Jess and Connor’s Excellent Adventure

Where we find out all about snowmobiles and deep snow, what “get off it Jess” means, lost keys, and some awesome pictures.

Due to a significant number of variables it ended up being just Connor and me heading to Utah for Christmas with the Gibson Clan. My brother Scott and his family flew in from Norway and met up with my parents, Barbara (my sister) and her family (who all live in Utah), and Connor and I at Barb’s in-laws “cabin” “in the mountains above Park City. I say “cabin” because it can sleep 20+ and has just about all of the comforts of home.

Connor and I left California on Dec 21st and had a pretty uneventful drive. We spent a night in Winnemucca, NV and found a pretty good mexican resturant. It snowed that night and Connor was pretty excited to see snow in the morning. I was not so thrilled to drive in it. The highway had been plowed, but the left lane was snow packed and it resulted in some sphincter-clenching moments – if you know what I mean. We reached Salt Lake City Friday afternoon and spent the night at Barb’s place.

We headed up to the cabin on Saturday – the road to the cabin was definitely 4-wheel drive required. After we all got settled in and took stock of the facilities it was time to get down to the business of fun. Fun was defined as snowshoeing, sledding, snowmobiling, and generally having fun in the snow. Weather was pretty nice over the weekend and into Christmas. I got a chance to ride/drive a snowmobile and had a blast. I would much rather snowmobile than snowshoe – but I am lazy that way. We had kids ranging in age from 5 to 12 so Xmas morning was pretty crazy. There was an abundance of presents for everyone. I think the kids thought they had reached present heaven. We spent the rest of Monday playing with the new toys.

On Tuesday a group of us went skiing/snowboarding at The Canyons. I had not been skiing in a few years, but like riding a bike you do not forget how to ski. I rented some “shaped” skis – skis with the middle narrower than the ends. They are great for turning, but when cruising fast they did not feel very stable. Think I will stick with my “old-fashioned” skis. Connor snowboarded (the 3rd time he has been on a board) and did pretty well. He had some great runs and some not so great runs. All in all it was a good day.

The next day we woke up to 6-8 inches of new snow – time to break out the snowmobiles again. Cruising on fresh snow is HAWSOME! Went out a several times over the next few days. The highlights were some awesome time spent cruising around on the fire roads and in the open fields. The lowlights – getting stuck in the middle of nowhere by myself and not being able to dig the snowmobile out. Fortunately my brother came along and was able to help me dig out – otherwise it would have been a long walk back.

Another “lowlight” was getting dumped off of the snowmobile. I had got one of the more powerful snowmobiles stuck in some deep snow near some trees. We dug it out most of the way and I wanted to try to drive it out the rest of the way. Russ, my brother-in-law, told me to “get on it” – meaning hit it full throttle – which I did. But the sudden surge caught me by surprise. Unknown to me, Russ was yelling “get off it Jess” – meaning get off the throttle. But as he was yelling this (which I could not hear) I took a flying fall off of the back of the snowmobile and went ass first into 3-4 feet of fresh snow while the snowmobile continued a few more yards without me. I pretty much was buried in the snow. From what everyone else tells me it was pretty damn hilarious to see. Glad I could entertain everyone 😉

Rest of the week was pretty uneventful – lots of snowmobiling, sleeping, eating, and drinking good wine – a pretty great way to spend a vacation. Then came the time to leave.

Earlier in the week I had moved the car to make room to clear the snow on the driveway. I had left the car unlocked so I started loading right away for the trip home. But when I went looking for the key to start warming up the car I could not find it. I tore apart my room, my luggage, and the kitchen area where we stored the keys – no joy. I was not able to find the keys. I called Volvo On-Call service and requested a tow to the nearest dealership in Salt Lake City to get a new key made. The car has to be at the dealership because they need to program the key based upon the car – one downside of the fancy new keys is that it is much more difficult to get a key than it used to be. Volvo said a tow truck was on the way.

I got a call from a tow truck driver that was in the area and on his way. Only complication was that he did not have a 4-wheel drive vehicle but since he was in the area he was going to give it a shot. We had to head down the hill to drop off the trash and on the way down we caught up to the tow truck – heading down the hill. Turns out he was not able to make it up the hill and was heading down to the freeway to get a cell phone signal (we could get cell service at the cabin and on the freeway, just not in the canyon leading to the cabin) and call one of their 4-wheel drive trucks. We went back to the cabin to wait. In the meantime Scott and his family had to leave to get to the airport for their flight back to Norway. My parents had to go also because they were carrying half of Scott?s luggage. My sister and her family stayed with us at the cabin.

After an hour or so we got a call from the 2nd tow truck driver that he was on his way. He called back a short time later asking if he should have taken a left or a right off of the freeway – he should have gone left . . . he had gone right. So we wait, and wait, and wait – then get a call from him. He was half way up the hill but ran into a roadblock. A flatbed truck delivering roofing tiles was heading down the hill and had taken it chains off at the mid-way parking lot and ended up getting sideways in the road and completely blocking it. The tow truck driver had gone back down the hill to get a cell signal and would be back in a couple of hours after they got the road cleared.

We waited an hour or so and then took the snowmobiles down to the site and saw that the road had just been cleared. I called the tow truck driver and he was on his way. Around 4p he finally gets to the house, puts chains on his truck, backs down and hooks up to the Volvo. But he can’t get back up the drive. My brother-in-hooks up the snowplow they use (we are talking farm-size tractor with chains on all 4 tires) and pulls the tow truck, which is pulling the Volvo, up the hill. From this point on it is all downhill (literally and figuratively).

We get to the dealership around 5:15 – they close at 6 – and they tell me they are totally booked and are not sure they can get a key made that night. Remember, it is Friday night – they are closed Sat and Sun AND Monday for New Years – I got a little grumpy. Those that know me know that am not one to make a scene – but I was feeling a little stressed and told them that they had to get the key made that night. They said they would do what they could. They were able to get the key made that night and I was out of there by 6:15. It had been a loooong day so I treated myself with a stop at the Patagonia outlet in Salt Lake.

Spent the night at my sisters – got to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 2 – woo hoo. Next day Connor and I headed home. Drive back was uneventful – with lots of stops at Starbucks to keep me fueled. We were home by 3p Sunday.

All in all a great adventure with some hawsome memories made.

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