August 30, 2010

Zion & the Unexpected

We had a memorable trip this weekend, the sights were spectacular. We did a few hikes, not Angel's Landing, though, like initially planned. There were 40 mph gusts, isolated storms, plus it was mid-90's and humid. We'll save that hike for spring.

Friday - I got out of work early at 3:15, worked out perfect. I ran to the store for water, dashed home to pack. Frank got home and we were on the road by 5:00. We got to St George about 2 hours later, stopped at Benja Thai & Sushi for dinner. It had great reviews on Yelp. The Thai was weak, we had yellow curry (super sweet) and spicy basil fried rice (not so spicy) but sushi was good, we had a chile roll. We got right back on the road and arrived at the hotel before 9:00, the hour time change threw me, I didn't realize it changed. Stayed at the Comfort Inn Zion in Hurricane. It was fine, just what we needed.

Saturday - I packed a back pack for the day, then we headed toward Zion. First, stopping in Springdale for breakfast at Oscar's Cafe. Food was fine, but it didn't live up to the hype on Yelp. I had cheddar pancakes with eggs and bacon, and Frank had an omlet. The park is only a few minutes away. We paid $25 entrance fee, parked and then found the shuttle. You can't drive in Zion, shuttles run every 6-8 minutes and they take you to all the sights. Our first stop was Court of Patriarchs, neat but underwhelming. Then, our first hike was the Emerald Pools. We saw the lower, middle and upper pools. It's about a three mile hike - some paved, unpaved trail and then you climb boulders and it's steep you gain about 450 between the last two pools. The air was thin and it got to Frank a bit. We had to slow down, but once we did he was fine. Once we got to the upper pool we rested. The waterfalls at all three pools were lovely. It was a great hike. However, it quickly led us to the decision to do Angel's Landing another time. The wind gusts were nutty, it was hot and sweaty. Angel's Landing is known to be far more strenuous so we decided it must be done when it's cooler. From there we went on to Weeping Rock. It's an easy one mile steep trail. I thought the hanging gardens would have been more impressive, but I found the coloration of the rocks to be my favorite part. Our next stop was Big Bend. We had a brief walk around and took photos along the way. We planned to do one last 2 mile hike at the last shuttle stop, but on the way we decided to check out Kolob Terrace by car instead. We had a long ride back to the car. On the way in, it felt like the park was smaller than we thought, but the ride back took forever - I guess it is quite large, afterall.

Kolob Terrace is outside the park, but it's still part of Zion. It's a long windy road that leads to Kolob Reservoir. Part of the drive is Park and the rest is residential. We saw dozens of ranches. The drive was fantastic in the Firebird, and the views were stunning. I took some of my favorite photos here. The reservoir itself was underwhelming, but sometimes it's the journey not the destination.

We were hungry and searched for a place in Hurricane to eat. Google turned up a diner with 44 reviews. But I couldn't recall it turning up on my Yelp searches. We drove through town and nothing sounded appealing. Frank suggested we get fixings for deli sandwiches, but I didn't want to deal with buying everything needed for just a couple sandwiches. He then suggested Wendy's. I asked if he was serious? So, we went back to where the diner was, there were two Mexican places right there, too. Should've stuck to our first instinct and went with Mexican but opted for a wider selection of the diner.

It was an odd place. No menus. Just dry erase boards with 100+ items hand-written. We got a spiel about how everything is gourmet and made in-house from the owner (unprofessional guy wearing ripped jeans with a weird attitude). I couldn't see the boards to tell what I wanted. Nothing sounded all that appealing, but I figured I'd try a jalapeno feta burger. Frank was less than enthused. I've seen this look before, I asked if he wanted to go? He did. We had already ordered drinks. So, Frank went up to pay. I would never believe what transpired. You should grab some popcorn...

Frank: We're gonna go, how much do I owe for the drinks?
Owner: One minute and I'll have someone ring you up? (he's doing nothing, just sitting at the counter)
Kid: What's the matter?
Frank: We want to go, how much for the drinks?
Kid: What did you say?
Frank: How much?
Kid: What's the problem?
Frank: Look, if I could just get some service... how much?
Kid: What did YOU SAY? Getting all tough.
Frank: Whatever, then I won't pay. Let's go! (to me)

We leave.

