Friday, December 24, 2010

Whiteface, Lk. Placid, NY

So here it is, ski season 2010-2011. I had some work to do in New York and in between I got some skiing in. First I skied at Bristol Mountain, south of Rochester, and then pressed on northeast to the #1 ski destination in the eastern US, Whiteface. Let me first start out by telling you that this place is not for beginners. It's a tough, challenging mountain. Grooming is basically nonexistent  and it lives up to it's nickname "Iceface", as there is a lot of ice on the runs from the freeze/thaw cycle. It is also windy and very cold. But to those of us who are good skiers in decent condition, it puts our skills to the test in an invigorating, exciting way. The nearby town of Lake Placid is a true mountain ski town nestled along the shore of Mirror Lake (which I thought was a little odd, because Lake Placid is a couple of miles away from the town). I only had a day to spend there, But there is lots to see and do and if I ever get up that way again I'd like to spend at least a week   touring all of the Olympic attractions like the ski jumping complex, the bobsled and skeleton run over activities. On the way up, I drove the back way through the 6 million acre Adirondack Park, past beautiful mountains, lakes, and trout streams, all encased in arctic like cold. Driving was treacherous as it was snowing in sheets earlier in the day and was still coming down (though not quite as hard) as I made my way north. On the way back I drove down I-87 near the Vermont border and past Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga. All in all I put 1600 miles on the Ford.   

This is a river near the base of Whiteface. The scenic beauty of the place is astounding
The main street of Lake Placid on the night I arrived. Man it was coming down that night!
The Dancing Bear has $2 draft beers during happy hour, so you probably guessed where I was.

The Northwoods Hotel.
Whiteface mountain.
This is the top of the Cloudsplitter gondola, which takes you up 2,400 vertical feet in less than 15 minutes. There are three peaks to Whiteface. Little Whiteface peak (here) Whiteface summit (pictured) and Lookout mountain.  
This is a blue run called Excelsior. Takes almost a half hour to get to the bottom.

Lookut mountain

Lake Placid and Mirror Lake 10 miles away.
1600 miles of winter dirt!

All in all a most awesome adventure.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Number 8

This is a drawing that I did last night on my Intuous 4 Wacom tablet. It is from a photo of my son, Derek. He was on the JV football team this season and was presented two awards at the banquet yesterday. Ironman ( never missed a weightroom conditioning practice, field practice, or game) and the KLAA scholar athlete award ( have at least a 3.3 GPA) Mom and Dad are awful proud of our Number 8.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Here it is again, Father's Day! All that I can say is that being a father of two wonderful kids is without a doubt the most important thing that I have done with my life, and the one thing that has given me the greatest joy and sense of pride. It is also a time to remember my father, Neil Gasco. Dad passed away far too soon at the age of 56 back in 1993. I don't think that a single day has gone by that he has not been in my thoughts, and I still miss him very, very much.

This picture was taken somewhere around 1969 or 1970. Little Timmy and Dad at the Horace Rackham Fountain located in the Detroit Zoo. It's a family tradition for Dad and the kids to gather here from time to time for a picture. I am looking forward to it being a "Grandpa, Dad, and the kids" picture in the future.

Following this tradition, This picture is of Dad (grown up Tim) Meredith, and Derek. I think it was 1997.

This more recent picture was taken three years ago. Meredith was 16 (she will be 20 in November) and Derek is not yet a teenager at age twelve. He has shot up and is now thinner than a rail. It is striking how quickly they both have changed in such a small amount of time.

So here's to wishing us Dad's a happy Father's Day! And thanks to all of the kids who make us so proud and provide us with such wonderful memories.

"Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
I said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."
-Aaron Barker

Monday, May 24, 2010


Taken from the Aquaman Shrine

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Park City Utah

Derek and I went to Salt Lake City Utah during his spring break from high school to get in a little skiing. Although we had originally planned to ski Alta and Snowbird , Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and we wound up skiing for two days at the Park City Mountain Resort in Park City Utah, about a half hour drive through Parley's Canyon. Alta and Snowbird are in the Little Cottonwood Canyon, and wouldn't you know it, the night we arrived it snowed over two feet and the canyon was closed for two days. Totally cut off  from any road traffic at all due to avalanche danger. Because of several other SNAFU's regarding rental cars, lift ticket refunds and what not, Tuesday morning was spent on the telephone rearranging itineraries, and replacing goggles that were scratched up beyond use by Delta Airlines baggage handlers (I'm really starting to not like Delta).

So we decided that we'd take a drive and see the Great Salt Lake.

In Prehistoric times, it was what we call Lake Bonneville today. It had a surface area of nearly 20,000 square miles, a depth of over 1,000 feet, and was comparable in many respects to the Lake Michigan of today. It was formed 32,000 years ago. Because of long term flooding, seepage weakened the lava dam and caused the release of 1,200 cubic miles of water, causing the lake to lose 351 feet of its depth and shrinking the size of the lake by over 60% to its current size, which fluctuates between 1,700 to 3,300 square miles, depending on the drought conditions in the area. The salinity is much higher than the oceans, but the lake is not barren. It supports brine shrimp, which in turn provide food for migratory waterfowl. However, some of these waterfowl cannot be hunted as there is also the highest ever recorded level of methyl-mercury, 25 nanograms per millileter. This is 25 times higher than the waters of the Florida everglades. There is an interesting story about a Chilean Pink Flamingo "Pink Floyd" who escaped from the Tracy Aviary in 1987 and liked living on the brine shrimp so much that he made his home at the Great Salt Lake until 2005. Looking at this liquid desert, it made me shudder to think what could happen to our lakes in Michigan if some natural and/or man made catastrophe like this were to happen.

This is the Eastern shore. To the right are the Promontory Mountains. This is a penninsula jutting out from the north shore. It looks like the Forbidden Zone from "Planet of the Apes".

On Wednesday, Little Cottonwood Canyon was still closed, so we decided to ski in Park City. Park City has three excellent Resorts. Deer Valley , which was voted the best resort in North America by Ski Magazine, the Canyons which is Utah's largest resort, and our choice, Park City Mountain resort, rated #4 in North America. First thing that I learned is do not buy your lift ticket at the resort. Go to any ski shop in Salt Lake City and you can get a better deal. We paid $64 each for a one day lift ticket, but if you buy it at the resort they are $86. You can probably also find a good deal if you go to the front desk of your hotel. We stayed at the Little America and found that it was very nice. About $100 a night, tax included. It's centrally located and many restaurants are within walking distance. Originally I had not planned on renting a car as there is a bus that will take you to Alta or Snowbird right from the hotel, but the hotel concierge recommended a car as it's much easier than taking the bus with all your gear. Also, there is not a bus to the Park City resorts. It's only 30-45 minutes to any of the resorts so you have much more freedom to try different places. Derek liked Park City so much that we decided to go back a second day.
The Wasatch Mountains may not be as high as the Rockies, but the snow is excellent and the views? Well I'll let you be the judge.
Little G. Kickin' it old school at 11,000 feet.
This was taken at the top of the run "Georgeann". It's about 3,000 vertical feet above the resort. I estimate it to be 7.5 miles or so to ski to the bottom. It took about 15 minutes to ski to the bottom.
The view from Georgeann.
Way down there to the right is Park City. Zoom in to get a good look.
The beginning of Georgeann. It veers to the left through those evergreens.
Derek skis in front of me.
The Great Salt Lake from the air.
The Wasatch range.

All that I can tell you is that my time there was way too short. I'm going back and skiing as many of the resorts as possible. And I'm taking some powder skiing lessons, too. If you think you're a good skier, come out here and take the Pepsi challenge. Believe me, there is no better skiing anywhere.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Shanty Creek/Schuss Mountain and Frankenmuth, MI

The weather is turning warm and soon skiing will be through until after Thanksgiving. This is "Ski Mardi Gras" time in Northern Michigan. People dress up in crazy costumes, consume mass quantities of beer and try to ski across a 40 feet (best guess) rectangular pool of green water. Bright and sunny, nearly 50 degrees, and with snow soft and slushy, Derek and I headed north to get in one last trip before it's all over in Michigan and to test out our skis and polish up our technique before a planned trip to Utah on Easter Break (spring break for those of you who prefer to be politically correct).

