Monday, November 29, 2010

Salt Lake City Thanksgiving Trip: Drive Up and Thanksgiving Day

Bobby and I drove to Salt Lake City on Wednesday morning to spend Thanksgiving vacation at my cousin Jen's house, where she lives with her boyfriend Damon. It was a pretty good family affair, because her sister Mel flew in from Texas with her husband, Josh, and their children Jacob and Tyler. Plus my brother flew in from Montana, and my Uncle Daniel (Mel and Jen's father) flew in from Phoenix. It was nice to get together and have a holiday at Jen's- she's lived in SLC for about 7 years now and we always make her come to us. It was time to come to her!

We left Colorado at 8 a.m., amidst dire weather warnings using terms like "Snowmageddon" and "blizzard". I was worried because there was a chance we'd have to turn around if things got too rough.

The roads were pretty clear all the way up to Denver and a little beyond, but as we continued to gain altitude things got a bit more intense. Here, we're at around 8,000 feet and this trucker is pulled over, putting on chains, to get through this...

Yes. Underneath that snow, there is, in fact a road. We got up to about 11,000 feet, our highest point of the trip, and for about 3 hours we drove on this going no faster than 35 miles per hour. The good thing is, this is as bad as it got, and it wasn't icy, just snowy. The bad thing was, it added about 3 extra hours onto our trip. Which was already 9 hours long to begin with.

As soon as we descended to around 4,000 feet, out of nowhere, we saw blue sky for the first time all day. And the sun came out. And the roads began to clear. It was crazy how much of a difference it was.

The last portion of the drive through Colorado was absolutely gorgeous. We went through three or four tunnels through the mountains, and we followed this river for a good 3 hours. After the stress of slogging through the mountains in ski country it was nice to be whizzing along on dry roads looking up at them, and enjoying the snow from very far below.

Finally hit the state line, in daylight no less! A rock and the timer on my camera contributed to this portrait- oh, and shout out to the patch of dry grass photo bombing on the left. We didn't die on the piece of crap highway that is Highway 6, and we walked into Jen's house at 8:30 p.m. We caught up a bit, but mostly we blew up the air mattress and passed out. We were so glad to be there!

The next morning was Thanksgiving, and Jen was in the kitchen bright and early. She's in culinary school, and her kitchen is her little sanctuary. She usually has it all to herself, but she was sharing it with Mel and Uncle Dan that day.

They assured me that Bobby and I didn't need to cook anything, so instead I played photographer- someone has to document family moments like this, right?

Mel, demonstrating the proper tools for deviling eggs.

Hmm, I wonder where she gets it from?

The kids and the boys were wrapped up in the football game while the cooking was going on.

And baby Tyler just hung out on his blanket, being cute. And yes, that is a temporary pirate tattoo. Awesome.

Once the cooking was done and the kids were ready to go, we loaded up the cars and headed over to Damon's step-mother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. We got to look at this the whole way over. I forgot my camera in the car, but honestly I was so exhausted from the day before and the early morning after that I was pretty much a zombie. I ate a lot of delicious food and had a great time, but I was super grateful to come home to that air mattress on Jen's floor later that night. I was also super grateful that we braved the weather and made the trip up to spend Thanksgiving with family. It was worth all 12 hours of driving to be with them.

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