Thursday, August 15, 2019


I know that people who have read this blog for a long time will appreciate when I say that last Friday I played bingo with the Knights of Columbus.

What does a gal do when she realizes that all of her dreams have come true?

I went up to Oregon to visit the fam (questions: how in the world do more Knechts now live in Oregon, OREGON!?!, instead of California. It's a real mystery, folks.) Before I left I checked out things to do in the area because I don't like for people to have to plan to entertain me when I travel. And, it has been a bit of a whirlwind summer for me with a lot of visitors and a lot of fun but a couple of weeks ago my dad had a medical thing that none of us saw coming (he's doing great now) and it's been a little stressful. So I was more than happy to lounge about and play with the kids all weekend but I thought I would have some ideas in case we wanted to get some fresh Oregon air. I stumbled upon the Polk County Fair. Polk County neighbors Marion County where the gang all live so it was nearby and looked charming.

I did not expect half of the charm I got. Because the Polk County Fair is like stepping back in time. A time where cotton candy costs $1.50. You can tell that we were all just a little too used to California prices because I found myself shouting, "Snow cones are $1.50!!! SNOW CONES FOR EVERYONE!!!" I think a snow cone at the LA County Fair is $10. The only thing you can get at that fair for $1.50 is 6 turns on the foot massagers and that's it. (I will say this till I die, those foot massagers are the greatest $0.25 you will ever spend. Also, there are no foot massagers at the Polk County Fair because it is in the past.) The Polk County Fair is probably a whole lot closer to most county fairs. I've only ever been to the LA and OC county fairs so what do I know about small town charm?

Come to think of it, I have never even been to my own county fair. I actually live on the very edge of San Bernardino County and it is the largest county in the nation. (Don't be too impressed, it is mostly desert and people who like to live alone in trailers in the desert.)(Does a quick google search) It's in May in Victorville. Look, I'm not opposed to going to Victorville, I'd just like to know how many foot massagers they have before I make the drive.

Okay, back to Polk County. It was incredibly tiny, like maybe it would fit in a football field. There was one exhibition hall, a stage and several long stables for animals being shown by FFA kids. There were maybe 200 people there, most of them showing animals or cheering on the kids showing animals. But what it lacked in size (and fried food, whither all the fried things on a stick, Polk County Fair?) it made up in things like: a very large quilt display, with the women who made many of the quilts sitting at tables in front of them and talking about quilting; a cutest baby competition; a kids talent show that had some kid dressed up as a ring master singing from the Greatest Showman; and regular animal judging, we caught the pig competition. Does anyone else always say, "That's some pig!" whenever they see a pig? From Charlotte's Web?

The two real highlights though were,

1. Free monster truck rides. (" MONSTER TRUCK RIDES FOR EVERYONE!!!) Graham was STOKED OUT OF HIS MIND! He is going through a really big monster truck phase right now. And it totally lived up to all of his expectations. We sped around the track and did donuts and Graham could not contain his glee. I could hear him laughing over the roar of the engine. It was the most joyous thing I've ever witnessed.

2. The Knights of Columbus hosted a bingo tent. THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HOSTED A BINGO TENT! And the Grand Knight himself was the caller. I tried to explain to him how this is kind of a big deal for me. Like, that picture of Graham in front of the tire is how I was feeling on the inside when I was playing bingo. I think he thought I was teasing, but you all know how sincere I am when it comes to fraternal orders. Lindsay, Susie, and I all put in our $2 (for 3 cards. BINGO FOR EVERYONE!!!) and Lindsay won. But I really think I was the big winner because the Grand Knight shared story after story about all of his famous relations who helped settle Oregon (his great, great grandfather settled Tillamook, of the ice cream and cheese fame.) And I convinced him to let me take a picture of him to commemorate this magical night

It was truly a magical place. I still love the LA County Fair but I've never played bingo there. 

And now, for some pictures:

The only fried food we found. An elephant ear, a giant scone slathered with butter and cinnamon and sugar. Apparently they're a thing in Oregon.

