Thursday, September 30, 2010

ATVing the Uinta National Forest®ion_id=3011&resort_id=&city_id=&find_guide=Submit

One of the things that we really do miss from home is going ATVing so we found a perfect day in Park City and decided to head a bit south to Midway in the Heber Valley and take a guided tour of the Uinta National Forest. Our guide,  Michael, was really great when we explained that we really, really didn't want to get lost in the mountains and that is why we were using a guide and also when he realized that we both knew how to ride the machines well. He took us on a three hour trip instead of the normal two hours and it was worth every penny! So turn up your speakers and take an ATV trip through the Uinta National Forest with us and a little Brooks and Dunn.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Olympic Bobsled

The first thing that Bill the speed demon wanted to do when we visited Park City is to go on the summer bobsled ride at the Olympic Park. Speed is not my thing....if I had a choice between a cabin cruiser or a race boat, give me the cabin cruiser every time. Bill said during the ride the G forces were so strong that he could hardly hold his head up but would do it again in a heartbeat!

You can also try out your ski jumping skills at the Olympic Park but he ran out of time to try that!

Park City,_Utah

We left the Provo area on Sunday, September 12 and decided to spend a few days in the Park City area. Salt Lake City was the host to the 2002 Winter Olympics and Park City was were the skiing and snowboarding events. The population of Park City is only 8,000 people but it receives over 3 million visitors a year. It is a very rich and ritzy type city with many affluent Europeans as well as Hollywood stars as home owners. We were talking with the waitress at the breakfast buffet and she said a few years ago her ranch style home that is in Kamas a few miles east of Park City -- as no one who works in Park City can afford to actually LIVE in Park City -- had risen in value to $475,000. She said that she thought of selling but she would have no where to live then. Park City is the hometown of serial killer Ted Bundy (I'll bet they are happy about that!), comedian Bill Engvall, basketball player Michael Jordan and news mogul George Hearst.

We decided to take the ride on the ski lift at Park City Mountain Resort just like we did at Sundance as the views are totally awesome. Unfortunately everything in the area seems to be closing for the summer and won't open again until ski season sometime in November. On the lift we were able to get a few shots of this doe and her two fawns totally oblivious to the people up above them.

Bill and I really, really liked the Park City and Heber Valley area. It is actually the one of the first places that we have been where we would be happy to return for a summer. The other was the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee.  So that tells you how great we think it is as we are very, very picky when it comes to choosing somewhere to return to when it has to compete with our woods in Pickerel.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sad Commentary On Today's Attitudes

The Sunday we left the Provo area we ran smack into the common attitude that is prevalent today. That being that "I can do what I want no matter who I bother, irritate or generally inconvience." I have seen this occur quite a bit in our travels but not quite as violent and in your face as yesterday.

We were still at Utah Lake State Park and as usual a bunch of weekend warriors had show up, this weekend most of them had quite a few small children. They all were congregated near the front of the loop and we were towards the back so at first it wasn't such a problem. We realize that on weekends campgrounds, especially state parks, will not be as quiet and peaceful as during the week and normally we deal with it. On Sunday morning we are up having a cup of coffee before heading to Park City when we look outside the rig. There are four little kids from way on the other side of the bathrooms playing in the road next to our rig, throwing stones and yelling at each other. So I go outside and ask where their campsite is and if they think they should go back there. They continue to play in the road and throw stones around until finally Bill tells them to go back to their campsite.

Five minutes later the sterotypical skin head jerk wearing a wife beater shirt comes up to the door of the rig. He yells and asks if we told his kids to go home. We said that we did and started to explain exactly why but he gives us no chance to explain and starts flipping us the bird outside the door and tells Bill to come out and "get a piece of him". Well, I'm not going to put up with such bullshit so I grab my cell phone and start dialing 911. He sees me doing that and starts to leave yelling the whole while. I get the county dispatch who refers it to the Park security. Within a few minutes two Park Rangers pull up and want to know the story. They clearly see the pile of stones in the road, the fact that the kids were playing in the road, not to mention they were quite a distance from their campsite as young as they were. 

