10-foot one. After the years, we replaced a couple of the Timberwolfs with two Honda Rincons. The Timberwolf machines had a left foot shift bar, but the Rincons had a push-button shift. That was a nice change.

We invited our friends Mike and Connie Mascherino to go riding with us one time and had a great time together. Shortly after that, they bought their own Timberwolf machines and a trailer. And after riding a few times, they also bought two more machines so they could take their family out.

We have ridden at Five Mile Pass west of Eagle Mountain, American Fork canyon, the wonderful Piute Trail, up Mineral Fork trail in Big Cottonwood canyon, at Soapstone basin (wonderful!), in the Manti-LaSalle mountains, in the hills outside Nephi, out of Fillmore, up Farmington canyon, Tibble Fork, at Mill Hollow, out in the west desert by Dell and by Vernon, up at Wasatch State Park near Midway, and at Murdock Basin. We’ve ridden these places multiple times–some of them many times. My favorites are the Piute Trail, Soapstone basin, and Wasatch State Park. We rode the Wasatch State Park a couple of weeks ago and the leaves were starting to change. The colors were breathtaking!

I hope we can have many more wonderful times riding the hills with friends and family. This is a great opportunity for us.

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• Monday, July 19th, 2010

On July 15-17 we had our 2nd annual family campout at Soapstone campground with Curtis and Matthew’s families. It’s along Utah’s Mirror Lake Highway in the tall pine trees and has the Provo River running through the campground. There were ten of us–Steve and I, Curtis and Kelly with their children Katelyn (4 yrs) and Cody (5 months), and Matthew and Natalie with their children Aubrey (4 yrs) and Mackenzie (3 yrs).

Steve and I loaded up our little motor home with food, chairs, firewood, my bike, kids’ activities, and even a few movies on to play in case the kids (or their parents) needed a rest, or if the weather turned bad. (Camping wasn’t like this when I was a kid.) But we were lucky to have perfect weather–and there were hardly any bugs at all.

I had reserved two camp sites beside each other and near the bathrooms. They worked very well for us. Curt set up his tent trailer on one site and Matthew put his tent up on that site also. We set the RV on the other site. It was nice to have the RV so the ladies and children didn’t have to use the public bathrooms as much. The first night we cooked hot dogs over the campfire and played games and visited with Curtis, Kelly, Katelyn and Cody. It was a bit cold the first night but was quite nice the second night. Curtis made pancakes for breakfast on Friday and we had a nice leisurely morning. I rode my bike around camp and even went with Katelyn for a bike ride. It was fun. Steve relaxed in his camp chair and read a book. He brought his fishing gear but forgot to pack his flies. But he found two flies in his rod case, so he went down to the river a couple of times to threaten the fish.

Mat and Nat arrived Friday afternoon and set up their fancy 2-room tent with a screened porch. Aubrey, Mackenzie and Katelyn all played together.  It was interesting to watch the little girls play. They collected nearly every rock they could find, saying that each was a “really nice one” and had to go in their bucket. And they spent nearly a whole afternoon together sitting in the dirt under the pine tree and scraping piles of pine needles into their buckets. They don’t know and probably don’t care that they were filthy dirty. Then a little while later they were playing Sleeping Beauty make believe as though they were little clean princesses. I guess it’s good they couldn’t see what they looked like. At one point Natalie walked over near where they were playing to get something and Aubrey scolded her and said, “Mommy, don’t watch us.” Imagination is a wonderful thing. Or is it escapism? Or is it both?

We had a big dinner together Friday evening. We cooked BBQ chicken and biscuits in the Dutch oven, Rice-a-Roni, green beans, and salad. We had watermelon, and for dessert we made Dutch oven cherry chocolate cake. What a fun dinner. After dinner the guys shot their little rubber-band-loaded whirly-gig helicopters high up in the air and let the little girls catch them as they floated down. That lasted quite a while until one of the helicopters eventually got stuck up in a very tall tree.

Saturday morning we slept in a bit and had a great breakfast. Matthew made the bacon, of course. And Curtis made great pancakes. And I made the hash browns and scrambled eggs. We put it all out on the table and had a great feast. Cooking and eating are part of the fun of camping. And it has always been my belief that bacon was a necessary part of the camping experience. And I believe my sons are carrying on this tradition nicely. Bacon is not only good, but if you can be the first one in the campground cooking it in the morning, it makes the neighbors jealous as well.