Is it too unrealistic a dream to try to go to all the county fairs? Yes. But wouldn't it be great to try?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ole' Toothless Magee

A few years ago I had a dreadful dental experience that included hours of drilling, a dental dam that made it impossible to close my mouth for 3 hours, and an assistant who was not very conscientious about suctioning, so I literally felt like I was drowning while a drill worked its way down to the depths of my soul. Fun! All of my dental visits since then have just been for cleanings and I can handle that. I went about my life convinced that if anything went wrong with my teeth I would just let them all fall out and I could take on a kicky nickname like Ole' Toothless Magee. Well, one molar decided to test that resolve and broke clean in half in January. On a piece of pineapple. The most pernicious of all tropical fruits. I decided then and there that I didn't have it in me to be Ole' Toothless Magee and that I needed to find a new dentist and start fresh.

Enter Dr. C. He was on my list of providers, had good reviews on Yelp, and his office was less than a mile from my home. There is one very important thing you need to know about him: he's a Disney fanatic. I mean, every inch of his wall is covered in Disney memorabilia. His biggest dream is to purchase an old People Mover car and put it in his lobby. He works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide. Wait, I'm going to repeat that because maybe you just skimmed over it: he's a 50-something year old dentist with two practices who works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide because he loves it so much. I mean, I certainly do love Disneyland and I have often thought it would be fun to be a Jungle Cruise guide, but that's after I retire and before I begin my life as a Palm Springs eccentric.

He also is the type of guy who laughs at his own jokes. He thinks he's the funniest guy on the planet. This is what makes him truly funny, rather than his jokes. And I have to say, it's the best characteristic to have in a dentist. There was a lot of drilling for that broken tooth and I was really nervous going into it but once he started cracking dad jokes and then laughing his head off over them all of the nerves went away. 

But he took it to a new level yesterday. I had to go in to have a filling replaced which meant more drilling. (Fun fact: when my teeth are being drilled there is a very distinct odor of nacho cheese Doritos. Neither Dr. C or his assistant could smell it but I've smelled it every time. Is that what my teeth smell like on this inside? I want you to image the moment, because it's bound to happen, when I'm in a new situation and I'm a bit nervous and have to share interesting things about myself and I blurt out, "My teeth smell like Doritos.")(I digress.) When Dr. C came into the room he turned on a classic rock station, and you would think that listening to Welcome to the Jungle would be stressful when the drilling began, but it wasn't. It was actually kind of funny and very fitting. A few more songs played and then, near the end of the drilling, Cypress Hill's Jump Around came on. Now, this song is objectively great. Everyone loves it. And you can't sit still when it's on. But I was in a position not conducive to dancing, that being fully reclined in a dental chair with two pairs of hands shoving instruments into my mouth, one of them a live drill. And yet, when it comes on I manage to garble out "Yeah!" and start tapping my foot. Both Dr. C and his assistant start bopping their heads and mumbling the words through their masks. Then it gets to the jump-jump-jump part of the song and Dr. C removes the drill and starts jumping around. I'm lying on my back with the water thingy and suction still in my mouth, surrounded by Disney princess pictures, Jump Around is blaring through the speakers, and my dentist is raising the roof and laughing at himself, all with the smell of nacho cheese Doritos in the air.

I'm officially over my fear of the dentist.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Quilt for every Occasion

I've said it here before and I'll say it again: I don't care for Halloween. For the reasons that 1.) I don't like scary things or the glorification of them, 2.) I don't care about dressing up, and 3.) I can buy my own candy, thank you very much. So around September of each year I find myself starting to get a little cranky about it. Like, why do people have to hang bloody severed heads on their front porch, like on a house I saw recently? And why does every channel on TV except for Hallmark show nothing but creepy shows for the entire month of October. The whole month is a gauntlet of horror for delicate flowers such as myself.

