Tom and I welcomed two friends to Pipe Spring, which was actually two more than we were expecting. One friend was touring the national parks in the area and the other works at the national parks. Both visits were very nice surprises. The first friend, Sherrilyn, didn’t actually come to the park. Instead, we met her outside Zion National Park at the Thunderbird Restaurant.
Sherrilyn and I have been friends since the beginning of high school when we both sang in the church choir and drove my mother (the director) crazy. She was one of the bridesmaids in my wedding. She recently retired and has been traveling more. Because her cousin lives in Flagstaff, she took a couple of weeks to come visit him, see the parks, and visit us as the same time.
We met Sherrilyn and Pat (her cousin) at the Thunderbird Restaurant in Mt. Caramel Junction. Caramel Junction is quite the happening place with lots of tour buses, RVs, and other visitors to Zion turning off US 89 and onto UT 9 to go to Zion. Sherrilyn and Pat stayed the night in Kanab, hiked in Zion for a few hours, and then met us.
Tom and I wanted to eat at the Thunderbird Restaurant. We have driven by it lots of times on our way to other places. It has big signs that say “Home of the Ho-Made Pies.” The signs are so blatantly sexist that they end up being funny instead of insulting. Usually. But homemade pie? I’m there every time!
We ordered sandwiches which were good, but not great. And then we eagerly ordered dessert. I ordered the mixed berry pie and Sherrilyn got the coconut cream. Tom had to be different and got a brownie sundae. The filling and ice cream on my pie were very good but the crust was a little tough. I wouldn’t recommend going there just for the pie. Tom’s brownie had way too much ice cream – he had a hard time finding the brownie!
The food was disappointing but the company was not. I enjoyed talking to Sherrilyn and Pat and getting caught up. Retirement is a big step and there is always a time of transition. I was thankful that Sherrilyn felt we were important enough to take time out of her vacation to see.
Just a couple of days later I got a Facebook message from Ranger Alex from Death Valley. She was going to be in Springdale with her parents who were on vacation. They were thinking about taking a break from the crowds and coming to Pipe Spring. Alex had been here before, but her parents had not. We encouraged her to come on down and set up a time to meet.
Alex is from Canton, Ohio, which gave us something in common when we worked at Death Valley. She was a seasonal ranger when we worked there, but has since gotten a full-time position. We enjoyed meeting her parents who are our age and catching up on her life and our mutual acquaintances. Tom and I showed them all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Alex was as amazed as we are about the number of staff here at Pipe Spring. She kept wanting to know how we could afford all the staff. Tom and I don’t know – we are just volunteers!
We spent a couple of hours with Alex and her parents, about the same amount of time we spent with Sherrilyn and Pat. Fortunately the amount of time doesn’t matter with friends. Any time we can spend together strengthens our ties to one another.