May 13, 2011

∴ We Got Skunked

Andrew suited up to go motorcycling

We headed out for a motorcycle ride this morning, intending to visit the Bingham Canyon Mine near SLC. It’s an encredibly huge strip mine, the deepest in the world (such a fine distinction). It has essentially removed an entire mountain and distributed it to the surrounding hills, removing valuable metals in the process. The mine itself is a sight to behold. (The vehicles in that image possess tires that are taller than a couple of people, standing one on another’s shoulders. That should provide some scale.) The mine is about two-and-a-half miles across at the top.

I’d been to the mine before, on a visit here years ago. We were both eager to return for another look. Today’s forecast of sun and temperatures in the seventies gave us an excuse to return on a bike.

So we suited up. And rode. And enjoyed the wind and sun. I haven’t been on a bike since I sold my old R65LS in 1996, so it was a treat just to get out on the road again. Our ride took us down the valley on an Interstate highway, then across the valley on a lesser highway, and up to the foothills on a two-laner. We pulled near and were ready to enter the mine access road.

And we got skunked at the gate.

Apparently a few someones, on bikes, visited the mine visitor’s center in the recent past and misbehaved. Maybe they went off-roading. The very pleasant woman at the gate wouldn’t elaborate. She did tell us that visitors on bikes are no longer welcome, but they’d be happy to welcome us back in a car. And that was that.

So we spent the rest of our ride heading north along the Oquirrh Mountains, and rode past the smelting facility where Rio Tinto turns the mining product into near-pure copper ingots. There’s an interesting narrative of the process at Wikipedia.

From an airplane one can see that the sediment pools alongside the tailings piles are the nicest shade of aquamarine. Not a translucent aquamarine, as in the clean, clear waters of the Caribbean. Opaque, plastic-like aquamarine, like a yard toy. I think I saw a bird that color, once. Never any water.

Kelly’s adventure at Quilt Market continues. She spent yesterday in a series of short-form classes and longer seminars. She finished her workday in a seminar put on by her friends, Kizer & Bender. They speak about marketing and promotions at retail conventions. A couple of photos from our shop were used in last evening’s presentation, and Kelly was mentioned during the talk. Since then she’s had people walk up to her to say hello. My wife, the rock star. I will be pleased to spend the next decade carrying her bags.

Today she’s on her own, surveying the trade floor and taking notes on her iPad. At some point Kelly will meet with a distributer and submit orders. It’s been a good Market for her so far, with two days to go. I’ll continue to enjoy my time at Kenning’s.