Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Plans for 2015


Well, here's another ubiquitous post about plans and goals for 2015.  I've been thinking about this one for a while and of late I've been finding myself thinking "big".  Thanks, in part to this blog, I really try to have some adventures to write about.  It doesn't matter if it is yet another trip to Wendover or a 6-hour jaunt to another marathon, so long as I am not sitting in front of the TV wasting away, it is a day well lived.

So without further ado, here are some of things I am hoping to do.  Some will definitely happen, others are just whims at this point.  I certainly won't be able to do all the things on my list -- budget, health issues and time constraints will certainly curtail some of things I want to do...  Perhaps at the start of 2016 I'll come back and see what I have accomplished on this page:


Drop 10 Pounts: You would think that this would be easy.  Running 40 - 50 miles a week should give me license to eat whatever / whenever I want.  Yeah right... 

At 45 years old, my metabolism has slowed down another notch.  It doesn't help that I gorge at buffets.  While I am not going to quit going to Wendover and enjoying the food, it does mean that in those days I am not feasting at a buffet that I eat intelligently and sanely.  

The biggest success I had with eating and losing weight is when I tracked every calorie and I used  If you haven't tried it, give it a go, it is free and easy and I've never been spammed by them.

Lay off the Junk (a bit): Doritos and chips don't help me at all.  Same with Chips-A-Hoys. Find healthier things to snack on. Maybe it is time I start shopping at Whole Foods again.

Do more Core work / Foam Rolling: Yeah, after my run, I shower, eat and then lay on a bed and watch TV.  At least I could be doing some rehabilitative work while watching reruns of the Six Million Dollar Man on Cozi TV

Marathon Dream List

Here I am definitely dreaming big.  I've never run more than 3 a year and 3 was pushing it.  If I have any shot at completing a marathon in every state within my lifespan (and my ability to run), I need to start doing a few more.

Here are a few on my list for this year. 

Desert Classic Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K - January 31.  This is in Arizona.  Probability: Darn Good.  The Sedona Marathon that weekend is a slim chance.

Helena Montana Governor's Cup Marathon (June) - Probability: Good

The Colorado Marathon (May) - Probability: Good

Long Beach Marathon (October) -- Probability: Unlikely.  I went to college in Long Beach CA so this one is sort of dear to my heart.  I ran the half marathon, in 2009, I think.  

Albuquerque Marathon (October) -- Probability: Unlikely

Casper Wyoming Marathon (June) -- Probability: Unlikely.  I had so much fun there last time I was there. Let's do it again (maybe).

Denver RnR Marathon - Probability: Unlikely (assuming I can't do the Colorado Marathon).

St George Marathon - Probability: Unlikely.  We'll see on this one. Maybe I'll get lucky and get in.

Las Vegas MarathonProbability: Definitely

I am dreaming about something overseas.  I doubt it will happen in 2015, but I'd like to run something in Europe: Paris, Rome, Dublin, Edinburgh... how cool would that be?

There are countless other marathons I want to run, and I could see myself finding something for early spring, but we'll see how it goes.

I'd still like to run the 6 Tunnels Half Marathon in Vegas as well as Summerlin's Half Marathon.  We'll see how the budget looks.

Places I want to Visit

Elko, again.  Yes I've  been Elko twice now, but I want to see Lamoille Canyon in the Summer time with the flowers in bloom.  I saw pictures of what the canyon looks like and the views are just incredible.  There is also a reservoir south of town that I want to run around.  Looks like a 10 - 13 mile trip. Every time I look at Google Maps I see an area I want to explore there.

Ely, again: Whether I go out for the Ely Half Marathon again remains to be seen, but I definitely want to take on Mount Wheeler and see the Great Basin Wilderness.

Southern Utah: I've been here nearly 3 years and other than driving through on my way to Vegas, I have yet to see some of the greatest parks this country has to offer.  Whether it be Zions or Moab, I've got to see at least one of them

Carson City / Reno / Tahoe: How can I be a Nevada-phile without having visited the capitol?

Pilot Peak: Yeah, that peak north of Wendover.  I want to run to it.  That might mean parking my car and doing a bit of an adhoc trek. Knowing I've got the cajones to go into no-man's land north of town is exciting to me  I'd also love to explore the mountains south of town too.  I can't imagine what it was like to have your worldly belongings on an ox drawn cart traveling through there 160 years ago.

