Where to begin? It all began for me when TA “interviewed” me early this year. One of the questions asked (since I am a DE for road trips) was where my next road trip would take me. Hmm…I hadn’t thought about it yet-- I mentioned Utah off hand since Mr Wings had been wanting to see the area. Ohio Hick contacted me, letting me know of a meet up in Utah both in July and Oct this year and since Oct fit into our travel style, I began the process of convincing Mr Wings that he’d LOVE to meet 23 strangers whom I’d “met” online Clinching the Wave permits ensured his cooperation, fortunately, since his passion is photography.
Now, for the meet up-- I was quite nervous despite my “never meeting a stranger” personality. Not only did I have a shy spouse in tow, but… I try to always be kind and civil and helpful while on TA and my true personality is rather more “colorful?” I am much too blunt, tactless and a smart aleck in real life. Something I do my best to hide online. So… all of these lovely people who knew me as Wings—I feared they’d not think so much of me person.
The meet up in Kanab was part of a larger road trip for us, so we did not get into Kanab until Friday afternoon. With trepidation and excitement, Mr Wings and I showed up at the Kanab sign for a group photo and our first introduction to the TA people we were going to spend the next couple of days with. Mr Wings and I were the first to arrive. The next 2 cars were Red Dirt Dog and Slick Rock Walker and SjGirl and Guy. Both, I had had contact with ahead of time, so felt as if I “knew” them the best aside from my fellow Buckeye-- We immediately passed out hugs and we were off to a great start. Mr Wings offered to set up his camera and tripod for a group photo and asked “is this everyone?” Uh…. No??? Only about 18 more coming….LOL Quick introductions and a scramble to the sign for some shots and off to dinner!
Dinner that evening was at the Rocking V. They did a great job of accommodating us and the best part of the meal was getting to sit next to my TA idol, Tet For any of you who’ve been given advice by Tet—he is even more sweet and wonderful in person!
Our table consisted of Red Dirt Dog, Slick Rock Walker, Tet 13 and Tet 14, SJGirl and Guy and we Wings. SJGirl and I took turns “glowing” thru out the meal -- I think we were the hottest babes there, just not in the way we wanted to be? LOL
Saturday morning was our scheduled trip out to Tuweep. SJGirl and Guy were staying in the same hotel we were, so we chatted over breakfast. A caravan of 5 vehicles headed out – all eating ridiculous amounts of dust those 50+ miles (except for Dez40!) Danny S rode with us, so we got the opportunity to get to know him. I am never on the Utah forums, having not been, so…. all the Utah people were new to me. Danny was great. Very bright and knowlegable about the area. He kept us informed but also entertained considering the medicine mix up that morning I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time! Loved the trip out to Tuweep as did Mr Wings ---chuckling maniacally as he drove the last 6 miles or so. Danny and I simply hung on!
Tuweep was great! Loved the remoteness of it, the sheer drop (despite my not loving heights) and the shared excitement of the group. Lots of oohs and aahs and people getting too close to the edge-- Scrambling over rocks… and giving each other helping hands. SJGirl’s husband gave Mr Wings and I a fright! Climbing out on the out crop and sitting with his feet dangling- a huge grin on his face! We snapped his photo of course!
Lunch and chatter under the shade tree. Getting to know one another better.
Saturday evening was great fun with everyone crowded into the house. Lots of laughing and chatting and just great fun. Friendships definitely forming. We had to say good bye to some too soon-- Mr Wings and I were not going on the raft trip, so… we had to say good bye to many of the group before we’d had enough time with them.
Sunday morning, we chatted over breakfast with the SJ’s before heading our separate ways. Mr Wings and I opted to skip the Sunday float trip. Floating on a boat is not a good idea for me-- the worst possible scenario for my motion sickness is bobbing on the water. I decided that a day trip to Zion was preferable for me AND anyone unlucky enough to share a raft with me Nuff said.
Zion was pretty, but with the time constraints, all we managed was the drive in and then shuttle stops at the major view points. Zion was WAY too crowded for our taste. Much preferred the remoteness of Tuweep, but… I think another trip to explore the areas of Zion that are not the main tourist spots would make for a better experience. A quiet night for us but SJGirl and Ohio Hick both called to invite us for dinner that evening once they were back in town. Much appreciated, but we’d just gotten back from a bite.
Monday—THE day! The day we were looking forward to the entire trip. Our hotel had breakfast out early, so grabbed a bite with SJGirl and guy yet again before heading out for the day.
I was even more worried about making this hike than I was meeting the TA people-- I am not a hiker generally, although we had done some shorter hikes on our trip thanks to the great advice of Red Dirt Dog. Nothing like the 6 miles required for the Wave, tho. Nervous—definitely nervous.
The hike was actually wonderful! Lots of up and down and the worst was the sand areas. It was so beautiful tho… the whole hike in and out—just beautiful. No one was in a hurry, so the pace was easy. I had no issues with the hike at all which surprised me. The Monday group consisted of Ohio Hick, Mrs Hick, Red Dirt Dog, Slick Rock Walker, SJGirl and Guy, Kbec, Tet 13, Mr Wings and myself. It was a GREAT group to hike with. Learned so many things about each other. Had no idea that Red Dirt Dog and Mr Wings had been separated at birth, but it became quite obvious during the hike that they had been
Every step of the hike was so worth it-- I ended up with nearly 400 photos from that day. The whole hike…. You are surrounded by beauty. It made it even better to be able to share it with such good friends. Lots of fun photos—lunch and a rest—searching for facilities—then off to explore more! SJGril and Guy had to leave us early for a trip to the Grand Canyon. Very sad to see them go—We’d gotten rather attached to them. Ohio Hick and Mr Wings opted to make a loop and wandered farther afield while the rest of us turned back the way we came. Of course, they caught up with us long before we even made it back to the cars.
Some of the group headed back to Kanab following the hike, but… Red Dirt Dog, Ohio Hick and Mr Wings decided to head off to explore a slot canyon in the area. Slick Rock Walker and I sat in the shade and snacked and got to know each other a little better waiting for the guys to return. I loved that hour and ½ just sitting in the parking lot. Red Dirt Dog had been positively wonderful in helping us find ruins and petroglyphs in Bluff earlier on in the trip. Detailed emails, photos, notes—everything he could possible do to assure our finding them and safe. We HAD to have a couple of his hats to mark our feat of finding the big bird-- It was hard to see SJGirl and Guy off earlier in the day and it was just as hard to see SRW and RDD off later in the day.
We were down to 6. The Hicks, the Tets and the Wings had one last meal together. Sounds sad, yes? It was. Hugs all around… It was a lonely Tuesday morning breakfast.