Fairly short wait for my bags, the suitcase came out right by the skiis (and just after), and I spotted Wendy as I was hauling my crap out to the curb, so we shared a cab to the hotel. Luckily, our rooms were available for check in when we got there at 11am, so I was able to go straight up. I even had time to unpack and unwind and clean up a bit before heading down at noon for the lunch hour and the afternoon of meetings. We blazed through the 30+ projects on tap for the week, and Steve did his summary, and then it was jumping into talking to our group members and starting work. I bailed at 5, though, as I was feeling like a zombie - my cold was even worse due to the lack of sleep, the dry plane ride, and the altitude change (SLC is at over 4000 feet). I made plans to meet up with Katie once she secured all the projectors from the various meeting rooms, and went up to my room to blow my nose a lot and try to smother it in lotion. She was held up a bit, I had time to run to the pharmacy to get more tissued and cold supplies (got a dual pack of cold medicine, half day use half night). We walked over to Sage's Vegetarian Organic Cafe and were ushered to a table in the sun room. Only one other table was in use, it was a quiet night, though we were there before 7pm. I had the mushroom stroganoff and Katie tried the curry, and we both started with the jalapeno soup (awesome). I got a smoothie to go, and we took our time walking back, popping into a record store and peering into the windows of closed plant and antique shops. The plant shop was like a warehouse, high ceilings plus the back part disappearing in jungle. I need to go back to the coffee place we passed, it looks like a neat place to hang out. I took a long hot bath with the muscle soothing salts that my sister gave me for xmas, popped the nighttime cold medication and was out like a light at 10:30.
5pm rolled around very quickly, and I got confirmation that a bug I'd been struggling with wasn't our fault but in a support package, so it's on their to-fix list now. They're making plans to ski tomorrow night, I'm not hopeful that I'll be well enough to go. I started a clean build against their code repository head, but killed it to restart upstairs as I realised it was getting to the time I'd arranged to call Cris. Restarted it on a wired connection and saw it speed up as I called home to chat. Then I decided not to try and track anyone down to go to dinner with me, and headed out on my own to Ahh Sushi. Bought a temp membership ($5 for the month, a year is $13), and settled in at the sushi bar. Got my mt. fuji roll and unagi nigiri before my tea and tofu agedashi (turns out that it's tempura tofu in broth). Think my cold was dulling my tastebuds, it didn't taste as yummy as I remembered. It also took a while for me to notice the smokers in the other half of the room! Cut down an alley way to get back, passing by the skating rink - no sign of S. who'd brought his skates with him from NC - he was out for 2 hours the previous night! My room overlooks the skating rink and the park, with tons of coloured lights in all the trees. Trying to get to bed by 9 tonight, time for a shower and to let the code finish compiling in peace.
Of course I ended up getting turned around again when trying to get there, and got panhandled as I was backtracking - it was chilly enough and the guy was nice enough to warrant digging out some change. The restaurant ended up being across the street from Sage's Cafe. And I'd been in there before, I think someone was eating there and we met them before heading out for other things. They put me in a little nook in the center of the room, but I was comfy there and could eavesdrop with ease on other diners. :) One guy was a food lover, it was nice to hear him raving about the food before mine came. Another table of four women and one man were less rarefied, but seemed to be having fun. I had a good shrimp bisque (well, the soup was good, the grilled prawn was over done and tasted a bit off, but I don't trust my tastebuds), and I went with the salmon wellington instead of the linguine diavolo. The pastry packet was a bit crisped, but the salmon inside was perfect. The green apple chutney was a neat complement and the dill oil was a subtle accent. I couldn't finish both halves of the packet, and passed on dessert. The nice focaccia with oil and balsamic vineger probably filled me up more than I realised. I was sitting facing some neat art by Stephanie Saint-Thomas, called Labyrinth, black lines on a background of green and blue with a yellow sun peeking out at the top. But it was >$1k, so I just enjoyed it with my meal. :)
My phone rang as I was eating, I called Andy back as I was walking back to the hotel. Will see him at Murphy's tomorrow, I'm going to be asleep by the time he gets here. Will plan to get a double mountain pass when go to Alta and meet up with them on Snowbird. Back in my room by 7:30 but felt awake for once, hopefully a hot shower will get me ready to sleep by 9:30 again and I can kick this cold overnight. I stopped at a pharmacy on the way back from dinner to get a second big box of tissues, as the first emptied today.
