Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dokken and Firehouse 9-28-2013 in West Wendover, NV

For those that know me, know that I like a wide variety of music.  One day I'll be listening to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and the next I'll have 80's pop on.  Also, for those that know me, they know I have a wide selection of 80's metal in my CD collection.

Of all the CDs I have, probably hard 80's / early 90's rock occupies the majority of it.  So when I spotted that two classic 80's groups, Dokken and Firehouse were coming to West Wendover for about $20 a ticket I asked myself how I could refuse.

I haven't seen a hard rock concert since the early 90's.  In fact, I had a hard time remembering the last one I had seen.  Not because of some crazy substance or something, but that it has probably been at least 20 years...  I've seen my share of country and jazz shows, but it had been a while since I went to a head banging, rock fest.  Back in high school I had a good job and was able to see most of the bands of the day -- several times: Ozzy, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Dio, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Hurricane, heck I lived in Los Angeles... the epicenter of Glam metal.

I did feel a little dated here.  90% of the crowd was over 40.  In some ways it felt like going to a high school reunion and looking around and suddenly feeling, wow, a lot of time has certainly gone by.  But I am happy to report I seem to be doing better than most of my peers despite an obvious lack of "love locks".

For those that don't know, the West Wendover Peppermill arena seats about 1000 comfortably and there really isn't a bad seat in the house.  I was on the left side of the stage about 25 rows back.

Firehouse took the stage first and rocked it out of the house.  They have a lot of good songs that are easy to get into.  The sound also remained true to their studio albums and they obviously haven't lost any strides since their albums first came out.  They played about 45 minutes before a 15 minute intermission.  Whereupon Dokken took over.

They too rocked and they seemed louder / heavier than Firehouse.  Dokken played for only an hour and I suspect it was because the casinos out there don't want you to spend "too much" time in the show.  Dokken has enough material to do a 3 hour show, but sadly they left just as the party was getting started.  I missed "Standing in the Shadows" and "Dream Warriors" however.

This show brought back a lot of memories from the late 80's.  I am glad I went though and I am hoping that Wendover gets more of these bands in.

Enjoy the photos:

About 15 minutes prior to the show

The show was probably 90% sold out.

Firehouse takes the stage


Rockin' with Dokken

Final bows from Dokken

View after the show.

09-28-2013 West Wendover Trip - 80 on the 80

This past weekend I made another trip to West Wendover.  Yeah I know, this makes like 3 times in the past 6 weeks.  But once again, I found another cheap show that I wanted to see: Dokken and Firehouse -- two eighties metal bands.  But I'll go into that in more detail in a subsequent post.

We took off Saturday morning in hopes of getting to West Wendover before the breakfast buffet ended.  They usually start to take out the breakfast goodies around noon and believe me, they have some good breakfast treats.

We stopped at the bank and headed out at 9:15 with the aim of getting there at 11AM.  I was pleasantly surprised to see 80 mph speed limit signs just as soon as we got past Tooele.  Wow, I had heard the new speed limits were coming, but wasn't expecting them quite yet.  I instantly put the car into cruise control at 83mph and the usual 100 minute trip wound up taking about 90.

We ate breakfast and were shocked when we got into the room just a hair after 1pm.  Wow.  Normally the rooms aren't available until after 3.  We had a long walk to / from the casino, but at least we had a place to cool our jets for a bit.

The breakfast buffet didn't agree with me.  I think I ate WAY too much too quickly and I paid the price.  Luckily I had the room and a place to rest.  After a quick nap I managed to hit the jacuzzi and met some people from Hanna, Utah.  After talking with them, I think I am going to head on out there to see the fall colors.

We gambled a bit at Montego Bay and wasn't getting very much action for our money.  We limped our way down the road to the Rainbow Hotel and Casino.  Shari claims to have better luck there and sure enough she did... winning $80 on a machine.

I finally got the courage to jump into a Texas Hold'em Game.  Last year, you could play a 2-5 spread limit game but these days you either play no-limit, tournaments, or 2 - 10 spread limit.  To me, that seems a bit steep but I decided to try it out and plunked down $80.

Within a few minutes I had won two HUGE pots.  One of with two pairs on a KQ and a high King Pair.  The play at the table was fairly aggressive, but I only played strong hands.  Either way after about 30 minutes I probably had well over $200 sitting in front of me.  I had a few hot hands in the intervening hour or so, but I wasn't getting any connector cards.  Around 6pm I scooped up my $171 and told everyone I was going to show.  I hated to do a win and dash but that really wasn't true -- I had been there for close to 90 minutes.

After the show, Shari had gone to bed, but I ate another buffet.  I know -- not that smart after an upset stomach, but I did anyways.  I don't think I've ever had their Saturday night buffet.  They charge a bit more for it and I was pleased to find a good selection of high-end seafood.  It wasn't the Friday night kind, but it was good.  It was also packed at 10pm too.  I guess people were filling up for a long night.

I wound up gambling about $20 into the slot machines and I got very little play and called it a night.

I slept horribly.  I think I had a slice of cake that was laced with coffee or espresso.  Either way I was up all night, sweating and tossing and turning.  I am fairly sensitive to caffeine.  Not to mention that a group of twenty-something a$$holes were slamming doors, singing, and yelling in the hallway until 3AM.  They weren't continuous and would come and go, but talk about being a$$holes.  I really didn't fall asleep until 4AM and was up at 8:30 or so.

