Monthly Archives: June 2014

20140621 – Exploding tyre; Mormon overdose, but still only one wife

Saturday – sun and cloud. Warm.

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Up early to return the Hertz mobile and then off to play at Mountain Hosting. We each get 12 park passes which we can use to give free rides for friends and family.

Tod brings in donuts for his team – very much an American thing.Real nice gesture. Good god if I’d have done that in the Arc they’d have had me declared insane and carted me off.  Easy day on the Plaza. You do have to stand back in amazement at the public at large. Kids climbing on rock while parents stand by and ignore our requests for them to get down; mountain bikers suddenly going deaf or loosing the ability to comprehend English (well American really) as they’re asked to walk.

Classic for the day is family whose daughter stayed in England. Daughter couldn’t remember the name of the small village. Then comes the classic “Can you think of the name of it?”. 2 months later we’ll have probably gone through the name of them all. Never mind at least they got the
country right – we hope.

There’s a free bike demo day on the mountain. You get to try out as many bikes as you like for free. Can you believe some of these bikes cost $7,000 or more. Starting price seems to be around $2,000. Pop up seats at the touch of a button, carbon fibre frames, gears galore, suspension front and rear, and loads of other gizmos seem to be in abundance. Put’s my $200 Walmart special in it’s place. Mind you it does the job for me.

Sunday – warm, sun and cloud.

After our 5 days in the wilderness, on the go 12 hours a day plus yesterdays hosting we’re ready for a day of rest.IMG 4209 You have to give religion some brownie points, they certainly got the day of rest concept right.

I go off for a mountain bike ride around Round Valley. Tried my first blue run, mainly because I was lost. Certainly shakes me eyeballs out, worse than riding a pneumatic drill in speedos. I’ve lost all sensation in me hands. Can someone go and move all them rocks please.

In the evening we watch TV. Geez, 9 episodes of pure retarded crap. Geez, the 10th was good, even if the ending was ludicrous. Geez, thank the FSM it’s all over. Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue Ox can relax, no more being portrayed as back country knuckle draggers. What am I on about? It’s that dam Fargo series. We must have been stupid to watch anything past the first episode.

Monday – warm and sunny, again.

Wendy’s off doing her Florence Nightingale good deed for the week. I’m off for for a hike.

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Catch a free ride up Crescent lift. Pick up Mid-Mountain trail across the mountain and then down Armstrong trail back to the base. I thought these walks would be up and down the ski runs I know so well. Thankfully they’re not. They zig zag up the mountain. When you cross a blue ski run you look up and down, wonder how the hell you ever ski down it and thanks the FSM that you don’t have to walk up or down it. When you cross a black run you look up, but avoid looking down, to horrendous to contemplate.

A great 9.5 mile “Hike” in 3.5 hours.2,308 calories equates to 4 bottles of wine.

Interesting how the word “Thank you” seems to be disappearing from the American language. As you step aside to let bikers past, without them needing to loose momentum, it never ceases to amaze me how many of them are such scrots that they can’t even say thank you. What’s happened. America never used to be like this. When we
first started coming we were amazed at the politeness and good manners of all, inkling and especially the youngsters. Obviously down to the parents. You only have to encounter Angela to realise what good manners really are.

Attended the briefing by PCMR’s lawyer on the PCMR v Taliker / Vail fiasco.

They’ve ALL got to go to mediation and report back to judge by 8/17/14.

If that doesn’t resolve the issue then 8/27 back to court. Judge could force eviction but sounds unlikely. PCMR would appeal to Utah Supreme Court anyway. Once all the issues have been tried the judge cannot deny them an appeal, at the moment they haven’t all been tried.

Appeal could take 18 months. Lawyer is more confident that SC will come in their favour as Utah currently IMG 4214 pplies a very strict interpretation on late renewal, whereas the majority of the country tends to use the “fountain rules” for deciding such issues – sounds a more common sense method. Trial judges have to strictly interpret the law whereas SC can change / influence.

