Friday, July 31, 2009

Week o' Vacationing 2009: Day 5

Day 5 of my week of vacations was our 2nd full day in Park City, and we started it out with some omelets and "clouds" courtesy of George and Kimi. After breakfast, we left grandpa with the grandkids and it was off to the outlet stores to do some shopping. I had a few things in mind to look for and was semi-successful in finding them: a new belt to hold up my church pants -- not everything about weight loss is wonderful, couple of polo shirts to wear to work, now that it's kinda hot to wear long sleeves every day. Couldn't find sunglasses at a reasonable price, i.e. anything under $60, or some sleeveless cotton T-shirts. Apparently cotton is out, and magical fibers that obliterate moisture are in. I thought cotton was the fabric of our lives. What happened? Anyway, I've since remedied those short-comings with the help of the internet ($14 sunglasses) and Target (T-shirts for $3.99).

After shopping, we swung by Arby's drive-through for lunch, then back to the condo to trade mom for dad. We then went to check out the latest installment of the Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Not having read the book in over 2 years made this one infinitely more enjoyable than the 5th movie which I saw with the book fresh in my mind. So much gets cut from the books to fit into a 2 hour movie. The more I think about the new movie the more I remember that was omitted, but at the time I found it to be fairly enjoyable.

After the movie, we headed back to the condo. Ben and Natalie were headed out to Grantsville for 24th of July rehearsal practice, so pizza was ordered for them and then they hit the road. The rest of us wanted a nicer dinner, so we ended up at Red Rock Brewing Company, where we had a pretty delicious meal. I got the Kobe Burger (named for the beef, not the player) which I thought was particularly tasty.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 046
Lucy showing off her coloring skills

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 044
Elise enjoying drinking from the straw

After dinner, we headed back to the condo again, and played several rounds of Perudo (a type of liars dice game, perhaps similar to what was in the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean film, but I'm not sure because I only saw that once and was utterly confused at the time by what was going on). I can't remember who won all the games, but I know my mom and I never won. I finished in the top 3 once or twice.

After games, it was off to bed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week o' Vacationing 2009: Day 4

Our first full day in Park City was just that. Full. :) We started out with a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy breakfast courtesy of Natalie. From there, we headed over to check out the Utah Olympic Park, which I'd never actually been to. There is a museum there with stuff from the 2002 Winter Olympics. Costumes from the opening and closing ceremonies, gear from the athletes, pins, and videos recapping highlights of the games. It was fun to remember some of the stories from when the Olympics were here.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 024
Buffalo mask from opening ceremonies

In addition to the museum, the bobsled run and ski jump hills are there, but nothing was really going on on those at the time. They also have a training facility for aerial freestyle skiing, with a variety of ramps that launch skiers into a swimming pool, so they can work on their technique safely, and without a need for snow. There was a group training while we were there, most of whom were fairly novice, but there was one guy going off the big ramp and doing some impressive stuff.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 016

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 029

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 034

After leaving the Olympic Park, we hit up Cafe Rio for lunch.

Elise showing off her fork skills

Then, it was up into town to the Park City Mountain Resort, where most of us (minus grandpa and the babies) took a run on the Alpine slide, and then Ben, Natalie, and I tried out the new(ish) Alpine Coaster. It's a variation on the Alpine slide, where the sled is attached to the track like a rollercoaster would be, but still with rider controls for braking. The ride attendant told me that because the sled was attached to the track, and I was attached to the sled (via my seatbelt), I should go as fast as I could. So for the first few stretches I kept the handle pushed all the way down. Until I went around a turn that nearly threw me out of the sled. The seatbelt wasn't really snug enough to make me feel like I would be safe doing that any more, so I backed off a tad after that. Still, it was a fun ride, and based solely on the thrill aspect, I would choose the coaster over the slide. The slide does include a relaxing chairlift ride, so that might influence your choice.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 035

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 036
Heading up on the alpine coaster

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 039
Further up the coaster

We then left the resort and headed back to our condo. Ben and I were in charge of dinner, and had chosen shish kabobs as our dinner of choice. I'm really loving kabobs this summer. We cut up steak and chicken in the morning and put it in marinade all day long. Then at dinner time, we cut up peppers and onions, and had mushrooms that could also be added to the kabobs. Then we cooked them on the grill out on the deck. I have to say I think they turned out pretty great. I especially like the caribben jerk chicken (shout out to Julie-ann for introducing me to that earlier this summer).

