Friday, July 16, 2010

The visit continues...

The town of Heber had the perfect way for a "boy" to celebrate his 81st birthday.

A ride on the old "Heber Creeper" railroad!

There were plenty of train cars to choose from; we settled into the last car with lots of room to spread out.

A train photographer came through and took pictures of us about to start our adventure.

At first we chugged passed small farms...
and later people floating down the Provo river were seen out one side of the train car...

While snow trimmed mountain views filled out the window looking the other way.

Flowers bloomed abundantly along the rails.
(and no, the train could not be stopped for me to get a close up shot.)

I'm a sucker for scenes framed by a simple log fence.

Of course no bit of lollygagging lasts long.
Gun fire was heard from the first car, and soon train robbers burst into our midst, demanding where we had hid the treasure box.
We had a tense few moments there....but soon they moved on, and all was well again.
(The train company also offers a murder mystery theater train ride, I think this train robbery was a ploy to keep the actors busy the rest of the time!!)
We kept taking pictures of ourselves and the passing scenery, a camera at the ready at all times.

The river "tube-ers" were always willing to give us a friendly wave as we passed. I told Bernie I want to go tubing really soon. Rafting didn't look half as fun, and with a tube, Bernie could fish as he floated along.

Sailboats on a lake/reservoir under huge fluffy clouds: Did the sailor realize what a scenic picture their boats help create?
I was so relaxed....

What a way to spend a few early summer hours, just riding the rails with those you love.

The train ride lasted three hours; when we finished we set out to find a place to eat lunch. This restaurant was established when Hal was three years old. Seemed like a fitting choice for a place to eat his birthday lunch.

There were even gifts to be had at the restaurant.
Take a moment to really study this picture and try to imagine how it would fit into a home decorating article.
And how anyone ever grew up to want to make a Sh*t kicking CLOCK of all things!

Outside the sky looked ready to cut loose...but it didn't!

The place that had the marvelous ice sculptures also has a fabulous Swiss bakery. Hal didn't want a birthday cake, so we went there and each picked out a pastry piece to share later. Another photo op presented itself...

Then the resort staff stepped up and offered to take a picture of the four of us together.

Wish you could have seen the staff dressed in traditional Swiss costume...

Then we headed back home, the "back" way, over the hills on a gravel road.
Those are the sort of roads that have the best wildflowers you know...
Bernie stopped the car for me to hop out and take a few pictures.

The pink flower is sticky geranium, I haven't looked up the names of the others yet.

The road wound through aspen groves with clumps of blue flowers growing everywhere.

(Love it when a colorful insect is kind enough to get into the picture!)

(Don't you love that subtle color shift from the base tot he edge of each flower?)

A small pond reflected the white aspen bark and clouds perfectly. We made Barbara and Hal promise to come back to see this same seen in autumn splendor.

I have vowed not to leave Utah in October, as aspens are well known for changing colors and dropping their leaves in a time span of three days. Even if I have to drive this pass daily in October, this time I will not miss seeing the aspen trees in full color!

At the mountain crest we stopped again to view where we had been.

How easily we had traveled about over all the mountains and valleys. Our memories were happy, with pictures to revisit the time later. I thought of all the people who had traveled these passes before us, and how they would have marveled at what we had done so effortlessly.

We returned home to enjoy more time on the deck, giving the pushy blue jays peanuts, resting up a bit, and then moseying over to the neighborhood pizza buffet. It was what Hal wanted; it wasn't until the next day that we realized we hadn't yet eaten the birthday pastry!

To be continued....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bernie's folks come to visit part 1

The flowers in the Square are always so pretty.

Nevertheless, there was still room for improvement, at least in my opinion.

Adding out of town family faces makes the view become absolutely perfect to me!
Bernie's parent's arrived Thursday, July 8th, late in the afternoon. Summer thunderheads had piled high, and while the flight from San Diego was quick, the last few minutes coming in to the SLC valley was quite a bumpy ride.
Bernie picked his parents up and drove them to our home just as a brief summer shower shook a few raindrops loose from the sky.
They had not seen our new house before. Oh how we had longed to see them at our place!

We gave them the "grand" tour, then settled right into sitting around, relaxing and getting caught up.

Tiggie had met Hal in Houston, and they picked up with the friendship right where they had left it a few years back.

I lucked out that first night: a request was made for Kentucky Fried Chicken. We did a picnic at the kitchen table, chatting and watching for birds who might pass by the window.

The next day we got right back to sitting around....

Then headed to the Square for a look-see and lunch at the Lion's Pantry.
It was a good place for lunch on a very warm and windy summer day.
It was just a short drive from there to see the inside of the State Capitol, and to show Hal the place where Jeff lived when he first came to SLC three years ago.
Then we went back to hanging around the deck some more until it was time for dinner at Jeff and Rachel's new house.

Jeff re-introduced Meowsie to his reluctant great grandfather...

(Apparently Meowsie wasn't thrilled with the introduction either.)

Poor Meowsie. He grew up in a frat house, and has been moved sooo many times.

He constantly stares into space just like this.

Jeff explained all the features of his grill...(why anyone would want to cook in the kitchen with that thing in the yard is a mystery to me!)
We visited by their fire pit while Jeff manfully grilled our meal.

The dinner was then served up with casual elegance.
Jeff noted it was the first time they had seated six for dinner at their new dining table.
It was both memorable, comfortable and the steaks were fantastic!
The sun set gloriously, then we lingered by the fireside awhile longer.

Before we left: a picture of the men of the clan...

and the women who married into the clan...and the other grandkitten Cheeto.
This was Hal's birthday weekend.

This was the last day he was just eighty years old, happily surrounded by his son and grandson.
A really great way to end that particular year don't you think?
(I certainly would think so!)
To be continued....