Looks like the only winners will be the lawyers, now there’s a surprise, as if mediation doesn’t resolve it there will be 2 more high fee years. Even if they fail in the Utah SC it can be referred to US SC, more bigger fees / delays.

PCMR seem to be in a good position as they own base, water rights and there’s a ban on major developments on the mountain by Vail etc as a condition of them building the Montage.  Good analogy is Vail may own the dinning room (mountain), but the kitchen, tap water and car park (base area) are owned by PCMR.

Tuesday – warm and sunny.

Lazy morning.

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Biked 6 miles on my Round Valley route and then there was a giant explosion, just as I was getting the some speed up and the wind ruffling my hair. Thought I’d been attacked by a Taliban sniper, but front inner tube had exploded and was split. Had to walk home. Although to be fair, in typical American friendly fashion, two fellow MTB’s stopped and offered to fix my tyre for me with their spare inner tube. Moral of the story, 1 don’t pump your tyres up to high; 2 carry a spare inner tube; 3 carry a small pump.

Nat and Paul arrived in the afternoon. Pleasant evening meal and time catching up.

Wednesday – warm and sunny, again.

Did our tourist guide thing and took Nat and Paul into Park City for a tour of Main Street. Followed by a pleasant lunch at the Bridge Cafe. Then free ride up Town lift and down Payday to see the mountain scenery. Paul and I have a free ride down the zip line.

Thursday – cool and rain in the evening.

Take Nat and Paul down to Salt Lake to visit Mormon Temple Square. We got our daily dose of religion.

Excellent free (my sort of word) tour around the Mormon Temple Square. Mormons are so pleasant and respectful. When we’re volunteering on the mountain you can always tell the Mormons who have been on their two year mission by their demeanour and way they speak to you, it really does seem to teach them great interaction skills, respect and consideration for others. They certainly have no problems coping
with most of my probing questions, although they did struggle a bit with issues on hell and bronze, silver and gold membership of heaven.

As usual all very interesting, including an impressive 1 hour film, and unlike most churches and religious sites no one had their hand in my pocket ferreting for money.

Decided not to sign up. One wife is more than enough.

Lovely dinner in the Garden restaurant overlooking Temple Square followed by Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehersal – free. Cheeky devils were singing “My country, tis of thee” to the our National Anthem. Resisted the temptation to stand and sing our National Anthem, although Wendy did have to be restrained by Nat and Paul.

Friday – cool and cloudy.

Nat and Paul set off to continue their tour and visit Idaho. Is there anything there other than Sun Valley ski resort and a lot of potatoes.

Trip down to Home Depot, with Hal, to buy a umbrella for our deck. You so need the shade here, the sun just fries you. Home Depot’s an experience, just like B&Q but on steroids. Wendy looks after Angela, making paper flowers, drawing and no visit from Angela would be complete without some iPad time.

Saturday – hot and sunny.

It’s mountain hosting day yet again. These days fly round.

Yet more joys of the American public unleashed. Todays little gem comes from a couple who wanted to fly down the Zip Line. I explain all about it and what a great ride it is. “So how do we get down?” With an incredulous look I reply “You come down the zip line”. “Yes, but how do we get down from the top?”. This conversation is repeated at least 3 times when before they finally grasp the concept.

 

20140615 – Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks

Sunday – short rain shower start to the day, then warn with sun and clouds.

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Lazy morning then a MTB ride around Round Valley. Did my usual route apart from a short variation to avoid Cammys hill. Whilst the 12 year BMX sage from the other day may have said “there’s no shame in walking up”. I wonder what he’d have thought about my walking down a section. It was that steep I even had trouble walking down, steeper than a black ski run – frightening. I don’t think even my brakes would have held me.

Anyway awesome ride and fitness must be improving, managed to clip 18 minutes off a 112 minute ride. Improved pace from 8.33 minutes per mile down to 7.29. Not that I’m getting obsessive.

