It’s 5 am. I think we slept at some point in those dark hours. We are all three up and very slowly moving towards a waiting van to shuttle us to the airport car rental agency. Quick showers all the way around give way to fresh-ish faces and positive attitudes. We say goodbye for now to our home away from home, the Venetian, and saunter into dawn to catch our ride.
The van was quiet, save for the jesting Goose, and the hangovers were noxious. A short jaunt in the van and a hop onto an effectively timed shuttle and we were at the rental car counter. As usual Goose’s banter and charm brought us a car upgrade and we were out of the garage in under thirty minutes. I took first shift behind the, still relatively tiny, wheel.
The ground between Vegas and Utah is best described as barren. Miles and miles of green sloping hills gave way to hours worth of flat grass plains full of hay barns. The drive was long and dauntingly silent with the exception of my cohorts simultaneous snoring. I gave it the good old college try and delivered us safely into Utah before folding to my exhaustion and passing the metaphorical baton to a secondary driver and settling into my sleepiness.
Park City was everything notable that I expected from the picturesque magazine photos. Greenery was prevalent and the weather was such that it begged for the windows to be rolled down. As we breezed our way into the Olympic Park the adventure and excitement began to creep over the entire car instantly. Using the car as a shield we changed abruptly in the parking lot into exploit ready clothing and hastened our pace up the hill to what we knew would be a chance undertaking of a lifetime.
At the top of the hill we collected our passes and headed straight for the bobsled! With a twenty second tutorial and warnings that could scare some of the bravest away we tossed on some helmets and positioned ourselves into the two most aggressive seats available. Goose sat in position four, the very back of the bobsled, with an expected 4 to 5 G-Force. I positioned myself directly in front of him, position three, with an expected 4 G-Force. There was no one in front of me so I was instructed that I could either keep my feet out straight or sit “Indian style” but that the latter was the recommendation to keep me in the bucket. Crossing my legs and armed with that underwhelming knowledge and education we were hurled down a hill. The driver may have only been pushing the cusp of 20 years old but he handled that rocket like a boss. Swiping the very sides of the hill we made it down the mountain at high-speed’s in the 70s and in just under a minutes time. What a rush!!! * Tomorrow I will discover a bruise that runs from my top left hip all the way down to below my left knee. The pain will be well worth it. * There is something about all these new adventure badges that reminds me of the necessity to live “on fire” and brings me pure joy.
Both Goose and myself felt a little rattled after our adventures with bobsledding and determined that it might be a good time for a quick refuel at the barbecue pit before heading down the slides. This is where we met our gracious hosts. What warm hearts! What was a stranger just five seconds ago greeted me with the largest hug and a welcoming heart that was instantly familiar. Making quick friends and shoving hamburgers into our stomachs at a rapid pace we rallied to make the four-story climb to slide down the equivalent of the largest slip and slides I have ever seen.
The 6 Slides gave way to a single pool that was being aerated to break the surface tension on an average of every 30 minutes. Although the objective of the aeration was obviously to minimize the damage to the people, coming down 5 feet from the air, it was a catastrophic fail. We watched as the slip and slides rained down people that received; concussions, dislocated shoulders, dislocated jaws and so much more. The Military crew 3 feet to my left was looking on to watch the “shit storm” and acting as commentators and comic relief as the day progressed. I couldn’t help but find myself in the mix of good company until one of them suggested that I, “might be put to work soon,” and that was my cue.
The slopes at the base of the slides varied in angle. But on most slides people were achieving heights of more than 4 feet in the air, at minimum, before barrel rolling into a pool. Our newly assembled team mustered at the top of the slides to discuss how we intended to hit the water. In hindsight we were adorably laughable. When flying off the 300 foot long slide and falling down the 5 feet from launch your only hope is to land in a position less than death. Luckily we all achieved this goal. Barrel rolling with a half spin off my first slide I was pleased right up until the second my bodies newly accustomed Texas thermometer hit that icy abyss of water. It literally took my breath away. I was stunned. When I resurfaced it took me a moment to catch my breath before I could swim over to the edge of the water. All of a sudden that cool and crisp air that I had rolled the window down for was the equivalent of a blizzard. The second time at the top of the slide was much more consternate. All I could think about was how cold that iceberg was going to be when I hit it. Launching off the slide and dreading the water the second round brought me down in almost a dive. And as I looked on I could see the hesitation of all my party as they swept down the slide fearfully approaching what they knew would be an ice bath. We played the remainder of day until the cloud coverage came in and demanded that we relinquish our strength to the temperatures that be.
After a quick rendezvous at our hosts home, and light freshen up, we headed back out to downtown. It was quaint and adorable. I know in my heart of hearts I could never live in this town but the vacation here has such an appeal I understand how people get swept away. We enjoyed some homemade chocolate, some comedic shopping and of course visited a whiskey distillery for yours truly. The whiskey here is worth every penny of it’s overpriced bottling. It’s almost clear in color and some of the smoothest I have tasted worldwide. While enjoying my first flight of whiskey Goose made friends with the only other Texans in the bar that hadn’t arrived with us. More business cards were exchanged and we sat down for a dinner that was truly to die for. The company was phenomenal, the food was superb and the customer service was warm and conversant. We spent a little while shopping in the distillery shop where I would discover every woman’s best friend, Whiskey chocolate, and then trickled out into the evenings fresh air to walk off our very full bellies.
Back at the hosts home we repacked and adjusted for morning. Spending quality time laughing and storytelling until catching a few hours of shut eye and heading off for our flight.
Utah was absolutely charming! The people where affectionate and the city was tender. The fondness of the community will definitely linger with me and lure me back for some snow excitement in the future. With no complaints from the absolute peace in my heart I shut the door on this chapter of Utah for now and mark yet another state off my list.
As usual I enjoy you sharing my journey with me! Please feel free to; like, comment and share. I hope you’re following me for future adventure updates. And of course I would love to receive your emails on future destinations you would like me to visit. Ariel@searchingnotlost.com