Spain in January

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arizona in a Mustang

It was the famous Utah holiday, UEA or fall break.  I had a meeting on the 13th of October in Phoenix so I brought Marshall with me.  We rented a red Mustang convertible for a few days, and seized the opportunity to see my brothers and play golf.  Clearly a sensible car for Arizona in the fall.  Sanette is missing from this adventure since she had driven to to her Mothers in Idaho to assist with setting a new basement window in her mothers home on the 12th.  So one may ask, "so why didn't you go with your bride and help with the construction?"  Clearly I am a bum, and it was for her nephew so he could sleep in the basement.  Zack's father was doing the heavy lifting and digging, so I would just be in the way.
Back to the Arizona in a convertible; we found a cool drive called the "apache trail" which winds through the superstition mountains east of phoenix.  We quickly found out that "trail" is apropos for this drive.  Single lane for the majority of the 45 miles and not paved, but some spectacular scenery and lovely driving weather.  For those who are a bit thin on top a hat is adviseable. 
Marshall looks really good in a Mustang and seems completely comfortable as we are about to embark down 1500 feet of elevation drop on a single lane dirt road.  We were very glad that it wasn't raining.

Oh dam, our "trail" concludes at the foot of Roosevelt...dam - built in the twenties and then raised 25' in the 80's.  Impressive place, but only half way on our journey to the glories of the east side of the state.  from the warm desert we ascended to 7000' and the Mogollon rim with lunch in Payson.  We finally ended up at my brother Steve's in Scottsdale at about 5pm with sunburned arms faces and wind blown hair.

This little spider -  actually a tarantula was our companion as Marshall and I were swimming in Steve's pool one evening.  Marshall spotted him eye to eye as he was about to get out of the pool.  Just when you thought things were getting a little too sedate the mother of all spiders decides to join us for a swim. Steve and Cheri were very kind, and assured the two of us that they are harmless. Even with this reassurance we left her to her own devices.

Pile o' ribs

Birthday dinners are a longstanding tradition in our family as they are in most.  It is a great excuse to overeat and enjoy one another's company.  Our family is no exception, so for my 53rd we barbecued ribs, twice baked potatoes, thew together a little pasta salad from Allison's very capable hands and called it a party.  The best part is the company that you keep and all these I love, and some that are not present.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem too long ago that some of these attendees were in high chairs and I was their age.  Oh but it has been a great life thus far and hope for another....40years?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ben Lamond or bust

Purportedly the best ride in northern Utah, I convinced Dana Johnson to arise early and give the skyline trail that rises out of North Ogden Canyon a try.  It is all single track so it was too intimidating for our sons; Marshall and Davis.  After witnessing the trail first hand there are some areas of steep side slopes that fall all the way to the bottom of Ogden which may not be for the faint of heart or inexperienced.  The trail was constructed for hikers so the majority of the innumerable switchbacks were three point terns for motorcycles.  Why this trail is so cool is that it rises out of the canyon up to the Wasatch spine and then up the back side of Ben Lamond Peak.  We briskly rode the first 8 miles up to the last pitch to the top. We were passing hikers with some trepidation recognizing that they come to the high country for solace and silence which is abruptly broken by 2 thumpers.  At the last push to the top, the switchbacks came too fast, too steep  and too rocky.  I flipped the bike over backwards and broke off my left turn signal.  It was also a sign that this old man was wrung out.  Dana proceeded to the top while I attempted to walk. Dana is a good chap to let an old man ride with him.  My failure to reach the summit is still grinding on me, and I am anxious to go back so that I can prove to myself that I am not 53.  In spite of the mishap this is a great trail and I would likewise testify that it is one of the best in northern Utah.

Me and Dana about half way 
Great view of the trail on the upper ridges
In the lower left you can see the trail coming out of the trees. On the other side of the stand of trees is a section that is adjacent to a cliff that drops to forever.  You hold on tight and focus on the trail in front of you and ignore exposure

views to Wyoming
One too many switchbacks caused me to leave parts on the trail 
Dosn't look so bad right?  I need to try it again before the snow flies.  Any one want to come along?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Winter Quarters Marriage

On August 21st my nephew Riley Keller was sealed to Jenny Pinkerton in the Winter Quarters Temple.  Jenny is from Omaha and a delightful person.  We made the road trip of 950 miles so that we could share in the great experience.  I am always up for a road trip especially to a place that I have not spent much time.  In fact the last time I was in Omaha was when we moved from Philadelphia to Seattle in 1988.  

We decided to take a couple extra days prior to the sealing and see devils tower Wyoming and Mount Rushmore in the black hills of South Dakota.  Two places that I have not been to since I was 7 or 8.  I only remember vague details at that age so I looked forward to the trip.  

Looking for Cary Grant hanging form the nose
I have accumulate an enormous number of points with Hertz that gives you the opportunity for free or greatly reduced rate car rentals.  We took advantage of the points and rented a very fine Volvo S80.  Truly one of the most comfortable cars I have ever driven.  In the vast hills of Wyoming I appreciated its ability to pass long lines of slower vehicles.  This required me to press the car to 118mph.  No one else in the car was aware of this fact.

The climb was a piece of cake
Devils Tower and the black hills are delightful and more spectacular than I had imagined. Devils tower has one of the few remaining prairie dog towns left in the great plains.  The town was one of those vague memories I had a child.  We loved it.   In the recent past the Mount Rushmore Memorial has received a new visitors center, plaza and amphitheater  Kudos to the designer it was well crafted and nicely complimented the memorial.

From the black hills you drive into the rolling green farms of the Midwest.  They are beautiful but they seem to go on forever with little differentiation for hundreds of miles.  Omaha sits in the midst of this vast plane but it does benefit from the broken landscape provided by the Missouri River.

We met the Keller's at the Omaha Zoo prior to the event for a little tomfoolery.  Lions and, tigers, and bears oh my!

Marysvale Ride

stopping for a drink and tomfoolery
The summer seems to be rapidly evaporating.  August has been quite toasty, but the past few weeks you begin to see the signs of approaching fall.  Before we let the pressures of a new school year we were able to squeeze in two more activities.  

the gang at 11,000 feet
For years I have read about the famous paiute trail in the mountains of central Utah.  Being the motorcycle nut that I am last winter I made arrangements camping in Marysvale Utah which is in the center of the trail system.

Sunday hike to the falls
I invited our neighbors; Dana and Davis Johnson, Marshall and Devin.  Actually anyone would have been welcome provided they brought an appropriate ride.  It is a spectacular place to ride.  The scenery is inspiring and the trails are fast and easy.  Well don't tell Marshall I said that, he biffed it on one trail that sent him home early.  Borrowing Davis's YZ125 he locked up the rear end coming around a corner and laid the bike down.  Unfortunately he slammed his arm onto an embedded rock.  Rather than breaking his arm the sharp rock made a puncture wound that bled like a stuck pig.  It was most impressive the amount of blood soaking his jersey.  His arm was badly bruised as well as his ego.  We sent him home with Devin a day early.