Hal and Randy come round in the evening for dinner. Roast and veg of course – got to have 
 the 5 a week.

Monday – warm and sunny.

Pick up me Hertz mobile up. Fantastic free upgrade from the cheapest compact going to a Chrysler 300C AWD DSC04091luxury sedan, a real pleasure to drive, comfortable, massive and all the bells and whistles you can think of. But what’s happening to the country? Have car designers no shame? I took one look at it and thought yes, 15MPG, that’ll get me more points towards me green card. But bugger me if the dam thing doesn’t have Eco mode and manages mid 30s MPG. Mind you it will win the “Detroit Witless Design of the Year” award for hiding the petrol cap release button – unbelievable  stupidity.

Could definitely get to like this keyless ignition. Heated steering wheel and seats, that come on automatically when cold, very nice but drives you nuts. Even has cooled  / vented seats. I wonder if they come on automatically when very hot. Meanwhile the voice on the Hertz never lost sounds like some half witted reatard that sounds like a toothless Tennessee moonshiner’s moll. By the time we reach JacksonHole I’m ready to do a Van Gough and slit both me ears off. 

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Takes us just 4 hours to get to Jackson Hole, one of my favourite Cowboy Towns. 

Check in at the Quality Inn and Suites 49’er at Jackson Hole. More on that place later.

Visit the National Park visitor centre to buy our annual park pass (only $80) and plan our Tuesday in the Grand Teton National Park. Then drive back down past Jackson Hole ski mountain resort. We skied there some years ago. Not one of my favourite ski resorts. See a majestic Great Grey Owl – see picture – and can certainly understand why it’s called Great, it was about 30” tall – awesome.

Stroll down to the town square for dinner. Just miss the town square shoot out. The place is DSC04149 infested with a plague of Japs. You can hardly move without having you’re eye taken out by a fast panning telescopic lens.

Have dinner at the famous Millionaire Cowboy Saloon. Elk and Bison mixed grill for dinner was delicious and well prepared and unusual for an American restaurant – quality and not excessive quantity. Aptly named place, expensive.

Pick up a bottle of wine on the way back to hotel.

Tuesday – cold, some sun and no snow despite it being forecast.

It’s colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of Grand Teton. Thankfully we had our ski gear with us so we survived and at least the forecast snow held off.

Mediocre breakfast then drive down to Jenny Lake. Catch the ferry across the lake and then take a “hike” up to the Hidden Waterfall and then bravely on to Inspiration Point. I say bravely because part of the path and the drop-DSC04169offs was way over my tolerance limit. But I made it without incident, even if coming down was a tad tortuous. No I hate heights – that scared you couldn’t drive a wet watermelon seed up me butt with a sledge hammer. Views from Inspiration Point were worth the hike.

Then we took a drive around the loop road. Calling off at most of the key stop off for photographs. Called in at Signal Mountain Lodge where Wendy managed to buy a colourful belt she’d been admiring but couldn’t find one big enough. Can you believe it Wendy had to get a Large belt to fit around her waist!

Had afternoon tea and coffee at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Very grand and dignified, even had a live pianist playing along with massive comfortable settees to sink into – very civilised.

Finish the loop drive. Pick up some wine at Albertsons. Wine’s more expensive here than in the religious, anti-DSC04199alcohol state of Utah. Then it’s a spicy Italian Sandwich for me and a Turkey Reubens for Wendy over at the Sandwich cafe. A great cheap meal. Mind you a Reubens really needs to have Pastrami on it.

Wednesday – cold and snowing. Thank the FSM it’s summer or else it cold be really cold.

Up early and check out of the 49’er Hotel.

Well what can I say abut the Quality Inn and Suites 49’er in Jackson:

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On the good side the room was clean, comfortable and nicely furnished although a tad on the dark side. Staff were very friendly.

