What a fall color run we had! I’m making some 24×36 gallery wraps of this glowing aspen scene from Guardsman Pass for an upcoming show. If anyone wants to pre-order one for yourself or a holiday gift, let me know and I’ll give you $50 off the show price.
This image is a personal favorite – not only as a photograph for the memory of a great ride on Park City, Utah’s Mid-Mountain Trail.
This singletrack route through the mountains represents the genius of Mountain Trails. The three resorts are naturally laced with trails, many old mining roads. They go up and down and can give you thousands of feet of vertical in an afternoon ride.
Mid Mountain Trail is different. It basically hugs the 8,000 foot contour offering what I call pedal and roll terrain. Sure, there’s a few climbs. But nothing significant. And the views as you crisscross from open ski runs to dense aspen and pine forest are some of the most memorable in the Wasatch.
It’s not easy to ride with a heavy Nikon D700 hanging from your neck. There are lots of stops. This particular vantage point was fascinating to me. The steep ski run on the front face of Park City Mountain Resort put everything on an angle. And the singletrack trail bisected the run and headed back into a glowing yellow grove of aspen.
It shows the diversity of the terrain on the Mid Mountain Trail as a long rider speeds along the narrow singletrack and into the next stretch of forest.
The trail runs from Deer Valley Resort through Park City Mountain Resort and on to Canyons. The most popular segment is from Empire Lodge, where you climb up and above The Montage, on to Park City Mountain Resort.
My afternoon ride took me from Empire all the way through PCMR, dropping into the Silverlode lift canyon where I picked up the Crescent Grade Trail which took me back around to the frontside and eventually down to the bottom by the First Time lift.
Yes, Carole has a new Jeep Rubicon. This isn’t it. No reason to get the shiny new silver Rubicon dirty when the Orange Jeep is still itchin’ for mud.
We had a wonderful drive up Empire and Guardsman Passes, then down to Snake Creek Canyon and up the ridgeline above Midway, Utah. The sun wasn’t shining so photography was a bit mixed. So Carole decided she would take on the mud left by recent snowfall.
Storm chasing on flat prairie and desert is a blast! You can see them coming for dozens of miles away. Our drive today on route 20 through Idaho was filled with weather events from hail to raging downpours to bright, sunny skies. Late afternoon there were some particularly treacherous storms. As we pulled over to look at an historical marker, there were beautiful sunflowers lining the road. It made for a wonderful photograph as cars dashed by and the wind whipped the flowers. (c) 2011 Tom Kelly
My earliest memories of Las Vegas date back to the mid ’70s as a young ski industry professional. Going to Vegas was an exhilirating experience. One of most distinct memories is crashing the SKI and Skiing Magazine free lunches on the penthouse level of the Las Vegas Hilton – the tallest building in town! Today, just 30 some years later, the Hiton isn’t even in the top 50 in Vegas!
We used to hit Vegas four or five times a year, en route to visit family in SoCal or attending the SnowSports Industries America trade show. Both have now moved on and our recent stopover was one of only a handful in the last five years. The change is amazing.
The legendary hotels of the past are dwarfed by the gleaming towers of today. The Hilton itself plays second fiddle to a host of concrete and glass hotels and apartments spiraling skyward from what used to be a parking lot. On the strip, the golden reflections of the Wynn and Encore stand sentinel on the site of the old Desert Inn. The aging Fronter across the street is gone (thank God) – a vacant lot now with the massive Trump International out back.
I remember vividly when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage and Treasure Island. Still important anchors on that part of the strip, they are joined by the likes of the massive new Palazzo across the street adjoining the Venetian.
Down the street, the new Fountainbleau is among a host of skyscraper resorts the have created a new Las Vegas skyline. Walking down the strip today is akin to being in a Grand Canyon of glass and steel!