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 042

After dinner, the kids went to bed, and the adults watched Chariots of Fire, a great film full of inspirational messages and great music, that seemed to fit in well with our day at the Olympic Park.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Week o' Vacationing 2009: Day 3

Sunday morning, half of us headed to a nearby chapel for sacrament meeting at 9, and then back to the motel to pack up and make the journey back to Salt Lake. But not before stopping for lunch at a little placed called In-n-Out. If you've got to eat out on the Sabbath, might as well make it somewhere good, right? :)

In-n-Out Group Photo
Photo courtesy of Julie-Ann (who doesn't have her own blog that I'm aware of)

The trip back was fairly uneventful, and we got back in a reasonable amount of time. Ending vacation #1 of the week. Fun times, props to everyone who helped organize it (me, not being one of those).

But luckily, vacation #2 started that very same day. I unpacked my bag, then repacked it with stuff for 3 days of family vacation in Park City. Once I got word that the rest of the family was headed up there, I hopped in the car and cruised on up myself. The V6 in my new Altima definitely handles Parley's Canyon better than the old Sentra used to.

The place my parents had rented for our trip was a very nice place near the Utah Olympic Park, out by Kimball Junction. Lots of bedrooms and a nice big living room. Even a hot tub that I never actually saw in use during my time there (it might have gotten used without my being aware, or in the time they were still there after I left).

Probably the main highlight of this vacation was getting to spend time with my brother and his family who live in Texas that we don't see as often as we'd like. Their 3 kids get bigger all the time and were lots of fun to play with and get to know better.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 001
Elise trying on my sunglasses

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 002
Ben & Lucy watching Prince of Egypt

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 003
Natalie feeding Austin

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 008
Me playing with the babies. Elise enjoyed putting my pen in my mouth.

Lucy, the oldest, is pretty sharp and at one point suggested we take "funny face" pictures with my camera, which resulted in the collage I posted earlier.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009 014

Sunday night, we had a nice dinner of barbecued chicken and corn on the cob, and then after the kiddies were in bed, the grown-ups played a fun game of Tripp family "What were you thinking?" It was lots of fun. Thanks, George and Kimi, for putting that together. Lots of great questions including "Name 4 of Dad's classic phrases". He wasn't even sure he had phrases he said a lot. I guess we showed him. :)

Week o' Vacationing 2009: Day 2

After getting up at a fairly leisurely hour, we piled into the Denali and headed off in search of a breakfast joint called Bear Paw. Surprisingly, it turned out to be just a couple blocks from where we were staying. And the wait for 8 of us to eat breakfast turned out to be around 45 minutes in the end. And yet, I would still say it was worth it. If for nothing else, than for our imagined images of a big chef named "Bear Paw" who makes the special Bear Paw French Toast by shoving the filling in by hand (or by paw, if you will). I got the eggs benedict, and found it quite tasty, as were the seasoned home fries.

After breakfast our plan was to hit the motel pool and get some relaxing in. However, that also seemed to be the plan of about 15 teenagers who had overtaken all the chairs in the pool area. I ran into my cousin and her wife and their kids who were in the kiddie pool, but after a few minutes of swimming, the rest of our group decided that we needed to make other plans for summer heat refreshment.

A couple of the girls had heard good things about Sand Hollow reservoir near Hurricane where you could do some relatively mild cliff jumping and swim. With the "help" of a map from the desk clerk, and some good sign reading, we made it there without incident. And then we headed for the water, because man, it was cooking. Highs were over 110. After about an 8 minute hike we had reached a spot where people were cliff jumping. Half of our party went up to jump, and the other half of us found a nice spot down by the water to start swimming.

Cliff Jumping at Sand Hollow
Photo courtesy of Anna

I don't know that I've ever really spent much time swimming in a freshwater lake, but this turned out to be pretty fun. The water was nice and cool on a hot, hot day.

Swimming at Sand Hollow
Photo courtesy of Anna

After spending the afternoon swimming, we headed back to St. George and regrouped for dinner. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Pancho & Lefty's, and while we didn't meet either Pancho or Lefty, dinner was still quite tasty.

Dinner @ Pancho & Lefty's
Photo courtesy of Anna

After dinner it was off to Tuacahn for a performance of the stage musical version of Footloose. It turned out to be pretty enjoyable, even if Ren's angry dance scene didn't include any gymnastic moves. The theater itself was pretty cool, with some outdoor space behind the stage which was utilized for a quick game of tractor chicken, and also included a pond for someone to fall into at one point. The lead was played by some guy who'd been on So You Think You Can Dance and he was a good dancer. I also found the performance of Ren's buddy (Willard?) to be very entertaining.

