Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wendover Bus Trip

One thing I love about being with Amanda is that we are always trying new things. One thing I have seen when traveling to and from Wendover every time I have traveled out that way, is the Wendover Fun Bus. To give you a quick explanation without visiting their site is that you pay a decent price to have a local bus company drive you and many others out to West Wendover, Nevada on a double deck Greyhound-like bus with bingo entertainment (with prizes for winners), vouchers for a free buffet, and free play to the 3 sister casinos.

So Amanda asked that I ask for Valentine's Day off so we could ride the bus out to Wendover. I was lucky to get it scheduled off at my new location, and so we went. At the time, we didn't have a lot of money to gamble away out there, but had enough to pay for the bus ride and play the slots just a little.

We hopped on board a single level bus at the IHOP (now to be soon IHOB, tells you how long it's been between us going) in Woods Cross, then bordered the double deck bus in Salt Lake. After taking off, we sat there for a bit before they handed out disposable travel bingo cards and played a few rounds of BINGO before we arrived in Wendover.

The Tree of Life near mile marker 26.

We hopped off the bus at Rainbow and went in to play a for a little bit, before then taking the courtesy shuttle bus over to Montego Bay to use our voucher for our free buffet. After eating, we still had plenty of time to kill... but we didn't have much funds left. We knew this would happen, and so Amanda and I planned to walk from Montego Bay over to the Wendover Airport to venture around and waste time. We climbed up the old radar tower (Amanda tried last time, but she finally made it to the top this time) and walked over to the restored hanger where they once stored the infamous Enola Gay aircraft.

Chuckling nervously because of she made it to the top of the radar tower this time.

If you walk east from the airport, you will see Army buildings starting to decompose and fall apart.

The restored hanger that once stored the Enola Gay

Looking inside that hanger through the main door window.

After killing enough time, we walked back to Montego Bay to then take a shuttle back over to Rainbow. We went inside to play the remaining funds we had (until payday) and browsed the gift shop to see if we could use any funds on our players card to get any merchandise for free.

With about 45 minutes left before it was time before load up on the bus to head home, we just sat in the red lit lobby before loading up on the bus.

We made it back home after dark, then swapped back of the first bus we first hopped on to get back to the IHOP restaurant. We had a lot of fun, but since we have only gone once more by car. Haven't gone as much because we are saving up for our summer California trip.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My Memories of My Dad

When I first wrote this post, I wanted to tell you stories and memories about my dad, especially my earliest memory. Then I had my mother and sister cross check everything since it involves them too. Turns out, my supposed "very first memory that I ever remember" that I wrote about may be a combination of two memories, making it an incorrect memory. So I started from scratch to rewrite my earliest memory that involved my dad, but everything else written has stayed the same.

You probably remember that when you were young, you may remember your grandparents babysitting you while your parents were at work. Well, one day in November or December when I was 3 or 4 (1983-84), my dad called to check up on me and to also tell me that he had a surprise for me. Oh boy! When he arrived later that evening, he told me that my surprise was in the truck. We loaded up and I saw that he bought me A Chipmunk Christmas soundtrack LP (aka, a record).

I remember driving home with it snowing outside, thinking that drive was going to take forever before I could ever get the chance to listen to it. Even though we lived 2 miles away at the time, it still felt like it would take forever to a kid.

As a dad myself now, I understand why it’s fun to give your kids something that maybe entertaining. I listened to that record multiple times, as all kids do with anything they enjoy (why is that?)

I believe it was in 1991 or 1992, my mom received a trip package from her work for two to go river rafting here in Utah. So, of course, my sister and I had to stay with the grandparents while they went on this adventure. I wasn’t there of course, but I knew my parents had a blast doing something dangerous and thrilling.

Another story I have about my parents, and I was there at this one, was the time my mom received two front row tickets to a Utah Jazz game that took place on February 1, 1995. Those of you who are REALLY into basketball history may know this date, those who don’t, well here you go. It just so happened that this date was the day John Stockton tied and then passed Magic Johnson’s all time assist record. Thing was, my mom was given these tickets a few weeks prior, not knowing that this would be the night he would break the record. 

How was I there? I knew the record breaking event was going to happen the game prior, and tickets were completely sold out... but luckily my mom or dad knew someone who was willing to sell one of their nose bleed section seats to me. So that is how I was there. After the game, they had a celebration for this milestone, and so I walked down to their section. Luckily, the ushers let me sit by them since the game was over, and to quickly enjoy the ceremony. Plus, they were my ride home.

Quick story to brag about here since I mentioned the Utah Jazz. My dad and I went to see the Jazz play the Bulls back when they were big in the early ‘90s. This game that we just happened to be at was the infamous triple overtime game.

One story involving my sister told at the celebration of life about my dad (I swear you did Annie) is about what funny thing she caught him doing while we were in Zion’s National Park. I think I was between the ages of 11-13, and we as a family (along with both sets of grandparents) went down to Mesquite to stay at the Virgin River (yes, the one we stay at now with my girls. After staying in Mesquite, as we were heading home, we took a side adventure into Zion’s. I remember us driving through the tunnels and visiting the Visitor Center. My sister Annie was given permission to use my Grandpa John’s video camera to record some of the mountain scenery. While filming and panning, she recorded my dad in a deep wide opened yawn. At the time, she probably didn’t realize that she recorded him doing that, until later when we were watching the vacation footage from home on VHS and saw that. Being kids, we couldn’t help laugh at something our parents did. We took a lot of fun trips and big vacations, and made a lot of great memories. That’s why I carry on the traditional with my girls, to show them it’s a great big fun world out there.

