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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