At Tuacahn
Photo courtesy of Anna

After the show, we slowly made our way back into town with the rest of the audience. I don't recall doing much afterward. I think I was pretty tired out and just went to bed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week o' Vacationing 2009: Day 1

A week ago Friday (on the 17th), I got off work a couple hours early (don't worry I put in extra time earlier in the week) and met up with 7 friends (my roommates plus 5 girls) and headed off for a weekend in St. George. We all piled into Brandon's brother's Denali and hit the road. We made pretty good time, watched a few episodes of Arrested Development, enjoyed some "Roxanne", and all in all had a very enjoyable trip down.

BB Row

We got to St. George in time to go round up some dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I always enjoying eating there. Got me a kabob. Mmm.

Texas Roadhouse

TX Roadhouse Group Shot
Photo Courtesy of Anna

While we ate, somewhat unbeknownst to me, the girls were having fun practicing their "chin juts" with my camera.

Chin juts

More chin juts?

After dinner, we swung by the St. George temple, which was looking very pretty at night.

St. George Temple

St George Temple Group Photo
Photo Courtesy of Anna

Then it was back to the motel for a friendly game of no-stakes poker. Mel came out the big winner.

Poker Night
Photo Courtesy of Anna

After hanging out and chatting a while, we headed off to bed. Oh, and I should mention that the temperature was still in the 90s in the middle of the night. Thank heavens for air conditioning!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Well, I'm back from my Week o' Vacationing and back to work today. I'm going to try to recap my 3 separate vacations over the course of the next week or so. Until then, some Yellowstone photos to enjoy:

Elk feeding at dawn

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, from Lower Falls brink

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2 vacations down, 1 more to go this week

I'm (happily) taking a brief 36 hour break from vacationing to work tomorrow, recharge my batteries, and repack for vacation #3. Here's a little collage of fun times with the Goose to tide you over until I have time to say a little more.

Park City - Family Vacation 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Big Digital gets ready to hit the road

I know I just got back from one vacation a couple weeks ago, but this afternoon I'm leaving on a series of back-to-back-to-back vacations over the course of 10 days (with one day of work in the middle). I'm thinking that I probably would enjoy these trips more were they more spaced out, but it just worked out this way, and I'm still very excited. I got all my laundry done last night (including a couple of last minute pickups from the TJ-Maxx), and am just trying to make sure I don't forget anything.

Today: Leave for St. George
Saturday: Survive scorching (Projected High temp: 111) weather, hit Tuacahn
Sunday: Return from St. George, join family for semi-staycationing in Park City
Monday-Wednesday: Enjoy the company of my nieces, nephew, and other family members, maybe hit Raging Waters, relax, etc. Return home Wed. night.
Thursday: Work. :( Pack for Yellowstone camping trip :) Baseball game?
Friday: Leave for Yellowstone. Pray for sunshine.
Saturday: Enjoy the wonders of Yellowstone for the first time ever.
Sunday: Return home. Somehow recover from all that vacationing so that I can go back to work on Monday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

From sea to shining Seattle - Day 2 & 3

My 2nd full day in Seattle was the 4th of July. We started it out right with a free pancake breakfast at Jon's stake center, complete with flag raising ceremony. From there, we headed home to hang out for a bit, and then set out in search of a burger joint we'd seen the night before on the Travel Channel. Sadly, it was closed for the holiday, so we settled for cheap Drive-in burgers from a place called Dick's.

From there we made our way to Bothell to catch the end of a revolutionary war reenactment and meet up with a couple of Jon's friends.

War Reenactment in Bothell
About all we saw of the reenactment.

From there, it was over to Green Lake where some people were hanging out and swimming at a nice public "beach". (Is it a beach if there are concrete steps going down into the water?)

Green Lake
Green Lake

After relaxing by the lake for a while, we hit up the Safeway for some BBQ supplies (a couple of giant kabobs) and headed to a BBQ. While waiting for the food to cook, I managed to defeat the first 3 circuits of Mike Tyson's Punch-out on old school NES. I was pleased to still be able to beat Bald Bull. Got defeated by the 2nd appearance of Piston Honda. :( Anyway, at least the food was delicious.

Following the BBQ, we decided to brave the only major fireworks show in town (tough economic times are affecting everything it seems) at Gasworks Park. We were worried it might end up being way too crowded, but we managed to cram our way onto a fairly steep hillside next to some other Seattle YSAs and in the end I didn't feel like it was any more crowded than going to Sugarhouse here in Utah.

Gasworks Park
Gasworks Park

Looking at downtown across Lake Union
The fireworks were shot off from the barge in this photo, out in Lake Union.