Sorry, but I don’t have a screenshot of the scene. It would take me quite a while to first find and then hook up a VCR, then search/fast forward through multiple VHS tapes that has this scene, just to get a screen shot.

Another story Annie and I can tell you is the day our brother TJ was born. The morning he was to be born (scheduled C-section), my dad drove us to the hospital, where we meet up with my grandparents. Well, it was early morning (around sunrise), and we would get bored watching cartoons or the morning news on the TV, so we would peak out of the visitors waiting room (for family members who were waiting for a family member to be born so they wouldn’t be in the way). Well, every time we would peak out and down the hallway to see if my dad was hopefully bringing my new born brother down to show us, we saw a nurse standing in a doorway of one of the rooms, facing towards us, and she would wave every time. We’d wave and go back to watching TV and waiting some more. I thought that this nurse knew that we belonged to my mom and dad, and was just being polite. Well, my brother was born and my dad wheeled or carried him out to the waiting room to show us our new family member. That was a cool day.

Well, years went by and one day the story came up about the day TJ was born. One of us (Annie or I) said that “we remembered seeing a nurse wave to us every time we peaked our heads out”. My dad then told us that that was him waving to us. We were like, “What?!”. He told us that that he would wave to us every time we looked down the hallway. Well, turns out that when you cover up the top of ones head with a blue hospital cap and face with a blue hospital mask, while wearing a hospital gown... and all you can see is just the eye area— yeah, anyone can look like anyone who works there. Good times.

For those of you who don’t know, I had a half-sister named Jessica. Sadly, she passed away in 1999. I’m so grateful that we were able to meet her, have her stay over every other weekend, and to hang out when we could as we got older... even if it was in such a small time frame.

But the story that involves my dad and Jessica, was the day he took Jessica, Annie and I over to Sugar House Park to go sledding down the hill on the west side of the park (where Amanda and I took the girls ice blocking this past summer). With TJ still being young, he was being watched by the grandparents at their place.

We all went down a few times (because it was busy with other sledders that day) and was having fun... that was, until my sisters eventually triple dog dared him to go down on one of the sleds. So he eventually took the dare. He climbed the hill, propped his sled, and went down the hill... only to hit a bump or groove at the bottom of the hill, that caused something to go out in his back. He only went down once, and was the only one to get hurt. So with him hurt, we left and he later went to see what he did to his back. I’ll spare you the medical details, just know he was out of work for a while so it could heal. It wasn’t anything requiring surgery to fix, just taking it easy. Well, a few days later while he was trying to take it easy at home, he went to kneel down, and tore something in one of his knees. Talk about bad luck. So that issue with his knee did require him to have surgery to remove tissue so it could heal. Yeah, he was out of work for a while.

Car Shows
Anyone who knew my dad knew he loved cars, especially the two he owned. In 1972, my grandpa bought a '72 Ford Ranchero (my dad would eventually become the owner of this vehicle years later). Then in 1973, my dad was a senior in high school and bought his first car, a 1973 Ford Mustang. (Side note: After my 37+ years, it finally dawned on me a few months after his celebration of life as to why he chose a dark emerald green car, then and added silver decals— those were the school colors to Olympus High, the school he graduated from) Over the years, he would add something here or modify something there, until he finally felt confident to put in car shows. In the late '90s to the early 2000's, my dad started to take apart the Ranchero because it was in a fender bender in the mid '90s. He started it, and let it sit, until my mom made him finish it.

Being an proud owner of a muscle car, it was a given to put it in any car show he could. He would put them both or solo in the original Salt Palace, University of Utah, Park City, Nephi, Brigham City, Bountiful, Heber, Logan, and little drive-ins once in a great while. If we happened to be somewhere where a car show was being held, he’d have to check it out.

While I was growing up, my favorite car show to go to was the one in Park City. Not only did that vacation/car show state that there were only a couple weeks left of summer before school started up again, but I’ve always loved being up in Park City. Well, back in 1992, I remember my dad put in both of the cars in the car show being held in the north parking lot of Park City Resort (5th Park City Mustang Roundup). I also remember helping him many-a-times before any car show would start, using white tire chalk to color the letters on the tires of the Mustang causing cramped hands. That day, when it came time for the award ceremony in the afternoon, I believe he won his class [defenition] for the Mustang (which he did a lot, except at Peach Days because there are numerous vehicles in each class), but he also won Best of Show that year.

What that meant was that not only did he receive the Best of Show trophy, but at the next years car show (6th Park City Mustang Roundup) his car would be pictured (with 2 other cars) on the t-shirts sold that year, as well as the plaques placed on the awards for that year. I wish I still had one of those shirts.

As for his Mustang, I only got to drive it once. My parents used to store it in a rental storage unit years ago. Well, one time they were at the unit, I was in the drivers seat and I accidentally knocked it into neutral causing it start rolling back. My dad jumped in and stopped it from hitting anything. That’s why you shouldn’t let a 1-2 year old sit in a nice cars drivers seat. (This is a story I was told.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of my memories about my dad. I know there are a lot more memories I could tell you (as well as those who knew him), but I don’t want to over do it in a blog post that would make you lose interest or get tired hearing about my dad.