View of Heber Valley from the Wasatch Mountains.
July 16, 2016
Saturday was our day to visit Jacob and Danielle on their home turf. We had two options for our drive to their house in Midvale: We could take the freeways north and west, which would get us there in about 45 minutes. Or we could drive straight west over the towering mountains of Wasatch Mountain State Park, which would take a bit longer at about an hour and ten minutes,
Birch forest in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, July 16, 2016.
Freeways are generally less than inspiring, so I opted for the longer, tougher route. I'm glad I did. We all enjoyed the gorgeous view (and freaked out at times over the steep drops that were sometimes just inches from my tires). We stopped often for photo ops, but I narrowed it down to these four favorite pictures for this post.
Scenes from Utah's Wasatch Mountains.
The climb to the top (elevation about 11,000 feet) was quite rugged and steep, with rough dirt roads all the way. We didn't meet too many cars on the way up, but we sometimes had to pull over for those we did, to let them pass. It was slow going, but so worth it for the views!
Scenes from Utah's Wasatch Mountains.
The drive down the western face was much easier and faster. Because there were some popular ski resorts on that side of the mountain, the roads were paved and well-maintained. It was also heavily traveled, meaning much more traffic. The western views were also amazing, but there was just something breathtaking about the wilder side of nature evident on the eastern face.
Dylan tries to make friends with Jacob and Danielle's parakeet, Luna.
We'd left our resort a little after 8:30 and arrived at Jacob and Danielle's place by 10:15. Although Jacob had to be at work before 5;00, he had some definite ideas about places he wanted to show us during our few hours together.
Mark helps Dylan check out the car he bought from Jacob.
We spent a little time checking out Dylan's "new" car and working out a way to get it safely home to Arizona. This car is the 2007 Buick LaCrosse that Jacob and Danielle bought a few months after they got married in 2014. It was parked in front of their house one night after a snowstorm in February of this year, when a woman driving past skidded on the ice and crashed into the back left fender. This created a nightmare for Jacob and Danielle, who were completely guiltless in the accident. They were in bed, sleeping, at the time!
Even though the only damage was to the left taillight and the bumper/fender, leaving the car perfectly drive-able, the woman's insurance company, Progressive (with whom I will never insure my cars) decided to total the LaCrosse. However, they refused to pay the full amount Jacob still owed on it. They also prevented him from allowing our company, State Farm, to assess the damage, threatening to pay out nothing if they did. Now I know why Progressive insurance is so cheap. So Jacob was forced into a position where he had to buy another car, which he doesn't like as well as the LaCrosse yet is paying more for. Someone suggested he sue the woman for the difference, but Jacob just didn't feel right about it. It was a tough time for him, but I'm proud of my son for taking the high road.
The damage done to Jacob's (now Dylan's) Buick LaCrosse.
Eventually, Progressive offered to sell the LaCrosse back to Jacob for $1,500, so Jacob offered the deal to Dylan, who accepted. In fact, the main reason for this trip at this time was to pick up Dylan's new acquisition before school starts. Last week we got the title transferred and the car registered in Dylan's and Jake's names, and started insurance coverage so Dylan can legally drive it home.
The view from the front of the Walmart where Danielle works.
Once the car was taken care of, we drove over to the Walmart near Jacob and Danielle's home to see where Danielle works. It's a smaller store with a lovely view of the mountains encircling the valley, and very close to home.
Next we made a stop at Jamba Juice, at the insistence of the guys.
Not my type of place, but the "Strawberry Wild" smoothie wasn't too bad.
Jacob, Danielle, Dylan, and Jake with their Jamba Juice drinks,
and Sarah in the background ordering hers.
Sarah, Mark, and Jacob in front of Wingers, where we went to lunch.
Jacob had really wanted us to spend a day at a theme park called Lagoon, but between the fact that he was only able to get one of the three days of our visit off work (the trials of a store manager when the other managers are on vacation) and the fact that we're all saving for our family trip to California and Universal Studios in October, after the expense of putting on a wedding less than two months ago, we just weren't able to work it out this time.
Jacob and Danielle with their lunch orders at Wingers Roadhouse Grill.
Instead, Jacob decided to take us to Wingers Roadhouse Grill for lunch and to meet his favorite server, a guy named Patrick. Patrick, with his spiky hair and love for Pokemon Go, truly was a hoot! He was over-the-top upbeat and energetic, but also sincerely eager to please. He should share a little of that energy with me! He was a lot of fun and I see why Jacob related to him and wanted us to meet him.
Dylan and Jake eating lunch at Wingers Roadhouse Grill.
(Why do guys always find it necessary to display the food in their mouths?)
Sarah and Mark at Wingers Roadhouse Grill.
Wingers was located in the town of Murray. I'd been to Murray before, for Thanksgiving 1990. My parents had moved to Murray (they moved back to Arizona, maybe two years later) and all five of us Butler kids drove up to spend the holiday with them and Grandma Haley, who lived with them. It was especially memorable because Sarah was thirteen months old and took her first real steps, right to her Grandpa Butler (my dad). While there, we also drove up to see the Christmas lights at the Salt Lake Temple. It was Sarah's only visit to Utah until this trip!
Mary and Sarah with their lunch orders at Wingers.
Patrick the server volunteered to take this picture of our group:
Jacob, Danielle, Dylan, Jake, Mary, Sarah, and Mark. Only
Sarah's hubby Chris was missing. He had to stay home and work.
Dylan and Jake outside Scheels with Abraham Lincoln.
After lunch, Jacob wanted to take us to Scheels, a large sporting goods store in the town of Sandy. Once we arrived, I found that Scheels is very much like the Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops I've been to. It's always a little bit like stepping into another world.
There's a big Ferris Wheel inside the Scheels store.
It's funny how something as simple as a sporting goods store can be a blast when you're with the people you love. Just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to build fun memories together.
Sarah and her dad (Mark) ride the Ferris Wheel together.
We all started off by riding the store's big Ferris Wheel. Well, all except one of us. Jake got on, but soon asked to be let off. He's afraid of heights, but I give him credit for making a serious attempt to ride. It takes courage to combat the things you fear. Once he was off, we asked if Dylan could ride with me rather than both of us riding alone, and they let us make the switch.
Jacob and Danielle on the Ferris Wheel together.
Jake and Dylan starting out on the Ferris Wheel together.
Dylan ends up stuck on the Ferris Wheel with his mom (Mary).
There were lots of stuffed and mounted animals throughout the store,
but this little mountain was the most impressive display.
Dylan snapped this picture of me while I was waiting for him
to finish taking his pictures of the stuffed critters.
Dylan does his best impression of a bucktoothed redneck.
These "photo opportunity" booths were scattered throughout the store.
This is the right half of a gorgeous aquarium in Scheels.
This fudge station in Scheels allows you to sample as many types of fudge
as you like. Their strategy works. Four of us bought about 2 lbs of fudge each!
This is the Walmart where Jacob is a Customer Service Manager.
From Scheels, we went back to Midvale so Jacob could get ready for work, and then we followed him to the Walmart where he works in the neighboring town of Taylorsville. We briefly got to see him prepare for his shift before he disappeared into his duties. We met several of his co-workers and co-managers, who couldn't say enough good things about what a fun person he is and how important he is to the store. One woman thanked me for bringing him into the world because she didn't know what they'd do without him! All I could say was, "My pleasure!"
We returned to Jacob and Danielle's place to pick up Dylan's new car and say good-bye to Danielle until our final visit the next day, and then we headed back to Midway. It was a great day. Thanks, Jacob and Danielle!
We ended our evening having dinner at this Mexican restaurant
back in Midway, called Tarahumara.