Viva Jalisco!


The Great Utah Adventure Extravaganza Rendezvous
September 30, 2011

Welcome, blogger visitor people! We are so delighted to have you back for the Great Utah Adventure Extravaganza Rendezvous (or GUAER for short!) with the nutty Niednagels and terrifying Thomases! You will not be disappointed that you came! Well, you might be, but who cares!

Anyway, I think I set a new blog record with close to 150 pictures here. So, you may want to put the kids to bed before you start, or if you're a kid, you may want to hide under your bed with a laptop.

Enjoy the music! I figured it should either be Mexican or Mormon, so I chose Mexican!

And here we go!

September, 2011 Video Blog

Three Amigos!


I think Utah is this way, guys. I could be wrong.

The drive is like 16 hours, so we stopped in Denver, Colorado, to spend a night with the Roach family! Thank you so much for the sweet hospitality. That night we played 4-square together till past midnight. I hadn't played 4-square since the 4th grade. Didn't rule like I used to.

Heading off in the morning. Yeah, those are my sweet rental wheels. 30-something miles to the gallon, baby! Only negative is if you get in an accident ... the car is so small they'd have to check your dental records to identify you.

Drove through a bunch of these underground tunnels in Colorado. Pretty neato.

Our pad! This 3-bedroom condo was really nice with a pool and tennis court and lots of space. Well done, my dear wife, for finding it!

Our first desert trek! William's getting pretty heavy these days. An inspiration for daddy to keep in shape.

And here we have Melly Belly ... excuse me, Mella Bella (I told her I'd try to work on that), sitting on a fence with a lovely desert landscape in the background. Say hi, Melanie.

And here we have Mr. Matthew Thomas on a bad hair day with Philly Huntington strapped to his back. Hello, Matthew.

Oh look! It is the always affable, continually cordially Micaiah Thomas! Hah, it appears as though he is carrying that entire mountain on his hands, but don't be fooled! It is only an illusion! That is funny, Micaiah! Good to see you!

I'm sick of cheesily detailing each person, so here's a group shot.

My lovely bride. I really can't begin to describe the scenery. Surreal, inspiring, overwhelming, God-praising. You could vividly picture the flood waters rapidly receding to create these amazing structures.

She's so cute, I just had to add another.

Hello Michael and Bekah (and Jack)!

I added the black bars for effect. Tell me that isn't astonishing.

Everywhere you looked was a photograph to be taken.

Philip did so well in his backpack. He told me he felt like Saul among the baggage.

These arches are called "Windows Arches." That's Matthew at the bottom for perspective.

That's Michael on the right ... for perspective.

Observe carefully. What does that look like to you? "March of the elephants."

I point out to Micaiah how I see it as one big elephant head half-submerged under water.

He points out how it looks like the entire elephant body with legs and all. Yeah whatever.

Uncle Johnny! You may recall that he accompanied us for a few days on our Virginia trip in 2009, and we were blessed to have him stop by once again! Sure provides a ton of laughs.

I think they're related.

Just, just, just amazing.

Praise you, Lord!

Another look.

Oh no! Micaiah hath slipped upon the rock and is only moments away from imminent death! Somebody help!

It is Matthew to the rescue! Mathew has his hand! But wait! He is being pulled over the side! Oh no! Hold on, Matthew! Oh no! Mathew is gone. They both are no longer with us. Rest in peace, brothers.

Michael Malachi Thomas.

Those dots are Melanie and Pa.

I desperately tried not to laugh as I went past this father and son debating. "Just put your foot down! I've got you!" - "It's scary, dad!!! Don't rush me!!!" That brat just needed a good toss.

It's now the next day and we're en route to our next destination ... a lovely waterfall. On the way we passed by these amazingly clear petroglyphs. Not exactly sure what we're doing here. Something tribal.

The water hole! Freezing, but it was hot that day and felt great.

The Three Tarzans. Check out how I made the water pass over the black bars on the top and bottom. Total accident in Photoshop and I have no idea how to recreate it.

Dumb and dumber.

Pa and Pilipo.

"Me, Chief Starving Elk, and two slaves search mountains for wives."

"We make pact with woman tribe. I take woman for wife. I walk on slave."

I know I've seen these exact petroglyphs in my old history books from school. Just amazing to have them right in front of you to see and touch.

Apparently those circular objects are shields. I guess none of them majored in art.

Melanie looks strangely nervous. It is only because ...

...she stands atop THE CLIFFS OF INSANITY!

You go girl! Nose-hold and all!

Good job, sis. Way to be right brain.

Michael takes the plunge.

Good ol' Pa, just enjoying the day away from the office.

Planking ... right-side-up, I guess.

Not exactly sure how to comment on this one. It was Michael's idea and I just went with it.

Kind of an awkward, uncomfortable family picture, but why not.

The Thomases. Rebekah is due at the end of November! Yep! None of us own TVs!

Love the lighting on this one. Love you even more, my dear.

Sometimes you just have to MAKE William smile.

Ma just has a gift for making friends with hippie locals (I think she was one in another life). Anyway, she bought these way-to-cool sunglasses off this gal.

A mundane picture, but one worth remembering. My sweet, innocent wife accidentally dropped our camera midway through the week, and we were certain our photographic aspirations for the rest of our time were done for. I noticed it was broken while walking the streets of Moab one night, and I was so down about it ... until then, I kid you not, I looked to my left and lo and behold, there stood a Nikon/Cannon store! "Holy cow!" I exclaimed. And there was like only 5 minutes till closing! I quickly brought the camera in, and by the next morning the guy had it fixed for $80! Thank you, Lord!

It's a pool party! Ok, not the biggest, deepest pool ever, but it was cool and wet. lol, it was actually small enough to do a whirlpool in, which we did! Fun times!

Nice, Matthew.

I love flying shots.

Melanie beneath the waves. I just can't tell you how gratifying this was.

What are these strange indentations in the rock, I wonder? I believe they are primitive golf holes.

That is a very large primitive golf hole.

Dinosaur tracks! Allosaur tracks, to be more specific. The one above with William was made by some type of large sauropod (ala diplodocus).

We filled it with water to better reveal the three toes. This was pretty exciting for me. I loved studying dinosaurs all throughout my teens, but had never experienced actual tracks before. Surreal. (everyone like my sandal tan?)

One day Michael and I will take our boys to find LIVING dinosaurs in the Likouala Swamps of Africa. Hey, did you notice there's Michael and Jack son, and then going to the right it's Michael and Jordan. I'll bet you didn't notice that.

"My dad can beat up your dad."

This was the coolest tree ever. Don't know the kind, but it was just out by itself in the middle of nowhere.

The fam, with a Portuguese exchange student in the back wearing the purple hat.

Michael takes a picture as we enter the White Mountains to call upon the Dead Men of Dunharrow to fulfill their oath and fight for the armies of Aragorn. (these are actually the slot canyons)

The walls look like butter. People die in here from flash floods. I was ready to outrun Michael.

Baby-carriers ... the #1 attribute of sister-in-laws.

Doing this while I still can do it.

Spider Mancaiah.

Instead of kindly lending her my hand, I decide to take a picture.

Hello sweety.

Check out these holes in the mountain. Totally Lords of the Ringish.

Perfect cubby holes.

Ma is one of those rare people who look younger as they get older (you should have seen her in the 90s! Fro mama!). :-)

Tried to set the camera up for a family picture. Could be worse.

We head back ... very slowly.

Gollum takes a nap.

Here's that awesome tree again. You have now only experienced half of GUAER (Great Utah Adventure Extravaganza Rendezvous!)! Continue on by clicking the link below! (if you dare)

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