A place for our thoughts

Category: Travel

No longer Constantinople

One of the perks of my job is that is occasionally involves travel.  I guess I’m lucky because so many Americans don’t get to visit other countries, and I appreciate that.  And although I would not call myself an exotic tourist, I have been able to visit several countries and meet people from all over the world.  One of the things Jeff and I hope to be able to do in retirement (if that ever comes) is to continue travelling.  As you read this post (if you can make it through the whole thing, don’t forget to have a look at my photographs.

In early February, I had an opportunity to visit the Asian continent for the first time.  While I never really had thought of it as being Asia, technically it is.  My skills in geography aren’t stellar by any means, and so when the trip came up, I had to do some research.  I have to say I was a bit excited about this new destination.

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Chasing the Badger?

Doesn’t it seem like you can go for weeks or even months with nothing specific to have to do, and then bam..you’ve got several places to be in at the same time.  So it was this weekend!  I didn’t really want to leave town anyway, because we were about to leave for a week and a half on a trip to San Francisco and I had preparations to make.  But it was the weekend of my nephew’s 13th birthday and also my 25-year class reunion…both in Wisconsin, but not in the same spot.  After talking to my Mom and uncle, who happened to run into a classmate of mine, I decided maybe I would try to go.  After all, this was the quarter-century reunion, and I hadn’t been to one since the 10-year.

I talked to Jeff about it.  It was nice of him to offer to go along, but I knew he’d be pretty miserable at the reunion, so we agreed I should just zip off on the trip alone.  I was able to take Friday afternoon off and drive from work around 1:00, putting me in Brookfield right around 6:30.  It turned out to be a pretty easy drive, thanks to my Sirius Satellite Radio and the Big 80’s channel :)  After all, it’s almost all interstate, and I was heading south on a Friday afternoon.

I arrived to find my nephews playing outside with friends that were over to celebrate Russell’s birthday.  They played for a while while I caught up with Ken and Ellen.  Later in the evening I made a trip to Best Buy in hopes of finding a present for Russell (procrastinate much???).  No luck there, but I did find a wireless router as a belated birthday present for Ken.  We got that set up so he now has wireless, and even managed to get the Nintendo Wii hooked up to the Internet.  Now maybe I can try playing online with them.  I brought my Wii-mote along, so Ken and I enjoyed playing games for a good chunk of the evening.  We had a fun time (and the vodka didn’t hurt either).

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Fresh Snow, New Friends, and OutWest Adventures

Nearly a week has passed already but still fresh in my mind and soul are the fond memories and wonderful experiences of our visit to Telluride, Colorado.  Since mid November we have been planning our mountain get-away, with high hopes and expectations that it would provide a much needed respite.  We anxiously awaited this trip because for us it signified several firsts.  It would be our first visit to Telluride, Colorado…our first participation in a Gay Ski Week event…and our first group trip taken with a travel/tour company. And as it turned out, it did not disappoint!

We started early Monday morning, and after a close call at the MSP airport, we managed to make a smooth connection in DEN and arrive in Telluride by 10:30a.m.  We arrived to emerging sunshine that glistened and danced on top of several inches of fresh new snow.  Although our official tour didn’t start until that evening, a short stroll down the quaint Main Street of Telluride was all that it took to make us realize we simply couldn’t wait until the next day to get on the mountain!  We checked into the beautiful Hotel Telluride and opened our luggage like kids with their presents on Christmas morning!  The mountain was beautiful!  Fresh snow, bright sunshine made us forget all about the  possibility of altitude sickness.  We were in heaven as we warmed up for the coming week.

Equally exciting was the meet-and-greet reception scheduled for the evening.  Having never attended a Gay Ski Week event before, we had decided that maybe it would be best to go as part of a packaged trip, and found that OutWest Adventures seemed to have the perfect solution.  Rather than spending the entire week like two needles in a haystack, OutWest offered the chance to meet and bond with a group of about 16.  This was the night we would meet the other group members, and start forging what we hope will be lasting friendships.

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Photos from France Finally Online!

Today I finally had a chance to put some captions on the photos I took on our recent trip and then upload them to the web site.  There are a lot of them, and I’ll apologize in advance.  But since there are little thumbnails, you can look at the ones you find interesting.  Most of you have high-speed anyway, so it shouldn’t be so bad!

