Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Flickr and My Blog

For years, I have used Flickr to use as the hosting site for all my public photos. In 2018, SmugMug purchased Flickr from Yahoo!, and said that come January 8th, 2019, it would go back to having everyone pay for a Pro Account instead of allowing anyone to upload 1TB of photos.

What this first meant for me is, purchase another external hard drive to back up all my documents, videos and photographs in case the main hard drive that holds the photos and the second back up drive both crash. This third drive would have everything stored on it and is at another location away from my home in case a disaster destroyed the first two simultaneously.

Second, I will now need to go through all my blog post from the very beginning and post the pictures on that blog post, instead of linking to the Flickr page they were once on.

So if you see this image below, it means it's missing and I'm working on replacing it.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

UEA Weekend in Vegas

I love spending time with my girls, even if it’s a small trip. Secondly, you will have to forgive me. I try to not drag the blog/post/story on and on, but I’ve been currently listening to Jeff Dunham’s book on tape while driving to and from work, and he has made the story of his life come to life with his words... so I’ve kind of done the same here when I was writing this post, but not on purpose.

October 25 Thursday
So Amanda I packed up the car and Destiny, and headed down to St. George. I had scheduled an eye exam appointment for the twins once we arrived down there. The only problem was, we were running behind and instead of picking up the girls at school, they rode the bus to their grandmas house where we picked them up and quickly rushed over to the mall for the eye exam. We barely made it, filled out the forms for the optometrist to use for notes and to be able to have him look at their girls eyes. Destiny patiently waited out in the car with water and windows down. Even though it was October, I know how warm or hot Southern Utah can get. Once we finished with their exams, the girls looked at and tried on a few pairs of demo glasses, then we left the mall. We were not buying glasses today, just an eye exam. The girls didn’t want to go home, so we took them back over to their grandmas house (right as she was getting home) until their mom would pick them up after she got off of work.

After saying goodbyes for the night, the three of us headed to Mesquite to spend the night and relax. We would have taken the girls with, but I didn’t want them to miss way too much school while we were down there. After arriving to the hotel, I checked in, unloaded luggage and dog into the room, then headed to the Chinese Buffet in town. For a small little buffet, it was affordable and delicious. We decided we wanted to bring the girls here the next time they stayed with us in Mesquite.

We finished up with dinner, drove over to Smith’s for a few snacks, and came back to the hotel to play our free slot money in the casino. Amanda and I didn’t stay in their too long, but came back to our room and went to sleep.

October 26 Friday
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel’s buffet, then headed back on the road to St. George to pick up the twins after they got out of school. Instead of taking I-15 back north, I took the old Highway 91 from Mesquite all the way into St. George. Stopped at Lin’s really quick, said "Hi" to Jen (an old coworker from when I worked there). Stopped to grab a quick lunch at Wendy’s, then headed up the street to the Firehouse Park to let Destiny play for a bit.


School was getting out for the twins, so we headed to their house to pick up them and their luggage to drive and stay with us at their Aunt Heidi’s place in Vegas. They ate a little snack at home to hold them over until we made it to Vegas, so we could go to dinner.

We made it to Heidi’s new place (she was renting the house that we were at this past summer, but they were snowbirds and needed the house back). Unpacked our luggage and left Destiny to play with her 2 dogs while we went to Cici’s for dinner. Yes, the same Cici’s we ate at during our 2016 California trip.

After eating, we drove my car over to the Walmart in the same parking lot to get a few groceries and... uh, girl stuff.

We came back and just did whatever we wanted to do until it was ready for the girls to go to bed. Amanda and I went over to Aliante Casino. Actually broke even when we left there.

October 27 Saturday
The next morning, we had a quick breakfast and then headed out to because I have been wanting to check out Seven Magic Mountains just south of Vegas before they tear it down. On the way, we hit traffic that was at a dead stop on I 15. Luckily, I saw this and took the next exit and thought it would be fun to take The Strip the rest of the way. Right around Wynn, there was an accident, and everyone had to flip around.


I ended up heading a little ways east and then south and past the airport, back onto the south end of The Strip, then hopped back on I-15. It took a while, but we finally reached the exit we were to take, then drove south until we came to SMM. We were there for about 30 minutes looking around, before we had to head to find a gas station to use the restrooms.



Earlier, I knew from looking at Google Maps, there was a gas station and White Castle at Jean, NV. When we arrived, I never realized it’s massive size. We pulled in and saw this place was the size of a very large grocery store. Oh, did I mention,  it had 96 gas pumps!! We walked in and were blown away of how spacious it was, and how you could easily get lost in it by just looking around. We first found and used the restrooms, then after we had to find everyone who wandered out of the bathrooms and started browsing the store, and headed over to White Castle to order lunch. This was the first time any of us had their food, including Heidi. We sat around feeling like giants eating our mini burgers and fries, then continued to look around the different sections of this place. There was a jerky section, cinnamon nuts section, local souvenirs, a 10+ foot long selection of fountain drinks and even some energy drinks on tap, a Krispy Kreme section, multiple glass bottles of sodas, a huge corner section of candy and sugar snacks, and so on and so on...