While we don’t spend a lot of time sitting at slot machines or tossing twenties down on the craps tables, we have always loved visiting Vegas. There’s an electricity there 24 hours a day. We’ve long ago mastered the “Vegas for Free” concept, hopscotching from the pirate ship show at TI to the water show at the Mirage (not big fans of the new Sirens of TI show). Or having an after dinner cocktail at the Lake of Dreams at Wynn, and peering into Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati dealership.
Like anyone who has visited Vegas, I have myriad memories which all come back with each successive visit. My first In ‘n Out experience.
Hauling athletes and journalists out to a sunrise breakfast after the 1992 Olympics. Steve Wynn entertaining the 1994 and ’98 Teams at Treasure Island and Mirage. A waitress slapping my sleeping friend to wake him up at a restaurant at 5 a.m. so he could order. Leaving the rental car at the curb in the early ’80s when I was late for a Western flight to MSP(yes, I really did).
And as much as we’ve maintained a continuity of visits over 35 years, the change this time was very striking. And it remains one of our world’s most amazing wonders!
Tallest Buildings in Vegas
Over the years we’ve grown to love a variety of restaurants off the strip including Piero’s (thank you Gary!), Lawry’s Prime Rib, Cozymel’s (RIP) and others. For a change of pace, we decided to follow one of our favorite chef’s, Mario Batali, and checkout his four-year-old B & B Ristorante in the bowels of The Venetian. Every single bite was a treasure! Watch for our TripAdvisor review coming out soon.
No, this is not our orange Jeep. I do wish it was. This is no picnic. This is Potato Salad Hill during Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. This is where the term insanity was coined.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and just thinking the outcome will be different. That describes the guy in the really nice F-250 without lockers who just couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t make it up the near-vertical rock outcropping of Potato Salad Hill. His day ended when he bent a tie rod at a 45 degree angle – not good for the steering (talk about toe-in).
This driver was good. And he had good equipment. Earlier he had climbed straight up the middle with no effort at all. For the rocks on rider’s right are steep – super, super steep. And it’s impossible to keep all four down, as you can see here
He tried and tried for nearly an hour – nearly tipping more than once. He moved a tire an inch here and an inch there.
Wanna know another trick? Look closely at the winch, which is wrapped around the front axle. From the cockpit, he can control the winch to keep the nose lower. As he steps the Jeep up the rock, the articulation of the front suspension throws the nose up and back. A quick hit on the winch and the nose of the Jeep is a bit closer to terra firme.
Yes, in the end, he made it. As did most of the others.
Potato Salad Hill is, indeed, insanity. But it’s fun. Thousands camp out on the rocks to watch driver after driver tackle the hill. It’s good fun – no problems. Just watching man and machine tackle Mother Nature.
As many times as we’ve passed through Capitol Reef, we’ve never really stopped to spend time. So we decided to spend a night in Torrey, a tiny desert village on the western edge of the park.
Sadly, the light wasn’t too cooperative. Rain and overcast clouds most of the time kept the monuments from reflecting their traditional brilliant reds.
As we were leaving the park we made one final stop at the Visitor’s Center. Across the street, The Castle had a few touches of sun for just a short moment – with a line of clouds framing it in the sky.
Some took the train. Some came by skis or camped out for days. And many walked with their families the 8-10 kilometers from Oslo up the mountainside to Holmenkollen. They wore knickers and backpacks, with all of them carrying Norwegian flags. And all brought with them the culture of a nation truly built on the outdoors as a way of life. It was Sunday at Holmenkollen. And it dwarfed our Super Bowl.
Munich is a unique place that has always carried a deep personal meaning throughout my life of travel. Years ago it became a benchmark for me of what great European cities represent. Munich was not the first city I visited when I began international travel over 30 years ago. But it was the first I got to really know. It was the first city I visited with a sense of purpose. It’s been five or six years and it was nice to stroll the Marienplatz again this week.
On one hand it would have been cool to have been one of the 80,000 some Badger fans in the Rose Bowl. But Badgers are also about food. And this was an opportunity to roll out all the Wisconsin culinary delights in a veritable smorgasbord tailgate party at home for the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl.