The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

December 1, 2008

Odds and Ends From the Trip to Provo

Filed under: Wanderings — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:52 am

After a relatively uneventful overnight car trip (if you think there’s no scenery already when driving through Idaho and Oregon at night, try making the drive with thick fog,)  I am now back home in Redmond for a couple of weeks before I take off for Florida and Disney World.  In the meantime, I’ve managed to catch up on some of my sleep from being up all night on the road (insomnia will do that to you apparently,) and I’ve had a chance to go through some of my photos from the trip.  After the jump, I have posted some of the more interesting ones.

As I mentioned earlier, Provo is a rather interesting town from an urban archaeology standpoint.  It seems that everywhere you go in Provo, there are all sorts of older commercial and retail structures that have long since been repurposed for other uses.  In fact, right outside my parents’ hotel room was this surprisingly intact old style former Burger King, now vacant.  It seems that at least from the outside, the restaurant that took over the building didn’t bother to do much besides change the signs, which they didn’t bother to take down when they vacated the place.  I didn’t get a chance to take a closer look, but the place was vacant when I went to Provo last September, and the car and truck parked next to the building didn’t even move during the whole time I was there.

A few blocks away is this malt shop, which is pretty clearly a former A&W drive-in.  There are quite a few other old fast food places in town that I didn’t get around to taking pictures of, as well as other retail establishments.  Perhaps the next time I’m down in Provo I’ll get a chance to take a few more photos of these, but since I was a passenger on this trip there wasn’t much opportunity for this.

Also near the hotel my Mom and Dad were staying at is the former site of a  rather interesting structure known  informally as the Reams Turtle.  This domed structure was built in 1961 as an ice rink, and was then repurposed as a Grocery / Western Wear store that operated from 1967 to 2005, after which the dome was demolished in 2006 (a process that involved a bit of drama when the dome collapsed prematurely, causing minor injuries to onlookers.)  The structure was designed and built on a budget of only $75,000, and was formed by building the structure out of concrete and rebar on top of a huge pile of dirt that was dumped at the site from other construction projects at BYU, then removing the dirt from under it.

Elsewhere in Provo, another Reams store still operates in a somewhat more mundane location, although it does have some nice looking vintage signs.

Of course, for some reason even on vacation I can’t seem to stay away from malls, and this one was no exception.  Somehow, I ended up at the University Mall on Black Friday, and although the place was full of shoppers, it was still a bit less crowded than the last time I made the mistake of going to the mall on Black Friday.  I didn’t actually buy anything since I didn’t have anything that I needed to get (and given the crowded conditions of the Suburban on the car ride down, I don’t think adding stuff would have helped any on the trip back up to Redmond.)


We did also end up at Burlington Coat Factory though, and having one sister with two toddlers and another sister with one on the way, it was inevitable that the baby department was going to be on the agenda.  Apparently this baby stuff has gotten a lot more complicated since the last time I dealt with it.  I remember back when all you needed to do for a baby swing was wind it up and let it go, without needing to figure out 16 different buttons.  It was quick, simple, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission would probably send a SWAT team after you if you tried to sell something like that these days.

Elsewhere in the department was the obligatory shelf full of videos and DVDs that nobody actually wants, no mater how cheap they are.  This one invites you to come on over to Barney’s house (direct to video!).  There are some things out there that just aren’t worth bragging about, and I’m pretty sure this is one of them.

Meanwhile, while my sisters and my Mom were off looking at the stuff, my Dad and I went off wandering through the mall to see if we could find anything more interesting than baby clothing to look at.  At the Sports Authority store, we ran into a sale on some of those video game rocker chairs that seem to be all the rage with the “doesn’t ever, ever, EVER play sports of any kind” demographic these days. 

And as long as you’re completely ignorning the apparent target audience of your sporting goods store, why not throw in a whole wall full of massagers while you’re at it?  I guess that at least with those you could tell the customers that they need to run at least three miles before they’re allowed to use the things, but I suspect that few of them actually will.

The trip wasn’t all shopping though.  We also made it up to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, which is a nice short hike, but probably would be more interesting when more water is coming through it than this (the fact that it was fairly cold up there probably didn’t help any either.) 

Next to the falls, there are the ruins of what used to be a tramway that went up to a lodge at the top of the falls.  The tramway operated from 1960-1996, when most of the ground structures were destroyed by an avalanche.  The lodge at the top of the falls was then destroyed by a fire earlier this year.  Most of what’s left of the tramway is now boarded up, although you can still see a few bits and pieces of it.  There is a campaign underway to try to raise funds to restore the falls and the facilities around it, although it is not clear that anything is actually going to happen here anytime soon.

on Friday night, we all got a chance to go up to Salt Lake City to see the lights at Temple Square.  I have been to Temple Square a number of times before, but this is the first time that I have been here at this time of year, so I haven’t seen the lights before.  It is an impressive display, although these photos don’t really do it justice.

Because the Jazz were playing at home that night, we ended up having to park several blocks away, next to the high school in the area.  While walking over there, I came across this sign on one of the buildings.  Apparently they didn’t bother consulting any of their English teachers when they made this sign.


Finally, here’s another sign at the Sonic near my brother’s apartment.  Watching sports in their wicked awesome lobby is NOT optional, and if you don’t, presumably you will be sent to bed with the tater tots missing from your order.

All in all, it was a nice little trip, even if it did involve 27 hours of riding in the car to get there and back.  I’m guessing we’ll be back in a few months when Heather has her baby, although if we go again I’d have to give some serious thought to driving down in my own car to allow more opportunity to explore on my own.  It’s not that I’d ever be ready to just pack up all my stuff and move down there anytime soon though.  It’s a nice place to visit, but I think I’ll stick with sleeping in my own bed up here for a while… until I head off on the next great big misadventure, at least.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: