June 18, 2021

California(?) Traffic Break

Here's a video showing a traffic break being put into effect by the California Highway Patrol on a freeway in the Bay Area. They do this when debris needs to be cleared from a highway, or when they need to do a quick, temporary patch for a pothole. They should do this in all 50 states plus DC, but I never saw it before I came to California and when I've mentioned it to some non-Californians they say they never saw it in their home states.

permalink | June 18, 2021 at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2021

More American Misuse Of The Term "HIgh-Speed Rail"

Today I saw this article about planned "high-speed rail" in the San Diego area. I was immediately suspicious, since we still have no high-speed rail anywhere in the U.S., what are the chances that one city would build actual high-speed rail. Indeed, the article describes the proposed "trains moving twice as fast as the region’s trolley system." Wow! Twice as fast as a trolley! Well, I've done that on a bicycle in Boston, so it hardly defines "high-speed." Specifics could be found well down in the article: "SANDAG officials said the envisioned commuter rail could travel up to 120 miles per hour in spots, and will average around 50 miles per hour." So, not even as fast as the not-high-speed Acela. Why not call it what is, a proposed train system with good speeds?

permalink | May 28, 2021 at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2020

Half of my photos from my 1991 bicycle tour from Boston to Kansas City

In the course of scanning my old slides I came across some of the slides I shot on my solo bicycle ride from Boston to Kansas City in 1991. I found a loose leaf notebook containing pages 8 through 16 of my slides from that trip (20 slides per page). Pages 1 through 7 are somewhere, but I just haven't come across them yet. These pages cover the span from the Indiana/Ohio border to Kansas City, and include photos from around the Kansas City area. You can see all that I have here. They're not in strictly chronological order, but they tend to go from west to east generally. Below are a few samples:

Powerlines (6)

County Courthouse (1)
Pretty obviously a county courthouse
, but I have not been able to identify the specific location. It's likely to be in Indiana or Illinois. If you know, tell me!

Mike's Pizza - Royal Center, Indiana
Mike's Pizza in Royal Center, Indiana
, where I had a great lunch.

Central Park - Henry, Illinois
Central Park torpedo in Henry, Illinois
. The most recent Google streetview shows that it is still there.

Henry, Illinois (2)
Also in Henry, Illinois, but I can't find it on streetview now
.

2nd Street, Clinton, Iowa
2nd Street in Clinton, Iowa
, where I lived for three years.

River City Bike Shop - Clinton, Iowa
The bike shop in Clinton where I bought my first 10-speed.

Crossing the Mississippi
Crossing the Mississippi from Illinois to Iowa
.

Weathered Barn

Myself & Cannondale (1)
Myself.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site (BW)

Cannondale & Tractors

E.E. Warren Opera House - Greenfield, Iowa
Greenfirled, Iowa
.

Iowa Highway (3)

Willard the Pig at Villisca, Iowa
Although this seems to have been very popular in Villisca over a few decades, I can't find it in current streetviews.

West-to-East Cyclist Crossing Missouri River
Crossing the Missouri River from Missouri to Nebraska I ran into my first other long distance cyclist, heading east
.

Entering Kansas from Nebraska
Entering Kansas from Nebraska
.

Missouri River (2)
The Missouri River
.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri
The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City
.

Hypermart Checkout
Checkout lines at the Walmart Hypermart in Kansas City
. This was a Walmart experimental store before there were any Super Walmarts. It was, at the time, the biggest store of any kind I had ever seen and was at least as big as any Super Walmart today.

The Scout - Kansas City
"The Scout," a sculpture by Cyrus E. Dallin
who also sculpted the Paul Revere statue on the Paul Revere Mall in Boston.

Willow Campsite
I also traveled to the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in southern Missouri
. This was our Boy Scout summer camp location.

permalink | September 10, 2020 at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2018

Cliched Travel Photo Video


Instravel - A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience.

permalink | February 1, 2018 at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 8, 2017

Tesloop - Palm Springs to Las Vegas

$99

permalink | March 8, 2017 at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2016

Santa Monica Photos

Things seen on a Sunday near the Santa Monica downtown Expo Line stop.

Sidewalk Along Colorado (0840)
See how nicely they do the trees, with a big expanse of wood with lots of spaces to allow rain (as if it ever rained!) to get to the soil
. Also expensive, I'm sure. But how much does it cost to replace dead trees?

In Santa Monica (0830a)
I think the Big Blue Bus garage is behind this, or I may just be imagining that for obvious reasons
.

Full Intersection Cross Walk (0843)
The street intersection at the Expo Line goes all four ways whenever it goes into Walk mode
and so, knowing how L.A. drivers are, no expense was spared in slapping paint all over the place. Also, there's a cop on duty.