Things were no different this year and a few weeks back I found myself feeling grumpy about it all. But I don't like to feel grumpy! Aren't there enough things in the world to put me into a funk? I should not let a dumb holiday do that to me. So instead of succumbing to it I decided to combat it...with crafts! Making things has a real magical power over me. It's hard to be cranky when you're making something fun and cute. I headed out to the fabric store with the intent of just strolling for ideas and I came how with bag full of yardage and started making myself a Halloween quilt.

It should be noted that I have zero use for a Halloween quilt. It never gets cold enough for snuggling under a blanket until well into November. In fact, it's been over 85 the entire time I've been working on it. But I got it into my head that it's what I wanted to do and there was no stopping me. I found a cute idea online and set out to recreate it. Because I'm dumb. What do I know about quilting? Practically nothing. I've made a few in my time but most were really basic, and a long time ago. It's been ages! Also, it involved triangles and I literally failed geometry in high school. But I had a vision, for crying out loud. And a love of learning how to do new things, and confidence in my ability to figure things out, and a seam ripper. What more does a girl need?

And it turned out cuter than I even imagined!

Witches hats! It's hard to tell from this picture but there's a lot of metallic and sparkle in it too. It's backed with minky so it's really soft. It is also a mess. I mean, really, this would not even earn me a nice-try ribbon at the fair. The quilting is wonky and the puckers are abundant BUT it's cute and I love it.  And making it was good for my soul. I loved the whole, very long process, even the ironing. I did a test run with the bias tape on an extra square I had and when I finished I held it up in the air and said, "I am a sewing genius!" even though women have been binding quilts with their own bias tape for centuries. Get over yourself, Rachel. But still, I felt like the craftiest of all crafters. Like Amish women were going to send me invitations to join their next quilting bee.  

And now I want to make a quilt for every occasion. I don't have room to store all the quilts I want to make, and again, Southern California heat. But whatever. Crafters gonna craft. If the Amish don't come through with their invitation who wants to start a quilting guild with me?

PS. Remember how way back in January I was lamenting about how kids today probably don't know who the Talking Heads are and how I was introduced to them on KROQ when they would play Psycho Killer but that I was pretty sure they don't play that anymore. Well guess what I heard on KROQ this morning...Psycho Killer! It was a Halloween Miracle! 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Murder Most Foul (Wait...that's Hamlet)

Well, schools have started back up and California is on fire so that means we're in August. I've told you my thoughts on August before, right? It is best represented by that child you see in line at Disneyland at about 10pm. She is crying on her dad's shoulder. She is exhausted from hours of over-stimulation. She has been on every ride and eaten one too many churros. She just wants her bed but she must press on because her parents have spent an outrageous amount of money for her to have the memories!  THAT is August. 

But also, my birthday is in August so la, la, la! Let's drink Slurpees! 

My dad and I had talked about going up to the Utah Shakespeare Festival for a few days but then life happened and we never finalized any plans. But Othello called, as it always does, so, just because it seemed like a crazy thing to do, and because we were limited on time, we decided that we would leave very early in the morning, drive the 6 hours to Cedar City, watch the matinee, then drive the 6 hours back. So we did. And I know it sounds crazy. Who wants to spend 12 hours in a car to see a play? But sometimes you just need to do things like that. Because it will be fun and you'll have memories. Isn't that reason enough? And you guys, it was totally worth it. We both have been to many shows there and agreed that this was the best production we had seen. It was staged in their smallest theater and even though we were bunched up in the far corner we were still only 4 rows away from the action. I'll just say that being 20 feet away from a woman being strangled to death in her bed by her jealous husband is...intense. The play ended with bodies strewn across the stage, we hopped back in the car and got on the highway, only briefly stopping to pick up some dinner and then to check out the totally random Eddie World in exotic Yermo, CA. The conversation was great, we listened to good music, we watched a fantastic play and ended the day with ice cream. What could be better?

Hey, speaking of murder... (I shouldn't be so flippant about murder but a segue is a segue.)

I love this shot of the house my family stayed in for our reunion in Oregon because it looks both charming (the dock! the kayaks! the lights on the deck!) and also - because of the angle and the looming dusk - slightly nefarious, like muuuuurder is about to happen. This is totally the shot in a summer movie where a group of friends gather to reminisce about old times that says, "Meanwhile, back at the house, SOMEONE IS ABOUT TO DIE!"