Explore Eastern Utah: Every time I go east of Park City I am shocked as to what I find there.  So much natural beauty and places that I just feel the need to explore.  I need to make it a point to check it out.

Running Goals

Speed: I definitely want to be faster in 2015.  For the past 3 years, I start out running pretty well and by the end of year I find my times are down (and they never go back up again).  I need to commit to doing the work: i.e. speed work.  I'd rather go out and plod through 15 miles rather than 3 at 5K pace.  I don't want to be here at the end of 2015 with a regular 2+ half marathon as the new normal.

Run 2000 Miles: I came close this year.  I ran over 1900.  That's a new record for me.  I would've easily done the 2000 had I not been injured.  Let's hope I can remain injury free.

Run 80+ Miles in One Week: This is very doable.  I hit 72 or so this year for the second time in my life.  I was exhausted at the end, but it always gives me a physical and mental boost.

Race More: Enough said.

Get a New Garmin: My trusty Garmin Forerunner 305 only has a battery life of 3 hours now.  I will miss it, but if I am looking to run marathons I am going to need a new companion. Once I replace it, I can pass it along.  Ping me if you are interested.  This will be done soon.

Personal Stuff

Clean out my phone / address book:  My man, Tom Leykis, has had shows about this.  If I haven't called you or you haven't returned my phone calls, it's time to be removed.  I need to quit investing energy into relationships that aren't going anywhere.

Make a Utah Friend or Two: I've got acquaintances here, but a best "bud".  Not yet.

Have a Happy Near Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

This week in running Dec 21 - 27

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday 9 In the cold rain. Strides at the end, but mostly easy miles.
Monday 5 Nothing but easy miles  
Tuesday 2 Foot hurt at the end. Done after 1 mile.
Wednesday Off #RWRunStreak Ends
Thursday 5 Easy miles in the cold in West Wendover
Friday Off Lazy, cold, and figured why not take an extra rest day
Saturday 7 Solid paced run. First below freezing run of the winter.
Total miles for the week: 28- YTD: 1871.75

Week's Summary

I had every intention of tearing it up this week and getting in some miles, but unfortunately my right food had different ideas.

Faithful readers may recall that my right foot was hurting and I was worried it was a stress fracture.  The pain throughout the week was fairly constant and a few days shy of Christmas I tried (weakly I might add) to find a doctor.  Most doctors were booked or were going on vacation -- strange, in Illinois I can generally get into a the doctors office "the day of".  Here it is always a week or two wait.   Whether this is fewer doctors or a side effect of Obamacare, I am not sure.

Either way, I don't think it is a stress fracture and the more I was able to pinpoint the pain and problems, the more convinced I was that I had Morton's Neuroma.  This sounds ominous but on Tuesday's run it felt like my sock was bunched up in my shoe (when it wasn't) and I felt something in the ball of my foot, akin to a tiny pebble.

I don't wear high heels and normally this problem affects women.  So I am not sure if my diagnosis is correct or if it is me reading about foot pain and trying to match my pain to a list of symptoms.  But a good deal of my aches and pains seemed to match up.

After making that decision, I came home, iced it and treated it with a heavy dose of anti-inflamatories.  I wound up taking Wednesday off and on Thursday I went out for a run and for the most part had zero problems with it.  On Friday I opted to take the day off.  Today, Saturday, I got in 7 and only felt mild discomfort from time to time.


Naturally, due to the injury, my running streak of attempting to run from Thanksgiving to New Years failed about a week shy.  Granted, I was training hard and I don't think I ever ran less than 3 miles, where as the minimum was at least one a day.

I also want to be able to race / train hard in the near future, so completing a magazine challenge that I've already done (last year) doesn't hold as much weight anymore.

Upcoming Races

The race calendar is still pretty bleak, but I am leaning on doing a 10K next Saturday up in Kaysville.  It is reasonably priced and the weather forecast looks like it should work out.  I'll make the final call on that in the next 24 hours.

I also would be tempted to do a New Year's Eve 5K but the forecast for that appears to be extremely cold -- i.e. single digit temperatures.  My cutoff for running tends to be about 10 - 15 degrees, but we'll see what the wind is doing and whether I want to battle the elements.

Pictures of the Week

Early this week, I caught some awesome sun reflections off the Wasatch Mountain range.  As the sun sets over the Nevada border it reflects off the snow caps in Utah.  It is a truly unique site that I managed to capture just before heading out for a run. The pictures below were taken on separate days from Winchester Park in Murray.