On the downside. Breakfast can best be described as mediocre and they’d run out of scramble eggs – supplier let them down. No USA Today – another supplier let them down. Is there a theme here. Of course management couldn’t figure out to nip down the street to a newsagent and buy some – too much lateral thinking to expect. Door to room was a nightmare to open, more badly designed than a soup sandwich. TV remote didn’t work. All minor annoyances but clearly demonstrates poor management, which is becoming a recurring feature with Choice Hotels these days. Perhaps it’s time for a change of brand loyalty after many years.

Anyway on check out I suppose if I hand over $300 instead of the $350 on the bill, management will have no problem with my lame brain excuse that my bank let me down with supplying dollars.

Drive up through Grand Tetons National Park into Yellowstone. At times there’s a raging snow blizzard blowing, DSC04371 ind it is 8,500 feet up, and it’s obvious they’ve had quite a bit of snow up there. Fortunately we have all of our ski gear so manage to survive the day.

Check in at the Grant Village Lodge for two nights.

Drive up to the Old Faithful Geyser and catch one of its 2 minute performances, one every 94 minutes. Fortunately by now the suns out and it has stopped snowing. I was pretty impressed but Wendy’s comment was, “well is that all there is to it”. Definitely under-awed by it.

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Have afternoon tea and coffee in the Old Faithful Inn. A very impressive old natural wood hotel – awesome structure. Mind you can’t say much for the service.

Drive back and stop off at Kepler Cascade for more photos.

Back to our room for a coffee. They’ve one of these yuppie Keurig coffee machines. I’ve been dying to try one.  Dam thing wouldn’t work until I slammed the lid down, obviously likes being treated rough. Coffee was mediocre. If you have a tea after a coffee then the teas polluted with coffee grinds. Now thats clever. You spend fortune on a machine. They then have you by the short and curlies for buying overpriced, mediocre coffees with limited choice. Confirms my innate prejudice against such gimmicks – best avoided. 

Go for dinner at the Grant Village Dining Room. We had a starter each that was bigger than the main course. I had a delicious Elk steak. Wendy had ice cold Elk and Bison meat loaf along with ice cold potatoes, she sent it back. Then the 2nd one was just as cold. She told them to stuff it.

Thursday – sun and cloud. Warmed up by dinner time.

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Up early and had breakfast at the General Store grill. Then it’s off for a drive around the loop road to see all the major sites in one day.

Yellowstone. Wilderness, no wifi. Can you believe that? How do people survive here? No cellular either. 
We’re sat on top of one of the Worlds biggest active volcanoes.

Bad news is it hasn’t erupted for 640,000 years, so could be due anytime.

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Good news is that if it does kick off then we’re in the best place, with a quick hellfire death, rather than a lingering nuclear winter that such an eruption would cause.

Given the risk of an eruption I’m surprised the health and safety numbskulls haven’t surrounded all 2 million acres with “DO NOT ENTER” tape and declared it off limits to the public.

By the way it’s big, America of course it has to be, it’s awesome and it needs weeks to do it justice. 
Pictures may follow if we ever reach civilisation.

By the end of our exhausting 12 hour day, I think we’re geysered out. More geysers, thermal 
springs, mud pots, sulphur cauldrons and the like, than anywhere in the world.

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Also smelt the bubbling sulphur cauldron. If this is what Hell smells like then I definitely don’t want to go there. I’ll be really good from now on. I promise! Perhaps I’d better get religion. Pascal’s wager might be a safer bet than the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but it’s such a weaklings compromise. Mind you at least with the FSM there’s no hell. 

Highlight of Thursday had to be seeing a real live Black and a Grizzly bear. Wendy was orgasmic – much more impressed than she was of Old Faithful. Even if we did create a major traffic jam photographing them. But Mr Ranger Sir moved us on. They’re definitely about, bears that is. Evidenced by some fresh looking bear poo, but Wendy wasn’t for dipping her finger in to see if it DSC04476was still hot.

