Monday, July 19, 2010

Utah to California Road Trip

On the Road Again...Train Somewhere in Nevada

Broomfield, CO – I’ll start off by saying, we’ve been busy, very busy and things aren’t really slowing up anytime soon.  However, somewhere in between Suwei’s pregnancy, her job offer from Google and acceptance, building department nightmares in Oroville, volunteering for SheHeroes, a trip to Canada, planning the annual canoe trip, backpacking in Lassen, visiting friends in the Southeast, packing up the house in Colorado and moving to California… I have managed to get enough pictures together for another blog post.  Sorry, it’s been a while.

The photos in this post come from a road trip Suwei and I took back in March.  Back then two events came together just at the right time.  First, my brother and his wife gave birth to a little girl in January and we were itching to get out to California to meet the peanut.  Secondly, Bill had organized a ski weekend at Deer Valley/Park City Utah that we weren’t so sure we could attend.  Enough excuses, grab the keys to the truck, we’re hitting the road!

Bill and Jeanye at the St. Regis

Our first stop was Bill’s birthday ski weekend in Deer Valley.  Like I mentioned before Suwei and I were waffling on this trip and unfortunately we waffled enough that Bill had to fill our spots with far more committed  friends.  However, we decided to crash the party anyway.  We got a room at a hostel in Park City and Bill and crew were nice enough to let us join in the festivities up at their sweet pad at the St. Regis in Deer Valley.

I guess Bill’s sister's father in-law (or something like that) had a little business deal with the St. Regis and someway or another Bill and crew basically got a very sweet suite for the cost of the cleaning.  The place was over the top.  The photos do not do it justice.  To do it justice you must talk about how the staff put your groceries away for you or the free afternoon champagne or the fact that they hate snowboarders.

Deer Valley is one of the last few resorts in the country to continue to snub snowboarders.  Which is why we stole Arturo the first day and headed to Park City to ski (I mean ride) where they are a little more tolerant.  Bill took the other skiers to Deer Valley, while Mai stayed back and put together a fantastic and very complex birthday dinner for the whole crew.  The tricky part of the meal was that each dish contained at least one aphrodisiac.  The challenge for the group was to name the aphrodisiacs.  Here are the recipes she used:
And the List of aphrodisiacs they contained:

Arugula or "rocket" has been documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D.  This ingredient was added to grated orchid bulbs and parsnips and also combined with pine nuts and pistachios.

Given it's phallic shape, asparagus is frequently enjoyed as an aphrodisiac food.   Rich with potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin E, all vital for increased hormone production.

Contains bufotenine, a chemical that acts on the brain to increase happiness, self-confidence, & sex drive.

Considered the sacred herb of India, it awakens the senses, stimulates blood flow, and relieves fatigue.

Real dark chocolate with a high cacao content contains natural stimulants and wellbeing chemicals, plus plenty of magnesium which is good for the heart and women’s libido. Includes caffeine and a plant substance called phytosteral that mimics human sex hormones.

Another good reason to eat carrots--believed to be a stimulant to the male. The phallus shaped carrot has been associated with stimulation since ancient times and was used by early Middle Eastern royalty to aid seduction. Have strong fibrous ingredients that supercharge the body & lead to a feeling of strong sexual desire. High vitamins and beta-carotene.

Granted, celery is not the sexiest food, but it does contains andresterone, a powerful male hormone released through sweat glands to attract women.

This sweet, spicy flavor and aroma has been used to aid in the treatment of impotence and proven to be sexually stimulating for men.

An open fig is thought to emulate the female sex organs and traditionally thought of as sexual stimulant. A man breaking open a fig and eating it in front of his lover is a powerful erotic act.
The 'heat' in garlic is said to stir sexual desires. Tibetan monks were forbidden from entering the monastries if they had eaten garlic. Some groups and peoples forbade the eating of garlic or entering of sacred places after eating it. Others, such as the Greeks and Egyptians, embraced garlic's alleged aphrodisiac properties. Ezra Hasofer decreed that garlic be eaten on a Friday night as an aid to love-making on the grounds that it "promotes love and arouses desire". The Talmud instructs the eating of garlic on the Sabbath.

This high energy root normalizes hormones levels in both men and women and it’s been used for centuries by the Chinese to increase stamina and desire.

