From a bunch of firsts, we now head off to explore our seconds.  Or in this case, two new parks: City of Rocks National Reserve and Minidoka National Historic Site, both in Idaho.  City of Rocks (City Of Rocks National Reserve (U.S. National Park Service) ( is a geologic wonder that was used by the early pioneers as a landmark along their journey along the California Trail.  It is an area with huge spires of granite that reminded the emigrants of the ancient ruins of Athens or Rome.  Minidoka (Minidoka National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) ( was the site of a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII where thousands of American-born citizens of Japanese descent living on the west coast were held for months or years.  They were given 2 weeks to get their affairs in order before being removed from their homes and/or businesses and placed here.


Then we had visits with two families we had not seen in years, our niece Kayla and our sister-in-law Misty, and their children. It includes two new family members, a grandniece and grandnephew that we have never met, and Misty’s second daughter which rounds out their family to an even two girls and two boys.


No night would be complete without two desserts for Dave, a cookie from Perkins and ice cream from Wendy’s.  (Kathy is too shy to mention the chocolate licorice that she got for herself in addition to the Wendy’s ice cream…)


A flurry of firsts:  Our trip to Salt Lake City was our first trip since we came back from Ecuador.  Our first trip in a while that we did not have the initial flight cancelled.  Our first granddaughters, Karli and Asia, graduated from high school.  And the first time we came to Salt Lake City and were not able to see Mom, Frieda, or Doc and Rebecca.  So while some of our firsts made us jubilant and proud, others made us feel a void. All in all, though, it was a great visit to SLC.  We spent time visiting family and friends and did a great hike up American Fork Canyon to Pine Hollow.


We now head off to drive to Eugene, Oregon, to visit Jill and Shea.  Along the way, we plan on stopping at multiple national park sites that we have never been to before. It will be fun to add some more firsts to add to our growing list of firsts.



January 20, 2022 through January January 27, 2022

Days 2 – 10 in isolation.  Dave survives!

So many song lyrics went through Dave’s brain during these days:

  • “I gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing I EVER do.” – The Animals
  • “Stuck inside these four walls. Sent inside forever.  Never seeing no one.” – Paul McCartney and Wings
  • “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane. Ain’t got time to take a fast train.  Lonely days are gone, I’m a’going home.  My doctor, she wrote me a letter!” – The Boxtops

And finally:

  • “Start speading the news. I’m leaving today!  I want to be a part of it: New York, New York.” – Frank Sinatra

The 10 days were not easy.  Dave tried to get something besides room service for his meals, but could not get Uber Eats to accept his credit card.  The hotel agreed to go to a nearby grocery store to get some supplies for him, but after a couple of days, Dave found out they thought he had cancelled his request.  When his request for bread, peanut butter, and jelly was filled by the kindly staff, his “bread” was packaged melba toast and the peanut butter was about ¼ cup full.  Dave was grateful for the effort.  The hotel staff was very accommodating and extra nice during the entire ordeal.

The good parts of being in isolation?  He caught up on his email.  He finished the interesting book that Kathy had given him.  Plus, he didn’t wear pants for days on end!

After 5 days, the doctor arrived and examined Dave.  She pronounced him well and recovered from COVID.  That means he could fly home.  Unfortunately, she also took another swab and that still showed him as positive, so no traveling for another 5 days.  “Then, depression set in.”  (Cue the music from the movies “Stripes.”)


January 28, 2022 – Fingers crossed!

On day 10, the letter from the doctor authorizing him to travel arrived!  But, would the airport and airline accept it without a negative test?  Dave grew frustrated combing through the various rules that varied between the US authorities, the Ecuador authorities, the airport security, and the airlines.  Each had a different policy and often that policy depended on who you were speaking with.  Dave figured he would cross that bridge when he arrived at it.  In the meantime, Dave went outside and breathed fresh air for the first time in 10 days.  He enjoyed the sunshine on his face (until an hour later when it started raining!)

He took a taxi to the airport at 10 PM, was allowed to enter and spoke with an airline rep who would accept the doctor’s letter.  When he finally got to the counter to get his boarding pass, though, the ticket agent looked concerned.  He took the letter and showed it to his coworkers.  Finally, he showed it to the airline rep who he had spoken with earlier and was satisfied that he could let Dave board.  Hooray!  He made it back to the US and was welcomed into Kathy’s arms about 4 PM.