Just get back in time for a nice cool beer and a Reubens at the Lake house in Grant Village:

Good

Staff very friendly well trained and motivated. Quick service but why they make such a dogs breakfast of delivering a beer. Another example of American job creation schemes and lack of common sense.  Pay, bar, beer hand it over – it’s oh so simple.

Bad

Sadly this place isn’t really too hot (pardon the sarcasm) on DSC04462 ood food and the menu distinctly lacks imagination. The cook / warmer upper even seemed to have problems toasting a Reubens without charcoalling it. Sadly we were so tired and hungry we’d have eat the fur off a fried grizzly.

When you watch Americans eat it’s a wonder table knife manufacturers haven’t gone out of business. 

Friday – warm and sunny.

Check out of the Grant Village Lodge:

Good

The only place with availability when we booked 3 months ago. Cheapest place around. Quick check in. Clean and comfortable. Basic room with two double beds.

Bad

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A tad basic. Silly Keurig coffee machine. Main dislike was the cuddly black bear toy on the bed. People might think it was free. It wasn’t. Kids would fall in love with it and myther parents for it. Take it home and it was charged to your room at $16.99. What a despicable and devious ploy to sell stuff, especially  harsh on parents with young kids. Should be banned.

Up at the crack of sparrows and drive down to the Old Faithful Lodge for Breakfast:

Good

A very reasonable all you can eat breakfast in great surroundings with a good choice.

Bad

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Having to wait for a table when the restaurants half full. Typical American approach to service. “Oh we like to make sure their’s enough staff to serve you promptly”. Why then did we have to wait for our server?

Lovely hotel with oodles of charm and character. What a pity we couldn’t have stayed here. Probably have to book years in advance.

We were going to do some walks around the Old Faithful area, but by the time we’d had shopped for enough trivia to incur excess baggage charges, we decided to set off for the 6 hour drive home. Fortunately the weather by now was pleasant, after a few more photo opportunity stops as we drove through Grand Tetons, we had a pleasant and scenic drive back to PC. Then it’s straight to the supermarket for a giant weekly shop while we have  DSC04529the advantage of a car. For me it’s a trip to Chubasco’s for a take away smothered burrito and spicy sauces so hot me arse thinks it’s passing a flaming fireball the next day.

Whilst we loved Yellowstone and only wished we had more time there I have to say that in their eagerness to protect the environment etc., it seems their brains have clogged up, all common sense and enterprise has sunk in the hot mud springs. Mediocrity has seized their troubled minds. Nothing matters. Choice in oh so may ways is limited and lacks imagination. Just because there’s so many backpackers and campers, doesn’t mean that everyone wants to make do. No management. It’s as if the place is run by the French. No one gives a dam. 

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20140610 – Zip Lines, Roller Coaster rides, Mountain Biking and Hiking

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

Quicklook Roundvalley

I’m up and out to Round Valley for a mountain bike ride. A bit like a skiing holiday this.

First mountain bike ride without the need for a 2 gallon jar of Swarfega. Gears fixed, whatever happened to proper gears like Sturney Archer – probably they worked and too simple.

70F at 09:00 and the suns beaming down. I feel like a member of the foreign legion in the Sahara. Sadly there’s no lifts or coffee shops. My lungs are ready to burst, the sweats dripping down and my hearts about to do a great impression of an islamic martyr as he starts his journey in search of paradise. And these are only the green and blue trails. Then my exhaustion is pales into insignificance as a mountain bluebird crosses my path and poses on a branch, saying look at me. Look at my gorgeous blue colours. Then I spy a yellow headed blackbird.

Skiing is so much easier.

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What an awesome start to the day.

After lunch we both take a bike ride down the farm trails to Kimble Junction. More awesome views from this bike path. And just look at the design simplicity and style of that fence.