Andy came and sat with us for a while, and we eventually decamped to The Red Door. Zack, and the two Katie's and I walked over, having lost the others as we left Murphy's, and Zack had to go back to get his credit card as he'd run a tab at Murphy's and forgot to get his card back. I signed in for a temp membership, and then Andy and Zack got another one when they arrived. We sat at the "monkey table", under the shrine, and someone asked if it was a real monkey and our waiter said that it wasn't, it was art. Sonia and her brother were supposed to join us eventually, but at around 11, Andy and Katie M headed out and the rest of us finished up our drinks and then left as well without seeing the other two. I ended up having two drinks there, a saketini (it came with a fortune cookie balanced on the rim, with a non applicable fortune) and something else with pineapple in it that was sweet but good. That plus the martini just got me pleasantly tipsy, I like the smaller drinks - I can try more recipes in a single night without getting drunk and without breaking the bank (each was about $6-7). We also got a short primer on some of the Utah alcohol rules: max in any drink is 2.75 oz, but of that, only one ingredient can be 1 oz, and the rest have to be less. You can get more if you order a side car, a shot beside your drink, but you have to put it in, the bartender can't. We ran into Katharina on the walk back to the Marriott, just coming from Murphy's and she walked back with us. It was close to midnight when I got to bed, I think.
Then began the oddessy of getting to the airport. I thought I'd take 15 N to 80 E to 215 N, but it turned out that getting on 15N I was past the turn to 80, and I spaced on turning off at the one smaller road that would have taken me toward the airport. Then I sat in traffic for a mile and a half before getting to the next exit to a service road that wound along thorugh industiral areas and steaming pools. I finally found a familiar street and turned onto it and started seeing signs for the airport. I called Dad and said I was on my way and tried to figure out where he was. After going through the airport along the passenger pick up lane, I realised he was *in* the parking gargage, not next to it. I circled back around and finally found him. Back to the hotel, and got him checked in (switching him to the room across from mine) and he extracted his ski pants and changed, I gave him an apple, and it was off to Brighton.
It was snowing fairly constantly, but it was relatively light. The signs on Big Cottonwood Canyon said that we were to have chains or 4 wheel drive, but I bligthly ignored them and continued on - we encountered plows coming down and the road was fairly clear, though it was twisty and I was fairly happy to stick to the speed limit and below. We had a bit of a drive into the canyon to get to Brighton, passing Solitude, but got there eventually and found parking in the first rank, though off to the side. We exchanged our passes for lift tickets and carried our skiis up to the lift. On the first ride up to the top, I saw Katharina and Andy and yelled down to them. We caught up, they were waiting for us and we skiied together for the rest of the night. The snow was pretty constant, we'd get covered on the lift ride up, but it wasn't very windy and the snow was light, and it wasn't cold. Dad and I stopped at around 8:30 when the snow got abruptly harder and it was impossible to see very far. We packed our stuff into the back of the van and got into the slow moving convoy heading down the mountain at around 8:45. Sue's flight had been reported delayed, but it turned out to have been early (tail wind) though she sat on the tarmac for half an hour. We pulled into the cell phone lot and her flight was flashing pickup, though when I called her, she was still waiting fo rher luggage. I was able to wait five minutes for her without getting hurried off, and we spotted her hauling her skis, suitcase, and sports bag. Got her loaded up and headed to the hotel. Dad and I were a bit hungry and Sue said that she could eat, so after calling around a bit and not finding anything open at 10:20 or so, we headed down to the hotel bar. I called Andy, but got a rain check to go out for dirnks the next night. I had to fill out a membership and had to run up to my room in order to get my ID as I'd left it in my ski jacket. I ran into a group of 20-somethings coming out of the room next to mine, all with drinks in hand, and we went down the elevator together. They were friendly, but it turned out that they were partying all night and they woke us up at 4:30 or so, until they stopped at 5. I was so tired I was feeling sick and couldn't get up to call the front desk or to ask them to be a bit quieter. Finally got back to sleep though.
We started off on one of the low lifts, Albion or Sunnyside, but it turned out that the blue runs were closed for racing and we loafed down a green run before deciding to climb higher up the mountain on more lifts. We went up the Supreme and skiied that area for a while, then went up Sugarloaf and over to the Collins lift, going down to to the bottom instead of waiting at the midmountain station (where you can't get off). We arranged to meet up at 1 at Alf's, and I had some good soup, that was of course expensive.