So basically it ended up that they were leaving as it was Sunday and so were we. When they pulled out of the loop in their mini van, his wife was driving of course, and he was leaning out yelling something as they passed by. What lesson was driven home here? That it seems like nowdays people do NOT want to take responsibility for either their own actions nor that of their kids. I know if that would have been my parents back in the day, we would have been in a world of hurt as the adults would have been right. Granted that is not always the truth but it seems that today the kids are never wrong. One of the reasons I got out of teaching!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saving America's Mustangs | Madeleine's Mustangs

In my previous post about visiting the facility here in Utah, I do believe I was too nice. Way, way, way too nice.....this is reprehensible and needs to be stopped!

Saving America's Mustangs Madeleine's Mustangs

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Where You?

What Can We Do Today To Make The World A Better Place?

Never Forget

Where were you nine years ago today? I was teaching in Wautoma Wisconsin and it was a turning point in my life. I remember logging on to and it was black. I had the TV on all day during classes and the students were laughing. They did not understand that their lives and this country had changed forever....moreover, they didn't care. I realized then that I needed to get out of teaching as I was not happy with the red tape, the bureaucracy, the impossibility of having to do it all in the classroom. I lived my younger years with a father that hated his job and I did not want to live my life that way.

To all heroes from 9-11-01....WE WILL NEVER FORGET

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This I Just Had to Share!


Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them , 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

They are SO on my shit list ...

Thanks to our neighbor Dave Paider for passing this along!

Free ASPCA Pet Safety Pack

Here is a link to a free pet safety pack from the ASPCA that includes some neat items such as a Poison Control Center magnet so the number is always handy and also a pet rescue window decal where you can list the number and types of pets you have as well as your contact phone numbers. The decal is really handy especially for those of us with an RV who don't necessarily have neighbors who would know if there are pets inside in case of an emergency with the rig when we were out sightseeing or at work. We have ours filled out and stuck on the window behind the passenger seat.

Boulder Fire

Social it or hate it you have to admit that it has become a very reliable source of information, assistance and support during disasters such as the fire in Boulder Colorado that is going on even as I write this. It is raining right now in Boulder -- how did I know this? Well I guess I could have gone online to and seen the radar. But in reality I used two forms of social media - Facebook and Twitter - to keep me updated.

My focus, as usual, is on the animals. Not that I wish the humans any harm or don't think they are important, I just feel that there are many, many organizations and people who are ready and in place to assist humans during a disaster. It is the animals who are just now getting a voice and immediate assistance during such nightmares thanks to our experiences during Hurricane Katrina. We have learned that many, many people will NOT evacuate an area if they cannot take their beloved pets or livestock with them. So the natural course of events would then be to come up with solutions for evacuation that include the ability to take one's animals along.

A couple things going on in the social media about animals and the Boulder fire. One is the rancher near Boulder who was evacuating but did not have enough trailer room for his 14 horses. This was posted on Twitter and within an hour rescuers converged on the ranch and instead of him only being able to save one or two horses, he was able to get all 14 of them out safely. If you want to follow the Boulder fire type #boulderfire in the search box on Twitter.

Another is the Facebook page of Stealth Volunteers, a rescue group formed in response to Katrina that continues to be ready to assist in the reuniting of pets and their humans in the event of any disaster or just in the course of everyday life. Stealth Volunteers posted a link to the blog of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, cutely named Walk the Blog, and a post written yesterday by Lisa Pederson the CEO. In it she lists the items that are desperately need by the Humane Society as they have taken in 40 cats, dogs and small mammals for people who have been evacuated from their homes. If you are in the Boulder area and can donate items, or if you are online and just want to help by donating money, it would definitely be appreciated at this time, not that they are not appreciated at any time!