Coffee at Starbucks. Of course we visit to a few shops. Wendy doesn’t fancy the ride all the way back up hill, so we catch the bus. I do the gallant thing and accompany her. Yes, you can take your bikes on the FREE bus. They have proper bike racks at the front and even let you take them inside.

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

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Today both of us aim to do a hike up Jenni’s trail. That way we can tell guests what it’s like. It’s about 90 minutes to the top of the zip lines, where we stop for lunch. Well an energy bar for Wendy and some water for me. Wot no Starbucks. Then it’s about a further 90 minutes to the top of Payday lift. Mind you we did get a tad lost.

Half way up we come across a giant mound of snow blocking the trail. Who said there’s no snow up here? Just need to pop back home and get them skis. Sadly it’s like a dirty arthritic slush puppy rather than the normal champagne powder.

Well done Wendy, you made it without too many whinges.

Catch the Payday lift back down. 30 minutes, thank the FSM it doesn’t go these speeds in winter, we’d DSC04057only get two runs a day in.

Hal and Randy come round in the evening for dinner. A great evening putting the World to rights.

Thursday – hot and sunny, with a short sharp shower in the afternoon.

Wendy’s volunteering at the hospital.

I do my MTB loop around Round Valley. Getting slightly faster but still have to walk up a bit of Cammis. Mind as a 12 year old sage, who was also walking up, wisely pointed out “there’s no shame in walking up hill”.

Another great 12 mile MTB ride. Now for coffee / lunch with Wendy in the hospital restaurant.

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Take the Facebook English GCSE test. Amazed to get a B grade with 10/15. Not bad for someone who scraped though with just a pass in GCE (yes the proper exam) English. But, I still wish, I knew, where the, commas go.

Yes, that’s right, we’re eating hospital food. It’s delicious, unlike the tortured veg, mash and jelly slopped out at home.

Friday – hot and sunny, again.

Up and out on the bus to Silver Lake to hike (so much more manly than walk) the Mid Mountain trail to Park City.

Halfway along we stop off at the Montage. Sit on their deck having a coffee and iced tea (mind you we need 2nd mortgage to pay for it – great way to fritter away our kids inheritance), whilst being serenaded with live music – Bob Dylan style again.

Then it’s back to the hike. Mid Mountains a great trail. I could just about do this on my MTB, although there are some scary drop offs, so will wait until fitness and technique are improved in Round Vally.

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As Mid Mountains name implies, it more or less follows the contours half way up the mountain. Some awesome views, in and out the Aspens, and not too strenuous. Wendy makes the 9 miles with ease. Mind you there’s another 15 mile more of this trail down to the Canyons. Save that for another day.

Catch the Town lift down into Park City and then walk down to the supermarket for some supplies. As we’re car less – yes, very un American, I know – we have to do incremental shopping each time we pass the supermarket.

Saturday – cold and sunny.

Up early to catch the bus to PCMR. It Mountain Host volunteering day yet again. It’s quite cold (maximum 50F) so were in our jackets today and as luck would IMG 3962 ave it we’re dished out some long trousers to go with our uniform. Most welcome a day in shorts would have been freezing.

I get to test out the zip line again.That cold, my contact lenses nearly float away in the torrent of tears from the cold wind at 50 MPH. Certainly not a recommended ride for a cold day.

Quite enjoy it and our testing of rides on Monday, along with the hikes came in really handy when talking to guest and answering their questions.

Then in the evening it’s pleasant evening in with a Smoking Loon bottle of Merlot. Sadly my will power is not what it should be and had to finish the bottle. I blame it on World Cup Football blighting our TV screens and programming like a plague of locusts.

 

20140603 – Living The Dream – Part 2

Tuesday – grey weather.

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Up at the crack of sparrows to go to the airport. Stuart, our Home Exchange guest has kindly volunteered to take us. He only arrived at our place yesterday and we had a lovely evening meal with him, Lee and Jill. Always great to meet our guests. Got on really well, as usual it’s surprising how much us Home Exchangers have in common.