Reader, we lived. But no thanks to the army of spiders that hung in every window. The spiders!

I've thought about doing a whole post about the reunion but here's the thing, it would just be me being all, "My family is great!" And you already know this. So I'll show you some pictures, how about that:

There were games

and hootenannies

and footraces

and service projects

and secret gardens

and dock jumping

and babes in hot tubs

and family pictures

It looks like we did a ton but the bulk of our time involved us sitting around talking and laughing. To wit, my family is great.

I'm going to say something about dock jumping. There is a hierarchy of preferable bodies of water in which to swim. It is, from best to worst:

1. Pool (clean, regulated temps, proximity to spa)
2. Ocean (waves, wee!)
3. River (continual replenishment of fresh water, although depths and temps are questionable)
4. Lake (gross)
5. Reservoir (gross, plus trees in shallow water with dead fish on limbs)

I have been in all of these this summer. And jumping off the dock at dusk was a thrill. But touching down at the bottom of the lake the thought came to me, "Well that was really fun but now I am wearing socks made from thousands of years of fish poop."

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A New Muumuu Destination

You:  "Hey Rachel, what have you been up to?"
Me: "Oh, you know. Not writing."

You guys, for six months I haven't written a thing! Not on this blog, no short stories, no emotional rants scrawled on any random notebook while sitting in the Target parking lot (I have done this, I will admit, more than once.) Sure I've written in my journal like any good Mormon girl but that's about it. And here's the thing, I need to write. When I joke that writing is my one talent I kind of mean it. Because it's the one thing I've always known I was good at from a really young age and not doing it makes me feel like I'm not living up to my potential. No one actually lives up to their potential. That thing is limitless. But I still like to give it the old college try. Although that's not a great turn of phrase in this instance considering that, even though I wrote constantly in college, it was mostly analyses on the Romantic poets or a comparison of the book and film of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I got an A on even though what I really wanted to write was, "Both were awful.The End." I don't think I mentioned Prince a single time in any of my college papers.

So I'm writing again. We'll have a party to celebrate. You eat a piece a cake and I'll eat a piece of cake and we'll both, at a designated time, thrown confetti in the air. And then I'll get back to writing. I'm not making promises people (all 3 of you) but maybe from time to time I'll put some little nugget up here, mostly to remind myself that I love it.

Speaking of cake I had the best, hands down, no competition, piece of cake I've ever had in my entire life. Purchased at a place called Rosine's in Monterey, CA. Eaten, primarily, on the road out of the plastic container it came in. I find most cake to be just okay. It's not moist enough or there's too much frosting. But this was a giant, chocolate piece of perfection.

Also on the perfection list: Monterey. Have you been? Gosh it's pretty. I went for the first time this weekend after a disappointing several hours in Santa Cruz (which will forever be known as NotMonterey, CA) The dramatic beaches! The abundance of funky looking cypress trees! The frolicking baby seals and otters! The proximity to Doris Day's house over the hill in Carmel! I mean, it's really the best. I've always thought I would spend my golden muu-muu years in Palm Springs but now I'm reconsidering. I would have to learn how to golf, of course, but I'd have to do that in the desert too. The level of Elegant Leisure is on par (see, I'm using golf lingo already!) with Newport RI but this is West Coast Elegant Leisure, which allows for flip flops and tacos.

Monterey came at the end of a two week blitz of travel. I was in Zion National Park for girls camp (hot, hot, more hot, and fun) then a week later I was in Oregon for a Knecht-fest that deserves its own post (21 Knechts, one house). And then a long drive down the coast through the Redwoods, loads of vineyards, the Bay Area, NotMonterey and Monterey (I used the bathrooms at Pebble Beach. Deluxe!) a quick stop off in Salinas to pay homage to John Steinbeck even though he hated the place, then home. I have been luxuriating in my own bed every night since. The joys of sleeping in your own bed after many nights of things that are not your bed, and things that couldn't even be considered a bed, cannot be overstated. I will say though that buying the World's Largest Cot and lugging it all the way to Utah for girls camp because I flat-out refuse to ever sleep on an air mattress again was one of my better decisions.

