Thursday, August 13, 2009

Real Jobs.....kinda!

So being on the road full time mostly means, for us, being extremely frugal (broke) and picking up jobs along the way. Usually we do short term jobs like remodeling or seasonal/ holiday jobs. Most last 1-2 weeks. We decided after visiting Bryce Canyon (BC) in March for the funeral that it might be a good place to stay for a bit. We love southern Utah & since Steve has a ton of family there that we didn't really know we thought we'd pick up a job & explore the area & get to know some more of his relatives. The kids were really excited to meet some cousins too! So we got jobs as ATV guides. Our boss was one of Steve's 2nd cousins and a pretty cool guy. We worked 3 or 4 (12) hr days then we had 3 to 4 days off to play. Of course the "work" was riding ATVs on beautiful trails and seeing wildlife. It didn't pay squat, but it had to be the funnest job we've had! This was our 1st work camper job and we found that we were MUCH younger then all the other work campers, which we kinda assumed, but hoped for at least a few other people our age. We'd met some really sweet people there. One of our neighbors (also work campers) was always bringing treats by for the kids (and dogs) and surprising us with little gifts. We are truly blessed to know them! Others have been a bit ummmm, stand offish. I think our dreads had really thrown some of these ultra conservative people. We really had hoped to get to know some of the family, but unfortunately I think they are all too busy with their daily lives. Our kids have been real troopers, but our long days at work had wore on them and they were really missing friends. Even though we travel full time they have always had /made friends everywhere we've been. When we first made it to Bryce, we met up with The Chinchen family, one of our favorite families on the road. We also had fun meeting up with Jana Smith and her boys, thanks Jana for dinner and the good times. We went on many hikes. We had been in Bryce for 2 months and it was time to move on. Over all we really enjoyed our time at Bryce and have some wonderful memories to take with us!

Some of our side trips we took on our days off were a visit to Zion's NP. The older 3 kiddos took Steve up to hike Angle's Landing, Winston & I played in the river. We did the Riverwalk hike as a family (the prettiest I think) and I took Lincoln & Winston to the Emerald Pools. We had hoped to hike the Narrows, but the spring run off made the river huge & cold...44! The kids did the JR Ranger program and got to add another pin to their collection! Another trip we took was up to Blue Spruce campground which is off of Devil's Backbone. This drive was beautiful! We stopped to play in a river and collect pretty rocks. We were hoping to find Jasper, but didn't really know what it looked like. Memorial weekend we spent with my sis & her family in St. George. We did a fun/ challenging hike near Silver Reef. Which included climbing a bolder with hand holes & a rope. Then we ended up at a slot canyon and had to swim to get through it. We made it to the bottom of a little waterfall. none of us were prepared for water so we swam in our clothes. It was a bit more extreme then the easy going hike we had planned, but we all loved it and the kids did great! We also got a date night with just the adults!

Zions entrance

Angel's landing up behind the kids before the hike up to it

the switch-backs up to Angel's landing

the kids at the top of Angel's landing

you have to hold onto chains to climb the last half mile

this is looking at the last half mile with 2,000 foot cliffs on both sides of the climb

the last thing you see before you climb with the chains

more switch-backs on angel's landing

Winston and Lincoln at Emerald pools

more Emerald pools

Zions was our first camping trip with Baby our new VW

the Bison outside Zions near the East entrance

the kids enjoying Zions

Lincoln and Conner in Bryce Canyon

Steve and the kids in Bryce on a hike

some of the amazing trees on Navajo Loop trail in Bryce

the boys holding up the arch in Bryce

switch-backs on Navajo Loop trail

Winston wanted to carry the hike pack

Aquarius Plateau you can see from our ATV trail

view from ATV trail

Buck seen on ATV tour

we witnessed lots of baby Pronghorn being born

Prairie dogs at Ruby's Inn area

Bryce's sister and her fam came up to Bryce to visit

Jana Smith and her boys and the kids

Fossil hunting in Tropic was a fun day trip and found some really cool fossils and Conner found 2 nice pieces of petrified wood and what we think is a dinosaur tooth. Steve had taken the kids back there twice when I had been at work and his collection of rocks is getting quiet large! He has been bitten by the rock hounding bug bad!

Conner looking for fossils

Bryce, Lincoln and Winston looking over fossil piles

Isabelle looking for fossils

We headed up to Layton for our niece Brittani's High School graduation party. We are really proud of her! She had a baby, Cadin, a year ago and still managed to graduate on time and she got her CNA and plans to go to nursing school. She is one hard working single mama! We also celebrated Cadin's 1st b-day. It was a great day with family & the cousins had a blast doing slip & slide and hot tubbing! Since we were up north we had to see our good friends the Dudley's! We spent the night in their beautiful house in Logan. It is a historic home that has been decorated and fixed up beautifully! They are a full time family also and they rent their home. So if you are looking for a vacation rental in Logan, this is the place to stay! The adults took a walk around town and the next morning Dave made us a d-lish breakfast and then they showed us more of Logan. It really is a beautiful city! We got a super short visit in with Crystal & the girls & my parents. Then we had dinner & stayed the night at Steve's parents. It was nice to be able to spend some time with them and they spoiled the kids always! We also went to the Sloan family reunion near Bryce Canyon.

Steve and Nick (Steve's bro) playing horse shoes

the kids played alot of fun games with their cousins

the kids get their hooping skills from their Grandma Sloan

Conner won his age groups hooping contest

Winston won his hooping age group

Lincoln won his age group, is their a pattern here?

Nick and Amber at the reunion

Lincoln and Winston with the Aunt and Uncle and Easton their cousin

the kids won a lot of bags of candy

I talked June & kiddos into hiking Timpanogus Cave with us. Yeah, I had forgotten just how hard that hike is! It's only 1.5 miles but it is SUPER steep! The cave is really cool and the hike down was nice. The kids did the JR Ranger program and added yet another pin to their collection!

the kids saying the JR. Ranger pledge

the fam atop Timp

inside Timp Cave

the view from Timp down into Utah valley

the kids and their cousins on Timp hike

June and her kids Curtis and Annabelle