2014 Year in Review


Well another year has passed and yet again, this was another year of big changes.  I accomplished a lot of my goals this year as well as really took advantage of everything offered to me.  So brace yourself, blogizens, for another ubiquitous year in review.


Home for about 10 weeks.

I started the year living in a hotel.  Our house was supposed to be finished in December of 2013, but they totally blew the estimates for the delivery date and it wasn't until the end of February that it was ready to be lived in (actually we snuck in about a week early thanks to our kindly builder).  To complicate matters, our bank (who will remain nameless) did an absolutely crappy job preparing our loan.  It was one blunder after another.  I was johnny on the spot when it came to delivering paperwork and information, they, were dipsh*ts.  It was also the first time in a VERY long time that I lost my cool and ripped my loan officer a new one.  My wife and I have been married for over 17 years and she can only recall me losing it once... in 2014 she saw the second time.

Either way, what should've been a week or two in a hotel turned out to be about 12 weeks -- and it wasn't cheap.  At least I had a hot breakfast every morning.


I ran a bunch of races and miles this year.  With any luck, I should hit close to 1900 miles.  Normally, I have an unwritten goal of 2000 miles for the year.  I easily have this made if I include walking miles.  I was injured about a month this year (in total) but I am really happy with the amount of miles I've turned in, especially late this year. 

I did run a bunch of races this year, including: 5 5Ks, 1 7K, 1 10K, 6 Halfs and 3 Full Marathons.  Still a far cry from what I used to do but still not a bad year.  I am hoping to do a LOT more in 2015.

I also got slower as the year went on.  I started running about 1:50 for the half and ended up in the 1:57 range.  I think the long runs have certainly built leg strength and endurance (as well as some mental toughness) but it did take from my speed.  It also didn't help that for most of the summer I felt absolutely drained.  What was going on -- I am not sure, but I feel oodles better than I did this past summer.

I am trying to get at least one or two speed work sessions a week in to rebuild my speed and get back into race form.

I am also super fortunate to live right near the Jordan River Bike Trail, which has miles and miles of paved bike trail that allow me to train in a safe environment.  Add in drinking fountains, bathrooms, and scenery that changes and I am in heaven.  The bike trail was one of the primary reasons why I bought my house where I did and it is such a blessing to just throw on a pair of shoes and be with other runners and fitness enthusiasts on the bike trail.  And best of all, I don't have to dodge any cars.

Destination Races

Of course, who could forget the Las Vegas Marathon?  Arguably, this was one of the races I was most proud of.  I didn't set any PRs but it was the way I ran it.  I was in control the entire race and only felt like the wheels were coming off in the last half mile.  It gave me such a positive experience instead of the usual crawl to the finish.  I am definitely looking forward to next year and it was a huge confidence builder to end the year with.

My friend Dennis and I at the finish line in Vegas

I also was able to knock Wyoming off my state's list.  People had a good chuckle when I said I was running the Casper Wyoming Marathon.  Casper isn't exactly a tourist destination but I made a go of it and it is still something I think fondly about.  Despite a very crappy motel stay I had a fabulous time all to myself exploring the great west.  I am tempted to do it again this year.

Casper Marathon Finish Photo

I also had a good time going to Ely, Nevada for their half marathon.  It was a tough as nails race, but man, talk about a professional run event in a tiny town.  This was another awesome weekend that I constantly think about.  This is on my list to do again as well, not only because of the race, but because there was so much I left undone there.

Ely Half Marathon Finish Photo

I have penciled in a ton of races for 2015 and if money and my fitness / healthy are good, I am looking for more awesome road adventures.

Other Places I've Visited

I accomplished one of the things on my todo list this year, and that was to visit the Valley of Fire State Park just outside of Las Vegas.  I survived "Carmageddon" due to the Bundy cattle rancher incident and got to spend an evening in Mesquite, NV (and explore it on a run).  

I also got a quick tour of Overton and Logandale.  As a "Nevada-phile", this was cool to take some of the back roads and get off the beaten trail.  I also got a chance to see Lake Mead and the Boulder Dam.  I've been to Vegas at least 30 times and never made the trip out to see the dam.  What an experience!  

Also, when I went for the marathon I spent a good deal of time off the strip.  In fact, the only "strip" hotel I stepped foot in were the Mirage and the Tropicana (to use the bathroom).

