Friday, August 24, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0322 - Salt Lake City Area 2018

If you ever get lost in Salt Lake City, at the corner of West Temple and 100 South there is a sign forest that tells you where you are located. The large collection of signs contain "cryptic messages" such as "Chicken or Egg," "Exception Rule," "Give or Take," Tomato or Tomato," etc.

We were downtown looking for the "Floating Astronaut," but found that the astronaut had been replaced by something that looked like a space weapon and a post full of fans. Also located in the same area was an old piano that you could play "until your heart's content."

In 1997, a Virgin Mary image was discovered when a large tree branch broke off of a tree in a city park. Unfortunately, some vandals cut the image out of the tree and now the site is not well-maintained. 

BTNT Toyz is an interesting place to visit if you are a Star Wars or other science fiction fan. The building is packed from floor-to-ceiling with collectibles and other movie memorabilia. 

If you are looking for the Red Iguana Restaurant, it is easy to find by just looking for the large 33-foot long red Iguana sculpture. The Iguana's name is Xochitonal -- the giant iguana guardian of the Aztec underworld. (Note: The Iguana now on display is different than the Iguana pictured in travel literature and on the web.) 

Located on the roof of Rainbow Neon Sign Company is the top half of Mr. Spock. His bottom half, or the bottom half of another character, is leaning against the building wall, along with a "Rock 'N Roll" neon guitar. The sign shop is located in an older commercial/industrial section of Salt Lake City and located nearby are several other large historic neon signs.

The old Cottonwood Paper Mill (aka Granite Paper Mill, Deseret Paper Mill, "Old Mill," "Haunted Old Mill") is a beautiful abandoned structure at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Deseret News built the mill in 1883 to produce paper from timber cut in the canyon and supplemented the paper production with old rags and clothing. Once the wood and material was ground into a slurry, the pulp was placed in molds and dried. During peak production, the mill could produce up to 5 tons of paper per day. 

On April 1, 1893, a fire started inside of the mill and when the fire alarm sounded most people thought it was just an April Fool's joke, so no one responded. Since it was cheaper to import paper, the mill was not rebuilt. Over the years the mill has been used as a dance hall, a haunted house, and a craft boutique. However, in 2005 the City condemned the building, so it now sits vacant.  

There are several hiking trails in the area and the nearby arroyo is spanned by a covered bridge. 

Colonel Sanders opened his first restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky and in 1952 he franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant to Pete Harman in Murray, Utah. Located inside of the restaurant there is a small museum and gift shop and located outside of the building is a statue of "The Colonel" and Pete Harman. 

Pete Harman opened his first restaurant in 1941 and then teamed up with Colonel Sanders in 1952 to expand the KFC franchise chain. Harman developed many of the training manuals, product guides, bucket packaging, and came up with the motto "finger-lickin' good." The walls in the restaurant are covered with famous quotes from Harman and Sanders. 

Murray City (population 46,746) is known as the "Hub of Salt Lake County" because of its central location in the county. Unlike most communities in the area, Murray operates its own police, fire, power, and water services and has the lowest city tax rates in the state. 

The large Murray City Park is located on Cottonwood Creek and was the Salt Lake County Fairgrounds location until a newer facility was build in South Jordan. There are numerous public facilities in the park that include an amphitheater, war memorial, swimming pool, ice rink, arboretum, rugby field, softball fields, soccer field, playgrounds, hiking trails, decorative arches, and five pavilions. The park also contains a large wooden sculpture by Peter "Wolf" Toth of Chief Washakie that is part of Toth's "Trail of Whispering Giants."

The historic Murray Laundry that used "Rain Soft Artesian Water" has been demolished and a new apartment complex has been constructed on the site. The large-scale commercial laundry operated on the site for over 50 years until it was abandoned in 1977. The large water tower is all that remains of the laundry operation. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0321 - Provo and Lindon, Utah 2018

The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, is a great place to learn about life on our living planet. Various displays and exhibits explain how difficult it is for many animals, birds, and fish around the world to survive in the natural world and what we can do to protect the unique characteristics of our planet. The museum contains over three million specimens (not all on display) housed in nine separate biological collections -- Our Living Planet, Life on Top: Apex Predators, Life Submerged: Marine & Freshwater, Fred & Sue Morris Bird Gallery, Butterflies, and  special exhibits. 

A display sign states: "The African Elephant, Loxodonta afticana, is an example of a species in decline due to human-related impacts. The ivory tusks of this species are valuable because they are commonly used to make fine jewelry. Hunting, illegal poaching, as well as habital loss have all been factors influencing the decline of this species."

Shasta the Liger lived at the Salt Lake City Zoo until she died at the age of 24. A display sign states that "A liger is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. A similar crossbreed is the tigon, which involves a cross between a male tiger and a female lion. Ligers and tigons do not occur in nature but have been produced in zoos in various parts of the world."

Walking through the museum there are a number of animals displayed as they fight to survive. 

A display sign states: "These butterflies with shiny wings belong to the genus Morpho. As 'Morpho' butterflies open their wings during flight there is a flash of light. Some predatory birds are attracted to these flashes of light; however, when Morpho butterflies close their wings, the light disappears, making it difficult for the birds to locate them."

When we visited the museum, there was a special exhibit on Titanoboa, the largest snake ever found. (They also had some smaller live snakes that you could have your picture taken with.)

In 2004 the Titanoboa snake fossil was found in Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine, along with evidence of turtles the size of pool tables, enormous snub-nosed crocodiles and many species never seen before. It was soon discovered that Titanoboa was at the top of a monster-eat-monster food chain. Titanoboa was 48 feet long, had a 26 inch diameter body that could expand to over 50 inches after eating, weighed about 2,500 pounds, and could swallow a crocodile whole!! (An Anaconda can grow up to 26 feet and a Boa Constrictor up to 9 feet.)

While we are talking about eating, Marley's Cafe is located in the west side of the Timpanogas Harley Davidson dealership and is well-known for its gourmet sliders. 80% of the entire building was built using recycled materials from the Geneva Steel plant, the Coca-Cola factory, and the 1800's Ogden Depot. The tower on top of the building is a 75-foot tall, 1100-pound water tower.

We also found the Largest Blender in the World! Okay, so it's not a real blender, but it serves as the entrance lobby for Blendtec, a company that manufactures blenders.

I was amazed at the large collection of vintage gas station signs and related gas station equipment that we found in a storage facility near the Provo Airport. I had never seen several of the signs before. The signs are behind a gated fence, but if you stop and talk to the owner you can obtain permission to go in the storage yard and look at the displays.