Here's a picture of me as Frodo Baggins leaving the Shire.

And here is the freakiest tree knot you've ever seen.

And here's Clark. Because what the world needs now, more than ever, is Clark.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Letting the Days Go By

1. Have you heard of Choir! Choir! Choir!? (That's what it's called, I'm not just shouting it three times at you.) It's a sing-along where you practice the back-up harmonies to a song for an hour and then you sing it all together, sometimes with a famous musician on lead vocals. I'm dying for them to come to LA. I miss singing with strangers. Well they had one recently where David Byrne sang David Bowie's Hero and you guys, if ever there was a moment where a Wealthy Benefactor would have come in handy it would have been this moment so I could have flitted off to New York to sing back-up with David Byrne. I would have BEEN THERE. Because I love sing-alongs and I love David Bowie and I love David Byrne. So much in fact, that a few months ago I had this really depressing realization that kids today don't know who the Talking Heads are. And I started to panic about that. The internal monologue went something like this: (A Talking Heads song shuffles on) "Man, I really love the Talking Heads. Does anyone not love them? Wait, that would assume that everyone knows the Talking Heads. They're old. People my age surely know them, right? But kids? I found them in the 80s because they played Psycho Killer on KROQ all the time but kids don't listen to the radio these days. And I'm sure KROQ doesn't even play them anymore. Kids are certainly not googling '70s and 80s new wave groups' when they're looking for new music. And what if their parents don't know the Talking Heads?! It's a parent's responsibility to introduce kids to old music they would otherwise miss. KIDS TODAY WILL NEVER KNOW THE TALKING HEADS!!! (end scene.) I'm going to start driving around town with my windows down and Mr. Jones blaring from my puny speakers so that the Youth of America can be informed. I'm around the Youth of America all day long for crying in the mud. From 6 AM to sometimes 6 PM I am with the young. I should be doing my part. My seminary kids are going to be so well versed in the Talking Heads catalog. Anyway, here's David Byrne and several really lucky ducks singing Hero:

2. Have you seen The Post? It was a great movie. But the best thing about it, by far, was Meryl Streep's caftan.

Behold the glory of it!  This isn't doing it the least bit of justice because you have to see it in motion. It's like she's wearing a shimmery cloud. She wears it for quite a few scenes and the whole time I kept thinking, "This is as close to perfection as any shapeless lounge-wear will ever get." It is magnificent. I hope to be wearing something similar when you visit me in my retirement in Palm Springs in 25 years. 

3. You know how loads of girl names were once boy names. Leslie and Tracy and Ashley and Beverly were all once 100% boy names and now are 100% girl names. This is a trend that has gone on forever and will continue to do so. But names are skewing older now. Which means that parents who follow the trend of giving their daughters traditional boy names are now giving them old man names, as shown by this article Katie came across. You should really see the whole list but I'll give you the highlights and then you too can wonder, "Were they high or something?" (all from births in 2015): there were 205 girls named Ezra (like the Old Testament prophet?), 97 named Ira (was she born with hair coming out of her ears and eating a tuna sandwich?), 65 were named Asa (I hope she got 500 heads of cattle at her christening). There are some Declans, which, I don't know why you would name your daughter after the Irish exchange student you had a crush on in high school but okay. And some Reeds, who will definitely all become accountants who wears polos every Friday, even though very few women actually look good in a polo. But my personal favorite is Uriah. There are 28 2-year-old girls toddling around America with the name Uriah. We could just assume that these parents really love the Dickens classic David Copperfield and connect on a deep level with the villain Uriah Heep. But I'm not sure even my love for Dickens would bring me to give any child, let alone a daughter, a name that sounds like something you'd have to have your urologist check out. 

