Friday, December 28, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Summit

Jake and I on the summit of Mission Peak. Mission Peak Ranch, our home for the moment, is visible just to our left. This was our second trip to the summit in two days, this time with the entire Montgomery family.

The Aussies

Jade, Phil, Tully, and Kylie Montgomery this morning on Mission Peak.

A View of Mission Peak Ranch

Note the Airstream just to the left of the barn. OK, I am a littile obsessed with my traveling aluminum home. Double-click on this photo to get a better view.

Jake and I

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Morning at Mission Peak Ranch

The sun rose on a happy Airstreamer this morning. Ensconsed on a mountain ranch in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area--this is Airstreaming paradise.

Greeted by Phil Montgomery

Phil Montgomery and his new, decked out, Mini. Phil is a technology entrepeneur and a successful executive. He's a great guy and he is my connection to Jason Hart and Jason's ranch at Mission Peak. Phil met me at the ranch to help me get settled in. He just moved back from Australia in June with his family. We all lived in Utah together in the mid-1990s where we first met. We seem to meet up in all corners of the Americas from the Amazon rain forest to Washington, D.C., and now the mountains of the San Francisco Bay Area.

There's Cows in Them Ther' Hills

The last four miles of the trip to California from Utah were by far the most interesting. The road to the ranch is a wicked, one-lane, mountain road with overhanging branches. It was a workout for my Dodge, pulling us up this mountain. When I looked up and saw cows above me, I had to stop for a photo. You only get an idea from this pic, but these cows (there were more) were one mistep away from landing on top of the Airstream.

Even the Dog Was Disgusted

After 10 hours of driving Tuesday across the Basin and Range country, we arrived at our destination. It was a so-called RV park in Reno, Nevada. As you can see, the park was just a parking lot at a casino. As ridiculous as it was, it served our purposes. We had electric, got a good nights sleep, had a shower in the morning, and then got the heck out of the there. Jake couldn't believe it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Basin and Range

John McPhee wrote a great book called Basin and Range. It's part of series he did on Interstate 80 and I highly recommend it. From Salt Lake City to Reno, my route today, you cross the basin and range country. It is characterized by one mountain range after another. Each is separated by 20 to 50 miles of desert (the Great Basin). This is the driest section of the continental United States. This photo is a typical view along this 520 mile stretch.

Along I-80 at Pilot Peak, Nevada

Pilot Peak in the background rises to 10,720 feet--that is well over 5.000 feet higher than my truck and Airstream in this photo.


Jake in Nevada today with a circa 1950s International Harvester pickup.

Monday, December 10, 2007

California Here We Come

Tomorrow we head to California! I'll be based on a friend's ranch near Fremont in the San Francisco Bay area.

Planning on a two day drive from Salt Lake City--with a loaded truck and a loaded Airstream. Today I borrowed a tent I'll need in January. It's 10 feet by 20. I thought it would be big, but didn't take into consideration the 360 pounds of cement that come with it! There are eight 45 pound pieces of cement that anchor the tent to the ground. I've picked up other inventory here in Salt Lake as well. When I load up tomorrow I'll be packing in more than ever before.

Last weekend we held The Holiday Show at Sugarhood. The show went well and I reconnected with many old friends. Sugarhood has been home since December 1. It is our nickname for the area just west of Sugarhouse--a part of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Special thanks to Pippa and Kirk, and everyone who was able to come by, as well as those who let me stop by to see them.

California here we come.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Scene from the Sugarhood Show

Visible here: an oval glass dish filled with fossilized dinosaur bone pieces, onyx vases and spheres, New Mexico fluorite bowls (purple), green bowl filled with ocean jasper, labradorite, ceramic mushrooms, tumbled jaspers and petrified wood, gemstone bracelets. In the back in wooden cases (and not visible) is the Jewelry of Lebe Loola.

Sugarhood, Scene Two

Note the ceramic mushrooms on the floor--a new line for me. They're pretty fun.

Parked at Pippa & Kirk's, Salt Lake City

Since my arrival we've had about 20 inches of snow, most of it wet. Most has melted, what's left is ice.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Day with the Mormons

I went south to Utah County today to see some old friends. At the end of the day I realized everyone I saw today is Mormon.

Kim's was the first stop. I met her shortly after moving to Utah in late 1994. We became fast friends and were part of small group that did everything together for a couple of years. At the time we met she was single and approaching her mid-20s. For her crowd that was edging in to getting old for marriage and she was interested in marrying. I'll never forget when she met her man. They were engaged instantly (or so it seemed). Today she has four children and is happily married. They have a beautiful house at the base of the towering Wasatch Mountains. We had a short visit. On the one hand it was like no time had passed at all. On the other, it was a short visit in our lives that are going so stinking fast!

Next was David B. I worked with him at Novell and reconnected with him during the Olympics. He was a volunteer in our division. He drove athletes to and from the major venues. He's a nice guy who's always smiling and great to be around. We had lunch and I showed him some of my jewelry. (Kim saw it too). He bought a few things for Christmas presents--including one of my creations. Again, a short, but sweet visit.

Then I saw Mary and Dale. They're married and acted as my realtors on the purchase and sale of my two Utah County homes. They're both gems--just phenomenal people. Mary turned 80 this month. Eighty! She doesn't look a day over 65. She's healthy and strong and as sharp as ever. For Christmas Dale bought her some of my favorite pieces--some fossilized dinosaur bone jewelry I had made by Amy of Lebe Loola. I told them, and this is true, that my favorite pieces go to my favorite people. They have something like 30 fruit trees on their property and gave me some amazing apples as I was leaving.

Kellie Forbes was next. I met her at her house. She took three of us to a Christmas production called "The Forgotten Carols." I'd heard the music when we were driving back from Portland the day before Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful and clever production focusing on minor characters in the Christmas story. It was great, and especially because I was there with such a good friend, her nine year old daughter, and another friend--Kylie (a young Mormon with two kids).

All of my Mormon friends fit at least some of the stereotypes. They have big families. Family is important. And they eat green jello with marshmellows (kidding!).

I returned to Sugarhood--home for the week--and got to hang out with Pippa before calling it a night. Neither Pippa nor I are Mormon, but my Mormon friends are wonderful. Who cares what someone's religion is? Great people are great people.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Black Tie in Salt Lake

With Martha Ellis in Salt Lake City on December 1, 2007. Martha is the most beautiful firefighter on earth. Her firefighting husband's not so bad either. When I arrived in Salt Lake my friend Pippa had a tux waiting and we had a big night on the town.

Martha and Me