Sin City

I’m sorry. Where were we? Right, our time in This is So Not the Place…

First, I guess I should dedicate a few words to Jackson, WY, which was our lunch stop on the way from Grand Teton National Park. We enjoyed an insanely good brunch at Persephone Bakery. After seeing how tight the streets were looking to get there, I recommended to Flight that we go directly through town, find a place to park Davista for a couple of hours, and pop into Jackson proper in the Subaru.

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I found this pic online, wish I’d have taken one.

Our kids opted for a sweet breakfast creation and the Bread Pudding French Toast was crazy good. Flight had the Summer Grain Bowl with heaps of smoked salmon and veggies topped with a poached egg. I had a Truffled Egg Skillet, which was all sorts of delicious goodness on top of a cheddar scone and smothered in a heavenly concoction involving Dijon mustard and cream, lots of cream, and truffle oil. It was sublime.

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Firebolt and WoodSprite unknowingly strike Charlie’s Angels poses in front of the Antler Arch in the Jackson Town Square.

After looking for reasonably priced Jackson Hole t-shirts, we split up and I headed to the local yarn store while they recovered the car. I found exactly what I was looking for, so once I finish knitting a Christmas present, I can begin what is sure to be my new uniform sweater. I use “uniform” not because it has USN stenciled inside it, but because I know I will wear it all the time. I have one such sweater that I knit using alpaca yarn (it is with me now because it is a uniform item) and it has logged many hours in 9 short years. I hope to finish this new one just in time to have a need to wear it.  Although we didn’t spend much time in Jackson, aside from the astronomical price tag associated with available real estate, I really enjoyed our brief stop for lunch and necessities (yarn absolutely falls under that category).

At last, we made our way to “Sin City,” as the folks down in the Valley refer to it.

In truth, Park City is very different from the Salt Lake Valley. The smog doesn’t make it past the Wasatch Mountains, the desert heat isn’t nearly as stifling, and there’s a different type of energy emanating from the town. There is a huge focus on taking advantage of the mountain lifestyle and everyone’s daily exercise (and I mean everyone’s, not just that of the elite athletes in residence) involves celebrating the outdoors regardless of the season. And it’s only 30 minutes from the airport. All good things… Hmm…

Despite the holiday weekend, we managed to secure a spot at the Jordanelle State Park for Thursday and Friday nights, but on Saturday and Sunday we were out of luck as they were full up. We turned in early to try to figure out where we’d call home the remainder of Labor Day Weekend.

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A panoramic of the reservoir and Deer Valley’s back runs.  Brings back memories…

The following day we went into Park City, into the town itself I should say. While the food was delicious, the best part about our lunch at Bistro 412 was the separate table accommodations. The girls played “Another Version of War” with Firebolt’s mini-deck of American Girl doll cards until their meals came and Keeper, Flight, and I enjoyed a quieter lunch with good conversation. Check it:

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From there we meandered down the main drag and I found a long-sleeved t-shirt I really liked. You’d probably like it too, but not maybe for the bargain price of $185. It stayed on the hanger, but I admired it all the way out the door.

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We did take the opportunity to make it a school outing as well and made our way to the Park City Museum. We had been there about eight years earlier, but I didn’t remember much from our visit, likely because I was in the thick of the newborn parent fog with Firebolt. The kids really enjoyed the exhibits on the town’s mining history (there is a spot to simulate dynamite detonation), various treasure hunters (oooooooh, pirates!), and the old jail (“This is where they put the bad people,” observed WoodSprite).

Before we returned to Jordanelle, we stopped by the Park City base, which was hopping. Our purpose in checking it out was two fold: 1) to see if we might park overnight for the weekend (we just did so at Grand Targhee for the eclipse) and 2) to check out all the summer activities they boast. First and foremost, they have an alpine coaster and an alpine slide, both of which are totally legit. We chose to all ride the alpine slide, WoodSprite in the same sled with me. If you’re not familiar with these, you sit in a sled of sorts and control your speed (joystick forward to accelerate and back toward you to brake) as you wind down the mountain.

The ride up the chair lift was beautiful. I might have managed to take some pictures were I not hanging on to WoodSprite for dear life. I have mentioned my having issues with vertigo in a previous posting. Watching things move in my periphery while receiving no confirming input from my proprioceptors (dangling legs) really sets my world adrift. Feeling as though I might be falling off the chairlift or, worse yet, that WoodSprite was about to plummet to the ground 30 feet below made for a very long, albeit aesthetically pleasing, ride.

After the wooziness on the trip up, I wasn’t sure how WoodSprite and I would manage the ride down. Fortunately, she was a little tentative about the whole evolution and I felt no need to maximize our speed to go tearing down the mountain, potentially pulling a Digger (Flight’s cousin) and jumping the track.  Flight was kind enough to share this picture as we made our way to the end.

