The Big Double D is Finally in Utah!

Ahhhh….the gifts the world offers to Utah!  Last year it was–after a long wait–Trader Joe’s in downtown Salt Lake City.  Okay, one location to start with, but more stores promised in the future.  Yesterday, Utah got its very first Dunkin’ Donuts.  Again, in downtown Salt Lake City, but at least it’s now in-state.

The grand opening made the TV news feed and at one point, the line was an hour long to get hold of some goodies.  About a year ago, we got some unconfirmed hints about DD opening in Utah when their coffee appeared in bags on the grocery market shelves.  This is a hard coffee market to crack and Mormons are not supposed to drink coffee.  So I thought it was a bit odd that DD showed up first in a coffee bag.

Of course we have donuts: store brands, Krispy Kreme, and locally Madbrook Donuts which aren’t round, but rather triangular.  Still nothing comes close in taste and texture to a Dunkin’ Donut.

On channel 4, ABC affiliate TV, their loud, obnoxious weatherman, Jim Kosek was sent to cover the grand opening and screamed, shouted and generally irritated both viewers and store patrons alike.  I’m sure DD was thrilled to be stuck with him there.

19980_640[1]

Apparently, the plan is to open about 25 other locations scattered throughout the state over the next 5 years.  At the Finley house, we’re playing a guessing game as to where they will pop up: Ogden, Provo, St. George, Brigham City, Logan, and surely somewhere in the Layton area.  We already have a Krispy Kreme, so let’s give it a run for its money!  We may have to make a donut run this weekend….

090214162746-large[1]

Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wanna Set a Land Speed Record?

Gee, where has the time gone?  I blew past the day I usually post my blogs.  My brother, Ken, is here for a visit and we’ve been taking some local day trips to help fill up the days.  Last Friday we decided on a sudden whim after lunch to jump in the car and head west on I-80 for about 2 hours to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway.

I’d never been there–it’s directly on the way to Wendover, NV, the closest casino town to us–and of course, it’s iconic.  About some 30 miles from the actual site, the eastern reaches of the salt flat area begin.  Streaky patches of white salt appear along each side of the highway and reach for acres towards each horizon.  As you get closer the salt gets whiter and stretches to the mountains to the north.  By the time you pull into the rather basic rest stop right at the speedway, the salt flats stretch out for 8 miles to the mountains.  According to the signs, the salt is 3-6 feet deep.

There’s no big fanfare for a place so well-known; just a rest stop with local Indians selling jewelry, a sign announcing the presence of the speedway, some restrooms, maps telling you where you are and salt, lots of salt.  Actually, there is an access road that takes you out a few miles onto the flats with a similar information sign at the end.  It’s actually quite desolate and there are no seating stands.

They set speed records of all types there–and except for the Interstate, this is in the middle of nowhere–twice a year, in August and October.  All the equipment needed is trucked in and set up; in fact, it seems rather relaxed and unsophisticated.  Modified motorcycles and cars, from street rods up to hybrid rocket engine vehicles get to run along an 8-mile course to try to set speed records on the hard, flat salt.  Apparently, this is one of the few places on earth that the earth’s curvature can be seen: when the a black stripe is put down for the drivers to follow so they stay on course, the end of the 10-mile line disappears from view due to the curve.

The day we were there, it was hot, but in the shade of the rest stop roof over picnic tables it was cool.  Low humidity, somewhere around 3%, made it tolerable.  We walked out on the salt flats and marveled at how crumbly the packed salt actually was.

Two hours out, and hour to enjoy and marvel at the view and 2 hours back made for an interesting afternoon.  I think Ken got a kick out of being there and now I can tick it off my bucket list!

Bonneville salt Flats sign at rest stop.

Bonneville salt Flats sign at rest stop.

Edge of salt flats looking east.

Edge of salt flats looking east.

Another view towards the east.

Another view towards the east.

Looking north across the flats to the mountains 7 miles away.

Looking north across the flats to the mountains 8 miles away.

No black stripe, but this is the view.

No black stripe, but this is the view.

Published in: on June 20, 2013 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunrise….Sunset

I’m always asked if I like living here in Utah and I usually say yes, but I miss trees, family, and friends.  However, the trade-off is beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

So in the spirit of letting you all see what I often see, I’m sharing a gallery of some images of the sky in late afternoons and early morning.  One is my photo and the others are gleaned from various sources.  Enjoy!

Sunrises in Northern Utah

sunrise 2

sunrise 3

sunrise 1

sunrise 4

Sunsets in Northern Utah

Sunset B

Sunset C

Sunset D

Sunset E

Sunset A

And  one from our back door, towards the Great Salt Lake.

sunset 1

And finally, a beautiful end of day in the canyon country.

Canyon country sunset

Published in: on June 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Vacations and Garden Update

Summer has begun and it seems like everyone has travel plans but me!  This will be the second year in a row I won’t be heading north to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  It was getting expensive to travel there from Utah each season and the car ride of 3.5 days was a long, lonely trip.  Luckily, the playbill for last year and this year was one I could skip with no regrets.  I would have loved to get there (which always has the added bonus of catching up with old friends who live in town), but it will have to be another year.

On another front, my family here in Utah will be heading back east for a well-deserved visit after an 8-year gap.  They plan to make it a family-oriented visit.  As luck would have it, part of the family lives on the Jersey shore, so it truly will have the trappings of a holiday, replete with dips in the ocean, walks on the boardwalk and playing arcade games, and enjoying the local famous Ocean City pizza and Philly cheese steaks.  The other side of the family has access to the family mountain camp in upstate Pennsylvania, so that’s a destination.  My daughter hasn’t been there in 10 years and grandson Ethan has never experienced the joys of the camp.  I think it will be a grand adventure!

Meanwhile, back in the Beehive State, I am awaiting my brother’s arrival for a visit.  He’ll overlap Bob, Lara, and Ethan for a few days and then we’ll keep ourselves busy.  I’m pretty sure Ken hasn’t ever had an extended stay in Utah, so hopefully we can work in a few day trips to local sights.

Okay, that covers trips.  After a mild and fairly wet May, June promises to crank up the heat levels.  The garden has already responded and everything I planted about 3 weeks ago is really taking off. The lettuce is facing the cutting board this week to reappear in salads.  The radishes are ready to be pulled and the tomatoes are growing well.  It won’t be until July when we can count on eating any, but they are dark green and thriving.  The green beans are up and sprouting secondary leaves.  Tiny peppers adorn the pepper plants and our experimental strawberries are sporting actual fruit!  Likewise the honeycrisp apple tree bloomed and is now full of tiny apples (which I sprayed to keep them from getting wormy).

Two rows of carrots and a row of scallions create a fine green “fuzz” on the dark earth.  For some reason, the cantaloupe vines are very slow, but we still have high hopes for them.

So, we’re heading into the heat of summer and all is well with the veggies.  Can’t wait to start picking the later crops.  YUM!!!

Published in: on June 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment