Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Japanese Friendship Gardens of San Diego

It seems like we never get tired of San Diego.  We have visited it a few times.  Here we went to Old Town and checked out a bit of its historical buildings.  Here we said happy 100th birthday to the San Diego Zoo.  Here we visited the Mormon Battalion and became soldiers for the day. Here we went back once more to the Whaley house.  Here and Here we went to amazing restaurants both in Old Town.  We visited the Midway, Sea World and the Festival of Sail.  To say that we love to visit San Diego might be a it of an understatement. Guess where we went this time?! Yep, San Diego.  This time we visited the Japanese Friendship Gardens in Balboa Park. 

Like most every day in San Diego the weather was just about perfect.  I think that is a big draw to the people that live there.  There are a lot of people who live there.  We wandered over to Balboa Park to explore and realized that a trip here needs more time.  There are more than 17 museums to explore.  We figured our best bet was to come back on our next trip and spend it all with a multi day pass.  For $62 you can get admission to each of the amazing destinations.  Otherwise you can pay for each individually.  The Japanese Friendship Garden was $10 a person to explore the 12 acres of beauty.  

The Japanese Friendship Garden is an expression of friendship between the sister cities of San Diego and Yokohama.  The garden was first opened in 1991 but before that there was a lot of history.  in 1915 a tea house stood in Balboa Park as a symbol for strong cultural and commercial ties.  For nearly 30 years this tea house was maintained by the Asakawa family.  Eventually the house was closed but in 1955 citizens of San Diego formed a plan to expand and restore the Japanese gardens.  After hearing the plans of San Diegans to restore the gardens Yokohama gave San Diego 100 Cherry Blossom Trees.  

The history has a beautiful story of a city coming together to create something special.  The story is told deeper here on the past page of the website.  Today we get to explore the gardens and enjoy a quiet walk.  

In a big busy city like San Diego this garden is filled with a quiet reverence that is calming and refreshing.  You don't feel rushed or busy.  You can just walk and ponder.  They have benches scattered all over to look out into all the green and growing things.  

To keep this quiet peace there is some etiquette they ask of us.  There are no pets allowed.  California is a pretty pet friendly place but leave Fido home unless he is a certified service animal.  No food is allowed.  No smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco is welcome.  Stay on the path at all times no matter how tempting it is to dip your toes in that crystal clear water.  Keep an eye on your children and make sure they are following the rules too.  Don't feed the koi fish unless you are at an event that provides koi feeding.  Clean up after yourselves and keep your voices low.  Simple rules really that all add up to create an almost sacred feeling in this place.  

This seems like a great place for pictures but make sure you read the photography rules here before you decide to get your wedding or family photos done here.  They allow it but there is a small fee involved.  

One of my favorite places in the garden was the collection of Bonsai trees they had on display.  These trees are maintained weekly by the San Diego Bonsai Club and if you stop by on a Wednesday you might even get to see them hard at work.  I had no idea what a Bonsai tree was.  I figured it was a kind of tree that they grew but in reality it is a method of growing and taming ordinary trees through pruning the roots and branches and letting them grow in small pots.  

We also loved the Koi Collection (through that link you can see a photo of each fish).  There were a few spots that had these fish happily swimming.  The colors were vivid and all different.  The size is what surprised me the most though.  These were big fish.  It turns out these are show quality fish maintained by the Koi Club of San Diego.  Each fish was hand selected in Japan and brought here to thrive under the clubs care.  I didn't know that a Koi Club existed.  It makes me wonder how many things we are missing out on because we don't take the time to stop and look.  

After all of this our day was running short.  Balboa Park has a lot to visit and we have decided it is important to come back on another trip to see more.  Jeremy is excited for the Fleet Science Center.  Faith is excited for the San Diego Natural History Museum.  Brandan is excited to see the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the San Diego Auto Museum.  As for me, I am excited to drive around the wicker basket cars.  I promise to get you lots of photos soon.  Until next time, keep on keeping on! 