We had some time to take a few little hikes, visit a while, and play with the kids. Then about noon we packed up the camp and headed for home. We were tired but grateful for a wonderful family camping trip!

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• Sunday, July 18th, 2010

The National Genealogical Society Conference was held in Salt Lake City the end of April 2010 and I got to attend. My brothers Steve and Terry flew in to attend also. It was quite an event. There were actually three genealogy conferences going on at the same time in town and there was a lot of media hype about them. The NGS conference offered hundreds of classes to choose from. For four days we attended classes that taught from the basic how-to-begin subjects to the more complex classes about how to find female ancestors, using DNA to identify ancestors, using census records and other state or church records, how to read old English script, how to break down brick walls, etc.

One evening we got to attend a special performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir called A Celebration of Family History. It was held at the LDS Conference Center and it was a wonderful evening. The Conference Center has 22,000 seats and was nearly full for this event. David McCullough was the special guest speaker. The experiences of this week were a real highlight for me. My heart is in this work.

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• Friday, April 16th, 2010

Steve and I got to go to Disneyland. I love Disneyland! I love the rides and all the fun things to see and do there. I love to go through the shops and look at all the stuff, try on the hats, and even buy stuff. But not too often. It’s way expensive. And I love to just sit and watch the people.

We were invited by Matthew and Natalie to accompany them as they took their two little girls to see Disneyland for the first time. I had always told my sons that I’d sure like to go along when they took their kids to see the Magic Kingdom. Curtis and Kelly had been to Disney World with Katelyn when they went to Florida to visit her parents. But Matthew and Natalie hadn’t yet taken their girls. So Steve and I went along. Steve isn’t so much in to the rides as I am, but he is such a good sport to go along anyway. We had the 3-day park hopper passes and we opened and closed the park for three days. We did Disneyland and California Adventure–lots of walking. At the end of each day we were pretty tired and slept very well each night.

Natalie and I got to go on a few of the rides together that we both really love and that the guys didn’t care to go on. We went on the  Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, the California Screamin’ roller coaster , and the Soarin’ Over California rides. Space Mountain used to be my favorite ride, but now California Screamin’ is my favorite. Just wish it went a little longer. We all tried to get in as many of the rides as possible, and I think we were pretty successful. It was so fun–I can’t wait to go again.

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• Friday, April 16th, 2010

Cody Curtis Cronkhite was born 18 February 2010 at 5:23 a.m., the son of Curtis and Kelly Cronkhite. He weighed in at  7 lbs 6 oz, and was 20 inches long. And he is just beautiful. He has the most beautiful golden hair. It will be interesting to see whether it changes to more red or more blond. And it looks like it has a little curl to it. His sister Katelyn has beautiful blond curly hair. Just stunning. I don’t like to boast, but I’m sure I have the most beautiful grandchildren on the planet.

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• Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Another Christmas in the rear view mirror. It’s a long and careful preparation for the best celebration of the year, and it’s all worth it. We drove up to Layton early Christmas morning and visited Stephanie, Sydney, and Mary at their home in Layton for a while. They a Skype connection to Brian on the internet and we felt like he was in the room with us, too. That was really neat. Then we drove down to visit Jenny and Ryan and the kids. The house was full of happy children, fun toys, and good food. How blessed we are to have so much. We then drove over to Jason and Libby’s home and visited for a while. The kids all seemed excited about the gifts they had gotten and their home was also full of the feeling of Christmas. We are so grateful for the goodness of our family.

We got back home about 1:30 and had some lunch. Steve took a nap and I worked in the office a while. About 4:30 Curtis, Kelly and Katelyn, and Matthew, Natalie, Aubrey and Mackenzie came by for a visit. We had ham and cheese rolls with side dishes set out and everyone had a bite to eat. Then we exchanged gifts and visited for a while. I especially like the part about opening gifts. When you give a gift to one of the girls (Katelyn, Aubrey, and Mackenzie) to open, they tear it open, smile and get excited about it, and then hand it to their mom and turn back and say, “Can I have another one to open?” I’m not sure if it is more exciting for them to receive the gift or just to tear open the gift.

