Thursday, February 23, 2012

All Was Not Well In Zion

Last weekend my wife (Jackie) and I joined up with my brother in-law (Ben) and sister (Michelle) to head down to Zion National Park. Ben was gracious enough to drive us down there in his new Subaru Outback. It was nice to throw our mountain bikes on top and store all of our gear in the back. The four of us had plenty of room, which made the five hour drive more than bearable. We stayed right outside Zion's main gate in Springdale at Flanigan's Inn. Somehow we got lucky and only had to pay $175 for three nights. With that split between four people, it made for cheap lodging. Things always seem to be a little cheaper during the off-season. 

Ben and I loading up the bikes
On our first day down there the weather was perfect. Low 60's, clear skies, and lots of sun. We decided to head over to St. George. The girls longboarded on the pathway that connects Santa Clara to St. George, while Ben and I hopped on the bikes and did some laps on the Bear Claw Poppy Trail.

Michelle, Me, and Jackie

Me and Ben looking like gomers
The day was great. The trail was in excellent shape and it felt awesome to be mountain biking again. The girls had fun, even though Jackie took a spill on the longboard. She got going a little too fast for comfort and tried to bail, but didn't make it. She suffered a little road rash on her hand and elbow, but all in all she took it like a champ.

Everything went great until Jackie lost some skin to the pavement

 After spending an enjoyable day in St. George we headed back to Sprindale. That night things started to change for the worse. We went to a little italian restaurant. As we stood in line to place our order, we noticed that the nightly special was linguini and meatballs with a side salad for $11. It seemed like a good deal, and we were all famished. We waited in the line for almost twenty minutes to order the special when a waitress came out and put up the "out of meatballs" sign. I was devastated to say the least. Springdale must be a small enough town to not have enough meatballs to keep up with demand. We were all forced to order overpriced pasta dishes that were mediocre at best. What a bummer. I wish I could say that this was the worst, but the "out of meat balls" was only a precursor of what was to come.

The next morning we woke up to a winter wonder land. It was Sunday, and we had planned to hit up a local church and then spend the rest of day in Zion hiking and long boarding. We hoped for another beautiful day, but the current conditions threw a wrench in things. There were three to four inches of snow on the ground with more coming down. All we could do was head to church and hope that the storm would clear out and the snow melt. We had left our bikes locked on top of the Subaru overnight and they had been dumped on. Before we left for church Ben and I pulled down our bikes to clean them off and put them inside. As we were doing so he started the car to warm it up and defrost the windows. A few minutes later we all piled in to leave. As we pulled out, we noticed that the car was filled with smoke. At first we thought it was just exhaust, because the car had been running for a few minutes. We rolled down the windows but the smoke didn't clear out and it started to smell chemically. Smoke then started seeping from the vents in the dashboard and we knew something was definitely wrong. We quickly popped up the hood and found flames spitting from the windshield wiper motor. The snow made it easy to extinguish the fire, but the damage was already done.

The sight we woke up to

The carnage was bad, the photo doesn't do it any justice, but its all we have. 
The windshield wiper motor was faulty and started the fire. Heavy snow prevented the blades from returning all the way down, which caused the motor to overheat to the point of flames. Fortunately, for Ben's sake the motor was subject to a factory recall and covered under his warranty. Unfortunately, for us the the car couldn't be driven back home before being repaired. Long story short, the snow eventually melted and we were able to do what we wanted in Zion. The last day of our trip had to be wasted at the dealership and rental car place. Three of us drove a rental car home. Ben stayed behind a few extra days to wait for the car to be fixed. The car is now fixed and the warranty covered everything. In spite of misfortune, the trip was still epic and all is now well in Zion. 

We still had a good time


  1. Dude, sounds like a great trip, minus the negatives but that's what makes part of the adventure. We need to do another trip down south soon.

    1. Yes we do. If I remember right, it was almost a year ago when we took Mason's van and had our epic trip. What good memories.

  2. The van is always available for use on epic trips. On the down side though, the van has no warranty. For example, there is no warranty for losing keys in the sand dunes at Snow Canyon, broken running boards from high-centering in Zions, random no-start problems in Moab, bikes almost falling off in St George, overheating while climbing to a cabin in the Palisades, loose steering while night driving in Yosemite, or trying to parallel park in San Fran. On the up side, it sleeps six bikes, plenty of gear, and six grown men comfortably (minus Ryan). Good times!

  3. All the good times. When you are done with the internship we need to take it out somewhere awesome.