Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alpine Coastin'

It's amazing how things people talked about during your childhood becomes something you learn to treasure as an adult. Today we took the kiddo to ride Park City's famous Alpine Slide. I had only gotten to ride it once myself since marrying Loren. He jokes that I'm a wimp and it wouldn't be hard to go faster than I did on my first run down the slide. I loved it all the same. It was obligatory to share it with the next generation.
We all went down the slow slides but Orion rod by himself. Afterwards he said he wanted to go on the fast slide. I was proud of myself for not slowing down as much as I did last time. We had a blast chatting with the ride regulator sitting at the top of the slide managing when each person could go. We had to tell the little man we were not going to go on the fast slide however because although we paid for a "Double Pass" we would be riding something just as exciting.

I'm not sure we were exactly sure what to expect but the Alpine Coaster was a wild thrill. You are drawn up the hill in a car that can seat two people. You control your speed, but the workers running the ride at the foot of the hill tell you to hold the lever all the way forward since all the other cars behind you are running at full speed. If not told that Loren an I agreed we might have tended towards slowing down. However at full throttle you are hurtled down the mountain through turns and dip as if on a roller coaster. It probably feels faster than it is due to it's proximity to the ground. Very thrilling.
I hope we can ride it again next year.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Virtual Ecstasy

Though my husband refutes any such thing the Park City Arts Festival is definitely a celebration of visual delights. Today the was such a good experience meeting other artists, getting inspiration and observing professional practices regarding branding and marketing materials. I found many different approaches to art and it was interesting to talk to the artists and learn more about their stories, techniques, processes and inspirations. The artists whose art I like better also seemed to generally have it together with business an marketing materials ready. I was actually surprised how many artists did not have marketing materials or even business cards available for patrons of the festival. It was a good lesson in what not to do when participating in an event. People may not always be able to purchase something at the festival but they may be interested in making a purchase later on. Self promotion seems to be as much planning for the future as it is for the present.

Since this was the first time he'd been to an even quite like this, Orion really struggled staying entertained, even with the scavenger hunt he was handed at the entrance along with his wristband. I'm glad he was interested in some of the art and was able to still talk about some of what he liked the best. In the end however after four hours and seeing about half of the festival we left to go get some food back at the condo with my in-laws. I hope to convince my husband to go with me next time just the two of us so we can see more and stay longer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Winding Down

Our journey has ended.  We are back home and going back to the daily grind but I wanted to include a few photos an thoughts about the last two days of our trip.

Idaho Falls has a beautiful park and we decided before leaving we should take a family walk through it.  Orion had fun trying to get his picture with every bench and sculpture and tried to convince us a metal topiary moose was real.  It was nice to just enjoy looking at the falls, temple and watch the boys goof around on the shore made of large volcanic rock.

We stopped in Pocatello to eat at a diner called Elmer's that serves a yummy looking German Pancake I might like to come back and try again.  They were good.  They had a fish and chips basket that served not just halibut but salmon and prawns.  Their tarter sauce was home made too.  Loren said it was the best patty melt he'd had all trip too.

When we finally got to Lava Hot Springs, it was 4 pm.  We decided to go to our hotel and get checked in first.  We ended up going to enjoy the hot pools that night as it is open until 11 pm.  Unfortunately thought we tried to make him understand we would just be soaking Orion was angry and bored in just five minutes.  No matter how many times we explained we would be swimming the next day.  So we made the best of it and  enjoyed the hot soak.  I'm not entirely sure what Orion expected when we said a hot spring is like a big hot tub.

Our hotel, the Harkness Hotel, was amazing.  This little gem was opened a year ago in the small town of McCammon, ID.

 The Harkness Hotel the owner told us was once a conglomeration of a bank and apartments, and they are slowly acquiring and converting other spaces in adjoining buildings to enlarge their accommodations.  Our room was the "Gold" room.


They have done it all themselves and have tried to create an upscale luxurious hotel to stay at.  In part I think due to our interest in the hotel itself and it's history, the owner took us around and showed us the other spaces they were working towards converting.  All along giving us the history of each space and some of the treasures they have found in each.  This is definitely a spectacular find at only two hours from Salt Lake, we wish we'd come here instead of the nniversary Inn when we were married.  Loren and I have already talked about going back as a couple.