After the presents were all opened, the girls all wanted to watch Katelyn’s new Strawberry Shortcake video. So while they watched the video the rest of us played hand and foot and snacked on pumpkin rolls, pies, bread and spinach dip, toffee popcorn, and crackers and dip. This was a good Christmas for Steve and me.

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• Thursday, December 17th, 2009

We had family come to town the week of December 6th through 9th. What a great time we had. Mike and Phyllis drove up from Sonoma, California. Monty and Sammy drove up from Las Vegas. And Terry flew in from Southern California.

Mike and his sons and Terry and his son Greg all went snow boarding Monday and we had a big family dinner that evening. The weather was unusually cold–in the single digits.

On Tuesday evening I had wanted to go to Temple Square to see the lights, but it was way too cold to be outdoors. So Mike, Phyllis, Monty, Sam, Steve and I all went to dinner at Spaghetti Mama’s and to a movie. Monty had suggested we see the new movie, Blind Side, and it was really a feel-good movie. Real good.

Terry left for home Tuesday morning and the boys left Wednesday morning. Monty had some car trouble on the way home, but made it home ok. Mike and Phyllis left Thursday morning and had a good trip home. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone. The real life is when we are family together. I have a really neat family.

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• Friday, November 20th, 2009

What a wonderful experience Steve and I had on our two-week road trip to visit Steve and Carolyn in Champaign, Illinois. We left very early the morning of Thursday, Oct 8th, and followed I-15 through Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. We were so lucky to have good weather all the way. It seems we were following a pretty bad storm heading east, but we never caught up to it. We saw slushy, dirty snow half way up the sides of the vehicles passing us going west, though. We stayed that night in Lincoln, Nebraska, and arrived at their home in time for dinner Friday evening.

Steve had arranged for us to visit a few really great places. And Carolyn got off work a couple of the days so she could come, too. We drove out to see some of the covered bridges in the area. Beautiful countryside.

We all went to the Amish town of Arthur. It was really fun to just wander through the shops and Antique stores and find little treasures. I really enjoyed having time to play with dear Carolyn and Steve. There was a barbeque cook-off in town and we sampled some of it. Yummy…

The Midwest is amazing. They have 360 degrees of horizon. And corn as far as you can see in all directions. Steve and Carolyn have a friend, Randy Weber, who owns a huge farm–mostly in corn but with some soybeans. With 11,000 acres under cultivation, Randy is the largest producer of corn for snack foods in the country. He sells a lot of his crop to Frito-Lay. His farm toys are huge–tractors, trailers, grain hoppers, combines, tillers. Most of his equipment is made by the John Deere Corporation and they bring some of their newer models to his farm for testing. I got to sit up (way up) in the cab of one of his tractors. It’s like an airplane cockpit in there. Randy said that when they plant the fields they use a GPS attached to a computer which records precisely where the seed goes in the ground. Then, when they harvest, they hook the same GPS coordinates to the harvester computer and let the harvester guide itself down the rows. He doesn’t even have to hold the steering wheel. He said he expects in the near future they will be able to do the harvesting driverless–using remote guidance equipment. Wow…

We also got to tour the Fair Oaks Dairy in northwest Indiana. They milk 30,000 cows three times a day. They have ten locations with 3,000 cows at each location. About 80 calves are born a day. They have a round “cow merry-go-round” that holds about 70 cows at a time and as they have the cows walk over from their very long, clean housing into the large barn, they are filed in line to get on the slowly turning merry-go-round. The milkers are attached to the udders, and by the time the cows make one time around, they milkers are unattached and the cows walk off and back to their “stable”. It was so amazing. And I got to watch a baby calf being born. They actually have a “Birthing Barn” with the lights down low and a small set of bleachers for public to witness the births. The cows are behind a very high Plexiglas wall and have a staff assisting them if needed. That little guy came out looking just like a real cow–only much smaller. His head and front hoofs came out first and as Mom was working him out, his little head was just looking this way and that checking out the new digs. Amazing…

We also got to take a tour of the Duke Energy power plant in Newport, Indiana. Steve has good connections. His friend, Gordon Delp, works there and we met with the plant manager who gave us permission to take pictures. Again, everything was so huge. The plant generates electricity by burning coal which heats water into steam, which drives two large turbines that each turn a large generator. Everything is big. Every day they burn enough coal to fill over eighty railroad hopper cars. The steam pressure going into the turbine is about 1500 pounds per square inch and the temperature is about 1,000 degrees Farenheit. At this temperature and pressure, it would cook an elephant like a hot dog, in about two seconds. Safety is a big concern at the plant.

