Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

Home for the Holiday

I hadn't planned on coming back home to Salt Lake for Christmas - it doesn't feel like the holiday season to me with everything that has gone on this year and I was afraid I wouldn't be very festive or good company.  But my grandmother who is 94 is having some health issues, and my family wanted to see  me no matter what, so I decided to come down. 

There is something about coming back to your hometown where you grew up.  Although I've not lived in Salt Lake City for more than 25 years, it's still "home".  When I fly in it's like I never left -- the mountains never change, and when I'm here it's kind of like being on auto-pilot.  I don't need to think where I'm going, I just go.  Things change and things stay the same.  The city grows and new things pop up, but here and there, tucked away and often hidden are things that were here when I was a kid -- stores, businesses, shops etc, and it still feels like "home" in many ways.

One thing that never changes though is the mountains.  Salt Lake City is ringed by some of the most stunning mountains on earth -- rising up from the valley that sits at 4200 feet, all the way to touch the sky at nearly 12,000 feet.  Rising above my Mother's house is Mt. Olympus, which goes only to 9600 feet, and one of the first mountains I ever climbed as a boy scout.   Time changes everything -- except the mountains.

My Step-Father Ron, (whom everyone assumes is my natural father anyway since we are so much alike) is itching to buy a motorcycle and my Mother wont let him.  The fact that I have three and go on these long trips makes him jealous, so we'll go hang out at the Harley Dealership from time to time and sit on bikes and dream.  Being winter and unable to get out and ride is tough on me, but hanging out at a dealership is always fun.  We decided to check out the newest Harley Dealership in Utah, Timpanogos Harley about 40 miles south of here.  If I were ever going to build a Harley Dealership of my own this would be it.  It was built on the site of an old steel mill using reclaimed materials from the mill.  It is simply indescribable.  They took all these old steel beams, wood floors, doors and metal things and put them together like a giant erector set.  I love old factories and steel mills anyway, and to combine them into a Harley Dealership is an ideal combination in my book.  The building has won several awards for "green" building (using rusty metal of all things -- but it's "reclaimed" so that makes it I suppose), and has been featured in several magazines.  It's also got old neon signs and highway signs in it -- just like my home in Seattle.  Like I said, if I were going to design a dealership, this is what I would have designed.
So Ron and I browsed and sat on bikes and chatted for a couple of hours, and tried to plot a way for him to get a bike and not have my mother turn into one of the Witches of Eastwick on him, but alas we couldn't figure a way to do that.  But it was fun to try, and it's put me in a bit better mood today.

I'll be hanging around Salt Lake until Saturday -- then I'll fly down to San Diego to pick up a rented Harley and head off into the desert to visit my friends in Palm Springs.  I'm really looking forward to a nice road trip through the desert on a bike.  The weather forecast is for sunny and mid 70s -- which beats the snow of Salt Lake and Seattle for sure.  I've brought my Harley atlas and have been plotting some rides for the days I'm in the desert, and the chance to hit the road and feel the wind on my bare arms again before the end of the year is one of the things that's keeping me sane right now.


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