This Andean root is the first food that comes to mind when I think of sexual health and stamina. Just me? It’s been commonly used in Peru since the times of the Inca to increase strength, energy and libido. Modern foodies consider it a superfood, and with good reason. Maca is excellent for balancing hormones and makes a tasty addition to deserts and smoothies.

Believed to stimulate the sexual glands and increase desire.
Once reserved only for royalty, these subtle flavored nuts were a favorite of the Queen of Sheba. It is said that she "confiscated all Assyrian deliveries for herself and for her royal court." She is said to have believed the preferential pistachio was an aphrodisiac.

Pine Nuts
Zinc is a key mineral necessary to maintain male potency and pine nuts are rich in zinc. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as Medieval times.

Is known for decreasing inhibitions with its relaxing, euphoric, mildly intoxicating effects. It is very effective in treating frigidity, psychological problems resulting in loss of libido or even impotency. This is equally effective in males and females.

The scent and flavor of vanilla is believed to increase lust. According to the Australian Orchid Society, "Old Totonac lore has it that Xanat, the young daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess, loved a Totonac youth. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness.”

Day 2 in Utah involved another superb day at Park City (just 2 words: dumping x2!) and a final fancy dinner out at the St. Regis…oh and I believe there was some hot tubbing in there as well.  After all that Suwei and I scooted off to our $9 room just across the street from the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City (Actually it was $16 if you include the taxes and parking, but still a pretty good deal.  See slide show for details).

Skiing at Park City, UT

Roadside Attraction - Thunder Mountain Indian Monument, NV

Our next stop was North Lake Tahoe and a day of skiing with my mom and niece, Victoria at Diamond Peak. Victoria had been on the slopes one day up to that point and was eager to get a few tips from a few seasoned veterans.  The seasoned veterans, however, decided to bring themselves down to beginner status by switching up their equipment.  Suwei tried skis and I got on a snowboard.  Then we proceeded to talk Victoria into going down a blue run with us.  It all went fine except a bit in the middle where Victoria got a little nervous, got going a little too fast, and tackled me.  We quickly made it past the steepest part by lying down and using as many of our limbs as possible to slow down.  When we finally came to a stop, I ignored the panicked look in her eyes and asked, “Why don’t we try that again?”

Suwei, Victoria, and Mom at Diamond Peak Resort, NV

That night we met up with our friend, Moki and her new (for us) husband, Gary.  They came up from Grass Valley to share their favorite Truckee taqueria and a few drinks with us.

Next I got in a very warm and slushy day of skiing in at Squaw Valley.  Although the snow conditions were downright poor compared to Utah’s fresh fluff, I was reminded why I still have such fond memories of the place.  It had been over 4 years since I last skied there, and I realized I still miss the crazy fun steeps that Squaw has to offer. (Especially when it’s that need it that steep for the skis to actually slide.)

Down in the Bay Area we took a day hike around the Marin Headlands with Eng-Shien.  We took a late afternoon hike with Stacy up in Foothills Park in Palo Alto.  And…we actually found a very little bit of time to see Kevin, Vera and their new baby, Veronika.  It turns out we arrived just in time to join them at Vera’s father’s 70th birthday celebration.  They had rented out a entire Russian restaurant in Sunnyvale and I think just about every Russian in the South Bay had been invited.  Ok, maybe not, but Suwei and I were spitting out specebas right and left.  Veronika took the massive manhandling in amazing stride.  It took her most of 2 hours before she completely melted down.

Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, CA

The Marin Headlands, CA

Meeting Veronika at Boris' Birthday Party.

Foothill Park, Palo Alto, CA

On the way back to Colorado we made one more stop.  We drove a little north of Salt Lake City to Ogden, UT to visit an old Peace Corps friend of mine, Richa and her husband, Hans.  We were rushing to beat the Friday afternoon exodus as she works for the Forest Service there and I wanted to ask her and her colleagues about possible engineering opportunities and how best to go about getting a foot in the door. On Saturday she and Hans took us out to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake to check out the herd of buffalo (bison) that were introduced to the island in 1893.

Richa and Hans in Ogden, UT

Antelope Island State Park, UT

And then... We went home.

And that is about it for this post. Lots of photos. There are even more in the slideshow. Check it out here if you are interested.

Utah to California Road Trip