Of course, who could forget having a once in a lifetime experience of getting a cruise in the British Isles.  It was a family reunion of sorts and have a chance to visit a long-time friend in Dublin as well as see some historical sites was just incredible.  I am glad I took some notes of what I did every day and now I have a journal that should live for eternity and I can go back X years from now and recall exactly what I did each day.

Also, what a surprise hit was Ely, Nevada.  I expected to be kind of bored there but there was so much to see and do!  In fact, I plan on going back in 2015 just to finish what I missed.  Just an absolutely memorable weekend.


Well, it would be an understatement to say that we took advantage of all that Wendover had to offer.  I was a regular denizen there.  Sadly, the discounted buffets are taking a toll on my waistline, but how can I resist the call of a challenge to eat as much as I want?  

While I gambled a bit more this year (and lost a bit more) I still feel like I got my money's worth in terms of entertainment and perks.  I was given plenty of free rooms, free food, free play and I took advantage of the running trails outside of town.  While, I think gambling, in general, is a pretty "low" form of entertainment, I do try to do other things aside from gaming while there.  

Win or lose, each trip is unique and I had a lot of fun each time I went.


In 2014, I didn't do as much as hiking as I would've liked.  I think I saw one too many moose this year and it sort of spooked me out.  Also, the fact that I was routinely putting in 12 - 20 mile runs on the weekend sort of stole my energy.

I've hiked most of the trails in the Wasatch Mountains and now it is time to find some new ones.  Hopefully in 2015, I'll pick up the pace a bit more.  There's still some areas that I am itching to go exploring and with my endurance I can certainly cover some distance.


I have big plans for 2015 and I will itemize them in a future post.  I am definitely looking forward to the spring running season and looking for more awesome life experiences.

I do wish everyone a Merry Christmas / Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas West Wendover Nevada Trip

Christmas Eve Post Buffet Celebration


Normally we don't do a whole lot for Christmas.  Being that I am mostly an empty nester and most of my family is either in the midwest or southern California, it only make sense to take advantage of the extended weekend by heading out to Wendover, NV for a quick gambling jaunt.  Sacrilegious?  Perhaps... but why not have fun?

Also, I got bonus points for taking my mother in law as she likes buffets and casinos almost as much as I do.  So with a 2-for-1 buffet pass, $10 in free play, $70 in comps, and 3 free nights and a free entry into the slot tournament, how could I say no?

Wednesday - Christmas Eve

Wednesday was a half day at work and after making a quick vet run to get a cat taken care of, we hit the road just after 2pm.  It was smooth sailing the entire way.  We had toyed with going on Christmas morning, but with a pending storm, we knew we had to hit the road on Christmas Eve.

We arrived just before 4pm and got everyone settled into the Montego Bay.  We grabbed our room and I lugged up the luggage. 

The casino, at first was a ghost town, but as the night wore on, it did get mildly crowded.  It looked like a lot of other people were taking advantage of the long weekend and arriving.  We gambled a bit but nothing was hitting.  After a while we sat down and I cleaned up at the buffet.  Shari and I used our 2 for 1 pass and ate for about $20.  There wasn't anything special for a Christmas Eve buffet but none the less I cleaned no less than 5 plates of food down.  

We gambled a bit more in Montego Bay and none of us were having any luck.  Soon between Shari and I we were down about $60.  I got a few bonus rounds on my favorite Fu Dao Le Machine, but I didn't get anything more than $5 on each bonus round.  

Looks like my post-Vegas bad luck was continuing to stink up the joint. 

Since we had gambled  enough each of us got to spin a wheel for either free play or tier points.  We were hoping for free play as we are no where near the next level but each of netted a few tier points.  

Since none of us were having any luck, we decided to call it a night at about 9:30 and we were pretty much sound asleep by 10.

Wreckage of the buffet. All but one of those are my plates

Thursday - Christmas

As tradition holds, I got up fairly early and threw on what little running gear I had and went out for a run.  At first, I didn't think I was going to get more than a mile or so in.  My foot was better but I had my doubts as to how far it would hold up. Also the air temperature was in the low thirties and the wind was blowing no less than 30mph, in strong gusts.

I was decked out in my wind breaker, paper thin gloves, a beanie hat and shorts.  I took off fighting the wind and my pace was really sluggish.  I went about 2.5 miles out into the desert and decided to wrap it up.  I had really dressed or prepared for anything longer and my foot was still in doubt (I am happy to report it gave me zero problems). My hands froze, but otherwise it really wasn't that bad.