Another great day trip we took was to Springville, Illinois, to the National Lincoln Museum. This year is the 200 anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the museum was a wonderful learning experience for Steve and me. We learned of Lincoln’s family, his home environment and upbringing, and of his political views and strong passion against slavery. We learned of the Civil War and how it progressed and the many lives lost. And how Lincoln held fast to his belief that this nation must not be divided, even through the great suffering he had to witness. This was a wonderful experience to learn of this great man. And one thing I learned was that his family didn’t have any power or prestige. He wasn’t reared in any type of favorable circumstance. But he had integrity. He held firmly to his beliefs. This is the kind of man the Lord can work with. I want to be this kind of a person.

After spending a very enjoyable week with Steve and Carolyn, we headed for home and stopped on the way to visit several LDS Church History sites and to visit Aaron and Kimberly and Eleanor. We stopped first at the Carthage Jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. A beautiful place, but so full of sadness.

We also stopped at Adam-ondi-Ahman where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a small parking lot and overlook to see the valley below. This is a historic site along the east bluffs above the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri. It is the site where Adam and Eve lived after being expelled from the Garden of Eden and will be a gathering spot for a meeting of the Prophets of all ages and many other righteous people prior to the Second Coming of the Savior. Most of the land is currently least out for farming.

We drove on to Nauvoo and were able to go through the Nauvoo Temple and do proxy ordinance work for one of our ancestors. We stayed the night in Nauvoo and the next day drove on to Kansas City, where we got to have dinner with Aaron’s family. I got to play with CE–Cute Eleanor. We enjoyed our time there very much, but headed on down the road to see how far we could get before stopping for the night. We actually made it to Salina, Kansas. Nearly all the way to Colorado. After a good night’s rest, we finished the trip home going from Salina through Denver, Colorado, and up to Laramie, Wyoming, then down into Salt Lake City. It was a wonderful adventure and it was good to be home.

There is so much to see and learn in this beautiful world. I hope I live long enough to enjoy much more of it, and to share it with my family…

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• Friday, November 20th, 2009

Just thinking about my sweet Mom–Goldie Adelade Heath Newman. She would have been 92 years old on the 16th of this month (Nov 2009) if she were still living. Hope you had a Happy Birthday, Mom. (You do read my blogs, don’t you Mom???)

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• Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Wow! Life is such a precious, fragile miracle. Kelly invited her mother and me to be at the doctor’s office today when she and Curtis had the ultrasound. We learned right away that it’s a boy. The outdoor plumbing was quite evident. I am overjoyed. Everyone was all smiles. Katelyn wanted a baby sister, but she’ll enjoy being the big sister to a little brother…until she’s a teenager.

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• Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The score was tied and he knew he could win. A fast ball off the front wall was coming high and, without thinking, he swung high and hard. And that was the last swing he would do for a long time. Steve tore the tendon in his right shoulder and couldn’t raise his arm. And Jason had no mercy. Steve lost the game.

Steve was hoping he could just get a cortisone shot and all would be well. But when he went to see the orthopedic surgeon, he was told he had a classic rotator cuff tear. His surgery was August 20th. He will be in an arm sling for three months. After four weeks he begins passive therapy. That is where the therapist at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital just stretches his tendon for about thirty minutes twice a week. Ouch! Not fun! After six weeks, he starts active therapy where he has to do the lifting and stretching. Still not fun! He’s at four weeks now and he can get around quite well and do most normal things as long as he doesn’t even try to lift his right arm, or lift anything more than ten pounds with his left arm. I’ve had the same surgery in both of my shoulders and can understand somewhat of the frustration and constant aching he has to go through. But he’s toughing it out quite well. Poor dear…

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• Monday, August 24th, 2009

Steve and Carolyn Family minus Mike's family and NateElle, Makayla, Eleanor, MichelleeSteve and Carolyn’s family came to town for a reunion the end of July. They rented a LARGE monster home in Heber and enjoyed a few days together with nearly all of their children and grandchildren. They had twenty-five people there–13 adults and 12 children. Mike and Kristi and their new son Emmet weren’t able to come. And Nathan was doing a major concert and also couldn’t come.