Kid and owner storm out, swearing and calling Frank a dickhead. They yell "Don't fucking ever come back" "No problem", Frank retorts. Their name calling continues, more bodies come outside. Some woman yells, "I called the cops, asshole". They continue yelling and swearing at us as we drive away.

A few blocks down we see three Hurricane Sheriff vehicles tear down the road heading in the direction of the restaurant. Frank acknowledges that they did call the police. I think it's coincidence. We get to the hotel. Frank figures the police will be by soon and watches out the window, while I shower. I come out and everything is fine. Until one sheriff pulls into the hotel and circles the parking lot stopping at the Firebird. Unreal. I'm naked and Frank's in his underwear. We dress.

Knock, knock, knock.

Hurricane police are at the hotel door. The officer asks Frank to explain what happened. We tried to pay for our drinks (iced tea and diet coke). They wouldn't give us a total, instead they got all hard so we left. The owner claimed retail theft. Frank laid it all out and added we have no problem paying for the drinks. We tried to pay, but they got aggressive so we left. "Here's the $5 I had out to pay", Frank says while pointing to it on the dresser. "You can give it to him", he adds. The officer refused. We understood. He asked if we'd like to press any charges against him. We said "no, we want no trouble. All we wanted was dinner". The officer mentioned that this wasn't the first time this has happened. He explained, he'd go back to the restaurant and talk with the owner again and he'd call us in a bit. Frank showered and then the officer called asking us to bring down the money owed for the drinks. No problem as long as they hung around. Since the owner told us not to return to the property we pulled up around back and gave the officer the $5.34 owed. He knocked on the door, the owner got his money and started going on and on. Frank asked if he was free to go, the officer said, "yes". We were on our way. We wanted no part of Hurricane at that point so we drove to St. George for dinner.

I had a Chili's giftcard to use, so this was a good opportunity. The food wasn't anything special, but the service was stellar. At least, that was comforting. We sat in disbelief over everything that transpired. We thought about catch a movie, but showtimes didn't work out. We drove back to Hurricane and noticed the stars. We pulled over to view them. Then the moon popped out over the mountain and the stars faded away. We went back to the hotel, and crashed it was a long day.

Sunday - we packed up and headed out, we couldn't leave Hurricane behind fast enough. Rather than hike in the main part of Zion again, we opted to travel about 40 miles north on I-15 to reach Kolob Canyons. Technically, it's still part of Zion. It was really lovely there. I'm glad we saw it. Kolob Canyons Road ascends 1,100 feet in five miles. You drive along the Hurricane Fault, a 120 mile fracture in the earth's crust - it's really neat. At the peak of the scenic drive we parked and did a one mile hike to view Timber Creek, the Kolob Terrace, the Pine Valley Mountains and North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a nice hike, we spotted a snake - that was a first, and a bit unexpected. After, we headed back to the car and hit the road toward home.

We stopped in Beaver Dam, AZ for Lotto Tickets. Then, again, in Overton, NV Frank was going to show me how Overton Beach dried up. They've locked and gated the entrance since he was there last year. It was a waste of an effort. Valley of Fire north entrance is right nearby so we decided to take the scenic way back to I-15. On the way, Frank said he was going to stop at Moapa to buy and light off a firework. I told him he was silly, which only encouraged him to actually do it. He bought a $4 missle and launched it. He is silly, but I love him for it. Once we reached Vegas we were starved. We went to Fuddruckers. It was so satisfying - filling and delicious.

I took lots of photos, I hope to sort through them tonight. You can look forward to those tomorrow or later this week.


Christine said...

my rule is that if someone has the time to write a long menu on a dry erase board, they have the time to type up a proper menu and make copies at kinkos. what a mess.
*this rule does not apply to mexico, where a dry erase or chalk board is my preferred menu option.

Kellee said...

That's so true. For me it came down to the extensive variety. There is no way you can offer that many choices and still make a good quality, fresh product.

It was truly awful, it blew me away that it went so terribly awry and we only ordered drinks. Could you imagine if we actually got to the food?