I did climb a cliff or two and the wind was so strong out there I thought it was going to throw me over.  Also the wind kicked up the sand and snow crystals making them feel like you were being pelted by little shards of glass.  Just a gorgeous morning for a run though.

I did manage to get some pretty cool pictures:

San Felipe Church - St Guadalupe(?) 

Leaving a winter storm behind me

West Wendover / Montego Bay in the distance from Aria Blvd

Pilot Peak in the Distance

View of the Salt Flats - I-80

Volcano Peak
I got back, cleaned up and hit the buffet.  I was able to use 100% comps for 3 people, so this meal was for free. As usual here are some food porn pictures (and yes, it looks like I eat the same things every time I go -- I am a total creature of habit):

After eating we hit up the Montego Bay casino and tried our luck.  Again, nothing.  Instead of gambling I was just simply losing.  Before I knew it, I had lost about $100 on top of what I had already lost.  My mother in law was doing even worse.  We were getting some comp dollars (at 3x) but we would have to do some serious gambling to even earn a free meal.  I wasn't betting recklessly, I just wasn't getting any hits.

We headed on over to the Rainbow to try our luck there.  I usually have the worst luck there but Shari and her mom were hoping for greener pastures.  I wound up playing a bit more there but my wallet was getting pretty thin and I was wondering if I was going to have to hit the ATM.

I dabbled with some video black jack:  I'd throw in $5 and bet 25 cents a time just to kill time.  I wound up cashing just about every instance -- not much, but a few bucks here and there.  Before leaving, I waddled up to Fu Dao Le which had a high red letter envelope jackpot and threw $20 and I finally got something, a nice $81 bonus round.  Yeah for me, it helped diminish my losses!

Big bonus win on Fu Dao Le
After the Rainbow, despite my winnings, I was in a semi sour mood.  So I dropped Shari and her mom at the Peppermill and I took the shuttle back to Montego Bay (first time ever taking a shuttle - I'd normally walk but Shari and her mom pleaded with me not to - the wind was howling and it was super cold).  

I wanted to hit the Jacuzzi before it got dark.  It was still absolutely freezing out and when I did gain entry to the outdoor pool, and the people at the desk thought I was crazy.

I wound up soaking with a pair of Canadians and we swapped stories about hiking and places to check out.  I wound up spending about an hour in the pool -- and while my head got cold, I was completely comfortable.  I did have to do a mad dash inside though once I was done.

We ate dinner at about 7 and I used the last of my comps and had to pay about $20 to get the three of us in for the dinner buffet.  Once I again, I inhaled way too many calories, but it was super good.

After that I drove to the Peppermill for my first ever slot tournament.  As part of the Christmas package, I got free entry into the tournament and round 1, for me, started at 8:40 at night.  I had never done a tournament before, so this was all new to me.

I found the spot and basically the deal is you are assigned a slot machine, you get 200K credits and have to spin for about 1800 credits per spin.  These are old-school 3x5 row slot machines (they looked like IGT brand) that don't have anything fancy about them.  For about 5 minutes, you wail on the button and hope for the best.  I got a respectable 133K points that I later found out put me in about 167th place out of 500 or so.  

Your basic issue tournament slot machine.

Waiting area for the slot tournament

Afterwards, I wandered around the Peppermill.  I found a Fu Dao Le with a high red envelope bonus round and popped a $20 in it.  Within a few spins one of the red envelopes popped up on the first reel and a ton of them appeared on the last reel.  But none of them stuck.  Argh... I just about had a heart attack in anticipation though.

I played another 10 spins or so and then the red envelope again appeared on reel one (this is rare, BTW, especially at 38 cent bets) and sure enough, bam!  It appeared on the last reel.  Caching! $165 richer!

Red Envelope Bonus at the Peppermill Casino

I dabbled with some more low rent black jack and I always won a few bucks.  When I got back to the hotel I found out I was just about even, excluding tips and money Shari had gambled.  

Since Shari and her mom weren't have any luck, they opted to go to bed.  We slept reasonably well, but there was a crying kid / baby in the room next to us that woke us up in the middle of the night twice.  Why do people bring their kids to Wendover?  Stupid....


We all slept in pretty late and I thought about doing a run but I decided to give my foot another day of rest.  I jumped into the jacuzzi once the clock struck 9AM and found my Canadian friends back there.  We easily chatted about life and hiking for a good hour.  Friendliest people ever.  I almost always meet cool pool in the tub out there.