Flight was pretty good. Airports were they usual tedious, inconvenience and still never miss an opportunity to inflict as much misery as possible, I’d rather jump barefoot off a 6-foot step ladder into a 5 gallon bucket full of hedgehogs than go through an airport. Must say in mitigation Atlanta immigration was quickest we’ve ever been, despite two wide body flights having landed within 20 minutes of each other. Trust the French to get their first.

They now have a new system of self help screens that scan passport, take your photo and take finger prints. To supposedly speed things up. But you still have the ridiculous situation where you take your slip of paper to a customs officer who proceeds to stamp, stamp, stamp like a 2 year oldIMG 0807 with his first hammer. In Wendy’s case she had to do her finger prints again. But it was quicker.

Lounge at Atlanta International terminal was much better than the usual one. So there I am sat in me hiking boots relaxing, when I suddenly notice the sole of my boots hanging off like some tramp who’s just found them in a dustbin.

Real song and dance getting an isle seat for Wendy. Too long and tedious to relate here. Suffice it to say that Delta now have the “Golden Triangle Award for Sloppy Shoulders 2014”. More jobs worths than TSA employees at their daily lets screw with the passengers. Finally get it sorted at the gate. Done in 20 seconds. No problem.

Hertz screw up. Go to my designated slot, which is much too far for a Presidents Circle Member to walk. Giant SUV in there and not a small economy. Car stink like they’ve just finished milking a cow and the milks gone off. Too weary to change it, will swop it tomorrow in PC. Stopped at the exit. IMG 3885“You’ve got the wrong car”. “No I haven’t it was in my slot with my name lit up alongside it”.

Have to swap cars. By now the boiling blood is spluttering over the pavement. As compensation, to stem the rant, they offer me a car of my choice. End up with a nice new Kia Sorrento SUV.

Sad to say just lately Hertz seem to provide screw ups as a standard enhanced service level.

Arrive “home” about 22:30, nearly 24 hours door to door.

No more airports, TSA or terrahertz scanners for 3 months. Good to be back.

Wednesday – blue skies, sun and warm.

Wake up to blue skies and green mountains. No snow, apart from some very small pocket of champagne powder that has now aged with the sun to a crinkly, murky slush puppy. It’s sad to se a grown man cry!

House is all neat and tidy and welcoming. Just like arriving home. 

Just look at those awesome mountains and views. Meanwhile I can get really excited about the simplicity of this fence. No nails needed.

Lazy morning sorting things out, unpacking etc.

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Have a leisurely lunch round at Carols, on the patio of course. Need to get used to this out door living. Great to see her and Angela again.

After lunch Wendy gets her fix as she does her weekly shop, while I check out Starbucks to make sure they’re still functioning properly. They’re still as dodgy and two faced as Janus, with the brass nerve to expect me to pay taxes though. Never mind the EU’s got them in their bureaucratic sights.

Outside the local supermarket is this piano. It works. It’s in tune. It’s not chained down. People just sit down and bash out the odd tune. 

I pondered how long this would last in Blackburn? How long before the scrots bashed it? Graffitti? Steal it? Trash it? Use it for firewood? Take your pick.

Thursday – blue skies, sun and warm.

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Leisurely morning, again. Go and buy some hiking boots to replace my tramps specials.

Then it’s down to Salt Lake city for  Costco and an all American Mall to get some sunglasses.

Early evening I go up to the National Ability Centre for an orientation session and tour of the facilities. I sign up as a volunteer for archery. Would like to do the water skiing one if training and transport can be arranged.

This Aspen tree is on the side of our deck. It’s awesome to just watch the leaves shimmer in the sunlight on a windy day. Sadly the camera doesn’t capture it’s true glory.

Friday – blue skies, sun and warm.

