Monday, March 14, 2005

Jeannette's House - Two Weeks to Go!

The Kitchen
Originally uploaded by David B..
In just a little over two weeks, Jeannette's house house should be completed. Her final walk-thru is on March 25th. Closing is scheduled for March 29th.

Much was done on the interior this past week. Painting has been finished, Cabinets intstalled, and counter-tops were placed on Saturday (3/12/05).

The main interior items to be completed are: plumbing and electrical fixtures, baseboard mouldings, and carpets.

Siding Installed

On the exterior, siding has been installed this past week. Still needing completion on the outside: Outdoor light fixtures, final grading of the yard, installation of front-yard sprinklers, and landscaping.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Light Blogging Last Week

My blogging was rather light, this past week. I have been fighting the flu all week. I even stayed home from work on Friday to get some extra rest. I also had to prepare for a Priesthood lesson that I have today as part of a Ward Conference. I spoke on the role of a Patriarch in the home. You can read my lesson notes over on the Gospel Study Page.

I also have to speak the next two weeks as well. Next Sunday will be my regular High Council talk for March, and the following Sunday (Easter Sunday) I will be giving the lesson at the Youth Correctional Facility -- which I will have to give 3-4 times on that day. Much of my evening time will be spent in preparation for these presentations which I will have to give, so blogging might be light for the next little bit, until I get them completed.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Too Tired Day

Goblin Valley Campground
Originally uploaded by David B..
Part of what I hope to accomplish on this blog, is to tell some of the most memorable stories of our family.

In September, 2003, we went on a camping trip with Grandma and Grandpa C. We borrowed Mark's 4-Runner for the trip. Grandma and Grandpa brought their motor home, and towed their Jeep Liberty behind the motor home.

What started out to be a fun extended weekend camping trip actually turned out to be more of an adventure than we had bargained for.

I brought a keyboard for my palm pilot along on the trip. Most of the the story that follows was actually written while we were still on the trip, via palm pilot entries:

It is now Thursday Morning, Sept 11th. I am sitting in the Goodyear tire shop in
Green River, UT. It will take a little while to explain how I got here.

It all started yesterday morning. We got up, and had breakfast. It had rained the night before. Also, no one slept particularly well being the first night out in strange surroundings. It rained during the night, and we were concerned that the Goblins at Goblin Valley State Park would be too wet and the trail too muddy to go on this morning, as we had originally planned. We decided that we would go 4-wheeling out into the Robbers Roost area and the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.

So we got our things ready and headed out for the 4-wheel trail. The first thing we discovered was that because of the rains, we had the beneficial effect of no dust on the trails! That was a real plus.

We drove past two buttes named Big Table Top, and Little Table Top. Just after those, we came into Antelope Valley, and actually saw a couple of Antelope. The first one was right off the side of the road, scratching his antlers in a big bush.

We stopped there, and Bryan went tracking the antelope. I got a few photos of the tracks in the soft sandy soil. Amy and Dawn Ann went looking for "pretty rocks".

Next we hopped back in the vehicles, and went to the trail head for horseshoe canyon. We viewed where the trail goes down into the canyon where there are some giant Indian Art rock panels. The trail is 6.5 miles round trip, and we weren't planning on doing the hike. It would be nice to do someday when we all have our "hiking legs."

Next we headed down the road toward the Hans Flat ranger station. The roads were a little "wash-boardy", but not too bad. We finally made it to the Ranger station, but discovered that it was just the launching point to get into the Maze district of Canyonlands. It would take about another 4 hours round-trip to go to the view points -- time we didn't really have today. So we turned around and headed back toward the Robbers Roost area, We found some deep gorges where Butch Cassidy and his gang used to hang out. You could see how they could find places to hide down there. It would be fun to go explore the area more in-depth, but again, time restrictions came into play.

We found that we were near a remote air strip, out in the middle of the Deseret, the only problem was, there were two or three airstrips on the map, and we weren't really sure which one of them we were at. (Mark's GPS unit would have come in handy). We reconnoitered as best we could, and chose a road to go on. Just Is I was pulling out to leave after our orienteering meeting, dad started honking his horn -- we had a flat tire.

