The conference of The American Crystallographic Association has now been and gone and it's almost time to once again up sticks and head off to Washington DC for our experimental beam time. Salt Lake City has been a fun place to stay, especially so as Jill (my boss) has a house here only 10 min stroll from the conference centre, right next door to the capital of the Mormon universe. Lots of smartly dressed young men and women mill around the tabernacle and conference centre (distinct from our conference centre, which is next door), eager to catch you at a moment of weakness and sign you up. Advice from a friend who used to live here (Duffman) was to head for the hills when the heat got too much - which is exactly what we did one afternoon. We blew off talks for the afternoon and headed up one of the many canyons which lead from the flat basin into the Wasatch mountains, which are home to many of the more famous american ski resorts (think Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Deer Valley). About 45 min after departing the 35 C city, we parked just above the Snowbird resort where, at an altitude of ~3000 m the temperature was a lovely ~20 C. We walked up a trail to a col and then down the other side into the Brighton valley where we got picked up by Don, our host. Fabulous alpine country, although not many snow drifts to be seen, which I guess is not too surprising given how hot it can get up here. Almost immediately I saw my first hummingbird of the day - exciting for the twitcher in me. Vast numbers of Chipmunks and slightly larger gopher-type rodents littered the meadows, no doubt easy pickings for the Coyote's we heard having a collective howl at one point. Overall it was a fantastic walk and finally a chance for the legs to actually do something. This seems to have helped sooth my jetlag, and might even slow the slide into muscular atrophy I feel myself succumbing to.
Looking back to the col we have just come over
Lovely alpine meadows
Hamster with stripes
Yesterday, checked out one of the local bike shops. Greggles, spotted Orca's for about US$5500 equipped with Dura-ace (frameset only at ~2300) . The Vino BMC's were going for about 6.3 K, whilst the Telecom Giants for just over 7K. Speaking of which, what a disaster the tour has turned into. We will see what Cadel can do on the last TT, which I will miss as I'll be in transit.
Hope the lads in Oz are getting over colds and holding some condition. Don't worry BT, I'm doing as you suggest by drinking lots of beer, consuming loads of calories and getting lots of rest so I should be in absolute peak condition when I arrive in Geneva. Till next time.
Anyone for Pizza? Jill models dinner. Five of us failed to eat more than about 2/3 rds of this deep-dish monument - washed down with lots of beer, of course.