Looking at downtown across Lake Union
Waiting for the show to start, looking across at downtown.

And I have to be honest, the show was pretty spectacular. Not just in terms of creative displays, but also just the sheer size of it all. I don't know if we were sitting closer than I'm used to, but the fireworks definitely seemed grander in scale that what I'm accustomed to. Well done, Seattle.

Fireworks over Lake Union

Fireworks over Lake Union

Fireworks over Lake Union

Fireworks over Lake Union

Fireworks over Lake Union

After the fireworks we made our way back to a friend of Jon's where we'd parked the car, and then waited probably another hour or so for traffic to clear out a bit. At that point we were pretty wiped out, so we called it a night.

Sunday was pretty laidback. We didn't leave the house until it was time for Jon's ward at 1. After what felt like a fairly typical Sunday meeting block, we walked over to UW campus for a brief stroll around the parts that Jon frequents.

From there it was off to another BBQ, this time at the home of a mission friend of mine who was gracious enough to invite us over for grilled salmon. Those of you who know my eating habits will know that I'm not a big fan of anything that swims, but this was actually pretty tasty.

After the BBQ, we went back to Jon's for more relaxing after a long weekend of seeing all that Seattle has to offer. I think Jon put a hundred miles of city driving on his car on the 4th alone, not to mention all the driving we did on Friday.

Monday morning we got up and Jon dropped me off at the airport as the only drops of Seattle rain I saw all weekend were drizzling in. All in all, a pretty great trip.

Lady Liberty

Flickr photo set.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From sea to shining Seattle - Day 1

I know it's taken me a while to get this posted. Hopefully I can finish it up by the end of the weekend.

Last weekend, I made my first ever trip to Seattle to celebrate the 4th of July with my good friend Jon. I flew up late on Thursday night and Jon picked me up at the airport. We headed to his house and settled in for the night after a brief attempt to stop the zombie apocalypse

In the morning, we got up and headed down to the nearby Madison Beach on the shore of Lake Washington. After a brief stroll around the area and some breakfast quiche, we headed back to Jon's to meet up with some other friends of his.

Madison Beach - Lake Washington
Madison Beach

From there we headed to downtown Seattle, where we first checked out the public library, then headed to the famous public market where people throw fish, and sell flowers at low-low prices.

Public Market Center
Public Market

Fish throwers

Pike Market flowers

After that, we walked along the waterfront, and back to the car. We then drove to Kerry Park which has a spectacular overlook of downtown.

From Kerry Park
From Kerry Park

Downtown Semi-panoramic
Wider view

From there, we grabbed another friend, this time a girl, and piled back into the car for more fun. After a few failed lunch options (surprising how many places were closed this weekend) we ended up at a pretty good Thai place. We ate, then checked out CDs at Easy Street records. Not sure when was the last time I was in a music store, but I managed to pick up a 99 cent Chris Brown CD that was in good shape.

From there we headed to Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle and some other stuff. Notably, the Experience Music Project aka EMP aka Rock n' Roll museum. There we got to record our own music video, and jam with real instruments in the Sound Lab. Connected to the EMP is a Science Fiction museum that had a special muppets exhibit going on. Three of us grabbed a muppet and did a brief rendition of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem's classic "Can You Picture That?"

Odd Man Out
Odd Man Out

Can You Picture That?

Muppet Show at the Sci-Fi Museum
Behind the Scenes

After leaving the museum, we wandered down to a big public fountain there and also saw Green Day's tour buses, as they were playing at Key Arena that night.

Seattle Center Fountain
Seattle Center Fountain

Green Day Tour Bus
Green Day Tour Bus

For dinner, we headed to a Moroccan restaurant called Marrakesh where we had a 4 or 5 course meal that was tasty and interesting.

Dinner at Marrakesh
Jon feeling the vibe at Marrakesh

After dinner we headed out to west Seattle to check out Alki beach, and the view of downtown from across a bit of the Puget Sound.

Statue of Liberty replica at Alki Beach
We managed to find this mini-Statue of Liberty at Alki Beach

Alki Beach

Taking pictures of downtown from West Seattle
Checking out downtown at night

To cap off the night, Jon and I cruised over to Fremont to see the Fremont troll that lives under the bridge. It also happened to be same night as an attempt to break the record for largest zombie gathering (who keeps these records?), and we happened to run across a couple drunk girls dressed as zombies who agreed to take our photo.

Fremont Troll
Taken by our zombie photographer

Fremont Troll
My take on the troll

Up next: 4th of July in Seattle