❤ Misty


Friday, December 15, 2017

Wakefield Winter Wonderland

 Every now and again tragedy strikes either ourselves or someone we know. The aftermath of these tragedies can reshape our lives in a multitude of ways, some better than others. The story of the Wakefield Winter Wonderland is an inspiring tale of how a group of neighbors came together to find the good in an otherwise trying situation.
  In 1994 at 4:30 AM a 6.7 magnitude struck the San Fernando Valley in California. Over 8,700 people were injured in the quake and sadly, 57 people lost their lives. The quake was felt as far away as Las Vegas and caused billions of dollars worth of damage to structures in the area. 
 The Wakefield neighborhood met on the street to see what they could do for one another. They supported each other in disaster and went from only being neighbors to being good friends.
  As the months went by the neighborhood decided that they wanted to continue showing their strength and unity by stringing lights from one house to the other during the holidays. Others suggested that adding yard decorations would improve upon the idea. Built from scrap wood from the L.A. Coliseum, the decorations started to spread up and down the street and you can still see these decorations today. 
 We had heard about Wakefield Winter Wonderland last year and went to find it, but what we didn't realize until this year is that we were in the wrong place. Just a few streets down from Wakefield is a street that is known as Homestead Holidays. Being on that street last year may not have been intentional but it was no less fun. It is, however much smaller than Wakefield. We knew we were in the right place this year when we filed in the long line of vehicles turning into the neighborhood. This line would triple in length by the time left. But driving the street isn't the best way to experience such a wonderful display. The night was warm so we quickly got out of line and found a place on the street to park (2 blocks away) and hoofed it.
  There are over 40 houses in the Wakefield neighborhood and each one has decorated in some fashion. Some are over the top, while others are more subtle. One house even had a large TV set up in the upper windows of the home and had Sunday Night Football playing for all to see. That was interesting to say the least. An interesting side note to this holiday display is that they also take donations to help the local homeless population. It would be interesting to hear how well they did but, much like the display, it has become part of their tradition so they must do very well. 
 Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can't deny the beauty of Christmas lights. The Wakefield Winter Wonderland has plenty of those and more. It is probably the largest neighborhood display that I've visited and well worth the time spent with family and friends. 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

Its the most wonderful time of the year and we are enjoying every second of it.  We got to see Josh and Erin, who we don't get to see nearly enough.  They came from their big city of (just outside of) Chicago to our big city of (just outside of) LA.  Considering we are all from the slower paced less crazy busy Utah this has been an different adventure for all of us.  We miss them terribly like we do all of our friends and family, but we are so grateful for technology that allows us to chat when ever we want.  Face to face is always a thousand times better though and we are sad to say they took that plane back home and we probably wont see them again until spring.  

For our quick weekend with them we hit the theme parks to see what they had cooked up for Christmas magic.  Universal Studios Hollywood was our day 1.  Now through January 7th 2018 Universal is in full holiday mode.  We usually park in general parking so we can scope out whats new in Universal City Walk.  Sometimes I am tempted to park in preferred because the walk to the car is so much easier after a day of theme park rush.  
I am so glad we didn't choose that option this day.  City Walk was decorated in every corner. 
Even King Kong was dressed up in his favorite Santa hat for the occasion.  The tree out in front of the Universal Cinemas towers above the entire walkway.  At night they had a DJ and a dance party in the tree lights glow.  It was a nonstop party the whole way around and we haven't even entered the park yet.  

They must have known that Brandan would be joining us after work.  We have to send him there to keep up with my theme park habit, or that is what he tells me anyway.  The front gates greeted us with a giant Grinchmas sign.  We are still waiting for Brandans heart to grow but for now we will enjoy the Grinch story and have hope.  Grinchmas is a full on party with storytime told by Cindy Lou Who her self.  You can also see the Martha May Who-vier and the Who-Dolls revue, decorate ornaments and have a photo op with the king of Grinchmas himself.  Its a party and a half but only on select days.  It runs on Dec 2,3,9,10 and the 15th -31st.

