Friday, February 8, 2013

Arizona - highway, hijinks, heartache, hope

I mentioned a quick road trip to Arizona to attend the funeral of a friend's husband.  First off - I have to just put this out there, I understand that I am incredibly blessed to be in my life position right now.  Minimal work obligations, no children to tend to and a husband that is generous, supportive and makes things happen.  A few years ago, a last minute road trip could have never happened.  Different life stages.  I love the one I'm in now that's for sure!

When a few of us Utah girls proposed heading to AZ it was a rushed decision.  Flights were looked at (incredibly expensive), hotel room booked, who was going/not going, and finally it came down to me driving the Cooper, Karie riding shotgun and Sheila flying and meeting us there.

Early Friday morning, I picked up Karie and off we went.  She has the smart talkie box thingie that takes good pictures so she was our camera's eye as well.

The garmin calculated 11 hours so once we got a Monster and some snacks on board, we were ready to hunker down for the drive.

I may or may not have talked Karie's ear off.  Somehow, my mouth just runs and runs and runs.  She is a patient woman!

There was a moment of panic.  The route was taking us through Highway 89 and it has small towns interspersed along the way, so the speed limit was up and down constantly.  I would set cruise and then when I saw the new speed sign posted, hit my down button on the cruise to slow down to the posted speed.

Near Lake Powell, about 5 miles from the AZ/UT border, I saw the 55mph sign, started hitting the button to slow it down and passed a cop.  Who immediately flipped his lights on and turned around!

NOOOOOO!!!!!!  Are you freaking serious?  You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see those lights and realize they want YOU to pull over?  Yeah, that one?  I wanted to throw up!

I pulled over, started pulling my license out and Karie started digging in my glove box for my registration.  I started to pull my CCP permit since I had been instructed to always tell an officer whether or not you are "carrying" BEFORE he runs your license.  It was halfway out of my wallet, but not entirely exposed.

I roll down my window and Officer SouthernUtahDrawal approaches.

OSUD: "Good afternoon ladies"
Me: "Hi, I'm so sorry! IsawthesignandwaspressingmyslowdownbuttonbutIguessIwasntfastenoughI'msosorry" (rambled all together in a ball of nerves and jitters)
OSUD:  "Where's your gun ma'am"
*heart stops*
Me: (hand to my chest right between the two lady parts that help to make me a lady) "Right here" (I thought he wanted me to show him so I started to lift my sweatshirt to pull it out)
OSUD: "That's okay ma'am. No.  Leave it.  That's okay"

He then proceeded to tell me that I had apparently missed an earlier sign telling me to slow down.  I apologized again, told how I had never been this way before, on our way to a funeral (yes I played that card), so sorry.........
He warned me that once I cross over to AZ, the fines would double.  I asked him how far we were from the state line (again showing my complete ignorance of where the hell I was).

He looked in the car at Karie and me and said, "You two don't appear to be dangerous or wanted criminals.  Are you?"
Us: "Uh, nope..... *more blabbering from me about funeral, new road to me, never been to Arizona.......*

OSUD: "Well drive safe and have a good day"
He raps on my hood, hands me my license and registration and saunters back to his vehicle.
I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for acknowledging my tithing payment and sparing me the ticket.
(there is a pic of me praying but somehow I can't find it anymore, and I'm gonna take that as a sign that I have already tested Heavenly Father's patience so it's not getting posted)

You can bet that we were eagle eyes on the signs from there on out.  I was NOT gonna miss another one!

(Lake Powell behind us.  If you can imagine, I grew up in Utah and have NEVER been here)

Once we got to Arizona and made a quick potty stop, it was quite clear that we were a little out of our element.  Did you know that everyone who is old goes to Arizona for the winter?  We walked into a little diner to pee and you would have thought we had horns on our heads for the looks that we got!  I think we were, on average, 20 years younger than the regular patron. (And I SO want to be like them!)
(okay so this wasn't the potty stop, but at breakfast the next morning.  But you get the idea.  I so, SO want to retire here)

We made it to the hotel only to discover that while I THOUGHT I had it booked for two nights, it was really only booked for one.  And huh. There is a PGA tour of some kind or another in town and there are no available rooms.

