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Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  Husker and I  used it as an excuse to go to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, TX to a concert by the Eli Young Band.  Husker's baby boy, Jon, is the bass player.  For those who are not from the DFW area, Lone Star Park is a horse racing track that is also a venue for concerts.  Jon arranged for us to get backstage passes, and after meeting up with him and his bandmates out front during the meet-and-greet time, we headed upstairs to the box suite provided to the band and their guests.

Let me back up and explain for the older generation that meet-and-greet is a time either before or after a concert when the band meets fans, poses for photos with them, and generally expose themselves to the fanbase up close.  At this venue, their tour bus was parked at the entrance to the facility, and fans that had purchased backstage passes were allowed into a blocked off area for their personal time with the band.

The suite also provided a very nice supper for everyone, plus drinks of all kinds.  Others watching the show from the suite were family and friends of all the bandmates.  Jon's fiancĂ©, Sarah, was also there.  A funny thing happened in the elevator up to the suite:  A young man on the elevator realized that we were headed for the VIP floor and noticed our backstage passes.  He knew that these oldies could not be run-of-the-mill fans.  He even jokingly asked if he could buy the passes.  Husker told him that the passes cost far more than he could pay, and happily identified himself as Jon's father. 

We learned from Jon earlier that their cut of Guinevere is the Number One country tune in the DFW area, although not in the nation.  The band started their day with a gig in Nashville at 1:30, hopped on a flight to DFW, played Lone Star Park, and as I write this, they are on their way to Salt Lake City for another gig tonight.  Tomorrow is Denver.  I am exhausted just thinking about it. 

All said and done, it was a nice way to celebrate my birthday.  Thank you for the passes, Jon.

P. S.  We found out later that the concert sold 19,370 tickets.  Way to go!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Zion and St. George

Husker and I really like our road trips.  We enjoy the views, and he is always asking me questions about the geology of the passing countryside.  I only took one year of college geology, but he did not take any -- so I guess I am the family "expert".  Maybe I should encourage him to enroll in a geology class at the local community college ...

The route from San Diego to St. George, UT was spectacular.  Neither of us were familiar with the Virgin River, but it definitely cuts a 160 mile long colorful path from Las Vegas northeastward.  It is the river that cut the canyons of theVirgin River Gorge and Zion National Park.  Think of it as an early Grand Canyon in the making.  The vistas could not have been more stunning, or the wildlife more intriguing.  The smallest wildlife was a family of baby squirrels along a trail in Zion.  They did not seem to be the least bit afraid of the trail of tourists passing by.

The walls of the Virgin River Gorge were very close to us so that we felt as if we were in a narrow slot in the mountain range.  I guess we were.  The river and the interstate bumped right up to the walls.  The walls were so high that it was hard to look up to the top from the car's windows. 

On the other hand, there were also trails that passed through quiet, cool, and delightful vistas to springs, lookouts, etc., along the river and especially within Zion.  This photo is the route to the Emerald Pools within Zion.  Most of Zion's trails were accessible and short except for one trail that required extensive experience and was quite long.  It was called Angel Trail and climbed up to the top of the canyon walls using a cut into the walls that at times was only about 4 feet wide.  It was a very long drop off the edge.  You could look up to the top of the canyon and see ant-like hikers moving along the trail.  Scary. 

 Zion was terrific!  Everyone should go there at least once.  There is a garden-like environment along the river, but majestic towering canyon walls above.  It leaves one feeling puny but invigorated.  It will take your breath away ... just go. This should be on your bucket list.

Birthdays and Friends

Many years ago -- let's not discuss how many! -- I developed a friendship with Linda, an English teacher.  Then after a few years, I moved away.  We have birthdays close to each other's, making me all of 10 days older than she is.  Over the years, we have kept in touch via birthday cards, long letters, occasional phone calls, etc.  I think we have had a face-to-face over the last 30 years only 3 times!  But we are still good friends ....

How does that happen when you don't see each other?  Hard to say, but despite the years and distance, I still feel as if I can talk to her about anything. 

I received her birthday card to me yesterday.  Today, I bought her birthday card.  And so the "tradition" goes on. 

Two Weeks working on the Bucket List

Husker has traveled to all of the lower 48, some places several times.  He likes to take me places that I have never gone to before.  This trip was from North Texas to San Diego, followed by St. George, UT, Zion NP, Grand Junction and Fort Collins, CO, Omaha and then home.  Actually, we were in Fort Collins last year, but it was on our way from Omaha, Husker's ancestral home.  This year, we were on our way to Omaha. 

We chose this route for reasons -- Husker's cousin, Richard, and wife, Michelle, live in San Diego.  So we had a very pleasant visit with them including a day at the San Diego Zoo.  We followed the zoo with an evening meal at a delightful seafood restaurant, Peohe's, on Coronado Island.  The view from the restaurant was spectacular.

Richard and Michelle are planning to retire in a couple of years or so, and Richard has especially been preparing on how to enjoy his hobbies in greater depth.  He has constructed a second garage next their house, and has equipped it with everything he wants for tinkering with a car -- lift, cabinetry to store tools, etc.  For the fun of it, he has painted a mural on one wall based on the movie, Cars.   He did a pretty good job with it.  Whatdaya think?   

After two nights with Richard and Michelle, we departed for the Embassy Suites in La Jolla to meet up with Husker's classmates from his alma mater, Benson High School, in Omaha.  So many of them now live in California that it is practical to have a mini-reunion there.  We don't live in California, but it is a good excuse to go there! 

While there, we experienced a mild earthquake.  Husker was out on the patio of the hotel with others from the group, and I was checking email at our laptop in our room on the 10th floor.  The laptop began to vibrate across the desk, the floor vibrated, and the draperies swayed.  It was followed by 2 or 3 milder tremors.  I felt dizzy, but otherwise there was not much to it. 

After enjoying some face time with Husker's classmates (some of whom I am now beginning to know pretty well), we departed for St. George, Utah, preparatory to visiting Zion National Park.  To be continued!