August 2007

So we survive this round of bedbugs, the movie being filmed and Western Legends, then we prepare for the end of season and a thorough cleaning of the rooms.  Western Legends welcomed in the beginning of busiest time of the year for the Lodge.  Tourist season for this area is the heaviest September through October and we are booked.

We take some time to visit more of the wonderful sites near us - next stop Bryce Canyon.  The difference between Bryce and Zion is this, Bryce you are mainly looking down into the canyon, Zion you are looking up. 

July/August - 2007 Moving Along - 2007

July 2007

As we go through the experience and visit places we've only seen in pictures we begin to feel like we've found a new home.   Settling in to our new roles as bosses we learn as we go, not only things about ourselves but also about others.

One thing we learned was that most of our employees had either a drug and/or alcohol addiction which meant they would come to work either high or drunk, smelling of alcohol and sometimes barely able to function, it's ridiculous!    It was a shocking surprise which really pissed us off trying to get work done was close to impossible.

People calling in because they were too drunk to come in and we couldn't fire them because then we'd be cleaning 89 rooms on our own....this is where we revert to Workamper's instead of locals, but that we also learn is a gamble as well.

It continues to amaze us, neigh surprise us how people have no or very little work ethics and take advantage of those opportunities left for those less fortunate, but that too will change.

Cleaning in itself is a daily routine, however, when you have 16 rooms to make beds in, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, dust, etc., you quickly find out how out of shape you truly are and how quickly "in shape" you will be.  6 hours a day definitely is a workout!

As the season picks up so do the tours.  Tourists coming from all over the world, Asia, England, Germany, France, Netherlands and more.  Interesting that the Brits are so neat and love coffee, not tea as we all thought, but the little coffee packets left in guests rooms would be gone the next day, however, the coffee pot was never used!  They are also very funny!

The Asian tourists are by far the messiest the French love their bread at breakfast, and they are rude and pushy.

July - August - 2007

We find out that we will be having a movie filmed in the area and the cast and crew will be staying at the Lodge. Of course now Court is in hog heaven to even think that a movie, albeit a low budget film, will be actually filiming here.   It's student's from UCF doing their thesis, making "Monster in the Attic".  They took over the first floor of the 2 story and a few other rooms held their editing equipment, they brought in a private chef who took over the kitchen (what an adventure).

To Court's excitement he was given the opportunity to actually go on set while they were filming.  We became quick friends with most of the cast and crew and will cherish this time forever.

As we go through and start cleaning the rooms, some of them are like walking into a dorm room, crap was everywhere, clothes, scripts, notes, laptops you name it it was there.  We eventually decide to just close the door and move to the next room.

They were at the Lodge for most of the month of July and August leaving just when Western Legends Round-Up started which is an annual event where some of the older western movie actors return for a few days.  This event will become one of our crowning glories and we make friends we'll have forever.

One huge downside of running a hotel is bedbugs.  They arrive shortly after Western Legends.  Bedbugs travel with the person from hotel to hotel and are not a sign of unclean rooms. 

The Bedbug Battle Begins

We inform the General Manager of the infestation and now the battle starts.  With bedbugs depending on the infestation you need to treat not only the infected room but the adjacent rooms as well.  That was a fiasco to say the least.  We had to through out furniture and get new, but what we didn't have control of is where the replacement furniture came from.  Our GM made a trip to Las Vegas and purchased mattresses and furniture (this would come back to haunt us later).  Everything looked nice but little did we know what we would be facing in the coming years.

2007.......Continuing the Experience

2007 ...........picking up where I left off.......
Days come and days go. We seem to be moving along the way we want, rooms are gettting cleaned and the guests are pleased, for the most part. We've lost a few staff but gained ones as well.  It's hard to find staff with good work ethics here, but we manage to get a few good ones and some we have are through the Workamper program.  Workampers are those who live in their RV's and travel from season to season to places across the US, most staying an average of 4 to 7 months at a job, some come back and thankfully some don't (tongue in cheek)!

It's truly amazing how adults who claim to have been executives in a prior occupation are the ones who most likely will break the rules or think they are above the rules.  We have learned so much in this experience - ....I digress, more about this later.

We continue to explore our area, next Zion National Park  the most glorious in it's splendour worth the time you spend exploring and there is plenty to explore.  It is grand experience not to be missed, truly a spiritual adventure and how in awe we were at the massive rock formations, how over thousands of years withstood the sands of time, what stories they could tell. 

Take for example Angel's Landing, it's one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the national park system. Zion's pride and joy runs along a narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides. The trail culminates at a lofty perch, boasting magnificent views in every direction. Rarely is such an intimidating path so frequented by hikers. One would think that this narrow ridge with deep chasms on each of its flanks would allure only the most intrepid of hikers. Climbers scale its big wall; hikers pull themselves up by chains and sightseers stand in awe at its stunning nobility. The towering monolith is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Southwest a hike we never took because well you could very well end up with the Angels, as several people have over the years. It isn't for the faint of heart.

2007 - Catching Up

March 2007
Fast forward..........Picking up where I left off

Okay so let's get you all caught up - hopefully I won't lose anyone along the way.

We made it back to Kanab, Utah safe and sound and ready to buckle down and get back to work.  Already thinking about the changes that we need to implement and realize it won't be easy.  As we settle into our new location at the Hitchin' Post RV Park - the spot I had my eye on since we arrived in Kanab in 2006!  So happy to be here, but at the time little did we know that we'd be moving again in a very short time.

As time goes on we take to exploring a few of the National Parks in the area starting with the Grand Canyon - North Rim.