After an hour-long soak I cleaned up and I hit the buffet. I love the Friday buffet since they have a seafood ciopino that is to die for.  Since I was one of the first in there, I had prime pickings for the crab legs in there.  I had three plates of the stuff:

After eating, I packed up our gear while Shari's mom gambled some more.  The poor soul: she came out to visit us and was getting nothing.  Since I was the winner (or at least playing and breaking even) I was the bank and had to loan a few bucks out.  Despite her best efforts the casino was vacuuming out her purse.  

At about 2pm I headed over to the Peppermill for the final round of the tournament.  I jumped on a machine and got about 144K points, definitely above average, but I wouldn't be threatening the leaders.  I am guaranteed at least $15 in free play if I come back in the next 30 days.  I could be due a bit more depending upon how I placed.  I am not expecting much more than $15 but if I do go, I'll take advantage of it.

I put in a $20 in a Fu Dao Le machine and got nothing from it. I did fool around with close to a dozen black jack machines.  I'd play 25 cent black jack for 5 - 10 minutes, make a few dollar profit and go watch someone gamble or what not.  Before I left Wendover, I had a wallet full of spare singles and quarters that I had made.  I am not gonna get rich doing it, but it was a good time killer.  Plus it gave me an opportunity to sharpen my black jack skills.


This was a decent trip.  I got in 4 buffet sittings between Shari and I (so 8 meals total).  I wound up paying for my mother in law in most of the instances, and my total food bill was probably around $60.  The hotel was free, I got $15 in free play the next time I go (if I go in the next 30 days), and I had fun. 

Gambling-wise, I probably came out slightly ahead, but I probably had $60 less in total money in my wallet than what I came with: tips and Shari's losses are not counted.  I only played Fu Dao Le (pretty much the entire trip, with the exception of $5 here and there) and I played a LOT of video black jack.

I was pleased with this trip and we managed to dodge all the bad weather Salt Lake had over the holiday.

I definitely need to get some miles in to work off the damage I did to my waistline, however.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Salt Lake City Temple Square Christmas Lights

At the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City


On Friday night, Shari and I had the opportunity to meet a couple friend of ours in downtown Salt Lake City for dinner.  I don't know much about the downtown area, other than it is pretty easy to navigate, pretty easy to get to, and hard to get lost.  Since living here, I've only been down there about half a dozen times, if that.


We met at the Little America Cafe located in the Little America Hotel in the heart of the downtown area.  For a Friday night, it took me about 15 minutes from my doorstep to the hotel.  Pretty incredible actually considering rush hour, Friday night traffic.  Parking was a bit of a bear, as the Little America Hotel's lot was full and they were only letting people who were staying at the hotel park there.

So after dropping off Shari, I found a spot a block away.  

The hotel was really nicely decorated for the holidays and I probably took half a dozen photos of myself in front of various Christmas trees.  

When our friends arrived we jumped in line and since they were busy, it took about 45 minutes before we were seated.  They were swamped and it probably took another 45 minutes before our food arrived.  Food was good and it wasn't until close to 8:30 that we got out of the restaurant:

Pretty opulent bathrooms at the Little America Hotel

Pretty opulent bathrooms at the Little America Hotel

Trout Almondine Dinner

Salt Lake City Temple Square

I confessed during dinner that more than likely I'll be in Wendover for Christmas.  To be honest, nothing would make me happier to go for a morning run in the desert, have a huge buffet and then loaf around the resort all day.  I think my guests thought it was funny (and somewhat sacrilegious) that I'd be there and that I was in need for some Christmas spirit.

So, after dinner, we grabbed a train ride for a quick trip north a few blocks.  The train station was just outside the hotel and within 2 minutes we were in the heart of Temple Square.

To say that it was crowded would be an understatement.  Whether you are a member of the church (or not) this the place to go to, to be amazed by the lights and sites of Christmas.  I had heard rumors the church goes all out in their decorations, and I was not let down.

We've been blessed with nice weather and it was easy viewing all the lights.  There were some carolers and a lot of the buildings were open for visiting.  I've been to the temple many times during the day, but never at night. I was completely blown away with the decorations and lights.  I easily spent close to 40 minutes wandering around the square and around the mall. 

Enjoy the photos:

Nativity Scene

Fountain area with floating lights

Organ built in the 1800's