After you leave the world of the Who's you can cross the park to see Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The streets of Hogsmeade are magically covered in snow even though it hit the 80's while we were visiting.  That didn't stop us from enjoying a hot Butterbeer though.  Our personal opinion is to try one frozen Butterbeer and then one Hot later on in the day when its offered.  After you have had those options the regular old Butterbeer is just that, regular but still great.  The land was filled with all things Christmas but don't try to get a soda here.  There is no soda in the land.  We were told exactly that when we stopped to have the Great Feast for lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  I had to wait until we left the land to get my magic cup refilled.  

You know how it is when you think you have seen it all only to be surprised that they created something new.  Its like when you are a kid and you go to bed knowing that there are exactly three presents under the tree for you only to wake up and see that Santa has stopped by and poured out treasures for you.  Yes, it was kinda like that.  The Hogwarts Castle is amazing.  I love to stare at the tiny details the put in.  I had no idea they could improve on it any more.  Then they did this.  See that snow?  Its all done by magic.  It grew to be more and more snow right before our eyes.  Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter brings you right into the magic like you can't imagine.  Don't fret if you cant get here though.  We filmed the show to share the magic with you all.  

Merry Christmas- ❤ Misty



Friday, December 8, 2017

What To Buy Your Adventure Buddy for Christmas.

Merry Christmas season!  It's snowflakes and family parties.  It's Christmas music ringing everywhere.  It's happy faces and kids that are being extra good so that pesky elf doesn't rat them out.  I love Christmas!  One of the best parts of the Christmas holidays is that its not just one simple day.  Christmas season lasts all month long.  There is Santa at the mall and lights on the houses.  It's hot cocoa and wishing strangers the best season ever.  Christmas brings out the best in most everyone. 

Like we have mentioned lately we have been spending a lot of our time in California.  Instead of snow showers and ice on the windows we are thick in fires and Santa Ana Winds.  Even though the weather doesn't look much like Christmas you can feel it in the air.  Another fun part of Christmas is getting to buy your favorite people Christmas presents.  But what do you buy for your favorite adventure buddy.  Brandan put a list together of things he loves or would love to recieve for adventureing of all kids.  In no particular order (and many with our Amazon Affiliate links which add no extra cost to you but can kick back a little to us) here they are. 

1- The ARB Fridge/Freezer.  Often when we are on the road we are out there for days at a time.  If you have ever been to Moab over the Easter Jeep Safari you know full well that you can experience all four seasons in one day.  When one of those seasons is summer ice cream makes a wonderful treat.  If you only have a cooler ice cream isnt going to happen.  With the ARB fridge/freezer that is a worry of the past.  Brandan has been itching to get one of these for years.  Will this be the year he finally pulls the trigger? 

2- GPS Unit.  Someday we need to get Brandan to tell us all about the time he got lost while hunting.  I wish I could remember all the details but I just cant.  I do know that if he had a GPS on him then it wouldn't have happened.  GPS units can be so useful.  They are used for marking hiking or jogging trails, determining distance, not getting lost or finding a location.  One of the funnest things you can do with a GPS is to go geo cashing.  Just follow the coordinates and find a treasure.  Its fun for the whole family.  

3-DJI Osmo Gimbal.  Filming on the go got a lot easier when we added this to our photography and filming collection.  Todays phones are great for getting those moments but often we are the weak link and our tiny shaking shows up on the camera.  Gimbals work magic to get rid of that.  They also can be controlled without touching the phone so it gets great shots from start to finish.  There are more than one brand of gimbals but we feel like this is the best one. 

4-Bestop Under Seat Lock Box.  When enjoying nature we love our Jeep.  We love that the top comes off so we are that much closer to nature as we drive by.  I don't love it as much when the bison in Yellowstone come to visit us though.  Bison snot is yuck.  When the top is off there are few places to lock things up.  The Bestop Under Seat Lock Box is a favorite of ours to store things we want to keep hidden away.  

5- Paracord.  I know its a simple thing but paracord is awesome stuff. It can be used to get your cooler up in the trees in bear coutry, to hang laundry, to tie down items, replace shoelaces, tie a person to a tree or what ever else you can think up.  It can also be woven into bracelets, dog leashes or rifle slings.  The stuff is versatile and kinda fun.  If you are the crafty type I am sure you can come up with all sorts of fun things to make.  When you are ready to use it just unravel and have a strong rope to get you out of a bind.  