 I know we already visited it but it was great to be able to get back on our own terms and not be bound by a rental agreement.  The ride to the North Rim takes about 2 hours through the Kaibab National Forest  and Jacob's Lake (there is no lake there)give or take from Kanab and on the trip you are apt to see plenty of wild life. 

One of which I absolutely adore are the Bison on the AZ Route 67. Along the way we saw deer and we think a mountain lion, at least from a distance that's what we thought it was so we'll stick with that.


March 2007 - Piecing it together

March 2007

As I sit here to try to piece together the past 5 years of our lives it's evident we should have kept a diary because I'm certain I won't remember everything but I'll do my's been quite a ride.

Ok - so where were we...right leaving Chicago.............

As we board the train in Chicago to Lafayette we are anxious to get our car out of storage and head back to Kanab.  Weather can be alittle shaky this time of year but we were lucky and didn't run into any problems.

We arrive in Lafayette around 10 pm where Julie and Ron are waiting for us at the Lafayette, Indiana Amtrak station.  Of course there's one stop we have to make before we go home and that's to The Pub (which is now closed) and have a drink.  It's late so there aren't too many people still there but worth the stop anyway.

On to Julie's to settle in for the night...we have a lot to do in a short period of time.  Morning and we head out to get the car and change storage units to a smaller one, then out and about to visit friends - we leave in a couple of days.

Ok - so here we go again back on the road to Kanab.  The ride back was again uneventful except for a little wind OF COURSE!  Before we left to get our car we moved to the Hitch N Post RV Park, a much, much better place than Crazy Horse, so we are happy to be back especially to our kids, Bud and Fuzzle.  Leaving the kids for 10 days was hard, but we knew they were well taken care of.

March 2007 - 4:00 AM Up for the Train

4 am comes awful early, especially after a night of celebration....but knowing that we'll be on a train for the next 38 hours, we'll be able to sleep and rest so off we go.

Roadway Inn - Flagstaff, AZ
Everything is packed and we head to the car to load up and head to the station, which is only a few blocks away.  While checking to make sure we have everything we have notice one bag was left behind, the most important one because it held our train tickets.  Court heads back to the room, puts the card key in the slot and it doesn't open the door.  He tries over and over but nothing happens - okay so we look at the window to see if we can jack that open to get and we can't so we start freaking out, just alittle.  We head over to the motel office and on the window it states they are closed until 6 am, this won't work because as I said our train leaves at 6 am.  So we start banging on the door, ringing the bell over and over and banging on the window.

The clerk comes to this little window and begins to tell us they are closed so we frantically tell him what's happened and he FINALLY gives us another key to try and it works!!!!  Let's get going....

Flagstaff, AZ
So we arrive at the station with plenty of time to spare thank God, I just hate being late for anything.....

Our train arrives Amtrak Santa Fe Super Chief.  We didn't get a suite we just took regular seats and since it wasn't full we each had 2 seats for which we could stretch out on and sleep at night. The trip was both exciting and uneventful making several depot stops along the way......

Depot in Albuquerque, NM
Stopover in Kansas City, Missouri

Rounding the bend
ending in Chicago for the night we get into Union Station. 

We decided to extend the trip and stay in Chicago for the night, something we did alot when we lived in Indiana.  We would take the Amtrak from Lafayette to Chicago and just explore. 

We stayed at the Chicago Hyatt and walked Michigan Avenue "The Magnificent Mile" which I always loved to do.
So many cool things to look at.....and of course our visit wouldn't be complete if we didn't eat at the Billy Goat Tavern.   

(Taken from the Billy Goat web site)
Ever hear of the "Curse of the Billy Goat," also known as the Cubs Curse?

Do you recall the Saturday Night Live sketch in which a short order cook would yell out to incoming patrons:

"Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!"?

All of the above have one thing in common: the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern, a Chicago legend since 1934

As I said before, we used to go to Chicago quite often so we are no strangers to the town including walking Lower Wacker Drive and all the way down to Navy Pier, etc., but this time was different.  We started walking from our hotel and wanted to do our regular route but along came this guy, as soon as we left the hotel he was right behind us.  We get past the Wrigley Building and head to the Billy Goat and he's still behind us, which really wouldn't be too odd, but all of a sudden I decided to turn around and ask what his deal was.  He asked if we were from here and being pretty savvy to these things we said yes we where and he said not to worry he didnt' have a gun and Court immediately said he had one on him and with that the guy just walked away.

Needless to say we no longer felt as secure, safe and confident as we had in the past so instead of spending more time than needed we just went to the Billy Goat, had dinner and headed back to the hotel.    In all the years we have been going to Chicago, this was the first time we didn't feel comfortable.  So to bed we go - off to Lafayette to get the car and visit some friends - then back to Utah

March 2007 - From Kanab to Lafayette, Indiana and Back

We've been working long enough to save enough money to go back and get our car out of storage in Lafayette, Indiana.  We decide to take Amtrak from Flagstaff, Arizona to Chicago to Lafayette.

Our journey begins on an early morning in March, 2007.  Our boss takes us to Page, Arizona and to the airport to pick up a rental to go to Flagstaff.  We luck out and get a convertible Mustang - RED, absolutely beautiful and the weather was perfect to have the top down.  It takes about 3 hours to get to Flag and the train didn't leave until 6 am the next day anyway, so we were able to take our time and go through the Grand Canyon South Rim (we still like the North Rim better).

Flagstaff, Arizona is home to Northern Arizona University  so there are several bars full of college students and it was a blast.  There are a few old, really old historic hotels in town that we would have stayed at, but we were on a budget so we stayed at the least expensive one for us this time - maybe we'll stay at the others another time.