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WoodSprite was beside herself excited when we dismounted from our sled and, while I heard a repeating chorus of “Let’s do that AGAIN!”, I looked around for Firebolt to make her appearance. Exuding (excessive?) caution in response to some rather surprising triggers, Firebolt will occasionally refuse to participate in an activity, even once underway. “That’s was AWESOME, Momma! Woo hew! Let’s do that again!” WoodSprite sang.  Still no Firebolt.  Flight and I made eye contact and both silently wondered which of us would need to hike up this hill to retrieve her. We looked up to the top of the run. Neither hide nor hair of Firebolt.  I think I was mid-sentence asking a fellow who worked at the lift how he might best recommend collecting a child who may be frozen on the run when she methodically came into view. Never mind. As she made her way down I saw that she wore a look of deep concentration mingled with a perplexed expression, which I didn’t know how to interpret. I was quite relieved when it transitioned into a slow smile accompanied by a reticent, “That’s was fun.”

Phew. I hadn’t realized I was literally and figuratively holding my breath and exhaled deeply in response to her restrained joy.

Before we left the resort, we stopped in and asked at the information desk, “Hey, we have an RV and were wondering…” at which point we were cut off. “No. No overnight parking. At all. Nowhere in town. You might try Walmart out by Kimball Junction, that’s the only place…” Um, okay, I guess we’re not the first ones to ask…

From the base we headed down Parley’s Canyon to enjoy a Thai dinner at Red Basil in South Jordan with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my godfather.   Sadly, my godmother passed away two years ago, after which my parents have been routinely making the trek to Salt Lake to help manage my godparents’ estate. This week was one such trip and it was lovely that our time in Utah overlapped.

In their earlier years, both my father and my uncle used to celebrate their Indonesian heritage by eating insanely hot traditional dinners. The result? My father especially can no longer stomach anything remotely spicy (he told me he thinks he must have “burned out his system” and what I know of East Asian Medicine makes me think he’s right) and seemed to watch Flight order his dinner (“Thai hot”) with a mixture of envy and maybe mild admonition.

It was in the middle of dinner, actually, that we heard from our realtor who told us the buyer had officially accepted one of our counter offers and we could expect the formal paperwork over the weekend. Upon learning the news Flight and I were a little awestruck and Keeper immediately and respectfully excused himself to go outside to process. We gave him some space and Flight went out to check on him a few minutes later, coming back in to report, “He’s fine, just a little overwhelmed.” Me too.

From dinner, we made our way to my godparents’ house in The Avenues, right near the University and only about four blocks away from my former office in the Department of Naval Science. Because we made our approach from South Jordan more speedily than my folks, we took a longer tour through the Avenues and spotted the house that my father had first called home upon immigrating to the United States, as well as the one where I spent my first few years. Our kids were far less interested – I got a half-hearted look out the window, “oh, cool” in between Geometry Dash runs – but I was happy for the brief glimpse down memory lane.

I’m always a little nervous about having our children set foot into my godparents’ house. My godfather is the former Dean of Architecture at the U (his friendship with my father dates back five decades when my father was a very young tenured professor in the same department) and maker of beautiful furniture (seriously, two pieces of which are on display in the Smithsonian) and his late wife was also an architect but is better known for her art. Their house resembles an actual museum in all the ways our Davidsonville residence does not, most notably that both his one-of-a-kind chairs and tables and her intellectually meaningful and mathematically relevant artwork are on display throughout the house. Considering everything we currently live with is made to careen down 8.2% grade at 60+ mph, our kids don’t presently live where they need to be especially mindful. Like I said, I was a little nervous.

I knew that my godfather was a fan of gelato, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. In his freezer there must have been nearly a dozen pints of the really good stuff with flavors like basil, honey-lavender, and anise-hyssop, along with the usual suspects. Following our dessert, the girls favored us with one of their shows with Firebolt singing (impressively making the song up as she goes) and WoodSprite dancing (similarly choreographing on the spot). The gelato and the prolonged visit well was worth overcoming my initial appprehension and I am happy to report that nobody broke anything.

As we navigated back up the mountain Flight and I talked about our options for the next few days, unable to even contemplate what the upcoming weeks may hold. Upon check out tomorrow, we still had no idea where we’re going to be parking this thing. We happen to be Marriott Rewards members, which means we can occasionally get a night’s accommodation for free. I asked Flight if he thought we could maybe stay at one of the Marriott places in Park City and stash Davista in the parking lot during our stay. We’d previously checked into such an option at Great Wolf Lodge and they had been very accommodating with such a request. However, by the time we got back to Davista and did the bedtime dance with the kids, a room at the Sundial Lodge (not Marriott) was the only place available and their idea of where to park an RV didn’t quite marry up with ours. Fortunately, our Park City friends let us know they were housesitting a beautiful place with a treacherous ascent to a perfect, level spot and were happy to let us park there for a couple nights before we could return to Jordanelle.

Okay, impending crisis averted, let’s tee up the next one…

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