That there, is just a few things that we could think of to put under that Christmas tree this year.  What else can we get our favorite adventure buddy this year?

Merry Christmas and we hope you find the magic all over in your life this month.  

❤ Misty

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The William S. Hart Museum

We have been here in California on this adventure for a while now.  I've heard about the bison that are near by and that it might be a fun place to take my Activity Days group.  A piece of my heart will forever be in Yellowstone.  I love that place so much.  When I hear bison behind a fence it doesn't thrill me.  I was wrong.  This place is so much more than bison behind a fence.  We went to the William S. Hart Museum and I am so glad we did.  Just as a fun side note, Disney has a near by movie ranch.  That ranch is where these bison came from. 

I can see this place being a place the local school kiddos load up on a bus a visit once a year.  Its history perfectly preserved in the middle of what I feel like is a really big little city.  Another great thing about this place is the cost.  If you travel to California you know it has a magical way of draining your wallet.  I remember being so surprised at how much it was costing us here to park the car.  This museum, ran by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, is free! Free to park, free to explore and they even have a free grassy area if you want to bring a picnic.  They only ask that when you visit you wait patiently for a guided tour that starts at noon on weekdays and 11:00 am on weekends, and re occurs every hour on the hour after that until closing time of 3:00 and 4:00 pm.  

William Surrey Hart began his adventure as a stage actor.  As a teenager living in New York he worked as a hotel messenger.  Sometimes he recieved tickets to the stage shows and knew that was the place for him. Hart didn't begin his film acting until he was around 50.  He had a friend, Thomas Ince, who had a studio in Santa Monica. He came out west to join him and shortly after made about 70 films.  He quickly rose to the top as one of the most popular actors in the silent film era.  His last movie, Tumbleweeds in 1925, even added a bit of his voice in an early part.  Times change and many of these silent movies are lost forever.  You can see one here and hear the stories.  Its a time I didn't know how much I didn't know about.  

Stained wood beam.
Detail on doors.
The Spanish Style Colonial Revival home he loved was designed by famed architect Arthur Kelly.  Just off the top of your head you wouldn't see this place and know it though.  Arthur Kelly also designed the Playboy Mansion.  Both buildings are completely different styles but each with an impeccable attention to the smallest detail.  The wood beams above were stained with the tiny details and each door had an Indian picture that each told its own story.  The tiny details were incredible. 

Will Rogers and Charlie Russell
Hart was loved by many people.  His friends would often give him art designed for or of him and he got quite a collection.  He didn't want his collection broken up and had that put in his will.  There is a large collection of bronze statues, paintings, artifacts and pictures to look at as you walk through listening to the tour.    

Gift for Mr Hart from Will Rogers
As soon as the hospital notified staff of his death the house was locked up tight.  Everything was kept as close as possible to how it was right down to a deeply yellowed roll of toilet paper still resting in his bathroom.  I'm not sure all the ins and outs of it but his son decided to donate everything to the NHMLA collection of museums and now it is here for us to enjoy.  I got the feeling that it wasn't an uncontested donation but I don't have anything to base that on beyond the tone and body language of the tour guide.  

Outside the mansion is a small ranch type zoo to see.  It has the basics like llamas, donkeys, deer, cows and chickens.  You can stop and get some food to feed them from a small vending machine for some change.  Its a fun way to end your exploration and maybe a last stop before the small gift shop. 

There is more information than I could possible cover here and really it would be so much better to see and hear the stories in person.  He had a strong love for horses and even had his horse named Frtiz buried on the property.  You can see his love for these animals through out the home. 

The home is loaded with things that step you back in time.  There was an old swim suit placed on a bed.  We were told to guess what it was.  It is a far cry from the suits we wear today.  If you really asked me it looks itchy but I'm guessing we might have been thicker skinned back then in a lot of different ways.  

 This safe was used in a lot of movies.  What makes it special?  Its a prop.  There is no safety in this safe.  As you walked from room to room you could see little mementos he kept from his films.  Some of them small like this safe and some of them large like an entire costume he wore in one of his favorite films. 

