Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday #20-July 25, 2009

30 Mile Bike Adventure!
It all started when Jennifer wanted to go camping for the July 24th weekend. Amy didn't. So, we compromised and came up with a great idea to go on a long bike ride adventure. Amy offered to do some research on some trail options which would be fun for inexperienced and amateur riders! The longest bike ride we'd been on, to date, was from our neighborhood to the lake...about 6 miles. Of course, that time we were in a crazy rain storm. Anyway, that story didn't happen on a Saturday so isn't part of our blog.

We agreed to start at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Jennifer showed up right on the dot as Amy was still eating her cereal. Two potty trips and one quick reconnaissance mission back to the computer, we finally got the bikes loaded on the back of Jen's car around 8:30.

Here was our plan:

  1. Caravan to Utah Lake State Park and park Amy's vehicle.
  2. Amy jumps into Jen's car and we mad dash it to Soldier Hollow, Heber--a 30 minute drive up the canyon. Please note...30 minutes!
  3. Unload the bikes and take a "leisurely" mountain biking trail along the north side of Deer Creek Reservoir. Our assumption-based on Amy's online research-was that this trail was relatively easy. "The ideal family ride" on a "gravel surface" with a "mostly straight" trail, with ONLY "about 400 feet of total climbing." Apparently someone only read what she wanted to and did not really pay attention to the details. After all, there were "some slightly-steep sections that require good braking control and balance to avoid dumping in the gravel." Hmmm...that would have been good to know!
  4. From the dam at Deer Creek, we would DISCOVER a connecting trail to the Provo River Parkway trail which technically starts at Vivian Park.
  5. Ride the Provo River Parkway from Vivian Park to the mouth of Provo Canyon.
  6. Stop for lunch at Subway.
  7. Finish our ride from the mouth of Provo Canyon, following along the Provo River, ending up at Utah Lake.
  8. Be home, maybe around 1:00 or 2:00...if we took our time.
Here's the reality...

We left Soldier Hollow at 9:45 a.m. on a perfect bike-ride kind of Summer day--overcast with a few showers. See how happy we are? Silly girls...Trix are for kids.

Five minutes into to our little excursion, we had to stop...and walk our bikes uphill.

And five minutes later, we had to stop and walk our bikes up hill.

Five minutes later we screamed our way down the first major "slightly-steep section". And then huffed and puffed our way up the next "slightly-steep section." Yeah, we weren't really prepared.

Of course, on our adventure, we were able to enjoy lovely vistas and many different varieties of "wildlife"...including a bear! A big black bear! Or really, just your average, run of the mill COW!

One thing which helped us get through the first part of our adventure was counting down the mile posts. "1 MILE ah, ah, ah, ha!" said with Sesame Street's The Count's accent and funny laugh, "and only 29 more to go!"

When we finally reached the Deer Creek dam, 2 hours and 8.2 miles later, we were extremely happy to see a paved bike path (and a bathroom).

So, then we started on the second half of our adventure--DISCOVERING a trail from the dam to Vivian Park. The paved bike path was deceptive. It lasted for less than a mile and ended in some sage brush somewhere slightly west of the dam and between Highway 89 and the river. For some reason, based on our last minute reconnaissance with online MapQuest, we thought there was a path running along the Heber Creeper railroad tracks. Hmmm...there wasn't. And actually, we weren't anywhere near the railroad tracks when the bike path ended.

We had three options:
  1. Go back 8.2 miles on the dirt road "trail of death" to get Jen's car.
  2. Ride against traffic on Highway 89 "the death road" meant for cars only, to Vivian Park.
  3. Break a trail to the Heber Creeper rail road tracks and "ride" on the tracks to Vivian Park.
We opted for number 3 in favor of staying alive. Yeah, what we didn't know then was...
We would have to scale down a mountain, 100+ feet, at a decline with at least a 60 degree slope.

Here's Jen attempting the decline after Amy crashed down it with her bike. It doesn't look steep in this picture, but trust was the worst decline we had faced yet!!! And yes, we are laughing our heads off as we type this, realizing how wimpy this picture really looks!

The other thing we didn't know was that the Heber Creeper isn't called the Heber Creeper for creeped up on us as we were walking down the tracks. Jen said, "Do you hear something?" Amy said, "Uh, no...the river?" Jen then turned around and saw the engine of the Heber Creeper, creeping right behind us. It was probably only 30 feet behind us before we realized it was there, just as the conductor blew the train whistle. We instantly jumped off the tracks and then waved, with a mixture of relief and terror, at all the folks on the train. Too bad we weren't quick enough to jump on the back of train and hitch a ride to Vivian Park. It would have saved us another two hours...

Of WALKING our bikes almost 6 miles down the railroad tracks. Because it's not as easy as one would think to ride (thug, thunk, thug, thunk, thug, thunk) over the railroad ties.

At least, we are still smiling! After all, it's an adventure, right?

Of course, if you know anything about the Heber Creeper, and you're walking along the railroad tracks, you know you're bound to meet it going down the canyon and going back up...

We finally walked into Vivian Park at about 1:30. We then had the wonderful pleasure of coasting down a PAVED BIKE PATH to the mouth of Provo Canyon and lunch at the Subway right there at the gas station. We covered 6 miles in less than 30 minutes!

So, why did we stop for a photo at Centaur Press? Well, this is where it all started, friends! It was during a momentous press check in 2004 when Jen and Amy really became friends. We both worked at Franklin Covey and Jen the purchasing agent was trying to impress the new project manager, Amy, with her attention to detail and color! Who knew royal blue could be so bright? Ah, the good old days...we're glad we've moved on.

