Salt Lake City, UT, 26 January 2014 – I saw this vintage 1980’s Nishiki Manitoba Mountain Project bicycle parked out side of Smash Burger in Sugar House over the weekend. I’m sure those of us old enough to remember the 80’s will be reminded of the fluorescent blues, pinks, and greens that were popular on everything from clothes and accessories to bicycles like this one. I had an entire ski outfit that I paid for with my college loan money for BYU that would have matched this bike perfectly. Its strange to think that today college loans don’t cover much of the costs of college when back then I had enough money to pay my tuition, book fees, housing and still have enough to buy a complete ski outfit.
Like cycling I dove into skiing with gusto. A good friend who was on the BYU ski team took me up to Sundance during a blizzard and I learned to ski the old fashioned way; what goes up must come down. I skied for years after college until one day I hit a mogul off center and heard and felt a nasty snap in my knee. I don’t think I tore anything completely but it put a damper on the wild back country runs we would take and my skiing life ended soon afterward.
Made from high tensile butted Cro-Moly steel tubing for a compliant ride, this bike needs a good cleaning and some lube on the chain and it will go for another few decades. Hopefully its had a good life thus far. And maybe with a little TLC it can have a great life for many years’ to come. Here’s to giving ourselves a little TLC to smooth over life’s little bumps, but maybe with a front shock absorbing fork to make the bumps a little easier to handle.
20 January 2014 – This has not been a good year for air quality in Utah. We’ve had too few storms to wash way the particulates leaving the air filled with yellow haze. Most of this week the EPA says the particulate levels have been unhealthy for sensitive people. If you stay in the valley floor and bike on days like this your throat begins to burn and you quickly feel like you’ve got a cold. I’ve gone out to ride on days like this out of desperation after feeling like a caged animal only to suffer for hours afterward.
Yesterday a rally was held at the state capitol to raise awareness of our air quality. Nothing will be done, I fear, until the quality of the air begins to affect revenue from tourism. I’ve had friends who are avid winter sports addicts tell me they’re thinking of leaving the state if this keeps up for much longer. One has to wonder why the legislature thinks its more important to fight same-sex marriage than to spend the funds on improving our quality of life and consequently the tax base in Utah.
If you’re thinking of visiting Utah in the wintertime remember the liquor stores are closed on Sundays and the air will most likely take years off your life while you’re here.
Oh, the good news is we did get to file joint taxes for 2013; progress comes slowly to the Wasatch Front.
Boise, ID, 20 January 2014 – You know how you feel when you see those really cool Kohler ads for bathroom fixtures on the back of most home design magazines? How you imagine it would be so cool to own an awesome sink like that? Well, dream no more because once you actually use the Kohler-style sink in the guest rooms at the Modern, you’ll never look at those ads the same way again.
We needed a little respite from life in Zion, Sister Holland (the Hubby’s online pseudonym which I’ll have to explain soon) was starting a new job soon so we wanted to make like Sister Bertrille and fly off to a far away place. Alas, we got as far as Boise, Idaho. Now you laugh, but if you enjoy the likes of beautiful downtown Provo, Utah, you just might find Boise similarly appealing.
We chose Boise as an escape because in January they had nicer biking weather, comfortable amenities and it wasn’t so far away. Besides, I’d spend a good four years in Provo and that was an experience not to be soon repeated.
Found The Modern on Yelp and then found it on some travel sites practically giving away rooms, so we quick booked a nice double queen room with a balcony view.
The place is just like everyone says, an old Travelodge that was renovated with postmodern cleanliness (definition: No closet space, no fridge, thin walls) in mind. The rooms are sparsely decorated with padded headboard walls and hanging pendant lights. The TV is digital and hangs on the wall over a Plexiglas writing/computer surface with three empty shelves and a storage closet big enough for two coats and a shirt.
I know this description sounds a bit negative, but if you are looking for something out of the ordinary in a hotel, stay at the Modern. If you need more stay somewhere else. We want to stay here again so the fewer people that actually book rooms the better for us. There wasn’t much use for the extra bed either except for a place to throw our biking gear, but well, I won’t kiss and tell.
Now the shower, as has been highlighted in a dozen online reviews, has this interesting rain shower head–completely cool but not good for washing sweaty body parts after a long bike ride. But certainly it’s good for “other things.”
I want to tell you about the bar before we get back to the sink. The bar is intimate and swanky and the bartenders who are working in a state where they can actually use their own judgment to mix a drink will knock your socks off. Have a “Layover.” Really, have just one because the Mr. and I had two each and barely made it up the stairs back to our room afterward. Damn what a tasty concoction of Bourbon, peated caramel syrup in a smoked salt edged glass.
OK so you walk into this minimalist hotel room and take in the creative renovation, wander into the bathroom and marvel at the nicely done shower, turn and there you see 4 square feet of flat wide open porcelain sink–more a tablet than sink. The drain sits directly under the faucet (the fault with the sink). This looks all well and beautiful until you have to use it. When its time for bed, brush your teeth and spit deftly into the sink… wait, go have another Layover because the way the sink doesn’t drain shouldn’t be viewed with sober eyes.
The Modern is not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something different and out of the ordinary, close to town and far away from family, then the Modern is for you. And if you need a wad of amenities, there are plenty of much more suitable choices in town. Whether you stay here or not stop in to the Modern Bar; its one of the hippest joints in Boise–yea, its that good.
Fairmont Park, Salt Lake City, UT, 19 January 2013 – This is Craig on his first ever ride with his new Pinarello road bike. Today we added a new cycling enthusiast to the ranks after spending Saturday looking at bikes with him. I forgot how much fun it is to hop on a bike and go for a spin just to see how it feels fresh off the showroom floor. But I was unimpressed with most of the big name American bikes he selected at his desired price point and I think he was equally unimpressed. So I suggested for a bit more money he could get a nicer bike with better components and find happiness on two wheels at our our favorite shop, Contender Bicycles; where one can feast their eyes on some very beautiful bikes and accessories and also equally appreciable eye candy in the form of the sales staff. After riding a few bikes he fell in love with Pinarello’s Italian heritage and impressive ride quality. He’ll be happy for years and we’ll happy to accompany him whenever he needs a tune-up at Contender.
Salt Lake City, UT, 11 January 2014 – Utah celebrated the marriage of its 1,000+ newlywed same-sex couples tonight throwing the biggest, most important reception in the history of the state. Couples, families and supporters turned out to celebrate equality at an event catered by Le Croissant Catering, a GLBT- friendly event planner that coordinated food for the hundreds of attendees–hours into the party and the food is still flowing. Live music and the knowledge that we are all equally human brought people of all ages, religions and gender together to celebrate the biggest thing to hit Utah since the Stone Age. News that Maryland and the Federal Government would recognize the marriages performed in Utah after Judge Shelby’s ruling and before the SCOTUS stay was all the more reason to celebrate.
More telling still is the fact that Friday the Attorney General’s office counseled all County Clerks to complete any business transactions that were begun for same-sex couples before the stay was put into effect. This seems to be evident of the AG’s understanding that what is set by a court cannot be undone (this is an oversimplified version of the law, but you get the drift). Many couples quickly changed their licenses, adopted their partner’s children and effected sufficient change to the status quo after the ruling that only one conclusion is apparent. We will win in the end.
Salt Lake City, UT, 7 January 2014 – Today we received conformation for out Press Pass for NAHBS. Such a great venue to see rideable works of bicycle art, meet the builders and handle the latest components, accessories, and clothing we can’t wait to get there.
If you’re considering a new bike this year we strongly urge you to attend the show. It’s the one place you can meet builders from all over the country and get to know them before you have them build your dream bike.