Guess who this is a picture of!? I looked and looked and couldn't make sense of it.  In the bottom of this photo is the scribbled words: From Wyatt Earp to his friend William Hart, Oct 8, 1923.  I remember the stories about a rough and rugged man in the west and didn't see it in this calm photo here.  Wyatt Earp tried to persuade his good friend, Mr. Hart, to make a movie about his life and set all the stories straight.  The movie never came to be though. 

The William S. Hart Museum is off the beaten path tucked up in Newhall California (24151 Newhall Avenue Newhall, CA 91321 in you're looking).  Its less than an hour from the big city of LA.  They don't get the big city crowds and it is a nice break from all the busy rush of the theme park towns.  Its definitely worth the stop and for sure worth the price of admission.

I left the place inspired to stop at more of these tiny museums. I never would have stopped here if I didn't drive by it once in a while.  We could have left California and missed out on something really cool.  Do you have any favorites we would love to see?  Let us know and we will add them to our list of places to visit.  And if you are in town looking for a break from the rush visit this place and let us know what you think. 

Happy trails and Merry Christmas.

❤ Misty

Friday, December 1, 2017

It's Our Party

 Happy birthday to us! Today we begin our third year of sharing our adventures with the world and we are just as excited today as we were when we started in 2015. We have always liked to travel and we have a long history of exploring the back country but having this blog has helped to push us to seek out adventures that we may not have in the past. I don’t think I would have been willing to drive two and a half hours to see 20,000 butterflies at Pismo Beach if I hadn’t decided to write about it. I never dreamt that I would be interested in exploring the San Andreas fault but lately I’ve been doing research on the subject and we’ve managed to travel a small section of it. You’ll see more stories on that in the coming months. We even found our way into a museum about water. Well, more specifically, a museum about the California aqueduct and its construction. Strange but true.
  The combination of living in California and having the blog has helped us redefine what adventure is to us. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to take our annual trips to Moab for the Jeep Safari, visit Yellowstone National Park every other year, and we’ve even found ourselves on a cruise ship a few times. But these trips take a lot of time, planning and money so we’ve had to pick and choose what vacations we would take each year. Today we research the area around us and find places to go that are close to us. It’s kind of like drawings a circle around ourselves and working our way out. Doing the research and asking the locals has turned us on to a lot of small sites that most tourists would never see because you simply didn’t know they existed. One of those is the William S. Hart museum. Mr. Hart was a huge silent movie star back in the day. Personally, I had never heard of the guy, but his former home is now a museum that offer free tours. You’ll get to read more about him next week but it’s just an example of us finding what we call a “quick trip” by doing a little digging.
  Another thing the blog has helped me with is my photography. I love to take photos. I may not be great at it, but I love to do it. I think more about the photos I take and plan out what types of shots I would like to get of a location before I go. That is something I have never done before. Having said that, I still run and gun most of it, but I’m getting better every trip. I have also liked editing the photos. I don’t like to go too over the top, but I don’t mind a little enhancement and sometimes I let myself get a little overboard with it. Again, I’m self-teaching myself these things so I think I’m entitled to have a little artistic freedom. The photography and videography has had the largest impact on us, I think. I rarely leave the house anymore without my backpack of camera gear. It’s a little sad, really. It’s not like I make a living by taking pictures, but sometimes it feels that way. Hey, you never know when a great photo opportunity is going to present itself. It’s best to be ready for it.
  I can’t wait to see where the blog is going to take us in the next twelve months. We have some great trips coming up and even better ones still in the planning stages. We’ll also be moving back home next year which will open us up more sites for us to visit. If I’ve learned anything from living in California it’s that a three-hour drive isn’t as daunting as it used to be. It turns out we can cover a lot of ground in a day and we want to take advantage of it. We of course, invite you to come along with us on these journeys and I hope that something you may have read on this blog has inspired you to find an adventure of your own. We look forward to sharing our third year with you. Happy trails!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Santa Ines Mission