Hollywood & Highland
Back in Los Angeles proper, this is how they've painted the Hollywood & Highland intersection for the same purpose
. Photo by LA Great Streets.

Panorama of crowd streaming from Expo Line (0839)
Pedestrians streaming away from the Expo train
.

Expo Line Sidewalk (0835)
This was a bit of a challenge for me
. Even when you're walking on this flat surface, your brain tells you its wavy. Easiest solution was to look away.

Expo Line Compass Rose (0836)
Simple and durable directions
. Now, try to find that in the press of a crowd.

Solar Panels arrayed vertically (0847)
I'd like to see their calculations on the efficiency of putting solar panels in a fixed vertical array like this
. Their western wall, where these are mounted, is a lot bigger than their roof.

permalink | June 3, 2016 at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 4, 2016

How Much Would You Pay For A Randomizer?

The TSA bought an app that randomizes a simple binary choice: left or right. You could do it with a magic 8 ball, but that's not expensive enough. TSA paid IBM $1.4 million for this randomizer.

See the randomizer in use so you can fully appreciate its sophistication.

permalink | April 4, 2016 at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 7, 2016

The I-10 Express Lanes

Back in January I had my first opportunity to use the express lanes on I-10 heading into Los Angeles and, boy, I was impressed! The regular lanes were a parking lot while I passed them doing 80 MPH. Last weekend I used them again and discovered congestion pricing. The first time I drove them, it cost me $2.60. This past weekend it was only $1.10! Cheaper than a bus ride! You have to have Fastrak, but getting set up with a Fastrak device costs you nothing at all. Sign up online, linking it to a credit card, and everything gets mailed to you. Stick it on your windshield and you don't have to think about it again, unless you have more passengers. You can set it to say you're solo, have two in the car, or more than two. Pricing may vary. I got it initially for the bridge tolls in the Bay Area. There is no way to pay your toll in person on the Golden Gate anymore. It's either Fastrak or go online afterwards and pay it.

This video picks up where I'm transferring from southbound 605 to westbound 10 which is where the express lanes begin. If they can ever extend them further east, that will be wonderful! The predictable permanent backup on I-10 begins east of the 605.

The thing to note in this video is that the regular lanes of I-10 on my right are mostly a parking lot, while I'm staying in the 70-80 MPH range. This is one of the very few places where I think the leftmost lane is where you should do most of your driving, while passing on the right. This gives you a buffer of one lane most of the time between you and the parked cars. One stupid driver opening his door, unaware of the faster traffic immediately to his left, and everything goes to hell.

As it approaches downtown there is a split between I-10 and 101. I've only followed the 101 branch. It crosses the L.A. River and puts you on Alameda Street right at Union Station. There's an entrance right there to get you back on the 101. But in this video I exited the express lane just before the bridge over the river. Would've been faster to stay in the express lane.

An interesting thing about the congestion pricing is that if the average speed in the express lanes drops below 45 MPH, Fastrak customers will no longer be permitted to enter, as the lanes will be reserved for those vehicles qualifying for HOV status.

permalink | March 7, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

January 1, 2016

Dalian

At last week's Economic Development meeting, Councilmember Joe McKee shared some of the information he brought back from his official visit to Dalian, China.

First, there is the pamphlet about DHS prepared by Councilmember Russell Betts and his wife. For anyone who is worried, Mr. McKee said one of the first things they did in China was to ask one of their hosts to take a look at it to assure it didn't say anything we didn't mean to convey.

The Chinese returned the favor with a book illustrating many of the attractions in the area.

Dalian booklet - front cover
The cover of the book
.

Dalian booklet - Preface
Its preface
.

Preface

Jinzhou New District is home to a cluster of pearls: the romantic Jinshitan, the fashionable camp, the lofty Dahei Mountain. the thousand-year-old Jinzhou city... If you come here, you will be enchanted by her glamour, considering its being endowed with the coastlines of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, with the ancient Jinzhou city and the fast emerging New District, with the natural scenery and cultural landscape. which make New District a colorful scenic tourist resort with a blend of history and modernism.

Jinzhou New District of Dalian is constituted by the original Jinzhou District, the Development Area of Dalian, the National Tourist Resort -Jinshitan, and Dalian Export Processing Zone. She is favored by nature with abundant tourist resources, embodied by several "GuoZiHaos" (places of interest recognized by the nation): the National Tourist Resort, the AAAA Class Scenic Spot, the National Scenic Attraction, the National Forest Park, the National Natural Reserve, etc.

