View Full Version : The Oregon Trail: Day 3

08-26-2008, 09:21 AM
Ah, Park City. The raison d'etre behind the trip schedule. Beautiful mountain scenery, history, clear skies and air...

Except, as we drove down I-80 south from Echo (junction with I-84), we noticed the valley was hazy...and, what's that smell? As we drew nearer, the smell was obvious. It was forest fire season! As it turned out, the fire wasn't in the Park City/Deer Valley area, but rather over the mountains in the Salt Lake City/West Valley City area. And, there were two brush fires going, and the combined smoke wafted over the mountains into the resort area.

I could see where this mini-vacation was headed.

We checked in at our hotel (Holiday Inn Express), and then went to the White Pine Veterinary Hospital and Kennel to drop off Benny. The idea was to let him stay in a kennel so we could explore around Park City and not worry about leaving him in the hotel room. All of a sudden, there was a monkey wrench. My wife expressed disappointment that they were open for dropoff and pickup only during normal business hours. She wanted to pick Benny up around 8 or 9 p.m.

You'd think she'd be happy to have the break from the Puppers for one night, but she feels very maternal toward him. He's been scratching at his door in the middle of the night throughout the trip, wanting to get out and join us on the not-so-queen-size bed. We have a rule that he sleeps in his own travel crate until after his wake-up "grassroom" break and breakfast, usually after 5 a.m. Anyway, my wife was reluctant to hand him over--you could almost see the "the only way you're getting my dog is when you pry him out of my cold, dead hands" look in her face, but we did drop him off and headed off for some sightseeing.

After leaving Benny in good hands, we went to the Utah Olympic Park. If you drive on I-80, you can see the ski jumps from the highway. Besides those, the Olympic Park hosts luge, bobsled, and freestyle skiing runs that have year-round training facilities, as well as a museum for both the 2002 Olympics and skiing in general.

Fortunately, the smoke from the two brush fires dissipated as we went along. Our guide, Carl Roepke, was very entertaining and informative. He was an Olympic team alternate in luge in 1984 and 1988. He was the 2007 "masters" age bracket champ in the sport and worked on the international broadcast feed commentary along with his wife for luge, bobsled, and skeleton for the last two Winter Games.

It's fascinating to look over the luge and bobsled runs and see the equipment they use. Up on the ski jumps, it is such an awesome spectacle to look down the jump ramp and see the end of the landing area and the entire valley from there. What must a jumper be thinking as he/she looks down the ramp? The odd thing is, they can see only 10% of the landing area from the top of the ramp. They can't see where they will actually land until they get down the jump.

If you have the time, they have wheeled bobsled runs that aren't for the faint-hearted. They reach speeds of 70 MPH and hit around 4 Gs in some corners (thus, they don't recommend the run for people with high blood pressure or neck and/or back problems). There are other less stressful rides such as a long zip line and wheeled slide runs.

For dinner, when you are in the Park City area, we foresook chain restaurants for local fare. I had sweet potato cannelloni...it sounds weird, but it was really tasty. It was an interesting trip through the old town area.

Want sticker shock? If you think prices of autos are high, try looking for real estate in Park City. We saw a somewhat run-down two-story home up for sale in the old town district. The price? Just $2.8 mil. (You make take a break from reading this for some smelling salts or oxygen.) For fun, we looked through a real estate guide. We reached the conclusion that the only way you could afford a home around here is to be a disgraced ex-CEO with a Golden Parachute.

My cold has improved some, although the smoke made for a couple of miserable hours until it blew away. I spent some time at the hotel's hot tub, one of the few I've found recently that lives up to the name.

The good thing is, we are now over halfway "home." We are on our own time, don't need to wake up at a certain time or arrive at a certain time. That will come in handy when we cross from Idaho into Oregon and handle the I-84 "twisties." But now, we look forward to our next stop, the Twin Falls area and the Snake River Canyon.

08-26-2008, 10:42 AM
This is good reading - thanks for taking the time to write. Hope you're feeling better and better as you near Oregon!;)

08-26-2008, 11:52 AM
Sounds like a lot of fun for you guys today. I totally understand that maternal instinct. I hate giving up the babies to the kennel. Where are you leaving him normally that they have extra pickup hours? My vet's office only does this on Sunday, and my vet back in my previous city did not do this at all. No Sunday or after hours pickups, period. But especially to kennel him while you're on the road? That's hard! But I'll bet you guys had a more-or-less restful sleep while he was missing you in the kennel. Can't wait to read more...

08-26-2008, 12:36 PM
When I was a teenager in Park City, dogs roamed everywhere, including the saloons on Main Street. Now, they aren't as common on Main Street, where they used to outnumber the humans. Back then, that rundown shack was going for about $10,000.00, now, well, the prices climb very quickly. This is why there are so few true locals left in PC. Most have relocated out to Kimball Junction, by the Outlet Mall or Kamas or Coalville or SLC.

Sorry about the smoke from the Corner Canyon fire. For being a relatively small fire, it certainly was a smoky one. The eastern half of the Salt Lake Valley was thick with smoke all day and much of the night. The cold front that came through this morning is now blowing it south to Provo. Take that BYU!!! :p

I'm guessing you didn't go off the ski jump. Me either! That swimming pool isn't big enough for my taste and it is a little too low for my tastes. It should be right there at the lip of the jump.

The wheeled bobsled ride is great if you can remember to keep your head down, you have no fear, no heart conditions and can clench your jaw so your teeth don't chatter all the way down. I did it once and had a lot of fun but it was hard on my neck because I didn't keep my head tucked in low and tight.

I am looking forward to hearing about the drive to Twin Falls and how all of that goes.