Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hello from Craig, CO

Hello from Craig, CO

Sunday evening:   July 22, 2012   (third travelogue of this trip).

We are at the Hampton Inn in Craig (map).  We stayed here last year on our way out to Salt Lake City.  It is a great place and we have been impressed with Hampton Inns in general. 

Our trip today started with the climb out of Salt Lake on I-80 to Park City and then on US-40 through Utah into Colorado.  Even though we have taken this route several times, we enjoy the varied scenery and the small towns.  The road itself is in good condition and fairly easy to drive. 

Last night was very special.  Lynn, one of Pat's downline, obtained tickets to a special presentation of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  The special guest performer was Katherine Jenkins.  She has an unbelievable voice (described as mezzo-soprano) and is also known for her great performance on Dancing With The Stars.  Our seats were perhaps 20 rows back and almost in the center of the stage.

The concert was held in the Mormon Conference Center.  The auditorium is indescribable.  The stage is huge and it seats 21,000 people (most of the seats were filled).  It is reported to be the largest theater style auditorium ever built (reference).  The photo below was taken from a newspaper review of the first night's concert (here)You can see the huge array of pipes for the pipe organ, the choir and the vast number of members of the orchestra.  The acoustics of the auditorium are fantastic.  Without question, the performance was amazing.

Tomorrow we will continue our drive on US-40 to Empire where we will intersect with I-70 and then home.  It is a bit less than 200 miles.

That is all for this trip.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hello from Salt Lake City, UT

Hello from Salt Lake City, UT

Saturday evening:   July 21, 2012   (second travelogue of this trip).

We are at the Marriott at City Creek (map).  This is my third stay here with Pat and she has stayed here several other times for the Stampin' Up! convention.  The other two times I was here, we had corner rooms and that was great since they were constructing the City Creek shopping mall.  This time we have a room facing north which overlooks Temple Square and some of City Creek.

City Creek is essentially complete.  It is an amazing place.  It spans almost three city blocks and has two areas where the roof can be retracted when the weather permits.  There are two anchor stores; Nordstrom and Macy's.  Most of the retail spaces are leased and the stores are generally upscale establishments.  Even during the week the stores are pretty crowded and folks are carrying lots of shopping bags.  The food court has many unique restaurants and it is crowded as well.

Pat has been going non-stop since the convention started on Wednesday.  This is the last day and it is probably just as well, as she is half dead {grin}.  The attendance is about the same as last year: 3400.  That is about half of the attendance from a few years ago, but the enthusiasm of the demonstrators is still very high.  One of the major activities of the conventions is what they call “swapping”.  Most of the demonstrators make a large number of cards that they swap with other folks (to get ideas).  I attended a swapping session on a ship and it was like a feeding frenzy at the zoo {big grin}.   At conventions it is much lower key.  I have attached a photo of Pat swapping with lady that she sees at every event.  Pat had been working on her swaps, but got behind.  So we spent Tuesday night working together to get her swaps ready.  She ended up with about 150 swaps.

Pat and BJ swapping cards

Thursday was my seventieth birthday.  I knew that Pat would be tied up, so I made arrangements to visit a good friend and fellow bus nut.  Kent and I have been good friends for several years and he has helped me obtain some major parts for the bus.  Kent has been fighting a significant bout with cancer.  I was glad to see that he is doing OK thanks to some very advanced medication. 

We took his 1957 Crown bus on a little ride and it was really fun.  He bought the bus in 1981 and has done some major and amazing work on the bus.  He converted from a mid-engine configuration to a modern engine in a fabricated rear engine compartment.

It is always fun to visit Kent and it was great to share my birthday with him.  I have included a photo of Kent and I in front of his bus.

Kent and I in front of his '57 Crown

Last night we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  It is located in the City Creek complex.  The waiting time was over 45 minutes, but the food was great.  We shared a dinner and a piece of fabulous cheesecake and it was just the right amount of food.  While we waited outside, we had great people watching.  In addition, we watched some neat cars pull up the the valet parking stand including a very stealthy Ferrari.

That is all for now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello from Green River, UT

Hello from Green River, UT

Monday evening:   July 16, 2012   (First travelogue of this trip).

We are at the River Terrace Inn in Green River Utah (map).  We are on our way to Salt Lake City for Pat's Stampin' Up! convention.  We are driving the PT Cruiser on this trip.  We drove about 330 miles today – mostly on I-70.  It is a very scenic drive and enjoyable drive.

We left Denver about 9:00 AM and got here about 3:00 PM.  We have stopped here many times in the past. Indeed, when I was a kid, my folks would stop in Green River when we drove to California.  I guess it has become a long standing tradition. 

Our room overlooks the Green River and we had dinner in the adjoining Tamarisk Restaurant this evening – again a ritual.  They have good food and the dining room overlooks the river.

I often talk about the reason for this blog – to document our travels.   We started the blog in January, 2008 (before the blog we documented our travels in emails to our family).  I often go back to past posts to recall details as I plan our trips.  This past few weeks, I had a bunch of  fun reading old posts and recalling all of the fun times we have had in our travels.  If you have followed our blog for any time, you will note that I generally include the location in the title.  This makes finding selected posts easier.  There is a search engine, but using the “blog archive” feature is generally sufficient to hone in on the blog I am looking for.

Tomorrow we will travel on US 6 through Price, UT to Provo and then north on I-15 north to Salt Lake.  The drive is less than 200 miles.  We will get a fairly early start so that we can  check in early to avoid the rush when all the demonstrators arrive.

That is all for now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hello from Evergreen, CO

Hello from Evergreen, CO

Subtitled:  Ten Grandkids!

Sunday evening   July 8, 2012   (Second travelogue of this trip).

We have been home since 1:00 PM on Thursday.  I have stayed in “vacation mode” for the past few days (AKA being lazy). 

This family vacation was a bit different from past ones.  We all took it pretty easy and did not try to cram a bunch of activity into the week.  Pat and I were the most laid back of the group.  I got to catch up on a lot of reading and Pat got to have a lot of special time with the grandkids (to be clear, we both enjoyed our time with all the family members).

It was so fun to have Irina, Matthias and Viktor with us.  Viktor is so friendly and even though he had no idea what we were saying, he found fun ways to communicate with us.  Pat and I got to spend a lot of time talking to Matthias about the medical practice in Germany vs the US. 

The weather continued to be pretty good.  The evenings were cool (down to 44 degrees one night) and the days were not too hot.  We only ran the AC in the bus one day.  We did have a bit of rain and some pretty good winds at times but it would be hard to complain about the weather considering all the terrible hot weather and flooding in other parts of the country.

The terrible drought in Colorado forced cancellation of many fireworks shows on the fourth.  That included both the Dillon and Frisco shows.

Now, lets talk about 10 grandkids.  Those of you know us, know that we have 8 “natural” grandkids.  However, we claim and love two additional grandkids:  Austin (the Jeute's have legal guardianship) and Viktor (we consider Irina and Matthias as part of our family).  I have attached a photo of that wonderful group taken at our campground.

Our ten very special grandkids!

That is all for this trip.