Orion finally got his swimming in.  He went on three of the four water slides at the Olympic pool with his dad.  We ate at the 78 main Restaurant and had some good burgers before heading back home.  I drove the whole trip except for 12 miles, I am proud of myself.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Three Day Wireless Withdrawl

Somehow going to Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming I thought the cell service would have been better.  Little did I know or expect T-mobil would have very little presence in Wyoming and a complete absence in the park proper.  "No Service" was a phenomena experienced by all guests great and small and the only wireless was available at the hotel accommodations around the Old Faithful geyser.  Therefore I have not had to the chance to relate any of the goings on of the last few days.

Tuesday was a day full of cowboys, and natural adventures.  We got a late start and ate at a dinner called Granny's Family Dining.  Loren said he was glad we stopped there because we got a good taste of local flavor.  It was amusing to sit there and talk about the culture of the rural west.  Then we went and bought Orion a cowboy hat.  He was so excited.  He tried to convince us to buy him some boots too.  After explaining to him the boots were nearly $100 he finally accepted the inevitable.

We spent most of the day visiting the Buffalo Bill Cody Center which houses five separate museum exhibits.  We looked at the Buffalo Bill exhibit, talking about who he was as a person and a performer.

There was a large replica of a Parker Brothers board game from 1898 called the game of Buffalo Bill.  You have to go around the game board and collect buffalo heads.  Whomever collects ten heads first and makes it back to camp wins the game.  However beware you can get hauled off to the Indian camp and loose two turns!  We were having a fun time playing on the gigantic version they had at the museum, but since it went on until someone collected enough heads we had to stop and let others have a turn too. It was a cool that they even had a video of some of the live performances from the end of the thirty year run of the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show.  I would have like to look over all of the stuff there but since we had a bored seven year old we decided to go look at another exhibit fifteen minutes before we left.  He picked the guns and fire arms exhibit.

He got bored of that quickly too but seemed interested in the "knife-guns" where bayonets were being shown on some of the guns from WWI.  (He wanted Poppi to see this photo).

We then embarked on our two day long Yellowstone adventure.  We were fortunate to see a lot of bison not long after entering the park.  We saw and recorded one near some heavy construction equipment grazing, and later stopped top observe one that walked around our car so close I could have reached out and touched it if my window had been down.  We got to see cows with their calves on two occasions (one of which caused an hour long traffic jam) and several elk and geese.  We were given a wildlife bingo sheet at the park gate and Orion had a good time going through and marking off the animals as we saw them.  By the end though Orion confessed that he was fine with not seeing any more bison for a while.

Since Orion had forgotten his Sea World dolphin plushie dubbed "Splashy" we promised him we would buy him a stuffed animal when we go to the park.  He went straight for the bison and decided to christen his new friend "Buffally" (boo-fah-lee).  I can only attribute this latest name trend to his recent interest in Pokemon games and cards as he continued to explain in some detail that his new toy was a new evolution for one of the Pokemon in his book.  I told him he was just like his Uncle Laursen, but that my brother had named his toy "Charger."

We camped in the park and were pleased to find out that this was Orion's first experience really camping.  He had never roasted hot dogs or made tin foil dinners, or even slept in a sleeping bag except in a house.  It was a privilege to give Orion so many firsts.  Since this is our second big trip as a family there were definitely some ground rules that had to be set and some learning to be done.  We are constantly growing as a family and as parents.

We go to visit the mud volcanoes (the Dragon's lair is for Grandma Black) and the Artist's Paint Pots.

Orion said he liked the viscous paint pots the best with their gloopy sound and throwing mud several feet in the air.

We had fun joking about how stinky but invitingly relaxing some of the hot springs looked.  It was fun to se all of the hydrothermal attractions of the central park.

Our crowning visit was for seeing Old Faithful erupt.  Orion said in the end so far it has been his favorite part of the trip.  We were amazed how many people were there and speculated on whether the walkways had been moved since Loren and I had visited the park last.

It has been a full two days.  We got to see so much wild beauty and amazing human ingenuity.  The Yellowstone Inn was amazing!  So now exhausted and finally clean I bid you good night from Idaho Falls.  Tomorrow is a new day with new adventures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dinosaur Digs

Today we went to the dinosaur museum and tour here in Thermopolis Wyoming.  The only Archaeopteryx fossil and most intact specimen outside of Europe is located there.  It was for the most part really fun, though I think Orion got bored towards the end.  A seven year old that has only been to one or two museums outside of the interactive "Children's Museum" can tend to have a shorter attention span.  In fact at the beginning of the visit when going through the early pre-dinosaur fossils he was acting very upset and kept running ahead.  After about of really bad grimaces and a stern talking to we were able to for the most part make the most of the visit.  

