Monday, June 8, 2009

Another trip to Zion...

We recently spent a couple weeks in Utah with the kids. Deb went down in advance for about 10 days to help Katy and Joy and I joined her the following week. My good friend Craig rode along with me for a much needed break and to keep me company on that long and boring drive down I-84 and I-15.

We went to Haylee's dance recital and she did an excellent job! She is cute in her outfits and I was impressed with what she has learned.

We got together with all of the kids at a local park one evening and had fun throwing the frisbies and playing lawn golf.

One of the highlites, of course, was when Joy treated everyone to dinner at Tocano's... there was some serious "Fat Dog" after that meal!

We got to go see Joy's new classroom where she will be teaching Second Grade next year... she is excited and it was fun to see her get ready.

Ryan and I drove up the canyon and busted a few hundred caps one evening. I recently built an "evil black rifle" from the ground up and had to sight-in the new scope... the rifle performed well and I am pleased.

I fanally got in the mood to take some photos...

Jayson, Heidi, and Mae are getting the new J Dawg Headquarters ready for a hopeful end of June Grand Opening. All of the electrical and plumbing needs to be brought up to code and it is proving to be quite a challenge.

Papa and Mae had fun taking photos outside of headquarters while J Dawg worked inside.

Mae had to stop occasionally to tank up on Apple Beer from the shack.

The original J Dawg Shack looks great and was buzzing with business as usual.

This is the first time that I have seen the shack with the new hood and vent and electrical upgrades... the old Fire Marshal smiled inside... the air conditioning is great too!

On June 01, Deb, Katy, Teresa, Haylee and I attended the first day of the open house for the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple in West Jordan. It was very beautiful. This is the first time there has been two temples within the boundaries of the same city and marks the fourth temple in the Salt Lake Valley region.

Standing in front of this fountain, you can look to the east and see the Jordan River, Draper, and Salt Lake Temples... though it helps top have a pair of binoculars to see the SLC Temple.

On our way home, we visited the museum at Hill AFB in Ogden. This is the base where Deb lived when her dad was stationed there in the late 1960's until he retired. It has been many years since we have visited the museum and it has grown impressively since. There are hundreds of planes in the museum but I just posted some that Deb's brother Frank was associated with during his career in the Air Force... This is an F-4 Fantom like the ones that were at Spangdalem AFB in Bitburg, Germany. Though Frank flew VIP's around in corporate Lear jets, he was responsible for the safe air traffic control of many F-4's.

Frank had the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of these birds... what I consider to be the most beautiful aircraft in the history of flight... the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird". It is awesome to stand next to this plane and consider it's mission history!

Frank flew these T-38 Falcons in Lubbock... This plane looks like it is going fast when it is standing still!

Another view of the T-38.

Outside, I found a troop carrier version of the plane Frank flew in Viet Nam... a C-119G "Flying Boxcar"... and that is just what it looked like... a boxcar with wings!

Deb is standing behind the planes distinctive double tail configuration...

...connected by a single horizontal stabilizer.

The version that Frank flew was modified for ground support in Viet Nam. Because it was mounted with four 7.62mm machine guns that fired 6,000 rounds per minute each and two 20mm cannons, it had 24,000 pounds of payload beyond the take-off capability of the prop engines. A jet engine had to be mounted under each wing in order for it to fly!

This one has seen better days, but it finally gave Deb and I an idea of the plane behind the stories.

It was quite a contrast to the B-52 Bomber in the background!

Next stop was the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Promontory. We have always wanted to stop and see this exhibit and finally took the time to do so.

This is an exact replica of "The Jupitor" that a train buff had built for the price of $750,000. He also had one of built for the Union Pacific side of the exhibit but it was not display the day we were there.

We were lucky enough to be there and see a demonstration of the steam engine in action... it was cool! There is just not too may things that stir the nostalgia like an old steam engine and her whistle!

Right across from the entrance to the road leading up to Promontory is ATK / Thiokol where the solid rocket boosters are made for the Space Shuttle. (I am standing at the base of the forward support for reference).

I have always wanted to see a Space Shutttle launch (my number one dream) but time is running out... I think there is only a couple more flights before they scrap the program. But, it was awesome to finally see one of these ginormous rocket booster shells.

Deb is standing next to a rocket stage that is full of an inert version of the solid fuel that is molded into the booster rockets. This simulated stage was created to test some lifting equipment in the early stage of the Minuteman rocket program.

Deb is standing inside an aft stage of the Space Shuttle booster rocket... very impressive hardware!

Again, we took a different route than we had ever taken before when we turned west in Ontario, Oregon and headed across Central Oregon on US Highway 26. We saw may small towns and some very beautiful country... We spent a few hours exploring the John Day Fossil Beds National Park... This photo was taken just outside the visitor center.

Farther down the road was the Painted Hills Unit of the Fossil Beds... I did not know that Oregon had formations like these... they reminded us of the "Badlands" in South Dakota.

We were there late in the afternoon and there was a huge thunderstorm directly to the east, which provided a photographers dream backdrop for these front lit scenes!

Even I can see the red in these hills!

I love this shot!