Sleeping in. It felt so nice to not have an alarm go off. I was the first one up around 6:00 and couldn't go back to sleep so surfed the internet on the kindle until everyone started waking up. We started packing and grabbed some breakfast before loading everything up.
While topping the tanks at the gas station and picking up some drinks I asked dad how far out of the way Flaming Gorge was. Brandon wanted to take the scenic way home and had seen the signs for Flaming Gorge as we drove through Rock Springs. Honestly it didn't look that far out of our way on the map and so when we approached Rock Springs we pulled off and headed for the Gorge.
The view was beautiful and if I happened to not be driving I probably would have gotten quite a few pictures. The road soon became very steep and narrow and we crossed back into UT along the way. After many, many miles we made it to the Flaming Gorge Dam. We stopped at the visitors center and realized it would now be faster to go home through Vernal instead of going back to WY and around.
Only a few hundred miles out of our way.
We made an adventure out of it and decided to stop in Vernal and go to the Dinosaur museum and do lunch.
Thomas sure loves his "Papa". On this trip it was really fun to see how much he has opened up to having the grandparents holding him and being so willing to give hugs and kisses.
After talking to a few employees at the museum we decided to eat at a little restaurant down the street called 7/11 Ranch Restaurant. It reminded me of a cross between The Cracker Barrel and a little hometown restaurant.
Brandon eating "The Pope" burger. A full two pounds of meat . . . :P
We filled up one more time and started the trip home thinking we would be back around 7:00. Little did we know what was coming.
Just out side of Duchesne our car got a flat. I got that pit in my stomach as soon as I heard it blow and I quickly pulled over. The first thought that went through my head was "I wonder how much crap we are going to have to pull out of the trunk to reach our spare".
I dug everything out and got to work with my lovely hubby assistant.
In all of this I didn't even think, "I should call my dad". Yeah not good, but they after awhile noticed we weren't behind them and turned around to come look for us.
Dad took over with Brandon when he arrived and mom documented this part of our adventure with her cell phone. Once the donut was put on we soon found out it was flat as well. Thank goodness dad and mom came prepared with everything and before I knew it we were on the road again going 45 - 50 mph to the annoyance of all the drivers behind us.
We made several stops on the way home trying to get our tire fixed but soon found out that getting a flat on a Friday, 5:30 at night, in the middle of nowhere isn't the best thing.
Our first attempt was driving into Duchesne's Visitors Center. Dad went right in and asked what was available in town and where they were. The sweet lady working got right on the phone and began making calls to the places in town.
My emotions got the best of me though and I broke down. I know Brandon and I both felt bad for putting everyone in this position. It was our idea that took us on this very LONG scenic byway and then the added need to buy a tire. Mom once again took out her cell phone and got this:
We soon found out that there was nothing available and we needed to make some decisions: head to Heber City and look for another tire place, stay the night somewhere and get a new tire put on in the morning, or just drive very slowly the rest of the way home.
Verdict: Head for Heber City. We had to keep pulling over ever few miles or so since the cars would pile up behind us. Which I cannot even tell you how much that annoyed Brandon.
Once we finally made it to Heber City we again looked for a tire place. Finding out that Les Schaub does not have an after hours number you can call for help and that Wal-Mart's auto center closes at 5:00. Final decision was to just drive home. We drove out of Heber City with the sun setting into a beautiful sunset. Dad missed the turn to go around to Coalville and we ended up heading down the canyon into Salt Lake. I've never been so excited to see the lights from the Salt Lake Valley. I even pondered out loud to Brandon that this is what the pioneers must have felt when they saw the valley for the first time.
We survived the canyon and I-15 and we pulled into Roy after 11.
A good 15 hours after leaving Rawlins.
Although it was scary at times, (driving through Parley's Canyon trying not to go over 50 mph) there where a few tears shed, and it didn't quite end how we imagined our Family Vacation would end, I'm really grateful for this time spent with my family. Through it all I could see that we were being looked after and taken care of. Not in the way we would have like or expected, but you could see it in the people we came across and that we did make it home safely. I'll never forget the experiences we shared and we will have the memories from this trip to remember for a lifetime.
"Remember the time we fit all 9 of us in a Hotel Room for one night?!"
"Remember the time we decided to take Brandon's short cut home from Wyoming?"
"Ice cream is calling, would you like to accept the charges?"