Monday, May 20, 2013

Moab Easter Jeep Safari

The weekend before Easter, I drove down to Moab with a couple friends to meet up with some other friends who'd been down there all week for the annual Jeep Safari.  My friends Kelly and Jason (aka "Chops") go down nearly every year, and I'd always wanted to go down and check it out.  This year it finally worked out to go.

We got down there late Thursday night and set up a tent by flashlight and went to bed.  Woke up in the morning and found out that Kelly's Jeep was broken (seems to be a recurring theme) and needed repairs.

Kelly's Jeep

Also in the morning, a big group of jeeps was preparing to head up the Moab Rim Trail, just a few hundred yards down the road from where we were camping. So I wandered over there to see what it was all about. There were 2 main tricky spots that were there on the climb up to the ridge, and I guess during Jeep Safari week, you can sign up to go on these trails with guides who will help you through the trouble spots. I was well entertained for quite a while, just hanging out and watching people work their way through.

Jeeps lined up waiting.

Heading up to "The Devil's Crack"

You can see the crack there by the rear wheel of this Jeep.

I can't remember whether this was a bad approach or a good one. Sometimes it was hard to tell.

Here's a nice scenic shot of the Jeeps and the river. Our campsite is off in the distance there if you look closely.

This is not the stock suspension on a Cherokee, I don't think.

Their tires are inflated to really low pressures for better grip. And for nice squishy pictures like this.

This itty bitty Jeep had some serious issues.  Don't ask me to climb under there and pile up rocks.

Maybe he'll make it up...

Or maybe not so much.  As Jerry Seinfeld would put it, "I got it, I got it. I'm using my ARM!" He actually did make it up in the end somehow.

The 2nd tricky section was called "The Z-Turn". It had a couple of steps to climb, followed by a turn and then some more steps.

Amazingly this guy didn't tip over.

Evidence of Jeep Safari

After I was done watching the Jeeps, I walked back down and founded that Chops had taken his Jeep off on a trail, and Kelly was planning on spending the day working on his broken axle.  I had a good time cruising around town looking for parts and watching people do auto-repair kinds of things.  I got a nap in as well, I think.

Kelly working on replacing an axle.

That night, after all-you-can-eat pizza dinner at Zax (I think that was the only constant between this trip to Moab and my other trip a few years ago), we loaded up the Jeeps and headed out on a trail in the dark.  I think it was Flatiron Mesa, but I could be wrong. It was kind of hard to see. :)

Getting ready to head out

It was actually pretty fun, even in the dark. I rode in Chops' Jeep, and even though there were times I got a little nervous ("I can tell it's steep, because I can't seen the ground"), because he wasn't too worried, then I wasn't too worried.  There was only one kind of tough spot where we had to bounce it a few times to get up a hill, and one of the other Jeeps with us had to get winched up, but otherwise it was good times.  Also somehow while following the trail, we ended up doing a circle and coming back out where we had started. Guess there are worse ways to be lost.

Playing around with my new camera at night

Saturday morning I got up again and went over to watch the Jeeps go up the Moab Rim Trail.

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Several of the drivers had their dogs riding shotgun.

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Here's the guide saying "You got BUMP it!"

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Here's the driver doing his interpretation of "BUMP it".  He broke something (an axle was the speculation).

The Jeeps filled up Saturday for a day drive with people who hadn't been able to go the day before, so I ended up hanging out at camp with Kelly and Amber and a few others and helping to break down camp.  I did take a little time to read and some time to wander around and take a few pictures

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Fun Times at Uncle Jake's

While George and fam were in town, I also was able to convince them to come over to my new place one night for pizza and root beer floats and playing Kinect games on the XBox.  The kids all got prizes from the prize box (gotta make sure they want to come back, right?), and had some fun playing.

We mostly did Kinect Adventures, but toward the end we tried Kinect Party and that was probably more silly fun for the younger kids. Less structured.

Cole didn't really play, but enjoyed watching intently

Maybe this counts as Cole playing?

Grandma Liz even got into the action (Cole and her seem to be playing together)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

March Madness! (Yes, I realize it's nearly June)

I realize I've been slacking here on the blog, but I have been posting stuff in other places (Facebook, Flickr, Instagram), so if you're missing me, those are good places to check. :)  In any case, I did finally decide that I should put some stuff here, if for no other reason than that it's a better permanent record than Facebook.

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Back in March, we went to see some first round NCAA Tournament games (aka March Madness).  By virtue of our being season ticket holders/Crimson Club members at the U, who was "hosting" the games, even though they were at the Energy Solutions Arena, we were able to buy tickets almost a year in advance.  There were 4 games on Thursday and 2 more on Saturday evening.

It worked out nicely that George happened to be in town that week, so he came Thursday, and we swapped out mom for Natalie halfway through the day.

Thursday we were able to see New Mexico get upset by Harvard, and then on Saturday, Wichita State (who eventually went to the Final Four) upset #1 seed Gonzaga (featuring John Stockton's son!).  Those were probably the two most exciting games we got to see.

Saturday night's games happened to coincide with the Grantsville Old Folks Sociable, so my parents and siblings chose to do that instead, and we found takers for the rest of our tickets.

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Opening tip

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Wichita played tough D against both Pitt and Gonzaga

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Don't know why their fans weren't more excited. Ok...this was actually during the following game. But still. If I were Carol I'd pretend I didn't know them. :)

Not to worry, though, their cowbell player brought enough excitement for everyone

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I took this photo between games to show that while there is, in fact, a drinking fountain, it is nowhere near the sign indicating a drinking fountain.  Poor signage, ESA! :)

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Gotta hike those shorts up a bit, Stockton

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The most famous haircut in Utah basketball history?

#16 seed Southern University gave Gonzaga a run for their money, and definitely came out on top of the weirdest-for-no-clear-reason mascot competition.

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This kid hit a bunch of huge 3s in Harvard's win over New Mexico

All in all, it was a fun experience. If I had it to do over again, I might considering selling one of the tickets on Thursday (1 ticket = 2 games), because 4 games in one day was a bit much.