Steve and I were invited to come up for an evening to have dinner and visit. It was wonderful to see the family again. We had a wonderful time–all too short, though. On Saturday afternoon, after the reunion was over and most of the families had gone home, Steve and Aaron, Kimberlee and Eleanor came to our house to stay Saturday and Sunday night. Carolyn stayed at Dan and Jeni’s. After Church on Sunday, they all drove up to Hill AFB to visit Dan’s family. Later they ALL came back for dinner at our house that evening. We got to enjoy the family again–Steve and Carolyn, Dan and Jeni and girls, Aaron and Kimberlee and Eleanor, and Curt and Matt’s families came as well. A full house and a wonderful visit late into the evening. We had traditional taco salad and strawberry shortcake. Stever and Lacey stopped in, also. We sat out in the yard and talked and the kids played. We got out our little yard cooker and made s’mores. It was such a sweet time to be with the family I love.

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• Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Boy was it HOT! I went to the zoo with Lisa, Vernon, Gayle and families. Most of the children hadn’t been to a zoo before (that they could remember) and were so excited to see the animals. And I was happy to be with my family that I don’t get to see nearly enough.

The zoo was giving a price cut if you brought a coupon or a can of Dr. Pepper. So we took three cans of Dr. Pepper and, since nobody in our group drinks it, we gave them to the ticket girl–still full. She was happy. We got our tickets and headed first for the train ride. I could barely get my legs into the grain. It was definitely made for shorter people. The engineer described some of the animals as we rode past. But the speaker system wasn’t very good and I could hardly understand a thing she said. Then we started the hike through the different areas of the zoo, starting with the monkeys.

The monkeys used to always be my favorite at the zoo. They used to have lots of monkeys playing in their monkey cages but it’s not that way now. There are a few monkeys and sometimes they swing around but it’s not as good as it used to be many years ago.

We got to the zoo about 1:00, just about the time the sun really begins to get hot. So we took every opportunity to walk in the shade or stand under the misters or go in the buildings to see the displays. It was fun watching the children get excited about the different animals and birds–penguins, aligators, snakes, elephants, bears, zebras, and even bison. But the heat was almost unbearable. We saw some people walking around with umbrellas and I wished I had brought mine. We enjoyed the zoo, but were glad to finally get back to the air conditioned cars to come home.

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• Monday, July 20th, 2009

We thought we were going camping on the south shore of Bear Lake where we could wake up in the morning and walk out to the water. But what really happened was that the lake decided to shrink. So we camped in a campground with very few trees and lots of weeds where we could see the lake about a hundred yards away. But between us and the water was tall, thick grass. There was no beach. The grass went right into the water. To get to a real beach, we had to pack all our lake stuff into the back of a truck (and we had a lot!) and drive nearly a mile to the day-use area to enjoy the sandy beach on the south shore of Bear Lake.

Even though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, we still had two wonderful days on the beach with our family–Curtis, Kelly and Katelyn, and Matthew, Natalie, Aubrey and Mackenzie. When we first arrived, we set up our camps and put sandwiches and goodies in the cooler and drove down to the lake. We had a really great time that afternoon and then headed back to camp. We had tacos for dinner that night, and root beer floats, too. Then we enjoyed a great campfire and had s’mores. The stars were out in all their glory. It was a beautiful night. The next morning, Matthew and Natalie made breakfast of eggs, two kinds of bacon, and pancakes. Life is good.

Then we all packed up and drove down to the beach, again. We unloaded all our beach stuff and enjoyed the day. The water was warm enough to really enjoy. The kids played with all the paraphernalia we took and had lots of fun. The weather was hot days and cool nights–perfect. And although there had been some scary reports of clouds of mosquitoes, we only saw one or two mosquitoes and got no bites at all. (whew!)