Soooo, we had to figure out where all of the tire changing tools in Marks 4-runner are located. I tried to call Mark on the cell phone, but we found that there was no cell phone service at Robbers Roost (nor Goblin Valley, Nor Hanksville for that matter). We ended up consulting the owners manual to discover where the jack was located (under the rear seat). -- I guess if all else fails, read the directions.

We finally got the tire changed, and then took off on the road that we thought would take us back toward the way we came, and on back to Goblin Valley. But noooo. The road went from being graded and well kept-up, to smaller and smaller, and less maintained, and finally it ended up as a two track cow trail. At this point, we decided that we were going the wrong way, and that or orienteering had been in vain.

We decided to backtrack the way we came in, until we got back to the last known point on the trail, and then continued back toward Goblin Valley. Eventually we arrived at the main highway that goes through the area.

We decided that we needed to get our tire fixed. So we moved the kids into mom and dad’s jeep, and they headed back to the Goblin Valley Campground. We then had to decide to go to either Hanksville, or to Green River. We had a family prayer together before we parted ways, and asked for safety and protection. I felt confident that all would be well.

Dawn Ann and I headed for Hanksville in the 4Runner. Hanksville was only about 25 miles away, compared with nearly 50 miles to Green River. The spare tire we had mounted on the front wheel was a low (later we learned that it had bout 12 pounds of air pressure in it—it’s supposed to have 30 lbs). When we approached Hanksville, we saw a big billboard just outside of town for a Texaco Station advertising light mechanical work and tire Service!) We started going through town and found the aforementioned Texaco station, and found that the billboard omitted one slight detail – The Texaco was all boarded up and out of business! As it turns out, THERE ARE NO TIRE SERVICES ANYWHERE IN HANKSVILLE!

So we headed to the nearest convenience store/gas station (there were 3 of those in town) and filled up the gas tank, and started putting air in the spare tire. I got it up to snuff, and then decided to check each of the other tires. By the time I got around to the rear left tire, I discovered that it, too, was quite low. I filled it up with air, and then finished checking/filling the other tires.

We decided that having a hand tire pump would be beneficial, -- especially if we had a slow leak in another tire. So we checked the convenience store we were then at, and found that they didn’t have anything like that.

Then we went across the street and checked for a tire pump in one of the other convenience stores -- and again no luck. By the time we came back to the 4Runner, I checked the left rear tire again, and found that it had lost 5 lbs of pressure in about 10 minutes! Then I put my one good ear down next to the tire, and I could hear a definite hissing noise. This was no slow leak folks! I began to think that we might be spending the night in the local Bates Motel! We weren’t going anywhere until we could get a tire fixed!

Rumor had it that one of the local motel operators had a shop in his personal garage, and that he could fix tires. Only problem was, he was on vacation and would be out of town for another week. As lovely as downtown Hanksville is, we didn’t want to stay there quite that long! We went back to the first convenience store and asked if there was any way we could get word to mom and dad that we were probably stuck in Hanksville for the night, and that we would need them to come and rescue us in the morning. (Remember, no cell phone service for about the next 75 miles, until you get to Green River.) We found the phone number to the Goblin Valley Park Offices, but got a recording. They close at 4:30 pm, and there was no way to get a message to them. We then became quite alarmed that mom and dad would be worried about us if we did not return that night.

After we had completely struck out, on all accounts, the clerk at our favorite convenience store had a sudden stroke of inspiration: “Why not try one of these here tire plugs!” We looked at this package, which costs about $2.95. It contains a rasp, a “needle” and some sticky rubber patches, and some rubber cement. We realized that we had little choice but try to repair the tire ourselves, so we bought the repair kit.

We had earlier bought two 1-litre bottles of water, to drink. Now we started pouring Dasani Water over the tire to discover where the leak was. We found it, and Dawn Ann Poked the rasp in the tire, and reamed out the hole. Then we put some rubber cement on the patch, and stuck it into the hole. After two tries, we got it to work. We gave the glue a few minutes to dry, and then tried to re-inflate the tire. It was a no go. The tire had lost its seal around the rim, and would not take air.

We then pulled out tire that we had flattened earlier in the day, from the back of the 4Runner to work it. We now knew more of what we were doing with the patch kit. We poured the bottled water over this tire and found the leak. Then we got it patched. Fortunately, this tire took air.

