We flew out last Thursday. We got up pretty early in the morning and Mom was nice enough to drive us to the airport. (thanks, Mom!)
|Kiddo and Raylan do their version of waiting patiently for our plane|
at Bergstrom International.
|Flight into Salt Lake City. The Great Salt Lake and|
the Wasatch Mountain Range.
When we left Austin it was in the high 90's and fairly humid. We got to Utah and it was in the mid to upper 50's with a few passing showers mixed with blue skies.
The mountains in Utah were really beautiful. Raylan was amazed that there was snow on the top of some of them, even in the summer. As we got closer to Park City, the landscape was very green.
We stayed in a condo/townhouse in Park City. It had three stories, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was a nice place and worked well for us. It also had a back porch with a nice view, a table, and a grill.
We met up with Jean and Greg and Nathan at the condos. They had a condo that was about 100 yards from where out condo was located. It was good to see them.
|Raylan tries to squeeze his body through Kiddo in order|
to be in the center of the picture
We settled in and went and picked up some tasty pizza from a local place for dinner. The kids got to run around and play.
On Friday we all got up and fed the kids and exercised (Jean and Amy ran, and I went to a very nice gym facility which was located adjacent to our condo).
Afterward we wandered into Park City to wander around and see the shops and have lunch. Park City is a cool little city. The weather was great (mildly cool and sunny). We went into some shops, rode on a trolley, and had lunch at Wasatch Brew Pub (which had some good beer and food). After our lunch, Amy and Jean took Kiddo and Nathan home to rest while Greg and I took Raylan back to our condo on the city bus (which was fun- Raylan enjoyed the ride, and it gave us a little tour of Park City).
|Amy, Jean, Kiddo, Raylan, and Nathan in Park City!|
|Kiddo, Nathan, and Raylan hang out on a bench beside a stunningly|
accurate statue of Uncle Ryan
After Kiddo's nap we mostly hung out near the house. We took the kids to a nearby park to play on the playground.
|Raylan enjoys a stone bench near a little creek behind the condo.|
|Greg, Amy, Jean, and Natahan (and the top of Raylan's head).|
Greg is willing Amy to open the mustard faster.
|Summer solstice picnic view of Amy on the back porch.|
It was about 100 degrees back in Austin on this day, but in the mid 60s
in Park City
|Jean explains Scooby Doo to Raylan (who has never seen it).|
This, of course, led to a series of questions about mysteries and
why people would intentionally expose themselves to scary situations
|Whenever there was a moment of downtime, Raylan spent|
it trying to dam the stream up by throwing rocks into it
|Raylan lectures Kiddo about water safety.|
Beside the 4 inch deep creek.
The kids really enjoyed the railroad, itself, as well as appreciating some of the scenery. The ride had a sort of hippie theme, and there was a high school aged girl on the train who was getting people to sing along with 60's music that was piped in through the speaker system. We had a little rain as we were getting on the train, but it soon stopped.
|Jean, Nathan, and Raylan with a historic locomotive|
|Raylan explains to Nana how fast he can run up the side of a mountain|
|I didn't eat the popcorn. YOU ate the popcorn!|
|Kiddo and I deboarding the train|
The park had a playground and a beach. The kids had a blast both in the sand and water (feet only) and on the playground. There were even some large seagulls to feed. (in the middle of Utah? A mystery!)
After playing at the park for a while we drove back to Park City so the kids could nap.
|Amy helps roll up some pants and take off some shoes|
|Looking for a "souvenir rock" for Uncle Ryan|
Jean and Greg were nice enough to watch the kids for a while, so Amy and I could got for a bike ride. The owners of our condo had a couple of bikes in their garage that they had made avaible for us to use, and the Park City area is covered with paved trails and bike lanes (in addition to more rugged trails for actual mountain biking). We rode the bikes basically to Kimball Junction and back. It was almost certainly some of the nicest scenery that I've ever enjoyed in my life on a bike ride.
In the evening we all went to dinner at Squatters. Nice dinner!