Up to the Mountain Plaza for our uniforms and Mountain Host training. Todd get’s us kitted out and gives us some basic training ready for our debut as rookie mountain hosts. Takes most of the day. 

We both have to do one day a week as volunteers. Working together on Saturday, “thats nice”! WeIMG 3890 get a free season pass which cover summer and winter – hooray. Also get to go on all the rides for free and discounts in all the PCMR shops and restaurants.

Saturday – blue skies, sun and hot.

Day 1 as a  Mountain Host. Up early, don our new uniforms. Not forgetting our all important name badges and a great forage cap. Then the two rookies are let loose on an unsuspecting public.  No one warned me that I had to smile and be nice to people. Wendy’s quite comfortable with all this meeting and greeting, smiling and being nice to people. I’m sure that readers that know me, will be amazed to learn, that this is bit of a culture shock for Victor. Will I survive? Will I enjoy it? Will the customers cope? 7 hours of it.

A culture shock for me, I feel as if my lips have been stapled back to expose a permanent smile, like a braying donkey – painful, terrifying prospect. 

I survived. Even the poor unsuspecting public survived and so far not a single complaint.

But it does have it’s compensations for just 1 day a week. Annual ski pass. Summer pass for mountain biking, hiking and zip lines etc. Plenty of sunshine. Live Bob Dylan music from a guy who was more personable that the real thing. And of course a free uniform.

Have a nice day!

Start on the plaza at 10:00 after morning briefing and work through to 16:30 with an hour for lunch. It’s quite busy all day. I actually enjoy it. None of it’s rocket science and we’re both soon into the swing of it. By 16:30 my smile been riveted in place and my jaw aches.

Overall a good day and nice to chat to so many friendly Americans. Yes, I think I can cope with this.

Sunday – blue skies, sun and hot.

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After 5 hectic days; travelling; lunch and dinner with friends; shopping; training; mountain host volunteering; we’re finally car less.

Finally get out early to try some mountain biking. Park City was the first area to win an International Mountain Biking Association Gold Level award. Stick to the green / easy trails. Hard work. Think a better idea is up on lift, ride down. Skiing is so much easier and you don’t have greasy chains to contend with.

Blue skies; awesome mountain scenery; topped off with 8 different species of birds, including the magnificent, ginormous, vociferous Sandhill Crane; squirrels; chipmunks; but alas no sign of the coyotes. What a great start to the day.

Sunday afternoon at the Silly Market in Park City. Got off lightly just a coffe and drink. The credit card lives to hide in the dark, cobwebbed, depths of my wallet yet another day. We bump into Sylvia and Tomoku, Wendy’s fellow volunteers at the hospital.

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Well it looks like we’re almost certain to qualify for American citizenship as we’ve just barbecued burgers on our all American gas barbecue on the deck and dined out in the sun.

What can be more American than that. Not forgetting that we had Apple pie last Monday and enough calories in the form of cheesecake and death by chocolate to ensure we waddled home from Hal and Carols.

No doubt the Green Cards will be winging their way through our letter box as we speak.

Monday – blue skies, sun and hot..

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Decide to spend a day on the mountain trying out all the rides so that we’re better informed when talking to guests.

Catch the lift up for the Zip line. Wendy’s very nervous, but goes through with it. The longest in Utah. All over with after a 50MPH, 1 minute ride over the tree tops. Great. Then we try the Mountain coaster. A thrilling roller coaster toboggan ride down the mountain. Really enjoyable. Try the Flying Eagle where we sit side by side and do a short zip line ride up and then down. OK but wouldn’t want to pay for it. Finally Catch the lift up and try the mountain slide down. Enjoyable, I think Wendy must have worn her brakes out as she finally arrives minutes later, nearly had a whip lash case with the traffic jam she created.

An epic day, just being kids. All free to volunteer mountain hosts, including pictures. 

Sorry no time for rants. Victors just too busy. Perhaps normal service and comments on the religion of peace and all the craziness in the World will be resumed next time.

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