 Well we've gone and found ourselves another Spanish mission. This time we were on a visit to Solvang, California over the Thanksgiving weekend.
 with family in town for the holiday we wanted to give them the chance to see some sites that they wouldn't normally get to see. We also didn't want to fight large crowds of people, a feat not easily accomplished in a state with 38 million people living in it and a rush of out of town visitors hanging around. So we decided to visit Solvang for the second time. Things haven't changed much since our last visit so if you're interested in reading about that trip, you can check it out here. The one thing we missed out on seeing during our first trip was the San Ines Mission. This time we made sure to stop by.
 Founded in September of 1804, the San Ines Mission is very similar to the other missions that we have visited in the area. This one, however, seems to have had a bit rougher life than the other two. The mission was built to ease overcrowding of the San Buenaventura and Mission La Purisima Conception and had baptized 112 natives by the end of the first year. By 1816 that number would climb to 786. 
 Disaster struck the mission in 1812 when an earthquake struck near Santa Barbara 34 miles away. This caused major damage to the adobe walled mission and the surrounding out buildings. The church would have to be rebuilt and completion on the new building wouldn't come until 1817. This new building is the one that we see today.
 In 1824 the Santa Ines Mission would be the starting point for the Chumash revolt. The native Indians, tired of working for the Mexican soldiers and getting nothing in return, took to armed attacks and the burning of some of the mission's buildings. This caused smoke damage to many of the paintings and decorations kept at the mission.
 Today the mission is a popular place to visit thanks to being inside Solvang's city limits. It's nice to be able to visit such an old structure especially one that has been cared for like this one. The original floor and ceiling of the chapel are in amazing shape but also show a little history in the way of new supports beefing up the ceiling timbers and carpeting to help keep the floor pristine. One improvement that is cool and creepy at the same time is an audio tour. They have installed little push buttons throughout the building that, once pressed, sets off a booming narration of facts for you to learn about the building. The creepy part to me is that it seems out of place for a church. They have signs that ask you to be reverent as you enter the chapel but there is nothing reverent about the speaker system. 
 I would have to say that of the three missions we've visited, Santa Ines was the most inviting. It has a newer feel than the others but still maintains is rustic charm. It also helps having the Dutch capital of the world right next door to help bring people in. I wish I had noticed the audio tour earlier on when we arrived rather than near the end. It would have been interesting to hear what they all had to say. So, if you're visiting the Santa Barbara area and you want to see a little more history during your visit, make sure to swing up to Solvang. You'll get a little Dutch and Spanish history that you wouldn't have otherwise. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Time For Thanks

 Can you believe it? It's Thanksgiving already. Where does the time go? Today I'm going to do the cliche thing and talk about what we've been thankful for this year. I know, it sounds like something that your parents made you do before being allowed to dig into that turkey dinner you've smelled all day long. But it seems important this year.
  First things, first. I need to apologize for not having a post for last Friday. Times have been very crazy around here lately with work keeping me busy and life has been demanding on all of us as of late. However, until last week, I haven't let these things get in our way of putting something out there for your entertainment. The reason we missed this is simple and is actually the first thing I'm thankful for this year. We closed on our new house in Utah last week. Yup Route To Adventure has a new headquarters and we're excited to be making the move. It just won't be full time for a few months because we aren't quite done here in California. With me working long hours at work and minimal time for exploration, I was unprepared and the blog post got pushed off. It happens now and again and I do apologize but we'll continue to bring you fun stories from our adventures as we enter our third year in December. Stay tuned for that.
New RTA headquarters!
  We are thankful for the opportunities that we've been given here in California. We've been able to learn a lot about the people and history of the state and we're looking forward to learning more. Its been a different world working and living here and although I still feel like a outcast in a strange land I don't think I would change a thing. Being here has allowed us to move forward in our lives and helped us get into the new house. Check off the completed boxes because we're hitting our goals.
  We're happy to have covered so many miles without any major incidents. We've put a lot of miles between our travels and we haven't had as much as a scratch to any one of us or our vehicles. We hope to continue that as well because flat tires and car accidents are not something I want to deal with. 
 We're thankful for our family and friends that help us along the way. Without them we wouldn't be able to accomplish many of the goals that we have set. These people make an effort to be apart of each of our adventures as possible and we wouldn't have it any other way.
  We are thankful for each and every reader that comes to this blog because without you, there wouldn't be a point to having the blog. We continue to grow each month and it helps to have a fun outlet for our creativity. We hope that we've inspired some of you to explore your own neck of the woods and enjoy the time with your own families which is the main goal for us at Route To Adventure.
  We find it important to promote an attitude of discovery and learning. We have tried to teach our children that there is more to life than video games and television and I hope they can continue the tradition with their own families some day. They grumble and complain a little bit when we suggest some of our adventures but by the time we get to the location and see it with our own eyes they tend to forget that they didn't want to go. I am truly thankful for such wonderful kids that put up with us and our need for photographs and video of everywhere we go. They have been a blessing and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
  We hope that you too have had a lot to be thankful for this year and we wish you the best over the holiday. If time allows, I hope you get to step away from the food, football and shopping long enough to explore your world even if it is only for an hour or two. Please be safe in your travels and we hope to see you back again on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Copperton, A Forgotten Town