I exercised pretty much every day at the fitness center near our condo. I took the pic below just to show the view of the mountains from the windows while you're working out.
On Sunday we went to the Park City Vacation Resort to ride the gondolas up into the mountains.
At the top of the gondola we went on a little walk/hike to an alpine lake up on one of the mountains. It pretty quickly became apparent that the hike was a little too much for Kiddo (or for anyone who was carrying Kiddo). So Amy took the hit for the team and stayed at the lodge near the top of the gondola with Kiddo while Jean, Greg, Nathan, Raylan and myself hiked up to the lake. Once again, it was beautiful scenery!
After the hike we rode the gondola back down and had lunch in the ski village at the resort.
|Just a random shot of some mountains, a church, and a fence on our|
|Amy gives a wave as we pedal around on the trails|
|Nathan and Raylan, "patiently" waiting for their food|
|In Austin, our gym does not have windows. Cause there's nothing out |
there to see.
|Gondola ride. Not being a fan of heights, the gondola sorta freaked me|
out. Raylan might have been slightly wary, but was actually good with it.
|In da woods|
|Annoyed that I'm asking him for a picture when he wants to be throwing|
rocks at trout
|Nathan, Jean, and Raylan look for fish in the lake|
|Raylan and I look out at the mountains|
Sunday night we had dinner at the condo. Amy and jean and Greg made chili cheese chicken with bacon while I supervised Raylan and some other kids from the condo complex who were playing soccer/volleyball/catch out in the grass.
We had a nice dinner.
On Monday we drove into Salt Lake City. We went to Temple Square and saw the Salt Lake Temple as well as the visitor center.
The Latter-Day Saints Church is pretty impressive to behold when you see the full power of the organization in Salt Lake City. Regardless of your opinion about the particular religious aspects of their belief system, it's just sort of wild to stop and consider the fact that this religious sect, entirely created and formed in the United States, beginning in 1830, is now such a fully formed religion.
The Mormons, at times, seem to want to hold themselves out as simply another denomination of Christianity, but even a casual viewing of their materials at the Temple Square visitor center serves as a reminder that their beliefs truly are radically different from those of pretty much every mainstream branch of traditional Christianity (I found Raylan curiously watching a cartoon at the visitor center which explained the Mormon belief that the physical, human bodies of Mormon believers are resurrected after death in perfect physical form to live with their loved ones and family. Raylan started to ask me questions, but I distracted him with an offer to get him a cookie during lunch).
I don't really want to weigh in on particular religious beliefs, but the fact that the Mormons have built a massive, powerful, international religious organization since the mid 1800s is genuinely impressive (or, I guess, to some people, a bit scary- their founder, Joseph Smith, was, after all, charged repeatedly with crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to banking fraud to conspiracy to commit murder to treason, with these crimes spreading across at least 4 states).
At any rate, I found the whole thing fascinating.
|Amy, Jean, and Raylan in front of the |
Salt Lake Temple
|Office building headquarters of Church of LDS|
|Greg keeps watch over Kiddo while she takes in the Temple Square fountains.|
The plan was just to let the kids run around a bit and wear themselves out before driving back.
|Driving out of Salt Lake City|
The park had a sort of historical re-enactment town (with Mormon "settlers" in historical clothing), along with a playground, petting zoo, pony ride, a train-like wheeled tram, and a little train on a track (with a scenic view). We did all of those things. The park also had blacksmiths, an arts center, a Native American dance recital, quilt museum, etc., etc., etc. But we didn't make it to everything.
After our trip to This is the Place Heritage Park we headed back to Park City so the kids could rest.
We ate leftovers for dinner, packed up, and basically crashed.
|The playground (with a cool zipline swing that Raylan liked)|
|Nathan, Raylan, Jean, Kiddo, and Greg ride the tram train.|
|Amy rides the smaller train with the bigger view|
|I wanna see the whole thing!|
|Kiddo found the Mormon lifestyle exhausting|