Luigi and Mario of "Super Mario Bros." skiied across the water without wiping out. Not one drop of water! most others were not so fortunate...

The party animals in the lift behind us were having a great time! Note the case of beer on the lap of L'il Abner. Just police up your empty cans guys.
Spectators for the Submarine Races. Derek and I mostly watched from the lift. Better vantage point.
I think the Ol' Man wore him out!

On the way home we made a quick detour to Frankenmuth, a German themed town near Bay City.
This is the "Silent Night Church", an exact replica of the one near Salsburg, Austria, where "Stille Nacht, Hieliga Nacht" was first performed. One of the conditions for getting permission from the original was that this never be used for an actual service. As you walk up to it you are greeted with the hymn gently wafting through the air...
As you leave, you walk away very moved and in a peaceful state.
This is the covered bridge (Zwiebrucken) on the grounds of the Bavarian Inn. It spans the Cass River.
This is the Bavarian Inn. They are world famous the their German Cuisine and the famous "Frankenmuth Chicken" dinners. I must say that they are excellent! The Glockenspiel in the bell tower has dozens of bells and plays the "Pied Piper of Hamilen". It is quite impressive.
This is Zehnder's. They have equally good chicken dinners and are friendly rivals with the Bavarian Inn across the street.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Atlanta Aquarium

I was just down in Atlanta for a company function and along with being able to have dinner and a few drinks with my old friend, artist Greg Theakston who just moved down there from the Big Apple. That was really fun, waxing nostalgic about being comics fans in the 70's and discussing the people and events of the time as well as just catching up with each other since the last time we saw each other over thrity years ago. He even gave me a painting that he owed me for some printing work that my parents did for him long ago. Greg did a lot of paperback book covers and had quite a run doing TV Guide covers in the 80's (Brian Kieth said he had the only artist that he wanted to paint him and he did 3 "Hardcastle and McCormick" covers). He is also well
known for being an expert on the life of stripper Bettie Page , and years ago published a magazine called "The Bettie Pages" which re-introduced Bettie to a whole new generation of fans. He actually was a consultant on the film "The notorious Bettie Page" . We promised each other that we wouldn't wait another thirty years before having dinner together again.
This is the book cover of the painting that Greg gave me. It was done in 1978. The painting is square shaped an does not have any lettering. It's a mixed media oil (the portraits) and acrylic (the spaceship and robot). I think I'm going to try to find an old copy of the book to display with it.

The second highlight of my trip was a dinner sponsered by my company at the Atlanta Aquarium. It was really nice. They hired the entire Aquarium after closing time and served cocktails and gave us a guided tour with volunteers explaining all of the exhibits before we retired to the lavish dining area facing the 6 million gallon tank containing two whale sharks that were both well over 25 feet long. To say that they were magnificent would be an understatement. Here we are, sipping drinks while these huge fish several times larger than us are gently gliding by us on the other side of the glass! It was amazing.

This is an Australian Sea Dragon. Much like a seahorse, but very wraithlike.

I don't recall the name of this frog, only that it it's poison is very lethal.

You could actually pet the rays and hammerheads! (no thanks!)

This ray has a wingspan of 10-12 feet.

This whale shark's tail is at least 5-6 feet high and there it is, right in front of me.

Truly an amazing creature!

Schuss Mountain, Bellaire, MI

I did a trip for work up to Traverse City last month and took the weekend and skied Schuss Mountain. Let me tell you that Michigan skiing is nothing like Vermont or out west, but the snow is plentiful, the lift lines are non existant, lift tickets are a steal, and there is a good time to be had by all!
The lodge is done nicely in Bavarian style much like what you would see in Frankenmuth, MI.
A shot from the bottom of the Yellow Lift. The run to the right is called "Sarijavo". It's steep and tight. a go fast run. I was skiing from the left, building up speed and shooting sideways over to Sarijavo, popping some air and turning a hard right down the run. Lot's of fun!
This is the vista from the top. Very scenic and a wonderful bright shiny day. The best kind of ski day!
This is "Pink Schussycat" a fast run.
This run is "Suprize" which is that it starts out a little steep but once you round this corner you catch some air and go staright down. A favorite run for me.

Some friendly faces at the Red Lift.