Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Solar B-Day

Mr. Larry Jensen had a birthday last weekend that was more special than most. It wasn't because we drove to St. George to celebrate, or because we hiked Zion's National Park, or even because we stayed in the same hotel that his family has been staying in for all of their vacations for over ten years. It was because the moon decided to pass in between the sun and the earth on his birthday. 

This was the first time that any of us had seen an annular eclipse before. It was honestly one of the coolest things I've had the opportunity to see. 

Shirley was the one who planned this little birthday adventure. St. George was one of the best places in the country to watch this particular eclipse, so we thought we'd go down and get front row seats. 

We drove down Friday night after everyone struggled to get off work early. We headed straight through to Aunt Carol's shared place in St. George. We got settled in and headed out to dinner at Red Robin. Shara and I shared a burger and a bottomless root beer float. That's right... bottomless! So yum! Of course, Derek over did it with his bottomless fries and jalapeno rings. We rented "In Time" from red box and stayed up way too late. 

The next morning we got up and drove to Zions National Park. I hadn't been to Zions since the road trip we took to drop me off for school back in 2005. We drove through most of it but also did a couple hikes, including the emerald pools. We had to take the tour bus up to the lodge and my camera lens flew out of the window. We searched for it when we got back, but it's lost and gone forever. 
After Zions we drove to our hotel, which used to be a Holiday Inn but is now a Lexington. Fortunately, the name was the only thing that changed. The Jensen family has been going to this hotel for years and they would have been very sad if it weren't the same. There is an indoor/outdoor pool, a ping pong table and pool table, and they serve a giant, hot breakfast in the morning. 

Derek testing out the magnets 

Cactus flowers were in bloom

So after two human totem poles in the pool, three games of ping pong, and four showers, we went out to a birthday dinner at Los Pericos Mexican Restaurant. Larry was ambushed with a loud birthday greeting and fried ice cream. I don't think he minded much...

We went to bed early and woke up to a big, yummy breakfast. Derek needed some more comfy sandals for his sensitive feet, so we shopped around the outlet malls for a bit and got subway for lunch. 
With our trip being almost over, we headed over to Kolab Canyon and drove through a bit before all the crazy Eclipse watchers showed up. 

Love the red roads

We decided to try to watch the eclipse from Cedar City because Kolab was way too crowded. But on the way to Cedar we happened upon open spots along the road in Kanarraville. Which just so happens to be the best place in the country to watch this eclipse. It was so much fun just hanging out with all the other people watching. We had to share our glasses because a lot of people didn't have them and you can’t see anything without them. Even when eclipse was full, it was still too bright to look at. There was basically just a sunset type shadow that swept across the valley. 

We stopped at Wendy's for dinner, and I finally got to try the new sweet potato. It was actually a slight disappointment. Tiny and shriveled. We were pretty much in traffic the whole way home. 

The next morning I had to go to work while Derek picked up our little Tundra. I missed him so much. It was weird how worried I was about him and how much I thought about him and what he might be doing. Derek's friend, Napune watched him for the weekend. 

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