I was really hoping to get in an early run and check out the Leppy Trails just outside of town, but I was in no shape to do anything.

Shari and I swiped our loyalty cards and earned a free buffet and $10 free play.  We had a good breakfast buffet and I placed $25 bets on the Bears and the Seahawks -- which I won the Seahawks bet in overtime.  Shari and I goofed around with more slots and while I was hoping to jump in and play a little poker, I knew we had to get back to SLC as we left a messy apartment.

The trip home was uneventful and I enjoyed hitting the new speed limit.

Not sure when the next Wendover trip is.  We are thinking of seeing Frank Caliendo at the end of October and I have a bunch of free weekday room coupons we are thinking of using (plus free food).  So who knows.

Either way, Shari and I both came home in the black.  We got a $50 weekend room, 2 free buffets, $10 of free play and we each had a bit more money than what we left with.  So good trip.

Enjoy the food porn pictures.

Nothing like shrimp for breakfast!

Wishing I had nailed this

Shari's big win

The height of my chip collection. The pinks are $5s the blues are $1s

My Final haul

I think this accursed piece of cake kept me up ALL night.

Friday, September 27, 2013

First snow in Utah 09-27-2013

Well, it looks like summer is finally over and the cold fingers of winter are encroaching upon the Salt Lake valley.  Just a few weeks ago I was complaining about the heat while trying to get some miles in on the bike trail and now I am debating on whether I need gloves for my run.  We are talking about a 30 degree temperature drop in the past week or two.

While I am excited about the cooler weather; I much prefer winter running over blazing heat, believe it or not. I am not looking forward to watching out for black ice and having to wait for roads to be plowed to get my miles in.  Thank goodness for the apartment treadmill for days like that.

I am also saddened that the hiking trails will be a little less accessible.  I am hoping to get into snow shoeing this winter and perhaps even trying my hand at skiing.  Last winter I sort of loafed around and played computer games all afternoon instead of venturing out.  This year I've made a few connections and hopefully someone will school me in the finer arts of enjoying the winter activities that Utah has to offer.

While I will be in Wendover this weekend enjoying another show and meals of extended gluttony I hope to get back to the trails soon: snow or no snow.

Enjoy the photos:

Early Thursday Morning from my office view

Early Friday Morning from my office view

On my run this afternoon at the top of Bengal Drive

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mayberry Lake - Alta, Ut - 09/22/2013

So what does one do after running gobs of miles on Saturday and with the clouds threatening rain on Sunday?  Go hiking of course...

It was a choice between Clayton's Peak or Mayberry Lake.  Mayberry Lake is a little traveled spoke off the Red Pine Trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon and I have done the other spokes (White Pine and Red Pine).  The Mayberry Trail is almost hidden -- instead of making a left to go to Red Pine, you cross a foot bridge over a stream and then do some more climbing.

The Mayberry Trail is very desolate. I saw bunches of people heading to and from Red Pine but once I got on the Mayberry Trail, it was a ghost town.  The trail is also a little hard to follow at times.  Instead of the generous 2 foot wide trails to the other lakes, this one can dwindle down to 6 inches.  I wasn't terribly worried about getting lost as the trail did widen in spots to gently remind me that I was going the right way.

The hike to the lake is 3.55 miles and took me just a hair over 1 hour 33 minutes.  I was hoofing it -- as I was solo I was power hiking and with the cool temperatures I could easily maintain a 20 minute per mile pace.  I did slow up in the last mile because I wasn't comfortable on the Mayberry Trail.  Again, not a soul was in sight and the trail just seemed to be unused.

After the split off, the Mayberry Trail is just about a mile long before hitting a pair of lakes.  Actually they are more like ponds.  It is very quiet and secluded here.  Best of all there was a fallen pine tree you can sit on and gaze at the like.  While the sky was overcast (I heard it was sleeting at Red Pine) I did manage to work on my tan during the 15 minutes I was there.

If you climb over a series of rocks you can see the second half of Mayberry Lake.  I wound up losing a pair of sunglasses in the rocks.  I had them attached onto my shirt and as I was clamoring over the boulders the glasses slipped off and disappeared into a wedge of darkness.  Perhaps someone a hundred years from now will find a pair of cheap Nascar sunglasses and wonder who lost them.

The hike in total was about 2000 feet of elevation climb (starting at approximately 7000 and winding up in the mid 9's).  I wound up gabbing with a bunch of people on the way down and the whole trip took just shy of 4 hours.

For those looking for a less traveled trail and to see something that very few others see, this trail is worth doing.  While the lake was pretty small it was peaceful and an idyllic and picturesque setting.

Enjoy the pictures.

Arial view of Little Cottonwood Road

Typical stretch of trail

First glimpse of Mayberry Lake

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah
Mayberry Lake

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah
Sitting on a log at Mayberry Lake

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah
Gotta climb those boulders to get to the other Mayberry Lake

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah
The other side of Mayberry Lake

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah

In between the lakes -- south view

Mayberry Lake Alta Utah
In between the lakes -- north view

See ya Mayberry Lake 

Going down.

A babbling stream

Rough times ahead

Nice hikers took a picture of me

Map of the three zones.