Mt. Zion 2014, Pt. 2

Our family adventure in Zion wasn’t limited to hiking the harrowing Narrows in 90 degree temperatures.


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It also included trying a few products for the first time. Ever the consumer rights activist, I’ve decided to hip you to game and save you a few dollars in the process.



I’m empty on the inside but don’t judge me.

1) Smucker’s Goober Strawberry (and Peanut Butter!):  My first problem with this product is the name.  Goober has never, ever been a term of endearment.  Gooba’, maybe.  But never Goober.  Plus peanut butter doesn’t even get mentioned in the title and it’s doing half the damned work!

But the most serious issue is that Goober solves one problem by creating two.  Yes, by packaging PB&J together we’ve become more efficient but we’ve also diminished the quality of the product by confounding traditional food storage protocol.  You see, we put our jelly in the fridge and peanut butter in the pantry.  So where, pray tell, should I put this freak of nature?  Cold peanut butter, no, thanks.  Warm jelly?  Jump off Angel’s Landing with that shit.

But as you can see, we straight smashed it.

* We buy Tropical Jelly.   But if Smucker’s is listening, we’d entertain your jelly simpliciter.  Send BBD a few jars of your finest stuff.


chili? chale.

chile? chale.

2) Nabisco’s Wheat Thins Chile Chili Cheese:  It took only one bite for me to tip my hat and flip my finger at the marketing mavens over at Nabisco.  By the looks of the box, this was Wheat Thins attempt to capture the Flaming Hot, Dorito Extreme, Taki devouring demo.  I mean, a damned spicy chile chili is on the box.  And that looks like Monterrey Jack in the background.  So, someone explain to me why this tastes like a can of Hormel Chili, the type they might serve at an emergency FEMA shelter after a natural disaster?


if you install photoshop into your cornea the Bumbleberry Motel will look like this for you, too.

3) Bumbleberry Hotel Motel:  I encourage you to use Trip Advisor and Yelp when booking a place near Zion. We didn’t.  The Bumbleberry’s aesthetic is best described as Lincoln log cabin meets bowling-alley chic.  Their saving grace is a decent pool and their proximity to the park entrance.

Odds are high that we’ll be back to Zion next year.  And our plan is to return with separate jar of peanut butter and jelly, some Triscuits and maybe some Glad New and Improved Odor Shield Febreze Fresh Clean Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags 110 Count for the room.

Mt. Zion 2014, Pt. 1 (of 2)

This is our 2nd family trip into Zion National Park.  We had a blast last year and couldn’t wait to go again.

360ish days ago.

She ain’t heavy, she’s my daughter. (2013)

The kids and I tag along for three days as big. brown. mom leads a group of Upward Bound students on a series of hikes.  The students have spent 5 weeks living at Harvey Mudd College, taking college-prep courses in Literature, Chemistry and Math, and participating in non-traditional learning experiences, like this bomb-ass trip.  Many of the rising sophomores from the San Gabriel Valley are camping for the first time. (Bassett, make some noise!)   This trip will convert many of them into lifelong lovers, nay, WORSHIPERS of nature–and that’s just they type of pagan, quasi-religious experience Zion can summon.

onward. outward. upward.

onward. outward. upward.

Zion is about 350 miles from greater LA County, basically a straight shot up I-15 N, a familiar route for you degenerate gamblers.  The sojourn zips thru Vegas, skirts into NW Arizona and then delivers you unto Utah’s promised land.  It’s a well travelled route with rest stops, restaurants and restlessness aplenty.

Life Elevated

Live Life Elevated

The internets is rife with road trip tips.  To my chagrin, I couldn’t find a site that endorsed mixing Nyquil w/ Kool-Aid.   And most of the suggested games don’t work for both a 2 year-old AND a 4 year-old. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Joaquin can’t play ‘Eye-Spy,’ it’s that Maya is playing games designed for tweens like, ‘Daddy, why did God make people with bad teeth?’

Alas, music Pandora saved the day. We sang along to dozens of Disney tunes. Then we had a dance party. Yes, it’s possible to execute the Running Man from the driver’s seat.  And then we played some word games with Maya while Joaquin zoned out and texted his homies.

Once we arrived, Angie and Maya met her students for an evening hike up Watchman Trail. Last year, Angie had to carry Maya for a portion of the hike. But this year, Maya was determined to tackle the two-mile hike without assistance.


She did it!

Once the group reached the end of the trail,  the students had an opportunity to reflect    collectively about their summer experiences. They talked about wanting to quit but deciding to persevere. They talked about learning skills and gaining confidence, making friends and gaining independence.  50 high schoolers spillin’ some guts.  They laughed and they cried. And after each of student had a chance to share,  it was Maya’s turn.

It took her a second to gather her thoughts.

“I’m happy that my Mom and Dad are alive.”

And that’s when I had my first spiritual lesson of the trip: if you smile while crying you can drink your own tears and be reborn.



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