If you've never biked the Provo River Parkway, we recommend it. Especially the paved parts. It's a beautiful and easy ride, perfect for the casual biker--like us! Be sure to enjoy the unexpected moments too--like the ice cream truck! Don't we look like excited little kids? We were!

The last 4 miles seemed to take FOREVER! We counted them down, "4 Miles! Ah, ah, ah, ha!" "3 Miles! Ah, ah, ah, ha!" "2 Miles! Ah, ah, ah, ha!" And finally...ONE MILE LEFT!

We did it! And we finished our adventure by 4:45...yes, folks, 7 hours, 30 miles, 6 bathroom stops, and 2 ice cream cones later = priceless memories!

Here's a map of the first part of our adventure. We haven't been able to find a map of the entire Provo River Parkway or of the Heber Creeper route.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday #19-July 18, 2009

Sometimes the Saturday fun I have planned doesn't really go according to schedule. And that's okay. You have to roll with the punches. And sometimes, the Saturday you have planned rolls into Monday and Tuesday and even Wednesday of the next week.

My Saturday o' Fun was all about an "Amy Day." You know, spa treatments, hair cut, shopping, pedicure... And all those things (with the exception of a pedicure) happened...eventually.

So, for all of you wanting to plan a Saturday o' Fun with spa treatments, let me recommend...

The Sego Lily Day Spa!

Check out their awesome spa treatments and relaxing amenities (steam room, sauna, etc.) at

In upcoming posts, look for Jen's belated birthday facial at Sego Lily! I'm planning it for a Saturday so we can blog about it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday #18--July 11, 2009

AF 1st Ward Youth Conference 2009, Fish Lake

So, I put the burden of a blog-worthy Saturday O' Fun on the YM & YW of my ward. And they came through with flying colors! Saturday was our pack-up-and-drive-home last day of Youth Conference. The kids were amazing and the conference was a huge success! Here's the group shot--most everyone is fashioned in their custom designed Youth Conference t-shirts. It's amazing how creatively they used the theme--Be Thou An Example. Seriously, Spiderman and a muscle tee?

One of our ward's favorite Girl's Camp traditions (three years running) is to duct tape Nicole to a tree. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do it this year at Heber Valley, so we made up for it by duct taping her to a tree at youth conference. I brought extra duct tape just in case we needed to put a few kids in "time-out", but they were all very well behaved!
Luckily, we packed up and headed home just in time to miss a torrential downpour. Here's my car crew enjoying a quick stretch and dash in the rain while we filled up for gas in Gunnison. Poor Isaiah was stuck in a car with three girls who vetoed all his music requests. I don't think he complained too loud.

Here I am looking tired, sunburned, but happy. I really had a great time with the best youth ever! Ummm, yeah, keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road...

With Youth Conference over, I'm at the end of six crazy, busy weeks. Next Saturday is a bit of R&R before the next six crazy, busy (work) weeks begin!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Saturday #17-July 4, 2009

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!! I celebrated the holiday in Arizona--doing fun & different things for a Saturday o' Fun on the 4th of July. For instance...
There wasn't a parade...but there was a pancake breakfast (with lots and lots of BACON) and a patriotic service with a flag ceremony (thanks to my nephew Will & the Boy Scouts).

There was a HUGE water fight with Kendra's neighbors. All dry folks were soon wet. My sisters made sure all my dry spots were drenched!!!

There wasn't a backyard BBQ...but there was a Senora Co-Housing Pot-Luck, with a dessert contest. Kendra's USA shaped pavlova took 2nd place!

There was NAPPING and face painting-always a favorite holiday tradition. Here's Fiona taking a little snooze (under a blanket in Tucson's 100+ degree weather for crying out loud) and Kendra's neighbor with her face painted.

There wasn't Amy's Sidewalk Spectacular Fireworks Display...but there were glow stick "fireworks" and Pop-its.

And there was a poem by my 10 year old nephew Will.

Fireworks by Will Smith
goes the fireworks
goes the boy
goes the boy again
goes the fireworks
the cracker goes as fast as lightening
goes the finale

Thanks Arizona Family! I had a grand 4th of July holiday and a perfect Saturday o' Fun!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday # 16 - June 28 - Brugge Belgium Baby!

Last Saturday I spent most of the day in Brugge Belgium, or "the Venice of the North." It's about an hour train ride outside of Brussels. This city dates back to the 12th Century! It's so old! ("It's so old".. is a comment I said over and over when Amy and I were in Italy a couple years ago... such a profound, deep statement I know!)
Back to Brugge... I had the pleasure of taking a boat ride through this fantastic city. Because I was one of the last people to catch the boat, the "skipper" asked me to sit in the middle (don't rock the boat!) that's why most of my boat pictures have heads in them. What I really wanted to do is lean over the side and dangle my finger tips in the water while I held my decorative, lace bumbershoot over my head.
Brugge reminds me of Cinderella. I imaged her locked up in one of these tiny houses while her prince charming galloped around holding her glass slipper. The city offers a horse and carriage tour.. and my favorite sound that day was the sound of horseshoes and carriage wheels on the cobblestones.
I bought Belgium lace, ate a waffle, had lunch at a little outdoor cafe, and ran down the street with the local marching band! Yes, the official Brugge marching band! It was a city holiday that day and I jogged down the street along side the local marching band. It was a fabulous Saturday-o-fun activity!