The funny thing about stopping here was that we were just going to quickly use the restrooms and grab a bite to eat before continuing on to our next place we were planning on visiting. We ended up spending over a good hour inside. Well, when we finally did head back to my car, we headed westbound on the road next to the gas station towards the old mining town of Goodsprings, Nevada. What is in an almost-ghost town that we had to drive another 7 minutes from the gas station to get to? Well, if you read my past blog post, you will know Amanda and I watch a little show called Ghost Adventures... you may not have heard of it. They actually filmed an episode at the local bar in town called Pioneer Saloon. They also serve food, but that’s not why we stopped to visit. At that moment, the twins and Heidi had not seen the episode, so they knew absolutely nothing of the supposed hauntings or ghost apparitions or history of the saloon. We looked around at the bullet holed wall, around the back and outside of the building, then back inside to the dining area where there were other historic facts this place had been included in. The thing that caught my attention was that the bar has appeared in a few Hollywood movies and was even used for the photo shoot location for Travis Tritt’s album cover of "My Honky Tonk History". There were other interesting funny facts shown, like pictures of the well known “chickenshit bingo”... well, before it was rumored that PETA shut it down (so I don’t know if the game still happens or it really was shut down).




After quickly looking around, taking in the history, and maybe feeling something of ghost affecting us (that or we were dehydrated, lol), we walked back to my car and headed back into Vegas (after making a quick 2nd potty stop at the gas station again).

With dinner soon upon us, we knew we had to stop and get the food needed to make a spaghetti dinner. We made it to the Smith’s near Heidi’s place, and did a little shopping. While there, we picked out four pumpkins to carve later that night since it was so close to Halloween. Came back, we ALL pitched in to do something to put together this dinner, and then we ate dinner.

Later, we wanted to make s’mores in Heidi’s backyard fire pit, so Amanda and I ran over to the store next to her house to grab what was needed. Arrived back and started roasting the marshmallows to make s’mores. We all sat around the fire talking about this and that, personal and world events. It’s sad when you realize that your kids know what an idiot our president is when they realize that what he is doing is affecting them now and will mess us their future. We let the fire die down after eating all the s’mores we could handle, and then poured water on it to snuff it. With us having a busy day, we never did carve pumpkins, but all decided to call it a day and went to bed. 

October 28 Sunday
Breakfast that morning was different. Heidi’s boyfriend came over and made us breakfast. After eating, I knew we were leaving later and didn’t want to haul the pumpkins home, so we all started to work on gutting the pumpkins and carving faces in them.

Once we were done carving, we cleaned up our mess and then got ready for the day. Today, before heading back north, we were taking the girls shopping for clothes since I never really bought them anything for their birthday. So the 4 of us piled into my car, Heidi and boyfriend in his truck, and headed over to the closest Savers (discount/used clothing store). We let the girls browse the aisles picking out clothes that they thought looked good, then they would go try them on to make sure they fit. I helped Chloe, Amanda helped Ady. After a while, Heidi and boyfriend took off to go somewhere else (can’t remember exactly where they went).


We spent a good hour and a half there, then called Heidi to let her know to meet up with us at Subway. We met, ate, then hugged goodbye. We had to get on the road, but first stop at Heidi’s to pick up Destiny. Once she was in the car, we headed out of Vegas.

I had been in contact with the girls mom on whether or not the girls could miss one day of school to spend the evening and next day with us in Mesquite. She checked to see how much school they had missed, and it was still low to say they could stay and have fun.

Right away, after checking in, we had to wait to get the room key since we checked in early. So, we spent an hour at the park nearby, then went back to grab the key and put our stuff in the room. Then we all went bowling. This made us work up an appetite to be hungry for dinner, so after finishing our game, we walked through the casino to the restaurant. We ordered, ate, then all agreed that we wanted to relax in the hot tub after eating.


We got in our bathing suits and headed to the pool, where all 3 girls jumped in the cold water, then ran to the hot tub. Stayed in the hot tub while talking to another hotel guest from out of town, then sped walked to the room because of the cool air. The twins got ready for bed, and Amanda and I drove over to Walmart to pick up snacks.

October 29 Monday
The next morning, we ate at the buffet again with the girls, packed up the car with our luggage and Destiny, then headed to St. George to drop the girls off home. We dropped them off, and headed home to Salt Lake. I know Destiny loves the girls, but I know she hates it when she has to share the back seat with them. So I know on the way down and heading home, she enjoys being able to enjoy having the entire back to herself.