Well.  Now I'm a little embarrassed.  Ask clerk to hold a room if one opens up, she gives us a lead on where to find one for the next night and then we get oriented and settled.  AFTER I clear the room and declare it bed bug free.

 Sheila made it in, and after some chitchat,  a treat for Pedaling, we nestled in for sleeping the best you can possibly try in a hotel.

Saturday was the day of the funeral.

So many thoughts and feelings about this special and really, quite frankly, sacred event.  It was perhaps one of the best (if that's okay to say) funeral's I have ever attended.  Tammy was amazing.  Her Bishop (pastor) on point with all of his comments and thoughts.  The graveside was beautiful even though it was raining and I will never hear the coo of a dove without thinking of love and peace and remembering the Spirit I felt that day.  For more on that, with some pictures you can click here.

My heart still hurts for Tammy and the boys.  Yet, how grateful I am for the knowledge of where we go when we die.  I already shared some thoughts on that and if you are interested you can click here.  I have also been challenged to share my testimony regarding the Plan of Salvation so be watching for that one.  Quite simply, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the grand master plan that we are all playing a part in, gives people hope and comfort when lives are filled with sadness and despair.  For that I am grateful.

A side blessing of being in Arizona was meeting a fellow blogging friend IN REAL LIFE!  I've long admired Soloman for his political writings and observations.  I had small glimpses into him but mostly just from the virtual side.  Sitting next to him throughout the service and then sharing a dining table and noshing on fake Mexican with the other girls for the entire afternoon was absolutely delightful!  You know how you kind of have an image of someone in your head and you think when you meet them they will likely not even be close to what you imagined?  I can honestly say Sol did not disappoint.  The man is intelligent, articulate, funny and easy to chat it up with.  He didn't seem to mind sharing a table with 3 gabby women and believe you me, we made the Utah jokes abound!  Stand up guy and on point!  If you aren't already reading him, you should.  And then when he comes to Utah and crashes at the mCat's house with Splenda and the babies, you can bet your sweet bitties, we'll been partying and documenting the heck out of it!  I might even let him bring one of his own babies.  MAYBE.....

As it began to get dark, Sol needed to get on the road back home, and I was exhausted and wanted to decompress.  We dropped Sheila off at a family member's home, Karie and I headed to the new hotel (I declared the room clean and free of bed bugs), and then while Karie wandered over to the mall to stretch her legs, I called Splenda Daddy and poured my little heart out about the entire day and everything I had felt and experienced.  It was one of those days that I really, REALLY wish he could have shared with me.  It might not have meant the same to him - if for no other reason than these were people that I communicate with fairly regularly and he only hears about them, but the Spirit of the day had been one I would have liked to have shared with him.  Another time I suppose.  I Am glad for the friends I was with.  A reminder that everything happens for a reason.

Early Sunday morning, Karie and I loaded the Cooper back up, got our caffeine fixes and headed home.  It was pouring rain most of the way, with a few bursts of brilliant sun.

(this frozen waterfall was cool)

(heading into the jaws of the storm)

I missed the turn off to Flagstaff and went an extra 30 miles one way, OUT OF THE WAY, and then hit the massive snow storm at about Nephi.

It was quite clear that there was a problem with my tires and during a quick potty stop, I got out to check them and discovered that my rear tires were completely bald.  Bad news during a slippery, snowy, wet storm.  We basically crawled the rest of the way home and once I dropped off Karie, I called Splenda to let him know that I would be ice skating the rest of the way and to watch for me to come sliding in.

The weekend was one of adventure, laughs, tears, spiritual nourishment, personal reflection, sharing, prayers, and most of all filled with people who have added greatly to my own life experience.  It was a sad circumstance to bring it all about, however, from the time I pulled out of my garage Friday morning until the time I parked back in it Sunday night, I was a changed and hopefully better person.  I feel blessed to rub shoulders with some pretty awesome people.

Thanks to all the people who made it special for me.  Karie, Sheila, Tammy, Soloman, Jamie, Darlene, Jen,  Connor, Taylor, Tammy's Bishop, Justin and last but not least OSUD.