Monday, November 20, 2017


I came home from work today and didn't have any piano lessons because I gave my kids the week off to sit and contemplate how grateful they are that I'm the type of teacher who doesn't make them do recitals. (Although I have to tell you that a couple of weeks ago I had two consecutive students in tears. They showed up that way and I had to throw out every trick I know to get them to cheer up and play the piano for 30 minutes.) And I don't have a seminary lesson to plan because we don't have class this week and here I am facing an evening free of all responsibility. I don't even have to cook dinner because Katie's got that covered. I'm living in a dream right now.

So I thought I'd pop on to this poor old neglected blog to tell you that this morning I saw an RIP sticker for Paul Walker on a brand new car. The RIP sticker has finally gone out of style here, so I was surprised to see it in the first place. But then doubly surprised that it was for Paul Walker. Because a.) not to make light of his death but it's been a while and b.) there is such a good chance that the gentleman who owns the car did not actually know Paul Walker. And with it being a new car he would have had to either get a new sticker or remove it from an old car. Can you picture this guy standing in the dealership parking lot like, "Wait! My RIP Paul Walker sticker!"

This begs the questions, do you think I should get an RIP Charles Dickens sticker? I can't think of a single person who has recently died that I would memorialize with a window decal. I mean, I still get a little sad when I remember that Prince died, but I don't want to be that person with an RIP Prince sticker. But Dickens, that's just funny. And I am slightly bummed that he's not around for me to go to a book reading and awkwardly stand by as I try to think of something clever to say that would make him want to be my best friend and also wish that a hole would open in the ground for me to fall into while he signs my copy of Bleak House.  Be honest, would you die laughing if you saw an RIP Charles Dickens sticker because now I kind of want one. In really fancy script with 1812-1870 on it.

Happy Thanksgiving back, turkeys!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

No Camp Pies for Whiners

And just like that summer is over. I'm back in seminary (I have the BEST CLASS, you guys! I want to adopt all of them!), things are full steam ahead at the Institute, the county fair has started, and the Tyranny of the Pumpkin Spice has returned to Pinterest. I mean, it was 113 degrees last week (I wish I were exaggerating) but as far as those summer good vibrations go, it's done-zo.

We ended things with a bang at the old Knecht Homestead this year. The bulk of the fam (we MISSED all the rest) came down and we all went beach camping at our beloved South Carlsbad.

Here's the view from the campsite:

It was alright, I guess.

I mean, you certainly don't want to go there. 

On to all the good things:

1. My birthday hit on the second day we were there. And I spent the day with my favorite people in my favorite place swimming in the ocean and lounging on the sand and laughing and playing games and eating shaved ice and tacos. It could not have been any better. There was even a pinata. How can I top this birthday? I'm not even going to try. 

2. At one point we all waded out into the waves. There was something kind of magical about that moment that I have not been able to adequately describe. Many of us had a small child on our hip and we all were laughing from the sheer joy of the waves crashing on us or being carried up by the swell. There have very few times in my life when I have felt that level of happiness.

3. No sunburn! Well, except for that spot just above my armpit where I ALWAYS get sunburned. I don't know why, okay? I just do. But it wasn't even bad. You should have seen the assortment of sunscreens I had in a wide variety of SPF levels. And the rag-tag canopy of umbrellas, EZ-ups, beach tents and hippie blankets we used to shield us from the sun was quite a sight to behold.

4. I've always said that camp food is better than any other food. It takes forever to prepare but it is always the most delicious. Case in point, the hamburgers Lindsay made for us over the camp fire. Hands down the greatest burger I've ever had. Also, Casey and Kylea drove down from Oregon with their own marinating meats for tacos. Plus, they made real horchata. As in, they soaked the rice and cinnamon for their entire drive down. That is hardcore!

5. There are hundreds of people who camp at that site but very few of them go down to the beach. They pack up for the day and drive to other beaches. It's a mystery. But I'm not going to dwell too much on it because it means that we practically had our whole section of the beach to ourselves. Life of Elegant Leisure!

I'll just let the pictures do the rest. Dear Fam, let's do this again!
Addie doing her best Audrey Hepburn

Lindsay brought her long board and the kids dug it.

