|During our 5 day stay at Snow Canyon State Park we were able to scope out nearby St. George for RV parking facilities and just happened upon Hillside Palms RV Park. This small park is nicely situated on a red-rock bluff overlooking downtown St. George, the historic district, and the impressive Mormon Temple. With a budget-friendly rate of $125 per week, this became our home for Oct. 1st through the 8th; covering Howard’s 10 & 5 K race events in the Huntsman World Senior Games.
Saturday, Oct. 2nd, was Howard’s 76 birthday and in lieu of a big celebration he opted for an evening of good college football. One of our favorite teams, the Oregon Ducks of Eugene, one of our favorite towns, was playing Stanford, an arch rival of Howard’s Alma mater, CAL Berkeley. The Ducks won; the birthday a success!
Sunday was registration day for the upcoming games and a huge affair was held at the Dixie Convention Center. Registration packets were obtained upon checking in with the friendly staff. Information booths provided maps and directions to various events and social gatherings. Product and health-related sponsors were eager to tell us about their performance enhancers and pain relievers, and lots of wearing apparel was displayed for purchase. The contents of our packets were well worth the registration fees. Lots of discounts around town were provided but the restaurants, with their half price and $10 off, made eating out a no-brainer!
Monday morning we’re up before 6 a.m. to have our coffee and a small breakfast before driving Howard out to Ivins where he checks in with the 10K race staff and boards the bus for the start line in Snow Canyon State Park. I have a couple of hours to kill, so drive back to the motorhome, then back to catch the last hour as the winners and placers cross the finish line in record times. The winner in Howard’s age group, 75-79, was 79 and ran the 6.2 miles in 52 minutes. Howard finished 6th at 1:23:57; not bad at all. But, truthfully, neither of us was expecting this level of skill and competition, certainly not a “jog in the park”! These are some super seniors!
Then the rain and thunder storms descended upon us relentlessly. We heard our dear friends in Flagstaff were inundated with tornadoes, though thankfully unscathed. We hunkered down as the Opening Ceremonies and most outdoor events were canceled or postponed. We saw a movie, Wall Street, which was very good. We wandered around the outlet malls and paid our respects to Costco. We used another restaurant coupon.
On Thursday, Howard’s last event, the 5 K, we had no delusions of grandeur but arrived at the scenic St. James Trailhead well ahead of “kick-off” to witness the half-marathon underway. A large crowd gathered and we recognized many from the other day and felt part of this prestigious group. It was nice being at the start line and chatting with many of the volunteers that have done this for years and have it down to a science, and witnessing the adrenaline rush when the whistle blew. I should mention, there are 10,000 athletes from 53 countries competing in sports ranging from chess to marathons, shooting to softball!
Again, Howard did extremely well and afterward, at the great social gathering for breakfast put on by the sponsor, we met folks who have been coming for 10+ years, from all over the US. One lady friend who ran with Howard in the 10K is from Trinidad and Tobago; others from Barbados, Canada and Mexico. It was truly inspirational and we will come again. Howard is already thinking of doing their mini-triathlon; running, swimming, biking. We need to borrow a bicycle, Norm!
The weather has cleared and after the race and social, we clean-up a bit and head into downtown, historic St. George. First we visit the winter home of Brigham Young, then tour the St. George Mormon Tabernacle with our own private tour guide, Elder Wright. He gives us the non-LDS version, which goes into the fundamentals of their religion and its creation through a vision to Joseph Smith at the age of 14 in the 1830’s, in New York state. He graciously endures and answers our many questions, and leads us up steep staircases to hidden balconies that house the organ pipes, with rows of carved theater seats that originated in Salt Lake City. We have long been interested in the world’s religions and this was a wonderful experience and opportunity!
St. George is a great destination, a friendly, accommodating city, and the southern Utah red-rock scenery is spectacular. The nearby national parks of Zion and Bryce are within short drives. Prices are reasonable and we felt extremely welcomed and well-treated!