 There are a lot of small towns scattered throughout the state of Utah. Some have been farm towns from their inception while others sprouted from the desert as mining towns that boomed until the ore fizzled out and the people left to chase the next big score. Most of the boom towns of Utah have faded away to history leaving only crumbled foundations as evidence of their existence. But there is still one mining town that has not only resisted extinction, it thrives.
  Copperton, Utah is located 17 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. After the last census the town claims just over 826 residents. The narrow streets are calm and quiet. The houses are dated but well maintained and if you didn't know where to find the town you would be oblivious to its existence. 
   Today the homes in town belong to private owners but when construction began in 1926 the homes were built to house the families of miners that were working in the nearby Bingham Copper Mine. How nearby? Three of the town's borders are identified by chain link fence with No Trespassing signs every twenty feet. If there weren't so many cars parked along the city streets you might feel like you were inside some strange type of prison. 
 The town has a small wooded park that if you were to ask people outside of town this would likely be the reason they know of Copperton. It's not fancy but it does have a few small monuments to look at. 
 The town has a patriotic side that few would know if it weren't for these monuments. The largest stands at approximately 13 ft. tall, has four plaques mounted to each side and topped with a bronze eagle. The plaques are tributes to the men and women that served in World War II. One plaque honors those entombed in the U.S.S. Arizona, another honors the locals that served and another honors those that gave their lives.
 Across from this monument is a stone that lays like a grave marker. The inscription on this stone honors those the victims of the September 11th attacks in New York city. This is just another example of how much such a tragedy affects everyone, no matter where you come from.
  Copperton's mining history runs deep. A sign standing over the entrance to the park still bears the name of the Utah Copper Company, the original owners of the Bingham Canyon mine and the developers of Copperton itself. Bingham High School, located eleven miles east in the city of South Jordan is named after the mine and use a miner as their mascot. That building is the fourth Bingham High School building, the first two are long gone and the third building, razed in 2002, sat along the main street cutting through Copperton. An empty field and a small set of concrete steps are all that remain of it. Next to the WW II monument in the park is another monument honoring Bingham High School which opened in 1908 and continues to this day. Another sign of Bingham's presence is the large, white letter "B" that stands high on the hill. And another piece of useless knowledge for you, I graduated from Bingham along with Misty in 1997; twenty years after my dad graduated from there.
 We hung around the park for about an hour, using the old fashioned steel slides that I thought they had practically outlawed and tossed around my son's boomerang. We aren't very good with the boomerang by the way. There seems to be an art to throwing those things. The tall trees still held on to many of their yellowing leaves but the entire park is covered with leaves that we had a blast running through. I haven't done that in a long time and it was cool to do it with my own kids.
 There seems to be a theme that pops up now and again as I write these posts. For some reason I want to encourage folks to get out and explore their own back yards. It's amazing the things you find so close to home that you don't even know exist. Copperton's park isn't really something I would tell you that you have to see but it is something that if you happened to need something to do on a leisurely morning with the kiddo's to take advantage of. Perhaps I found this place more interesting because of my own history of the area and someone else would find this place boring. That's fine. But this is just another example of a diamond in the rough that can be found if you look for it. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Go Miners!!