I believe that social media is the ham radio of this generation only bigger and better. Instead of waiting for the government to "do" something and provide us with information, we now have the resources and the ability to help ourselves and our fellow citizens in a twinkling of an eye, or rather in a single keystroke. If you are not familiar with social media maybe it is time you jumped on the bandwagon. Who knows? Maybe some day it will be your life, your family's lives, or even the life of your fur kid, that will be at stake and during an emergency is no time to learn the ropes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Wild Horse and Burro Center

On Tuesday we decided to take a drive to the west of Provo as all of our drives had been to the east up to now. I had found out about the Salt Lake Regional Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman so we decided to wind our way there. There has been great outcry, especially this year, after  wild horses died during the annual Bureau of Land Managment helicopter round up.  One of the arguments of the animal activist groups is that the BLM spends more resources on privately held livestock than it does the horses, which are federally protected.  Agri-business does not want the horses using up scarce western resources including water. The BLM is an agency within the Department of the Interior and current Secretary Ken Salazar is a long time rancher. He has publicly stated that wild horses do not belong on public lands. The BLM went as far as to bar public comment on the roundups which is something that is mandated by law.

Upon visiting the Center I decided to walk in with an open mind and ask questions. The employee there was very nice and even took Bill and I on a full scale tour of the facility, showing us how the horses are brought into the Center, how they are looked over and evaluated with most getting vaccinations, hooves trimmed and general check ups. He went as far as to show us the equipment that the horses are pinned in for the examinations. He emphasized the padding that is squeezed together so the horse does not hurt itself. He even tipped it sideways and showed how the hooves are trimmed as to cause the least injury to the animal and the human. I asked him why the horses were being rounded up and he stated because the carrying capacity of the land cannot take so many as they have no natural predators. He stated that there are 30,000 wild horses left in 10 western states and that 30,000 have been rounded up. He then added that contrary to public opinion these horses are not slaughtered for any reason but are put in holding pens or sold to the public for $125 per horse.  I asked why he got into this job and he said he has a degree in range managment and wildlife biology because he saw emaciated horses on the range many years ago and decided he wanted to "help".

Quite frankly, after investigating both sides of the issue I am torn. As an animal activist I want all animals to live long and health lives in their preferred habitat, which for the wild horses is the open range. I think giving precedence to ranching operations, which cost the taxpayers of this country millions of dollars a year, is absurd and needs to stop. But at the same time I do not want to see horses dying of thirst and starvation because there are too many for the land they are on to support. The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 says that wild horses can only be allowed to roam in the areas that they were roaming when the act was put into law. So unfortunately we cannot find some space in any of the eastern states unless someone wants to start a holding facility. I do not believe, however, that using helicopters is in the animals' best interests.  Surely a more humane way of conducting a roundup can be used.  I am not sure why the same methods that are used with feral cats cannot be used with wild horses.  Why can't we geld the males and then turn them loose again like we do with tom cats? This would surely cut down on the population while leaving the wild horse where it belongs -- on the range.

In my humble opinion it boils down to something more basic than the freedom of the wild horses. They are just the victims or the collateral damage just as the wildlife and sea life in the Gulf of Mexico are the victims and the collateral damage. My opinion is that it comes down to the basic philosophical differences between the school of thought that believes that this Earth and her natural resources are there for man to exploit and the future be damned and those of us who feel that we are just stewards of this planet and have no right to use more than our share nor cause undue damage and hardship to other creatures. Until these philosophical differences are somehow resolved there will continue to be wild horses that are chased down by helicopteres, wolf pups that are gassed in their dens, sea turtles that die covered by oil, mountaintops that are blown away for coal and the list goes on.

This is a heartbreaking problem with no easy answers. But I know that any Secretary of the Interior who was, and still is, a rancher, is not operating with the wild horses' best interests in mind. Ken Salazar needs to go.  I invite you to read the information found in the links posted above and learn more about this issue so you can form an educated opinion and then act! Email, call, write letters....just do something and make a difference.  Hopefully there is some sort of answer that allows these animals to live their lives in freedom while at the same time does not destroy the very ecosystem that they depend upon.

You will notice a white horse in many of the doesn't show up in video but he has the bluest eyes! I have never seen that on a horse.....