The Kitchen and the Number 1 breakfast crew. Hippie blankets galore!

Look how happy we are!

Caswell, living his best life. Me having the best yawn.

We recreated a picture we took many years ago. We're missing Gina but saved her spot between Camille and Linds.

Camp pie time. I believe they were experimenting with chocolate cake and cherry pie filling.

One of my favorite sights of beach camping are all the towels hanging on the fence.

These kids were in HEAVEN with all the sand. 

The Family Motto

If only your kitchen had this view.

Look how content I look on the eve of 42. I mean, that's a face at peace. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I drove to Utah to see some rocks.

There seems to be a lot of people making jerky out in the middle of nowhere between Las Vegas and Barstow. It used to be that Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker held the market for dried meats in those parts but I counted no fewer than 8 billboards advertising jerky from other enterprises. A jerky boom is happening people, whether you're ready for it or not. This has nothing to do with the rest of the post but I thought you should be prepared for it.

I went to Utah with a few plans in mind, but the one I really needed to accomplish was to see Spiral Jetty. When I was a teenager, lo these many years, I saw a picture in an art book of a spiral jetty that Robert Smithson built at the north end of the Great Salt Lake as a piece of land art. I've wanted to see it ever since. I don't know why! Maybe it called to me. I mean, I don't want to get all woo-woo mystic on you but I've thought about it a lot over the years, is what I'm saying

"But Rachel," one of you is wondering, "you're an old woman. What took you so long?" Well, Cheeky McGee, when I was a student up there it was underwater - the circumstances of land art are that sometimes nature takes over. And then a drought struck the West and the water receded but every time I've been in Utah since then I've been on a schedule and it's a long trek out there. Plus, it's kind of a hard sell for people you may be with. "Who want to drive forever to this barren place to see some rocks that you've never heard of but have been calling to me from across the wilderness for decades? Anyone?" But I was entirely on my own this trip and the master of my own schedule. (Don't get me started on this because I will talk your ear off about the benefits of solo travel. Although I met up with Camille later that night for another adventure, so you don't have to worry that I'm becoming a total recluse.)

First stop was Promontory Point, where the railroad met between East and West in 1869. Because you have to drive through the visitor center parking lot to get to the county road that takes you out to the lake you might as well just go in and have a look and use the bathroom. And then you get to learn all sorts of fascinating stuff about trains and how the US abused thousands of Chinese immigrants on the project. Sorry about that.

I asked a ranger about driving out to the jetty and after he gave me directions he said, "The conditions are good today but please don't go unless you have a tank full of gas and a car full of food and water. You have no idea how many phone calls I get from panicked mothers in different parts of the country saying that their idiot sons are stuck out there." I assured him that I was a very sensible middle-aged woman with lots of snacks. As long as he thought my wee car could handle the washboard road then I'd be fine.

And I was fine, my car was a little champ. No frantic calls needed. The drive was surreal and stark and beautiful. And silent. At one point I stopped the car and got out just to see what it felt like and it was as if someone had put noise cancelling headphones on my ears. There was nothing. No wind, no animal noises, no distant cars. Nothing. I'm not sure I've ever experienced that kind of silence before in my life.

This was my view about half-way there. I would like to thank the clouds of Utah for helping out with my pictures.

You know how when you've been wanting to experience something for a long time it has the potential of letting you down? This did not. It exceeded all of my expectations. It's just so cool. Once I got there I scampered down the rocks and started walking around it all the way to the center, which had been my plan all along. When I first saw the picture, in fact, my first thought was that it would be cool to see it and walk all the way to the center. Childhood goal - achieved!

There was only one other person out on it and the only sounds were our shoes crunching the salt. There's a lot of salt. And dead birds, I assume because of the salt. SO MANY DEAD BIRDS! I'll spare you the pictures although I took plenty. I'll show you these pictures instead and you can just presume that there are plenty of decomposing birds in them.

I had to stop myself from making all of my pictures black and white.

From the center looking out.

At the beginning.

Go Dodgers!