**special thanks to Karie for all the pics!!**


namaste said...

awww! this was such a great read! and i love how you got on the phone with splenda-daddy to fill him in on that day. exactly what i would have done with my hubby. your scenery pics are gorgeous. LOVE all your pics. sounds like the funeral was just beautiful. you girls all look FANTASTIC. funniest part of this post? YOU getting ready to lift your shirt to show the officer where you were packing your heat. YOWZA! hahaha!! i look forward to meeting you all one day soon!

" Hit It......." said...

You a such a good writer but you are an even better friend. I love having you in my life sista! Next time, lets plan another trip under good circumstances. xoxo

tammy said...

So do you have a holster that goes between your boobs, or just carry in your bra? That made me laugh.

I'm feeling the need to go to Lake Powell now. It probably needs to warm up first.

Do you see what I deal with, with all these seniors invading during the winter? Try needing to drive somewhere in a hurry around Mesa. Ain't gonna happen.

My Bishop is the best. Love him and his wife. I've known from the day we met them almost 7 years ago that they were in my life for a reason. They are amazing.

I was wishing that it wasn't a funeral you all were here for so I could go hang out with you and have fun, but I so appreciate you coming. I can't tell you how much. I saw you walk in and my heart just felt so much love for you girls. And for Solomon.

You do need to retire here. The end.

karen said...

Packing heat. That made me laugh. And trust me when I say that those Southern Utah PO-leecemen are never that nice to us folks from California. They know they have us JUST where they want us. They love to watch us beg for mercy and then give us the ticket anyway, so I never do anymore. Sounds like quite a trip with some good friends along.

Mamafamilias said...

I'm sorry it had to be for a funeral, but road trips with girlfriends are the best.

Love the pictures!

CB said...

I'm glad you guys were able to make it down for Tammy. I know I was with you in spirit.

Sue said...

One of the best funerals....
Packin heat....
Checking for bed bugs...
Meeting blogging friends...
Supporting Tammy..

You have a way of bringing all the emotions to the surface.
I'm laughing, crying, feeling spiritual, feelin itchy all in one post.

Glad you got to go. Your a good friend.

Connie said...

I need you to show me how to check for bed bugs before they bite!
How wonderful that you were able to go to the funeral and support Tammy during that time.
I'm still chuckling about your run-in with the law. I'm curious about your gun placement too!

Pedaling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pedaling said...

You are a great writer, just as Kari said.
Seriously, my face is huge! What the Hell?
I'm on a diet to fix that, now.

When I told Ted where you keep you gun, he replied with, 'Your friends are as crazy as you.'

We were supposed to be there and we were. Circumstances were such that we were able to "represent" so much love from many who were there in heart and spirit.
and yes, let's all grab Tammy and a few others and go on another trip together, sometime soon.

I was planning a little post on the the gospel topic of the month (from the youth curriculum) Since I'm behind a month, I'll go back and you go forward with The Plan and I'll just link to you. :)

Soloman said...

okay.. best part of your post is the picture of you, with the guy behind you in the sleeveless t-shirt. Seriously.. that is so Arizona…

I can't thank you ladies enough for giving me a few hours of your time. I’m eternally grateful… the entire day was a life changing experience, and all for the better. To say I didn't mind… I was honored. I know we've all said it and we'll all say it again, but if only the circumstances had been better… but it was meant to be, as it was, and it was a good day for growing and learning.

I look forward to our next adventure... maybe we can all find a way to meet at Lake Powell for a long weekend or something... I’m looking for any excuse to travel a little, and chillin’ with good friends is always that much more enticing… like Tammy said we should wait for the weather to warm up a little, but that’s not too far from now…

And again, thank you for the invite to crash at your pad... I'd like to bring one of my babies, but kittehs don't travel very well like dogs do...

Pedaling said...

my daughter amber just verified, these may be the ugliest pictures of me to ever hit the net!

tammy said...

Just reading this post again for some reason, and feeling thankful once again for the great people in my life. Thanks for reminding me how strong the spirit was that day. One of the hardest but most spiritual days of my life. Once again so grateful for the Plan of Salvation, that my family will be sealed forever, and that I'll have friends like you in the eternities.