The highlight for Loren and I was to get to go on the tour with an actual paleontology professor.  It was really cool to see the active dig sites he took us to and ask questions.  He said true scientists have an open mind and can re-evaluate their own hypothesis when new data is discovered and introduced to the scientific community. He also said that paleontology is not a science of known and concrete facts and scenarios based on random speculation but on the hard facts that can be seen and produced through the evidence in the fossil records.  It was very enlightening.

We discovered that through a spectroanalysis they have been able to look at the chemical record left behind in the fossil record of the archaeopteryx feathers the coloration of the animal was similar to that of the common magpie.  It's amazing how far science has come that through technology we can measure and observe minute indicators to create a more complete picture of what an animal from millions of years ago looked like.

Later We attended Orion's first rodeo, in Cody, Wyoming.  I think he was super wiggly from the museum and the drive afterwards to Cody.  He said he enjoyed it.  
We are looking forward to going to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum tomorrow and looking at all the amazing cowboy stuff.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Driving Marathon

So for the first time in my adult life I have driven outside of the state as the driver.  I drove the whole way from Bountiful, Utah, to Thermopolis, Wyoming.  Granted the fact that we were obligated to take my vehicle probably had somewhat to do with it.  I feel like I've hit some kind of obligatory benchmark in adulthood though it's been somewhat delayed compared to my peers.  It was fun, but I miss getting to enjoy the scenery more.  My husband says that's one of the drawbacks to being the driver.  We stopped and got the obligatory ice cream cone at the Little America, and ended up driving the last hour in the complete dark.  Thankfully the only deer we saw were the dead ones we saw along the road during the day.  In all I'd say it was a very fulfilling day for me an my family.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Deserted Island

Zipline, though it has little to do with the Maya or any part of Mexican history has gained popularity as a vacation activity.  It is currently used as a means to travel through forrest canopy and is extraordinarily fun.  We went on a half day zipline course with the Selvatica company.  They have setup a course of twelve ziplines.  Varying in range and pitch they are basically hanging from a harness from a pulley moving across a more or less horizontal wire.

It was a blast.  We went with a basic package that was labeled safe enough for even a three year old, though I have a hard time imagining a three year old understanding the grasp of using your hand and weight as a brake.   Loren has never been on anything like this and I had been on only a mild version as a young teen.  We weren't quite sure what to expect.  The course goes out from the main entrance area around and loops back.  That way there is no need to trek back through the humid Mexican jungle to your locker.  They have other attractions which includes a bungee swing.  They offer various types of zipline styles, the "superman" being one I think would be a blast to try in which you zip horizontally through the sky like Christopher Reeves.  They also allow you to try zipping hanging upside down, though a guide rides down with you in tandem.  Neither Loren nor I had the guts to try this.  They have camera people mixed in with the crew of guides and they photograph you as you go through the course.  They said they do this, for good reason, because participants need both hands to free in order to brake when zipping across the wires.   These photographs are of course available to purchase for a modest fee when you finish your adventure.  During the zipline portion Loren had made the comment, "If we were stranded on a jungle island like Robinson Crusoe it would be cool to use ziplines to get around!"

After the ziplining course we rode in an army-style open air truck with bench seats in rows over muddy, bumpy roads towards our other destination.  Our main guide would let us know a fresh section of bumpy road was coming by announcing we should be ready for a "Mayan massage."  He made charming allusions to buildings in various states of shabby disrepair or construction with phrases like, "Here comes our super duper 7-11" or "On your left you will see our Starbucks...coming soon."  Once we finally made it to our second destination we split up, some of us going onto ride ATV's and the rest of us to swim.

Our particular package did not include the ATV portion so we enjoyed walking down a gravel path to a cenote of smallish size, about 30 meters deep our guide told us.  These are filled with cool fresh water, and seem endlessly deep.  They had a water zipline setup and we all took turns riding it and dropping a few feet into the water.  We had fun swimming and splashing around.  We made our way over to a submerged dock they had on one side connected to a path that wound up to the observation area.  While standing on it we had little fishes nibble/suck on our feet.  After careful observation and a quick query with our guide....yes it turns out that it was the self same type of fish used for fish pedicures.  However the fish in the cenote were closer to two or three inches.  It was fun to watch them.
After leaving the cenote we were taken back to the base area and fed some yummy chicken dinner, as well as offered our photos for a modest price.