The water was shallow out a long way from the shore, and it was fun to watch the kids play in the water. Katelyn (3-1/2 yrs old) was out on her little float tube padding and kicking and really enjoying the water most of the time. Aubrey (3-1/2 yrs old) had been a little timid about the water, but it didn’t take long before she was letting her mom walk her out a little further to bounce over the waves. By the end of the day she was riding on the float toys and enjoying the water with Katelyn. Mackenzie (2 yrs old) seemed to have no fear at all. She would just walk right into the water and keep on going. When the kids started to show signs of being cold, I’d take them back to shore and wrap them up tightly in a big, warm beach towel. They liked that.

Matthew and Natalie packed up that evening and headed for home. Curtis and Kelly, and Steve and I, stayed that night and left the next morning after breakfast. More great memories…

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• Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Last week we went camping at the Soapstone campground. It’s on the Mirror Lake highway about 20 miles east of Park City in the Wasatch National Forrest. Steve and I took our little motorhome. Matthew and Natalie and their girls camped in their tent. And Curtis and Kelly and Katelyn brought their tent trailer. Luckily, we had no bugs to speak of. The weather was perfect.

We had Dutch oven dinner one night–turned out really good. Even had hot rolls and green salad. Curtis cooked a yummy bacon and egg breakfast outside on the Coleman stove one morning. And we roasted s’mores in the campfire, went for walks to the river, and just enjoyed the beautiful world. Curtis and Steve tried a little fishing at the river. We stayed two nights and came home Saturday. Good times…

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• Monday, July 06th, 2009

What a fun day! Steve and I made Belgian waffles and took them to Murray Park, where Curtis and Kelly had saved a good spot for the whole family to set out the lawn chairs and blankets and watch the parade. We all ate breakfast and enjoyed a beautiful morning together with the kids and grandchildren. Then that evening we went back to the park for the fireworks. I made a birthday cake so we could blow out the candle and sing Happy Birthday to America. There were many people out on the open lawn near the ball field to enjoy the fireworks.

Not too far from us was a group of people playing cards and having a good time. One of the young men was smoking and the smoke was drifting our way. It is not legal to smoke at any public park in Utah. Steve and I were annoyed by the smoke, but didn’t want to interfer with their group activity. Besides, the guy and several others in their group were very tatooed and the girls weren’t wearing much and I didn’t feel I’d be a welcomed guest in their group.

But as I was playing with Aubrey and wishing there wasn’t smoke blowing my way, I noticed myself getting up and walking over to the young man who was smoking. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I don’t remember planning to do it. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to say to him. But as I came up to him, he quickly put his hand of cards down by his side. I just heard myself tell him that he might not be aware that smoking was not legal in the park, and that there were a few people in our group who were very sensitive to cigarette smoke. He said, “Ok, thanks.” Well, that was nice enough. I didn’t ask him to quit or anything. I apologized for the interruption and left. As I was walking back to our family I thought–good grief! what have I done?! They’ll probably get a good laugh at me. But he wasn’t smoking the rest of the evening.

It was a beautiful evening and the fireworks were great. Good memories…

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• Thursday, July 02nd, 2009

I always like going to Costco. A few years back we nicknamed it the ‘hundred dollar store’. We didn’t get out of there very often for less–and when we did, we celebrated. I like to people-watch at Costco. Moms with multiple children are fun to watch. They do an amazing job of juggling the kids, maneuvering the cart, and getting the shopping done. It’s fun to watch someone in the photo department try to use the photo CD reader for the first time. And it’s also fun to watch those men without their wives. When they get ready to pick out an item, they pull out the cell phone and call the wife to describe the items in detail to see which one she wants. There is a lot of good entertainment at Costco.

I had a particularly entertaining day last week when I went in to get just one item–a bag of Miracle Grow Fertilizer. Another lady, by herself and on her cell phone, was pushing her cart behind me and when I turned on the garden isle, she was close behind. But when I stopped at the Miracle Grow, she was still talking on the phone. She came around the corner a little too fast, and as she saw me putting the large bag in my cart she tried to turn her cart with her one free hand to go around me and she turned too far. Her cart hit a displayof large, 3-foot high decorative garden pots that were stacked two high. The bottom one went over and started a chain reaction with the others around it. And the one on top of it crashed to the floor–a very loud crashing noise. It all happened in a just few seconds. She was really frazzled. She threw the phone in her bag and tried to grab as many pots as she could. I tried to help steady the ones that hadn’t gone over yet. The employees came running. It was so funny. Soooo funny! I can’t wait to go back again.

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