Jinzhou New District borders on the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, rich in mountain and sea, sand and stone. She boasts several types of landscape as follows. Her natural scenery includes the coastline, stretching for over 322 kilometers, the coastal Karst landform of prehistoric Sinian and Cambrian, the National Scenic Attraction, the Jinshtan and the Dahei Mountain known as the First Mountain of South Liaoning province; her cultural landscape covers the historic Bei Shacheng city, the site of battle between Japan and Russia in Nanshun Mountain, and the former residence of Guan Xiangying, a respectable revolutionary Martyr; besides, she also has various plant bases, such as the nationwide largest base of large cherry and yellow peach, the bases of orchid, chrysanthemum, and lily, and the Ziyun Huaxi lavender field covering a thousand mu of land [about 165 acres], which presents a purple sea of flowers and becomes a landmark of the romantic and modem metropolis-Dalian. Also, you can enjoy pastoral scenery here, as described in the verses from Tao Yuanming, a renowned ancient poet, that "Picking chrysanthemums Dongli, I unexpectedly see Nanshan." The tourist resources here range from ancient ones to those of modem times. The ancient ones are amazing and beautiful, like the unique costal national geopark; the historic ones are eternal and profound, like the historic and cultural sites that have lasted across time and space; the modem ones are fashionable and energetic, like the Discovery Kingdom, the Tangfeng Spring, the RV camping encampment, as well as other leisure activities, for instance, playing golf, yachting, hunting, equestrian sports, etc.

Jinzhou New District is well equipped with tourism facilities, and now, she prides herself on five national A-class tourist resorts, six national agri-tourism sites, four streets for characteristic tour provincially, four tourism-oriented countries, nineteen households for star-rated agritainment. twenty-one star-rated hotels prepared for tourism, as well as twelve travel agencies.

The tourism activities in Jinzhou New District never cease to be held for all year round. The Temple Fair of the Dahei Mountain, Dalian International Cherry Festival, Dalian International Beach-culture Festival, Dalian International Winter Swimming Festival, together with other wonderful branded festivals and tourism activities, enjoy a high reputation home and abroad.

Jinzhou New District is a glamorous and brilliant place. And your coming will be greeted with a heartedly welcome from the hospitable people here.

Dalian booklet - large cherry festival
The very aptly named "large cherry festival."

Dalian booklet - hot springs
The one hot spring photo in the book
.

Golden Pebble Tang Dynasty International Hot Spring Resort-one thousand year dream back to Tang Dynasty, oriental culture health spring.

"In early spring, princess Yang baths in the huaqing pool' which warmed and smoothed the creamy-tinted crystal of her skin." it comes from Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi's "A song of unending sorrow", gives the hot spring culture connotation, Golden Pebble Tang Dynasty International Hot Spring Resort is surrounded by mountain and near the sea, moving Huaqing Hot Spring to the picturesque Jinshitan, and hot spring culture deduces to perfection. Everywhere embodies Tang Dynasty's style of 56 Chinese courtyards, spa resort collects from the stone, bamboo, pine gardens and other landscape, Huaqing palace, Princess pool, Rose pool, etc. 76 hot springs bubble pool, it becomes an independent spa resort, unique style, as the advertisement says, "one thousand year dream back to Tang Dynasty, oriental culture health spring."

UPDATE: Councilmember Betts shares this:

Russell Betts
6:55 PM (28 minutes ago)
Reply
to me, Joe
That probably is the stupidest thing I've seen you write Ron.

"At last week's Economic Development meeting, Councilmember Joe McKee shared some of the information he brought back from his official visit to Dalian, China.
First, there is the pamphlet about DHS prepared by Councilmember Russell Betts and his wife. For anyone who is worried, Mr. McKee said one of the first things they did in China was to ask one of their hosts to take a look at it to assure it didn't say anything we didn't mean to convey."

I have asked him to clarify what part of it is stupid:

Which part? It's all accurate.

Ron

Mr. Betts clarified:

Russell Betts
7:29 PM (11 minutes ago)
Reply
to me
Don't waste my time

He was the one who wasted his time by emailing me, and he probably could have clarified his comment using just as many syllables as "Don't waste my time."

What's the problem? Has he gotten tired of bullying everybody else in town?

permalink | January 1, 2016 at 05:02 PM | Comments (2)

December 26, 2015

NYC Cyclist Finds Route 66 "Not very scenic"

Jeffrey Tanenhaus grabbed a Citi Bike (a bike sharing bike) in New York City this past August and headed west. He has just now reached California. Yes, obviously he should have started sooner, but he's here and hanging out in Joshua Tree National Park now...or at least that's what the article says. He remarks on the sparsity of drug stores and such in the southwest, and he's not carrying any camping gear, so I don't know how he will make it in the park. He has been depending on the kindness of strangers for places to sleep, so maybe he can become the darling of Jumbo Rocks campground, or something like that.

He has done a bulk of the ride along historic Route 66, at times pedaling out on the shoulder.

