Road Trip (Pt 1: Snowbird)
Sorry that I have been a little quiet lately. I was on vacation with my family in Utah. I had never been and it was time that my boys learned how to ski. Allow me to share with some of the highlights of the week.
My wife planned the trip and did a fantastic job. We had three main destinations; Snowbird, Bryce Canyon and Moab. Being a Jersey boy, the distances between these locations seemed enormous, but things are relative (especially when the speed limits are as high as 85 MPH) and although this trip was about the destinations, much of the trip was the journey getting there. There being five of us and having considerable luggage for the various climates that we would be visiting, the trip would call for a large vehicle. Our rental did not disappoint. We upgraded to a 2013 GMC Yukon XL. For those of you not familiar with it, in its Chevy guise, it is called the Suburban. It might as well be called the suburbia. I will not compare it to my Subaru STI which sits several stores lower that this beast SUV, but I am accustomed to sitting fairly high in our Honda Odyssey and was surprised to be looking down on minivans that we passed.
The truck is also large on the inside, although apparently no vehicle is large enough to prevent my boys from annoying, hitting and just messing with one another. Choruses of complaints such as “he’s taking another picture of the back of my head” were heard often. But let’s start at the beginning. We skied at Snowbird for three days. The weather was great, sunny most of the time except when it snowed. We got a few inches of fresh powder which was desperately needed, especially on the bottom runs. All three boys had two days of ski school and all three took to it very well. By the end, we went on a few real runs on the main mountain. A good time was had by nearly all. My wife was not fully confident and took a lesson as well leaving me on the first day to hit the slopes alone. It was my first time in more than ten years. I am happy to report that you do not forget and I fully enjoyed the incredibly beautiful mountains as well as the modern ski gear.
When we all met up the boys were excited about skiing and commented that the mountain was just like the skiing/snowboarding game that we played a few years back, “Amped 3“. This was top be another recurring theme on the trip. As one of my favorite Laurie Anderson lyrics goes, “Paradise is exactly where you are right now, only much, much better.” We all relate to what we know and my boys really know games. Après ski was excellent as it always is, with my wife and I enjoying a relaxing drink and the boys cuddling up with iPads and their current favorite games. These days the list includes Pocket God, Subway Surfers, CSR Racing and Roblox. They all also dove even deeper into The Simpsons game Tapped Out, of which I am also a devotee. My Springfield has gotten rave reviews from neighborhoods kids who say things like “We play that game too. But our town is nowhere near THAT big.” How could a father be more proud? My sons are 9 and 11 years old and this is proving to be an interesting age. They are one foot in innocence and the other starting to move towards teenage interests. Their choices in games follow this as well. They still enjoy plush but now exhibit interests of a more mature nature. On one of the nights after skiing we all watched the end of “For A Few Dollars More“. I am a huge fan of that series of films and have shown them to the boys before, so their interest was not a surprise, but the next night, my oldest son watched “Lawrence of Arabia” with me. For those of you not familiar with it or who haven’t seen it recently, the film is over three and a half hours long and includes an overture at the beginning and an intermission midway. I am not sure how much of the film he truly understood and frankly, I am not sure that I understand a good part of the second half myself. But the film held his attention and not only during the epic battle scenes that help make this film a classic.
Having had a chance to experience a real mountain and the skiing atmosphere including dips in the heated pools and Jacuzzi while it snowed, it was soon time to move on. We removed several inches of snow and ice from our family truckster and headed down the mountain.
As I mentioned before, the distances between our destinations were large, especially by our standards. My friends from Texas always pointed out that a drive of several hours was a regular occurrence and, back in the day, typically required a six-pack to be drank over the trip (which you could apparently purchase at any gas station). How some things change. Needless to say, drinking and driving was not part of our equation, so we amused ourselves the modern and electronic way. When we got on the first highway, our GPS indicated that the next turn was in 200 miles. So we listened to podcasts of WNYC’s “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin (highly recommended, surprisingly the kids are riveted to it) and discussed ideas for new games. My eldest was especially good at this, coming up with many interesting ideas. I told them of a new concept that a friend and I had discussed based on an old Dada era parlor game. We riffed on this for an hour or two. Hopefully, more on this soon as we develop the concept further.
More from our trip in the next post, Road Trip (Pt 2: Bryce and Moab)