Dad and I skiied out first, at just before 3, and Sue caught up with us as we were finishing up loading the van. Belted in and took off to get out of the canyon, and beat most of the traffic. The drive out to 215 and then east on 80 went faster than I expected and we were soon at exit 141 and seeing Gorgoza Tubing park. It was clear and sunny and we were able to enjoy the scenery even though I was a bit stressed out by the driving (lots of semis going slow on both sides of the slopes and the middle lane was littered with potholes). We were going to go into Park City to eat, but decided to try one of the restaurants listed on the highway info sign for our exit. I had to backtrack to find the entry to the little mall that held the restaurants (there was a narrow gap ploughed in between fields of snow and I could barely pass an oncoming car). We were going to try Cafe Sabor, but Sue spotted a sign for Ahh Sushi so we tried that first. It wasn't open until 5pm, 20 minutes later, so we walked over to the next buiding and went to Cafe Sabor instead which was already open. After a bit of confusion as to who was supposed to be serving us, we were tucked into our mexican spring rolls as appetisers. I had a very cold mango smoothie, and the shrimp pasta. Everything was as good as advertised, we had a good meal. I talked to Katharina while we were at the table, and she said that they wouldn't be able to join us for snow tubing as they had to move into the condo that they'd rented and then do grocery shopping, so we finished up at our own pace and headed back up the access road.
Sue spotted a guy wearing a ski helmet as he was walking out of the parking lot, so we put ours on as well, as for me at least, I didn't have a touque, just my balaclava, and it was warmest under the helmet. I also doubled up my socks, putting on the fleece ones. It wasn't that cold, though, but the googles that we kept snapped onto the helmets came in handy, as we were going *fast* down the slopes. First we went into one yurt to get tickets, $19 for 2 hours, then past the warming yurt to the bullpen half filled with primary coloured tubes. They turned out to be just air filled, with two small handles and a tow handle at the front. It was like towing a very light curling stone, they'd skitter along the snow and fall down every slope. We towed them to the lift line, it turned out to be a tow line, with a hook that the operator put our tow lines on, after we sat in the tubes. We'd ride up facing backwards, and at the top, there was a dip where the tow line would fall off the hook and we'd glide free, usually backward still. :) We did our first run on the beginner slope, at the top of the first tow rope, but after that we graduated to going all the way up to the top of the second tow rope. It wasn't very busy when we got there at 5:45, we kept going up and down for the first hour. It was awesome, though I tended to always end up going down feet first. I was impressed, the operators would count down for races, and would help us to make up triangles to go down all together (fast and fun!). When Sue and I took a short bathroom break, Dad went up by himself for a short run. Near the end of our two hours, and half an hour to closing, the operators at the top warned us "last run", we weren't going as fast then through the lines as a few big groups had arrived (it was awesome watching them go down in clumps of 6 and trains of 8). The bullpen was almost empty of tubes as well, I'd lost mine when I went to the bathroom, and had to swap my new one for a more inflated one was the second one had a lip that was cutting into my legs. The last run, we just went up the first rope and got the girl to count down a race for us. I actually ran, holding the tube by the handles, the tow rope tucked in, and started off diving down the run face first, tucking down to reduce drag, but unfortunately, as usual, I started turning to go backwards and as I got sideways I slowed down and lost the race. I could only see Sue and Dad as we got to the bottom and sat up, as the berms between the lanes were pretty high. The long runs had three dips that sped us up even more, but I think that the runs were slightly hollowed out, as my feet never hit the banks even when we went down all facing in with our feet out. We finally spun our tubes into the bullpen at 7:40 and jumped in the van for the ride back to Salt Lake City.
I talked to Andy, he and Sonia and Bertrand were at Ahh Sushi eating still, Sue and I cleaned up and walked over to the Red Door to meet them for later drinks, but encountered a cover and a crowd, since a band was playing (a jazzy trio). I called them again, and we decided to walk over to join them there. Sonia was just ordering another las vegas roll, and I put in an order of warm sake to share out and we settled in there to hang out instead. We lasted until about 11 and then headed out, going past the cafe with the mannequins in the window to show them to Sue. Andy used my laptop to check his flight number and seat assignment and then Sue took her shower and I passed out, having showered earlier. Luckily the noisy next door neighbours were going this night and we slept through to 7:45.