“Out here in the West, sometimes there is no other road,” he said. “It’s not very scenic, but that’s where the roads are.”

One article dated in October said Los Angeles is his goal but he "may end up in San Diego instead of Los Angeles, as he originally planned, because of weather concerns." I wonder what sort of major weather difference he thought he could detect four months in advance.

In effect he bought the bike for $1,200 by not returning it within the time limit. For $1,200 he could have gotten an even better bike. He carried his gear in a trailer.

Jeffrey Tanenhaus

He was attacked by a crazy man in Oklahoma - a very crazy man.

permalink | December 26, 2015 at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2015

Well, This Explains That

Metro Rail 210 bridge
The extension of the Gold Line along the 210
. I first noticed this bridge sometime last year, I think. I thought it strange that I couldn't recall noticing the distinctive design, nor could I recall a lot of construction in that area. I thought maybe I had just been paying too damn much attention to traffic. But, now I learn that it is a new bridge and it's for the Gold Line extension.

permalink | October 23, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2015

Old Cazadero Road

Old Cazadero Road is the 5½ mile road from Guerneville up to the Wildwood Retreat Center. A look at the map suggested this road might be a good opportunity for a video, and I was right.

permalink | September 22, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Three Bay Area Bridges

I did some driving this past weekend.

permalink | September 22, 2015 at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2015

"How can I go to Burning Man?"

Well, here's one way, starting at Barstow. (Hang in there, it gets pretty on the playa.)

permalink | September 13, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2015

Corona to Palm Springs

While driving along CA-91 on one of the hottest days this summer my Ford Ranger seemed to lose its air conditioning. I didn't notice the temperature gauge climbing severely. What had happened was a small plastic part in the heater core had failed (after only 215,000 miles!). I drove probably another ten miles and didn't realize the trouble I was in until I pulled off for gas. When I stopped, steam was pouring out from under the hood. I thought I had blown the water pump, since that is also still original equipment, but it wasn't that. AAA covered my tow back to my mechanic in Palm Springs, about 85 miles one way.

And I took what I hope is a rare opportunity to video the route from a bit higher than I usually sit. I just left my dashcam turned on. Most of this video is at 12X speed. The parts that are not at that speed are faster. So it's only 5½ minutes long.

Music: "Break and Enter" by Prodigy

The highways are CA-91, CA-60/I-215, CA-60, I-10, CA-111.

permalink | August 17, 2015 at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2015

L.A. Times On The El Morocco

They highlight the Inn & Spa with a couple of big photos and a short text summary. It's listed first in their article on Seven chill California pools where you can escape the loud and the crowd. "Summer rates start at $119 a night." I never knew. That's a price that ought to be higher.

The article also lists Las Fuentes Inn and Gardens in Palm Springs and five other resorts in California.

permalink | August 6, 2015 at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2015

The Amenities At Burning Man

We all know about the unmatchable amenities provided at Burning Man, but I've never seen them listed for an ad before:
Burning Man Amenities

This comes from an AirBnB listing. $850/night. You are still responsible for your own $390 ticket. The ad neglects to specifically mention that you need to bring all your own food and water as well. And do the prep, I imagine. The listing doesn't mention collective cooking or meals. I think they could have easily listed "Heating." It'll get pretty warm in that bus by midday.

Also notice that if the customer is not in a placed theme camp, the bus will be located at "the most available spot on the first morning of the festival." And exactly where that spot is, you don't know, so all you have to do upon arriving is walk every street in the city until you find it.

permalink | August 4, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2015

Hipcamp

They're trying to become the AirBNB for camping. Story here. It even has good intentions:

"Over 60% of the United States is privately owned," explains Hipcamp. Its big idea isn't just to open up camping, it's to reap the benefits that outdoors recreation can bring to private land. "It is essential to the future of our planet that much of this land remains undeveloped to maintain wilderness habitats and corridors that allow plants and animals to thrive and migrate naturally. By connecting landowners who want to keep their land undeveloped with responsible, ecologically minded campers, we can use recreation to fund the conservation of this land."

permalink | July 8, 2015 at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2015

Burbank to Palmdale

It's easy to get from Burbank to Palmdale, unless you are California high speed rail. Here are four flyover videos of the four proposed routes.

The dominant plan is this route along highway 14.

permalink | May 28, 2015 at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2015

Antarctica

It must be a trend. We've got two videos shot along the rugged shoreline of Antarctica using drones. And why not? If you're going to the expense and effort to travel there, you are going to want to be able to impress the hell out of those you left back home.

This first one was shot with a GoPro Hero3+ Black mounted on a DJI Phantom 2:


The second one was shot with the new DJI Inspire 1 which possesses its own camera:

permalink | May 7, 2015 at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)