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Utah Trip

  • Sunday, December 26, 2010
  • Jeff and Kari

  • Well, I guess we should update the blog seeing as how we sent out Christmas cards without any letter recap.

    It's hard to believe it's already been a week ago today that our saga began...

    But to fully appreciate the insanity we need to go back three or four days before that.  Jeff had schedule a week off from work to spend with the family.  All year we had waffled back and forth as to what we were actually going to do with the time.  It wasn't until 4 days before the trip, that Jeff announced "Why don't we go to Utah?"--and by "go" he meant drive 22+ hours.  "We'll be making memories with the kids!",  he says--words that would come to haunt the remainder of our trek!

    It wouldn't have been as bad if 1)he had given more than a couple days notice and 2) if Kari hadn't just gotten off a 5 week fill-in stint as Jeff's receptionist at work!.  So, on top of trying to clean a house that hadn't been touched in 5 weeks, we also were trying to pack and finish for Christmas (why Jeff hasn't been shot by now is still anybody's guess).

    And despite looking at weather forecasts and predictions for the New Mexico route, Jeff decided as we were hopping in the car on the way out the door to let the GPS decide our fate.  Later, we came to find out that the "faster" route through Kansas and Colorado would have only shaved TEN MINUTES off our drive.  Jeff put our lives in the hands of a cheap electronic device and TEN saved minutes (in his defense he thought it would've been more like an hour or so)!  Did he know the weather forecast through Colorado?  Nope.  "Minor details" was his reply.

    Well, at least we were gonna break up the trip--see some sights and rest the weary kids and already exhausted drivers, right?  Wrong again!  Jeff was feeling "spry" and decided that they could make the whole thing in one trek (even though Jeff and Kari's longest proven road trip together had only amounted to 12 hours or so to El Paso before the two conked out).

    Have we set this up enought yet?  Long story short--After 14 or so hours of driving we hit the section of I 70 just west of Denver heading toward Pike's Peak.  After an early breakfast, Jeff said he would at least get through the mountain section before turning the wheels back over to Kari (hey, she had put in a solid 3 hours at this point).  Little did he know that he would not leave the captain's seat for the remainder of their journey--what he later dubbed "the scariest drive of my entire life".  A few fleeting snowflakes soon turned into a downpouring of snow.  Between the flashing lights of "chains only" and "Such-and-such ski canyon closed", Jeff literally uttered the words "If I can find a turn around we are at least heading back to Denver--if not Dallas".  At first we had the somewhat comfort of being 4 cars behind the line of plows (although the fact that the 7% grade roads were still freezing and filling fast behind said plows did little to steady the nerve).  Soon, however, the grade turned hell-bound and even the plows found a turn around to bail out (why didn't Jeff follow through with his idle threat?).

    Two more gauntlents followed--an hour section west of Grand Junction and finally Price Canyon.  Despite minor slips and spins through these three areas, only once did Jeff hit some ice that seriously caused him to think he was about to make a purchase on Suburban #3.  Thankfully, he was able to keep the wheels on the road and avoid any major catastrophes.


    Was it worth it?  Well, we definitely "made some memories" on the drive!  But, here are some other memories we made:
     Surprising Aunt Christy
     Surprising extended Johnson family members
     Seeing the ramshackle house we brought our oldest daughter into the world in
     Letting Bomber catch-up with Great Grandma Johnson

     The boys playing in the snow
     Eating at BYU's Creamery
     Showing off our merchandise from the BYU bookstore

    Visiting Matt and Nancy and their family
     Visiting the new LDS conference center
     Brothers posing with brothers
     Visiting Temple Square
    Visiting Jeff's mission companion Ryan

     Saying our "goodbyes" to Uncle Chase and Aunt Christy

    Yeah, definitely worth it...but, next time Kari says, "Let's do the 'memory making' in the summer"...THE END
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