The drive out was still light, but I had Sue text Andy for Sonia's number (he'd texted me saying he was at Sage's, I told him we were going there for dinner, and he texted me back saying that we should invite Sonia). Andy called back and Sue talked to him while I negotiated the mini-van through the one lane highway that construction had left. We went to the hotel first, and I found out that Sonia and Bertrand were still on the bus back from Snowbird and then were going to hit the spa, we shouldn't wait for them. I cleaned up a bit, and then we walked over to Sage's. Slowly, though, the two of them kept motoring past my limping self. We got a big round table, and I started us off with the bruschetta (which when it came turned out to have the pesto on it, which may or may not have had walnuts in it) and gave in and ordered the hot chai. Dad went with the mushroom stroganoff and I had the picadillo vegetariano and Sue had the tacos vegetariano. I was eating mine slowly, it was very good but very filling. The waitress was rushing plates off the table a bit, but left my empty chai mug next to me through the whole meal, it was a bit odd. Dad and I split the tiramisu that Andy had insisted we try, and it was good too. :) We walked back to the hotel, and as we were about to turn up State St., Sonia called to say that they were ready to leave their hotel room. I told them to meet me in the lobby as I wanted to go up and get my hat, it was getting chilly - I'd pulled part of my scarf up over my head for the walk back. I talked briefly to Cris, turned out that my character didn't survive the DND session I'd missed, and then Sonia and Bertrand showed up as I was about to call them. We walked over to Squatter's, and had a bit of a wait for a table, as we didn't want the one by the door (Sonia's long hair was still wet from her shower). We warmed up at the fire a bit, then browsed the merchandise they had for sale - lots of punny t-shirts, they brew Polygamy Porter. I was still stuffed from dinner, so I just had a martini (bombay, but I have to figure out how to not get the olive, the last bit of the drink was horrid and I didn't finish it. I had a great time, they were a bit punchy from being on the mountain all day without stopping for lunch, and we were laughing pretty much non stop. I came back to the hotel at around 11 with them, and took a bath with the Lush marathon bar to try and soak out my aches. But when I got out, I noticed hives all over my body - they didn't itch yet, so I took an allergy pill and lay down, trying not to think about them. Fell right asleep after that, though a bit later than I'd hoped, a bit after midnight. All our flights the next day were still listed as on time, despite wind and rain in Vancouver, and a heavy snow storm in Boston.
Back to the hotel at around noon, and we decided to check out and drive to the Vertical Diner for lunch and then on to the airport. It was a bit of a haul, going down West Temple, but we found the area from our combined memories of the sign in Sage's Cafe (sister restaurants) and spotted it in a light industrial neighbourhood. It was set up like a diner, and had some menu items in common with Sage's. We both had the quesadilla's with portobello mushrooms and service was quick. We were out in about half an hour, missing the lunch rush probably helped. I jumped on the highway (the Enterprise map got lots of use) and it was a quick run to the airport. I parked again, taking advantage of the free half hour, and helped her check in, leaving her as well at the security line, and feeling like a native as I thanked her for coming. :) Then I drove to the car rental office and returned the mini van, the gas gage was still close to F so I didn't stop again. Got all my stuff out of the van and inside, and the over worked clerk called a cab for me. I was over heating in my winter coat, so moved stuff outside, and dug out a granola bar from my pocket to munch on while waiting. The cab arrived just outside the 10 minute promised window, but I had loads of time.
We got to the airport at around 2:45, my flight was at 5:12pm. Check in was just as quick as with Dad and Sue, another set of skiis up the slanted belt (same woman shepherding them, in fact), and I was up the stairs and through security myself fairly quickly - it took me longer to take off all my extra layers and disassemble my carry-on for liquids and my laptop than it did to go through the small line. I decided to hit my gate area before wandering for a bottle of water, and ended up sitting and typing up a couple of days of my travel diary and only getting up to get batteries for my noise cancelling headphones and water for me as the boarding process was going on - I was in zone 8 again so I had time. Turned out that 5 other Boston NAMIC-ers had stayed the weekend and were on my flight back, but I was stuck beside two middle aged skiers and didn't move much. It was pretty funny, they asked me where I'd skiied and when I told them, they ignored me the rest of the flight while they nattered on about the powder they'd found. I kept my backpack on the floor of the seat in front of me, and put my helmet up in the overhead bin, and at one point someone opened the bin and just caught the helmet. There's just not a good way to travel with it on the plane. :/ I listened to music and finished one book and began another over the 5 or so hour flight. Cris was waiting for me when I landed, I got my suitcase and boot bag right away, but my skiis were on the second oversized luggage cart - I bet half the people in the plane were in Utah for snow sports. Quick drive home through clear roads but past trees weighted down with loads of wet snow. It was beautiful, but I was so glad to hit my bed, after a quick shower, at 1am.
Overall, a long trip, but a fun one. Glad that some of my family could
join me, and hopefully Dad's injuries heal quickly!