December 16, 2021

Highway 247 May Get Scenic Designation

"The San Bernardino County Planning Commission voted Dec. 9 to support designation of State Route 247 as a scenic highway."

County backs push to make 247 a scenic highway

By Jené Estrada
Hi-Desert Star
Dec 15, 2021

MORONGO BASIN — Old Woman Springs Road got one step closer to being designated a state scenic highway, fulfilling the work of a grassroots movement started by local volunteers in 2009.

The San Bernardino County Planning Commission voted Dec. 9 to support designation of State Route 247 as a scenic highway.

The Scenic Highway 247 Committee, under the Homestead Valley Community Council, has been pushing for the designation since 2009. The commission’s approval will move the proposal to the county board of supervisors. From there it will go to the California Department of Transportation and then to the county board of supervisors for final approval.

Proponents say the highway, also known as Old Woman Springs Road, gives travelers a connection to the San Bernardino National Forest, tourist destinations in Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, historic Route 66, Barstow’s tourist attractions, Calico Ghost Town and other destinations. It is also the most direct route between Joshua Tree National Park and Las Vegas.

Caltrans manages the State Scenic Highway Program; as part of the designation process the applicant must create a Corridor Protection Program and allow the public to comment on it. The planning commission meeting Thursday allowed the public to comment on the proposed Corridor Protection Program.

Designation would regulate grading to prevent erosion, minimize development and make development that does happen blend into the landscape.

Jim Harvey, president of the Homestead Valley Community Council, said the committee is seeking designation for four specific parts of the highway. Section one starts in Yucca Valley and goes past town limits. Section two encompasses three miles coming into Landers. Section three travels through Johnson Valley into Lucerne Valley and spans 15 miles. Section four encompasses 27 miles of north Lucerne Valley.

“The 247 traveler follows the trail of the early settlers, cowboys and miners on the only route along the San Bernardino Mountains,” Harvey said. “It is one of the least altered landscapes in the state.”

He detailed a rich history of early cowboys, settlers and miners traveling through 247. More information on the history of the road can be found at http://scenichighway247.com.

After a brief presentation the commissioners said that they supported the project and would recommend it.

“This is an outstanding project,” said Commissioner Thomas P. Haughey. “It’s a shame it’s taken 12 years to this point but hopefully we’ll have this scenic highway soon.”

permalink | December 16, 2021 at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2021

Bicycling The Triboro Bridge

The GNI Gatherings are in August in northeastern Pennsylvania. I bicycled to the event from Boston several times. The first time I rode with Michael and we took the inland route which had us make a big curve north of the NYC area, but that made the route much longer than necessary. In subsequent years we (or I, solo) took the shorter, more direct route which was to cycle from Boston to New London, Connecticut, ferry from there to the eastern end of Long Island, and then ride from there directly to and through New York City. The usual way into Manhattan was via the Queensboro Bridge, but then the city closed the bike path on that bridge for a construction (or rehab) project, so I decided to try the Triboro Bridge (RFK Bridge) in August 2000 which, according to the information I had, also had bike routes (sidewalks) on it. It became an adventure. I arrived at the bridge just before sunset so I could get a few photos. I managed to get onto Randall's Island okay, but the gates on the pedestrian path on the bridge (on the north end of Randall Island) that would actually take me into Manhattan were locked shut. The city probably wanted me to go to the south end of the island and take the Wards Island Bridge, a pedestrian bridge used in The Wiz. But by then it was dark and I didn't relish the idea of trying to find my way to that bridge, plus I had a friend waiting for me on 125th Street in Manhattan. So I simply took my panniers off my bike, lifted the bike and then the panniers over the gate, climbed over it myself, put it all back together and then rode towards Manhattan. Along the way I came across a bum who was sitting on the bike path while injecting himself. He apologized and pulled his legs out of my way. There were more locked gates at the Manhattan end of the bridge, which I got past in the same way, and then continued my ride into Manhattan.

All photos are Ektachrome.

RFK Bridge (2)
Facing northwesterly
.

Hell Gate Bridge Viewed From Triboro Bridge
Hell Gate Bridge
, the railroad bridge that parallels the Triboro Bridge here.

RFK Bridge (3)
Facing mostly east, into Queens
.

RFK Bridge (5)
The view back into Queens
.

permalink | November 26, 2021 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2021

Trump Sells Washington Hotel

Trump will sell the rights to operate the hotel (which remains owned by the federal government) for $375-million. It will become a Waldorf-Astoria. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform says the hotel has lost $70-million since Trump began operating it.

permalink | November 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2021

Plans To Extend Las Vegas High Speed Rail To Rancho Cucamonga

Brightline West which is building the high speed rail connection from Las Vegas to Victorville can now begin negotiating a route from Victorville to Rancho Cucamonga. This would give it a direct connection into the transit systems in Los Angeles, which is essential for the success of the train, IMO. They plan to route it within the I-15 right-of-way just like the Vegas-Victorville segment. Not too many year ago experts were saying you couldn't build high speed rail through the Cajon Pass due to the elevation change and many curves. The article gives no hints why those limitations have suddenly disappeared.

permalink | October 31, 2021 at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2021

NYC-Boston Seaplane

The Wall Street Journal has a brief puff piece on Tailwind Air, a fairly new seaplane service that flies between Manhattan and Boston Harbor. The WSJ article says the flying time is about 90 minutes and tries to compare that to "traffic jams at an airport checkpoint." That's like comparing apples to apple tree branches. On Tailwind Air's website they are more sensible, providing comparisons of real travel times via Tailwind Air (two hours), standard airplane from LaGuardia to Logan (just under three and a half hours), or Acela (Penn Station to South Station - almost four and a half hours).

The next question for me was where in Boston? Do you still have to deal with Logan airport, or do they drop you off somewhere else? It takes a little digging on their website to find out that the terminal in Boston is located on Fan Pier. A low-res little map suggests they've got a dock floating somewhere out in Boston Harbor. It seems the planes takes you there, then a water taxi ferries you to Fan Pier. In NYC the terminal is East 23rd St. & FDR Drive. No indication if you have to do the water taxi transfer in NYC, too, or if the plane is actually able to come right up to the pier.

Travel season is mid-March to early November. "Seaplanes take off and land visually in daytime only (VFR rules) by FAA statute. This means no nighttime or poor weather water takeoffs or landings." The planes can be diverted and land at Logan in Boston or Teterboro, New Jersey. If diverted, each passenger is "provided a $40 (Boston) or $80 (Manhattan) Visa/Amex gift card." Prices start at $350 one-way. You're limited to one piece of carry-on luggage, up to 20 pounds.

Video from CBS Boston briefly shows passengers transferring from the floating dock onto a plane. Apparently, passengers are not required to wear flotation devices.

permalink | September 4, 2021 at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

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)