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I grew up in  Castle Dale, Utah, county seat of  Emery County. There are National Weather Service Webcams in Castle Dale looking North and Southwest. The hill behind my house also provides a good view of the town, as well as a perfect environment for playing army, sheriff and outlaws, secret agent, superhero, grinding colored sand from sandstones, or just looking for bugs. Castle Dale is nestled between mountains on the west and the San Rafael Swell on the east. The San Rafael Swell is an anticline measuring roughly 40 miles by 75 miles, that over time has become carved by wind and water into a spectacular collection of canyons, buttes, peaks, crags, and cliffs. It is one of my favorite places in the world. It is rich in history, geology (including many fossils and dinosaur bones), and raw beauty. There is another webcam looking east from Horn Mountian where you can see the local terrain. Here are a couple of nice pictures of Bottleneck Butte and Assembly Hall Peak, near the San Rafael River campground, and some pictures of a recent family trip to the San Rafael Swell, through Buckhorn Wash. Here are some family pictures taken at Pancake Rocks, our family name for a wonderful place to climb around on the San Rafael Swell. More information and pictures are available here.

My great grandfather Nephi Williams was among the first settlers of Emery, sent from  Sanpete County to colonize the area by Brigham Young.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Sanpete County, especially  Ephraim where my great-great grandfather Stephen Williams settled after immigrating from England, and operated a tannery. My other ancestors are Scandinavian, including Samuel Bjarnason, who was among the first group of immigrants to Utah from Iceland in 1855 and helped to establish the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the United States, in what is now Spanish Fork, Utah. (Read more here.)

I attended  Emery High School where I was active in debate and drama.  I keep up on the news from my old hometown by reading the Emery County Progress, which my father once owned and operated.

I also attended  Snow College , following in the footsteps of my grandfather, father, and older brother and sister.  After graduating from Snow, I attended Brigham Young University (BYU) (Fight Song: Rise and Shout) where I obtained Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics and, more importantly, met my wife on a blind date.  After getting married and finishing my thesis, we packed all our belongings in a 6 foot Jartran trailer and moved to  Madison, Wisconsin to work on my PhD at the  University of Wisconsin-Madison (Fight Song: On Wisconsin).  Our first two children, Elise and Ethan, were born in Madison.  Madison is a wonderful place to live, visit, or play.  Check it out here. There is also a webcam located on the UW Campus that you can have some fun with.

On the same day I filed my dissertation in the library, I drove out of Madison with all our belongings in an 18 foot U-haul truck, bound for  Pullman, Washington and my new job at  Washington State University (WSU Fight Song) .  During the four years we spent there we appreciated the beauties of the  Palouse .  Our third child, Emily, was born in Pullman.  If your travel plans include Pullman in Summer, you really should take in the National Lentil Festival.

In August 1993 we packed all our belongings in a 24 foot Ryder Truck and our minivan, and moved the family to  Provo, Utah and my current job in the  Mathematics Education Department at BYU.  Our fourth child Erynn was born here, and we have since acquired a succession of cats, gerbilis, hamsters, snakes, toads, snails, fish, and rabbits.

We are staying in Provo because they don't make 48 foot U-haul trucks.

Quiz:  What is the next element in the sequence: Spartan, Badger, Cougar, Badger, Cougar,                      ?