Family Travel

Yellowstone through the years

Did you know there was a guy who jumped into a 200° F hot pot at Yellowstone to rescue his dog? When they pulled him out his last words were, “That was stupid. How bad am I? That was a stupid thing I did.” When they pulled off one of his shoes, the skin of his foot came off with it. That’s one of many things I learned in the perfect coffee-table book Death in Yellowstone, a gift from my brother-in-law.

My mom’s parents, Owen and Verona Slaugh, spent time in Yellowstone on their honeymoon in 1940 –

My grandpa's caption: "Verona unexpectedly visited. Ranger said terribly dangerous - bear with cub 1940"
My grandpa’s caption: “Verona unexpectedly visited. Ranger said terribly dangerous – bear with cub 1940”

Here’s (one side of) a couple of Owen’s 3-D photos from the 40s:

Owen Slaugh is 3rd from the left – April 1940
Lower Yellowstone Falls in 1948 - right image of stereo photo
Lower Yellowstone Falls in 1948 – right image of stereo photo

My dad’s family were also frequent visitors:

1966 - my uncles at Yellowstone Park
1966 – my uncles at Yellowstone Park

I was in high school during the fires of 1988:

Fifty-seven years after my grandparents, Wendy and I honeymooned in Yellowstone as well –

We’ve had a few family reunions there over the past few years. I try to make a video each time:


I never take my dog. But if I did, I wouldn’t jump in after him. That would be stupid.


Gargoyles and Notre Dame de Paris

The first time I saw the Notre Dame Cathedral (or really anything outside the western United States) was as a Mormon missionary in 1992. There was a tourist shop nearby that gave screamin’ deals to missionaries and I bought pretty much my favorite souvenir ever, a replica of the Rongeur gargoyle.

Le Rongeur - my favorite gargoyle
Le Rongeur – the coolest of the gargoyles


I imagined him chomping on a stretched-out rabbit that’s using its front paws to brace itself on the gargoyle’s mouth, but maybe it’s a chicken. I displayed it proudly in my cubicle at Delta Air Lines until my last day when it met an untimely death in the stairwell. I still regret not taking the elevator.

Here are a few photos of Notre Dame and/or Parisian gargoyles.


Ugly faces of Pont Neuf

As you pass under Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge on the Seine River in Paris, you see a variety of grimacing stone faces. They’re called mascarons and there are 381 of them. They might be satyrs, sylvans and other forest deities. Or they might be caricatures of friends and enemies of Henry IV. Here are my favorites:


A weekend in London

In 2014 I had a quick business trip to London and did some touristing. Here are a few highlights beyond the usual sights, from an email I sent to a friend who was visiting a few weeks after me:

  • Fat Tire Bike Tour – highly recommended. You end up hitting a ton of sites in a few hours and then you can decide which of those merit a return visit.
  • Camden Market
    Camden Market

    Camden Town — it’s a busy chaotic market that goes on forever. You can get lost in there. I liked it in a small dose and then went back to quieter locations. Be sure to go to the real Camden Market and not the rip-off one closest to the subway stop.

  • Note that the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is only every-other-day in the Winter and Spring. You can look up dates on
  • There’s an LDS Visitors Center near Hyde Park that was fun to visit — a bunch of BYU Study Abroad students were there while their normal building is being renovated. — it’s in a cool location by many of the Embassies and the science museum.
  • One other place that was fun for a quick evening visit was Piccadilly Circus — kind of a Times Square vibe (with many of the same stores, including the M&Ms Store). It’s packed with tourists and I only stayed for a few minutes, but it was cool to see once. That and Trafalgar Square are good for street performers.
  • If you’re a Shakespeare fan, it was fun to see the Globe Theatre replica. You can also see a First Folio in the British Library.
  • Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross StationIf you like Harry Potter, King’s Cross station has Platform 9 3/4 where you can pay big bucks to take a photo. I just took photos of people taking photos.
  • You can also hit 221B Baker Street if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan.
  • I highly recommend Rick Steves London tour book — I had a couple of other books and his was by far the most useful. If you like his style (more opinionated than the usual “here’s everything you can possibly do” books) you might want to download his free podcasts with walking tours and museum tours. I listened to his British Library tour (30 minutes) while I was there and enjoyed it, although some of his jokes are painful. He has an iPhone app, but it’s poorly designed and probably works better as a podcast.



Cardboard Boat Race

Fun combined mutual activity last night – each class built a boat out of only cardboard, caulk, tape, and some paint. Each vessel had to hold at least one person. The Beehive Ark (marked “Made by Beehives” in quiet protest of the other boats that had more outside help) lasted quite a bit longer than anyone expected and it took 2nd place among the young women.