Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Visit from dad, Colleen, and Zoey

This weekend my dad and his wife, Colleen, came to visit. They have been RVing around the northwestern corner of the US. They brought the RV into Utah and stayed in luxurious Coalville, which is about 25 miles from our house in Park City. We did some hiking and sightseeing.

Here they are at the top of Bald Mountain over at Deer Valley. This is one of the most interesting places to visit to get a view of the surrounding country.

We went to the Utah Olympic Park and saw an exhibit of both the aerial and nordic ski jumping. In the aerial jumping, they go as high as 60 feet in the air doing twists and flips.

This person seems to be taking a more free-form approach. I am sure the landing is a bit more painful.

After the aerials, we went down to the nordic jumps where people were going off both the 90 and 120 meter jumps. Although I didn't get a picture, the most impressive thing was an eleven year old doing his first jump off the 120 meter. A good jump off this jump will fly you well over a football field through the air.

Not a lot more in the way of pictures from the weekend. On Monday, they took off and headed into Wyoming, slowly heading back east to NC.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The construction is official

In the world of home building, you just don't amount to anything until you get the official status symbol. Is this a permit? No. It is a port-a-john. Even with 700,000 pounds of wall installed, it just didn't feel "started' until today when the pretty orange toilet appeared.

For the past two days, we have had a dump truck show up about every 15 minutes, from 9:00 until 4:30. The crane just keeps filling them up and they keep hauling the dirt off to some mysterious place. That's a LOT of dirt and there's a lot more that needs to go. It's work digging a house into the side of a mountain.

NORBA Mountain Bike Races

This weekend there was a big series of bikes races over at Deer Valley. The races included cross country, downhill, short track, and a few others. Around a thousand competitors were here ranging from ametuers to full-time pros. We didn't catch much of it. We went over Sunday afternoon, right as things were coming to a close.

The most exciting event is the downhill. These people huck themselves down a STEEP mountainside in something barely looking like control. They are flying. Unfortunately, we got there right at the end of this even and I was having a serious fight with my camera. I only ended up with this one photo, but you can at least get a sense of what they were doing.

The event we saw a lot of was the short track. There was a fairly small loop, maybe half a mile. They raced around it for 20 minutes, plus 3 laps. Odd. A lot of the people competing had also been in some brutal, long races the day before. You could tell they were racing hard, but drained.

Now that I had won the fight with my camera and could take pictures easily, the women's pro race had started. The nasty part was the dust. In some pictures it is more obvious than others, but we really don't have rain here in the summer and going around quickly in a circle with 30-40 competitors makes for a choking cloud to ride in. I guess it isn't bad enough that you are racing hard at 7200 feet.

The beginning of the race was between these two women. They chased each other for a few laps.

Then the Team Luna woman (blue) took off out front and several other women caught up with the woman in red.

This woman ended up kicking everyone's butts and two of her teammates got second and third. Team Luna was quite happy with the sweep.

Dust, dust everywhere....

The men's pros were next, but we had to head home.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A new place for dawg

We needed to find a new kennel for Jasper for when we go to Detroit at the end of this month. The one we use here in Park City is way booked. We got a recomendation for one down in Salt Lake called DogMode. Their concept is that the dogs each have a kennel for sleeping in, but during the day they all hang out in a big central area.

This picture (from their web site) doesn't begin to tell the story. We took Jasper by for an "interview" today to make sure he would play well with the other dogs. He did fine and we left him for a day of daycare while we gave blood, hit Costco, etc. When we went to pick him up, there were about sixty dogs all playing around in the big open area. They ranged from little midget dogs to a Great Dane and a Newfoundland. There is an outside area they can hang out in, as well as things like a kids sliding board and picnic tables.

Watching the total chaos of sixty dogs romping in numerous random, flowing packs was hilarious. Jasper had a great time and is now home and napping.

Next time I will have to bring my camera.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th in Park City

Today we got to attend our first Park City July 4th celebration. For such a small town, it is quite a big deal. From talking to out builder we learned that there are nice rewards for the early bird. We drove down around 7:00 this morning and put two chairs out on Main Street, staking out our space. We (including Jasper the dog) went to the city park to enjoy the big pancake breakfast. We walked two miles home, leaving the car. Around 9:45, we walked back down to our seats and enjoyed a wonderful view on the shady side of the street. The weather was low 70s and low humidity. Awesome!

As you can see, the crowd got pretty heavy. The parade route went a mile and a half or so and people were lined up along the streets and balconies of businesses.

We felt pretty outclassed by the guys who brought out a couch and two easy chairs. One of the clowns found it a nice place to rest.

We started the event with a flyover of 4 F16 fighters

The police cleared the parade route by doing nice loops and twists on their brand new shiny Harley's. These were very nice!

The traditional firetruck made it a bit more interesting by occasionally firing water from it's water cannon.

Since Park City is a sports town, a lot of the floats seem to have a sports trend. The local TV station had a nice skier hood ornament.

While another group decided a real skier would be more appropriate. Yes, those are real skis dragging down the asphalt.

We had two Olympic gold medalists: Ted Ligety and Stephanie Victor. She is a double amputee and won in the Special Olympics this year. She can easily out-ski almost anyone I have ever met.

If you didn't win a gold you had to ride on another float. How many towns of 7,000 people can put 10 Olympians from one winter games on a float?

And of course most 4th of July parades would not be complete without representation from the local Luge club.

Guess you can't have sports without some injuries. This was a ski patrol group from The Canyons.

But the injuries must have gotten worse. There was a pair of two horse-drawn hearse. Both were extremely nice, so if you gotta go....

Leaving the sports theme, we see some of the more normal parade participants. This horse drawn wagon had a team of horses that looked like it put the Budweiser teams to shame. They were beautiful and HUGE.

The normal Park City transportation is our free shuttle in the form of a historic trolley. This year they started running it on Biodiesel.

One of my favorites, the belly dancers.

The Scottish marching band.

And then the collection of weird. An odd lady on an odd motorcycle.

A man who had nothing to do with the Scotts.

... and we close on the old guy riding the odd bike, with the live parrot on the front and the woman on the back. On such a nice day, what more can you ask for?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A better view of construction

I promise not to litter the blog with construction pictures, but this provides a better view of the lot as it is being shaped. The retaining wall is needed to keep the mountain out of our house and driveway. It should finish this week.

The heavy equipment serves two purposes. It clears and levels the area for the wall. Then it moves all the wall blocks into place. You can see one dangling from a chain.

This is a stack of the wall blocks with our condo in the background. Turns out each block weighs 2450 pounds. I did a quick count and there appears to be around three hundred of them, with a few more to be added before completion. That's over 700,000 pounds of wall. It gives me some level of comfort that the wall is there to stay.

More whenever something interesting happens.


This morning, Julie was walking into a bedroom, looked out the window, and right outside were two large moose. They were about 10 feet from the window. They are both youngsters, but about the size of a horse. Fortunately, mom wasn't around to get angry with us.

They don't seem to like the orange fencing that surrounds the construction site for our house. Of course when you are seven feet tall, it doesn't matter much.

The condos provide tasy trees and bushes.

Once they left us, they wandered up to a neighbors house. Seems they prefer not to take the stairs.

Ah, now we find what they were looking for: a man-made waterfall and pond, surrounded by tons of tasty flowers.

Drooling a bit from the waterfall beverage, he ducks the Christmas lights.

He/she looks stunning. I wasn't going to get close enough to judge which sex it was.

Quite the visitation!