Enjoy them here!

C’est la vie…

Le Tour EiffelMonday evening we returned from a wonderful vacation to France.  We both needed to get away for an extended period, and it turned out to be exactly what we needed.  My friends Stephen and Cayetano in Nice were wonderful hosts, showing us all around the côte d’azur (the Blue Coast), including Monte Carlo, Cannes, St. Paul sur Mer, and Antibes.  The weather was in the lower 80’s and sunny with light breezes off the sea.  It was amazing.

We then took the high-speed train (TGV) from Nice to Paris.  The 5 1/2 hour trip took us westward along the coast to Marseille, then north to Paris through central France.  The scenery was beautiful, and the ride was smooth, quite and comfortable!

Paris … wow!  We spent the next 6 days wandering the streets and Metropolitan from sight to sight, café to restaurant from dawn ’til dusk.  Okay, maybe not dawn…after all, we were on vacation!  I could go on for hours about the trip.  But will restrict myself to maybe a couple separate posts.  I will also put up some photos once I get a chance to go through them.

We returned home to find a couple of surprises, including some water damage from crossing a frosty evening with exposed irrigation system pipes (oops!).  But all in all it was a wonderful trip.  I’d highly recommend a visit to France to anyone!

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

For me, it was independence from work, and independence to do something I don’t usually get a chance to do in Utah. There is a small road, open only during the summer months, that connects Brighton to Park City and Heber City. I’ve always seen the road, and wondered about it, but never had a chance to drive it. Well today I did! I rounded up Scott from work and we went on a little road trip.


This is the view as we reached the top of the ridge dividing Big Cottonwood Canyon from, well, I’m not really sure! But from the other side! I’ll have to do some more research to see exactly where we drove!

The intense morning heat put a lot of energy into the atmosphere, and some storm clouds developed. I was hoping to get lucky enough to capture some of the magnificent lighting strikes, but at least the lighting here is still pretty cool.

We continued along a narrow stone/dirt road until we found ourselves descending into Park City, right behind Park City Mountain resort. We notices a lot of new construction of homes and condos and they look pretty amazing. I could see myself living there!

After a quick tour of Main Street Park City even through the pouring rain (there’s something about me and Park City..it rains or snows every time I go!), we headed down into the Heber Valley. Heber is a place I’ve only seen in the distance, from the tops of Brighton and Alta resorts. So it was time to venture into the valley. We passed Dear Valley resort and the Jordanelle reservoir (??) and a coulpe state parks and rec areas before driving down “the main drag” of Heber City. It’s a cute small town, but doesn’t have the character Park City does. We managed to find the Heber Airport, but through the pouring rain, didn’t go exploring.

All in all it was a nice way to spend the afternoon!

Geneva and Chamonix

Greetings all.  Time continues to fly, and I find myself catching up on a backlogged to-do list at 2:00am.  I’ve finally been able to upload some photos from my trip to Geneva in May.  Only a month late…not so bad.

As some of you know, I visit Geneva, Switzerland for work-related meetings once or twice a year.  This time I had the occassion to go early and spend a couple of days bumming around the area.  Thanks to my friend Barry, I even ventured into France for the first time.  Barry was kind enough to show me the way to Chamonix, France, the home of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps (Western Europe anyway).  After taking the tram up into the clouds and grabbing a light lunch…we strolled the streets of Chamonix, a very cute little town.

On the drive back, we visited the beautiful little town of Annecy, France.  Even through the pouring rain I could tell what an enchanting place it was.  We stopped for another bite to eat and a coffee before heading back to Geneva.  The drive back was my first experience driving in Europe!  It wasn’t that bad, at least we were on the right side of the road.  However it was very helpful to have a local on board to ensure I read and obeyed the signs…well most of the time 🙂

This trip I brought my “good” camera as well as my point and shoot.  I’ve added several photos to a Photo Gallery here on this site.  Check it out, and feel free to email or post feedback here on the blog.  I’d love to hear from you.

Since then, we’ve been working on a few more projects.  Hopefully I’ll have some time to post updates on those in the near future, so stay tuned!

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