So then we got out the jack and removed the asphyxiated tire from the truck, mounted the tire that we had just patched the would hold air. During all this crawling around on the ground, there was a friendly neighborhood gale wind, about 40 mph or so, blowing dirt and sand everywhere while we were working.

We got the tire mounted and fully inflated, and it looked like it was going to hold. We went into the convenience store and washed up. (You probably know how dirty tires can be – and hence us. After washing up and finding some yummy convenience store food to munch on during our trip back to Goblin Valley, we checked on our patched tire again, and it still was right up to pressure.

We once again had a word of prayer, and prayed that mom and dad would not be too worried. That was the only way we could get any messages through. Then we headed off to the camp site. We made it back with no trouble. We got back to the motor home at about 11:00 pm. Mom told us that she was going to wait for about one more hour, and then they were going to come looking for us. We had a bite of Spaghetti dinner that was left over from their dinner earlier and crashed in bed. We slept very well in the tent that night (from sheer exhaustion: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.)

The next morning, I got up and checked on our self-patched tire – it still looked great!

I headed for green river to get both flat tires fixed, and Dawn Ann and the kids stayed at Goblin Valley, and played in the Goblins.

That, my friends, is how I got to be in the tire store on September 11th. I had brought the little keyboard to my PDA with me, and set it up on one of the empty desks at the tire store office to write this little account of our adventures.

We came to find out that the tire that wouldn’t take air last night, had a bulge in it when it was inflated. It was very unsafe, and would have undoubtedly blown-out on us had we tried to use it. Needless to say, blow-outs can be quite dangerous. We felt like the Lord was watching out for us when the tire wouldn’t take air.

The tire that we patched worked out great. The tire shop guy said that he couldn’t pull our plug out by hand. He had to get some tools to take it out, and then put in a permanent patch.

I was able to call Mark from Green River (actual cell service there!). I informed him that one of the tires was kaput, and that the tire shop guy had found a used tire that we could use as a spare tire until we got home. We also recommended that Mark consider getting new tires for his truck at his earliest convenience. Mark agreed to buying the used tire and keep it as a temporary spare. After we were done, the tire shop only charged us about $37.00 for the repair and the used tire.! I was pleasantly surprised. We also felt blessed that it only cost that much to get us back on the road.

Looking back, we decided that it was a good thing we decided to go to Hanksville, instead of Green River after all. Had we chose to go to Green River (even though there was actually tire repair service available there) that left rear tire would never had made it to Green River before going flat. We would have been stranded along the roadside somewhere on the Highway. I had received a calm feeling that we should go to Hanksville, and felt right about it. Initially we might feel that we were not being led properly, or that we were not receiving the message properly. But as it turned out, everything happened as it should have. Even though we had the “fun” of fixing our own flat tires (twice), it was the best thing that could have happened under the circumstances. The Lord was truly looking out for us, and was guiding is to do the right things.

After the tires were fixed, I headed back to Goblin Valley to find all was well there.

Later that day, Dawn Ann, Bryan and I took my 22 rifle and did some target shooting. We had a real target, but we also had some pop cans to shoot at as well. We had a lot of fun, and Bryan hit the first tin can he shot at. Meanwhile, Dad, Mom and Amy went for a ride in the Jeep and did some exploring together.

We decided not to take the 4Runner on any more 4 Wheeling trips with the tire situation. The next morning Mom and Dad let us borrow their Jeep, and we went on one of the Roads that we had gone on 12 years ago on our “Stripy-Tailed Monkey Trip”.

We had originally planned to go to Moab for a couple of days at the end of this trip, but decided that under the circumstances, that we would just finish our trip at Goblin Valley, and head back home a day early. We still felt like we were able to have all the adventure (and then some) that we were hoping for. Moab will just have to be another trip on another day. We hope to get back to Moab sometime soon – Dawn Ann hasn’t been down there since we went on that Elephant Hill trip. I have only been down there one other time since that trip when I took Bryan on our own Father’s and Son’s outing – and that was about 5 years ago. It’s practically a sin not to visit Moab every couple of years or so when we live this close to it. Its time to repent!!!

Well that’s the story of our trip. I call the theme of the trip “Too (Two) Tired Day” for the day that we were too tired, and had Two Flat Tires.

It was a lot of fun. We decided that we may want to make Goblin Valley an annual family outing.

Friday, March 04, 2005

More Flood Stories from BYU 03-04

I have subscribed to a "Google Alert" which sends me a daily email of any news stories regarding The Santa Clara River Floods. It has really been helpful in keeping track of what is going on with the aftermath of the flooding. You can set up a Google Alert for any topic you want. If I were a real-live newspaper reporter, I would make use of this service (which is free) for conducting my research. But you can use it for other purposes too, such as: following your favorite sports team, movie star, monitoring the activities of a politician, or articles concerning an upcoming special event. You can set up a Google Alert Here.

With that in mind, today I got my Google Alert email on the Santa Clara River Floods, and I found a whole raft of human interest stories on the flood from BYU Newsnet. I thought I would link to them here, since most of those reading this site probably do not peruse BYU Newsnet on a daily basis. However the stories are interesting and I thought you might want to take a look at them. With all of these stories the last couple of days, I think BYU must have sent a whole journalism class down there this week!

The first story is about a farmer, named Orwin Gubler. Orwin has farmed in the St. George area since 1952. In January, he lost 8 acres of his land to the floods. Yet, he is determined to get back to work, and plow and re-seed his fields.

The second story is about those who particpated in creating the Book and DVD that is being used as part of the fundraising project for flood victims. It features Lon Henderson, Lyman Hafen, and others. Although a minimum donation of $35.00 is required to receive the Book and DVD, the average contribution has been $100.00.

The third story is about Alan Blackburn, who is the manager of the Zion Harley-Davidson Shop. His business has donated $5,000 toward flood relief, and he has organized other fundraisers, including one tomorrow (3/5/05) with the local Harley Riders Association.

The fourth story describes the situation in Gunlock, Utah. Their situation is a little different because they are more isolated (40 miles away from St. George) and the bridges have been washed out, which at times has isolated them from the rest of the world. A temporary bridge was in place, but even that was washed out over President's day weekend. Also the issue of governmental interfereance with regard to dredging the stream channel is mentioned here. Many of the residents feel that meddling from the federal governmant over riparian (river) habitat, which precluded them from dredging the river channel, contributed to the severity of the flooding in their area.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Santa Clara River Flood Update - from BYU

Today, the BYU on-line newspaper published a story about the Green Valley 3rd ward, which lost 22 homes in (8 condemed, and 14 washed away). The article relates many stories of their ward members, and the growth that has happened to them as a result. You can read the article here.

Road to Nowhere

This photo shows couple walking their dog on what used to be Santa Clara Dr., which was destroyed in the January flooding.

Also, the BYU Newsnet ran an article last Monday on President Hinkley's visit to the Saints in the flood ravaged area. You can read that article here.

My understanding is that the fund raising efforts for the victims have been moving a long quite nicely, thus far. We made a donation to the flood relief charity, and received the Book and DVD chronicling the events of the flood week in January 2005. I haven't had a chance to do more that look at the picutures in the book yet. I hope to watch the DVD tonight. Contributions can be made at the relief charity's web site here.

In other news, the Small Business Administration (SBA) today has ruled that flood vicitims can receive low-interest loans for all residents and businesses who suffered damage or losses due to the floods. They will be setting up shop in the 5 County Association of Governments building the coming Monday in St. George. Previously Washington and Kane counties in Utah did not qualify for SBA loans due to flood damage. However, the neighboring county across the state line into Arizona did qualify for SBA loans, and since the two counties in Utah are adjacent to the Arizona county, now they too, qualify for SBA assistance.

Jeannette's House - Exterior

Jeannette's House - Front View
Originally uploaded by David B..
I have received a few photos from Mark on the progress of Jeannette's house. The exterior is coming along quite nicely. It looks like they are about ready for the siding to be installed.

Jeannette's House - Rear View

At the rear of the house, you can see that the patio has been poured, which extends out from the dining room area.

Mark tells me that they have just about finished the mudding and taping on the interior, and should be painting sometime this week. We'll no more about the progress this weekend.