Tucson – November 2022 – Characters of El Tour de Tucson Bike Races

The Saturday before Thanksgiving is the day that over 7000 bike racers take to the streets of Tucson. Last year I was able to capture the action in the far east side of Tucson in Vail (posting here https://rdzphotographyblog.com/2021/11/20/tucson-november-2021-el-tour-de-tucson/ )

For this years I made my way downtown for the 6:55 AM start!

The event is actually 4 different races, each taking off at different times. the 6:55 AM start is for the 100 mile race.

The motorcycle police were lined up and ready to go.

The lead vehicle was in position.

The workers pulled back the tape holding the riders back, then ran to get out of the way.

And they are off.

It is always impressive how some people can overcome the greatest of obstacles – this rider is starting the 100 mile race, and he has 1 leg.

The early start meant it was chilly – 42 degrees.

During the 62 mile (100 kilometer) race, the riders are headed through the neighborhood street, including many that have small traffic islands in the middle of the road. With a couple of thousand riders coming through it was amazing there wasn’t a huge collision as they ‘parted the seas’.

The highlight is of course the collection of characters riding in the race.

I am impressed when those who are a bit more ‘experienced’ go by in the middle of the pack.

A cool helmet, and a support of the local animal shelter – Pima (County) Animal Care Center.

Racers who are proud of who they are and where they are from.

Snowbird Santa racing off for the North Pole? With the Go Pro he is watching to see who is naughty and nice during the race.

Another beautiful day for El Tour de Tucson. See you next year.

Park City, Utah – September 2022 – Utah Olympics Museum

Park City was one of the centers for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. It remains a training facility, as well as a visitor center with a museum celebrating those Olympics.

In addition there is a section of the museum celebrating skiing in general, and the life of local legend Alf Engen.

The museum has numerous artifacts from the 2002 games, including art pieces from the opening ceremony as well as other memorabilia.

A collection of the snowboards, ski’s, jerseys and other items used in competition.

Park City, Utah – September 2022 – Scenic Drive Through Guardsman Pass

Park City is only a 35 minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City if you take the freeway. It is a much longer trip taking the road up over Guardsman Pass, but well worth every minute.

As with other high altitude drives on this trip, once you got up over 8000′ in elevation the trees were spectacular with their fall foliage.

Eventually you drop down into Park City.

Great Salt Lake Utah – September 2022 – A Unique Setting

The Great Salt Lake is, as the name suggests, a large body of salty water.

The lake is fed by 3 rivers, and a few streams. Because it has no outlet other than evaporation, the water collects over a million tons of minerals per year.

The water has a far higher salinity than the oceans. In addition there seems to be an ever-present strong smell.

Because of the shallowness of the lake, it’s overall coverage can, and has, changed dramatically over the years, leaving the boat docks high and dry – sad for the boat owners, but interesting photography opportunities.

The views across the grasses towards the now much smaller lake provide excellent contrasts.

Since the late 1800s there has always been a large event center along the lake known as the Saltair. While the first one was an impressive, massive structure, it was eventually destroyed in a fire. Today’s building is the third on this location. It too is suffering from the receding lake levels, leaving it far from the shore.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Toyota Land Cruiser Museum

In an industrial area of Salt Lake City is an old warehouse stuffed full of Toyota Land Cruisers from over the years.

The original ones were based on a Willy’s Jeep, and by 1942 were in production. By the 1950s this vehicle had become known as the Land Cruiser.

The Land Cruiser is popular throughout the world, but has especially strong sales in Australia.

The Land Cruiser has been used for special purposes and expeditions throughout it’s history.

While the museum has a large collection, from a photography perspective it is difficult as they are all jammed in together, with barriers preventing from going between them for closer looks.

This, coupled with a fairly high entrance fee, made this a less than desirable stop for me.

Cochise County, Arizona – November 2022 – Ramsey Canyon Fall Foliage

While most of Arizona is known for the hot desert landscape there are places where in just a few miles, or feet in elevation, that changes completely. One of those areas is Ramsey Canyon near Sierra Vista, less than 10 miles from the Mexican border in the Huachuca Mountains.

Because of a spring feed stream, high canyon walls and an orientation facing northeast, the canyon has numerous sycamore and maple trees – very un-Arizona like.

The creek bank has even more wetlands vegetation.

The Ramsey family had settled in the canyon around 1900 and over the years built a couple of cabins.

As you hike through the preserve and climb up just a few feet above the stream you quickly go back to more typical Arizona landscape.

While in some spots the desert like landscape is integrated with the wetlands.

The canyon is home to lots of wildlife.

The trip back down the canyon to the visitor center returned us to the colorful foliage. Ramsey Canyon is a great destination for a different look at Arizona.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – A Library Architectural Gem

The current Salt Lake City Main Library was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and was completed in 2003.

The numerous curves are striking from the exterior.

The building is even more impressive on the inside, with the 4 story atrium intended to invoke the classic arcades of the past (such as the Cleveland Arcade)

The dramatic stairway takes patrons between the levels.

The building was designed to provide as much natural light as possible, along with quieter spaces on the upper levels.

The massive hanging sculpture is entitled ‘Pysche’. It consists of 1500 small sculptures of books and butterflies that form a large human head. Some of the butterfly wings will flutter.

A model of the building is proudly displayed on the main level. When in Salt Lake City a visit to the library is well worth the time.

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Random Views

Some random views of an evening in downtown Salt Lake City.

Trolley Square was once a trolley barn for the original streetcars of the city. For 50 years it has been a trendy shopping district (and somewhere with a patio restaurant open for lunch!). The water tower is a highlight of the skyline.

Another in a long line of stupid arena names in the pursuit of a few more dollars – the Vivint Arena. The streetcars however, are a great (re)addition to the city.

While we are going on strange names – the Utah Jazz. The franchise was founded in New Orleans in 1974, playing just 5 seasons there before relocating to Salt Lake City, but keeping the Jazz name, apparently because they switched cities so close to the start of the season they never had time to get new uniforms and advertising completed.

A few murals…

Our hotel for the night had a nice view of downtown for both sunset…

And sunrise….

Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol sits on the aptly named Capitol Hill above downtown Salt Lake City. Completed in 1916 it’s style is similar to most of the state capitol buildings in the U.S.

As always this posting is not meant to document all the features of the building, rather to reflect on some of the more photogenic views.

The lions guarding the side of the building were originally made out of concrete, but were replaced during a 4 year overall capitol restoration project ending in 2008. They are now made out of Italian marble, and were completed by Nick Fairplay.

This glass window features the ubiquitous Utah beehive. The beehive symbolizes the belief that the community works together as a whole to improve life for all.

One of the two grand marble staircases. Each staircase has a massive mural depicting the mormon settlement of Utah.

The rotunda ceiling. When the building was first completed the rotunda remained unfinished for 20 years until the cyclorama was completed in 1934.

The artwork around the rotunda was completed at the same time.

This bust is of the native Ute hunter and fur trader Unca Sam.

Nearby is a bust of Ute leader John Duncan.

Noted Utah inventor Philo T Farnsworth is also featured on the 4th floor gallery. Among his many discoveries Farnsworth is credited with inventing the first complete television.

Also from the 4th floor many of the details visible.