Author Topic: Vacation Advisory!  (Read 87507 times)

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BorisG

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2007, 07:04:48 PM »
Nova Scotia.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2007, 03:53:35 AM »
Nova Scotia.

Love Nova Scotia - been there just once (a week's vacation w/ a rental car that included Prince Edward Island) - the Cabot Trail drive on Cape Breton was spectacular - kind of like the Blue Ridge Parkway w/ the sea & birds.

Love the lobster - probably ate that daily (in Maine, include 'lobster rolls' for lunch & you can eat them twice a day!  ;D)

 

Heather Harrison

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2007, 11:04:21 AM »
I just went on a quick 2-day trip through southeastern Idaho.  From Salt Lake City, I drove almost 800 miles round-trip.  The western U.S. is very big, but also very empty.  The speed limit on the rural freeways is 75MPH, so it is easy to cover a lot of ground.  Idaho doesn't have the best reputation; it is known for neo-Nazis and (recently) a Senator who solicits sex in the men's room.  On top of that, many people think there isn't much there.  People looking for big, famous tourist destinations might not find a lot (except for Yellowstone, a small part of which is in Idaho), but those who like to explore would love Idaho.  There are numerous great natural areas and many interesting historic sites.  I go there fairly often for quick day trips, but this time I want to penetrate deeper and spend more time.  Also, I actually remembered my camera, so there are pictures.

Since I went to a number of places, I will post about this in installments.  This post will cover Craters of the Moon National Monument, Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1, and Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls.

From Salt Lake City, I drove north on Interstate 15 to Blackfoot, Idaho, and drove west on U.S. 26.  About 75 miles west of I-15 (15 miles west of Arco) on U.S. 20/26/93 is Craters of the Moon National Monument, the site of some impressive prehistoric volcanic activity.  It features a number of extinct volcanoes, desolate lava fields, lava caves, and an interesting array of vegetation.  It was too hot, so I couldn't hike around very much; I'll have to come back in the spring or fall.  The first picture is a scene in Devil's Orchard, and the second shows a creepy-looking pigeon in Indian Tunnel.



Next, I returned to the east.  A few miles east of Arco on U.S. 20/26 is Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1, which operated in the 1950's and 1960's.  It is now a museum.  This was the first location where uranium-238 was converted into plutonium-239 for use as nuclear fuel, and it was the first place where nuclear power was generated from plutonium.  Also, just outside of the facility are two test beds where a nuclear-powered jet engine was tested.  That project was cancelled before it could be put into practice.

Here are views of the test beds for the nuclear jet engine.



Here is the door to a disused old shed outside of EBR-1, with a number of nasty warning signs.  I especially liked the hantavirus sign.  I guess they don't want anyone to go in there.



Here are two views of the control panel.  The second shows the SCRAM button; pushing this button would drive the control rods into the reactor and shut it down immediately.  The control panel is massive compared to the tiny one in the University of Utah that I operated as part of a lab class that I took years ago.



Here are two more pictures from in the EBR-1 building.  The first is a backup generator, and the second is a warning sign about NAK.  NAK is a sodium/potassium alloy that is liquid at room temperature.  Liquid metals are very useful; in this case, it is used as a coolant.  Unfortunately, NAK is highly reactive; it can burn if exposed to the air, and it explosively reacts with water.  Despite this, EBR-1 never had a NAK-related accident while it operated.



After this, I drove east on U.S. 20 to Idaho Falls and went to the Museum of Idaho to see a small atomic power exhibit, some historical exhibits, and a traveling exhibit of old Bibles and related scrolls and fragments.  The next morning, I went to the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls.  It is a small zoo, but there are no substandard exhibits and it is immaculately maintained.  The picture below shows a tiger relaxing in a pool.



After visiting the zoo, I went on a tour of a number of ghost towns.  I'll post those pictures later.

Heather

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2007, 06:36:09 AM »
I just went on a quick 2-day trip through southeastern Idaho.  From Salt Lake City, I drove almost 800 miles round-trip........

Heather - thanks for the travelogue & the pics - there are only 4 or 5 states that I've not visited in the USA, and Idaho is one - most of the others are in the same vicinity (must rectify that soon!).  Love 'ghost towns' BTW, and have visited several in the southwest part of the country -   :D   Dave

Offline Anne

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2007, 07:50:39 AM »
Sonic Man:

"Just returned from a great 6-night trip to Quebec - weather not great the first few days, but then excellent - great scenery, food, & history! 

La Malbaie - first 3 nights at the Le Manoir Richelieu (now a Fairmont property; below left) - day trips out into the Charlevoix countryside - including a drive on the scenic 362 highway w/ stops in St. Joseph-de-la-Rive & Baie-St. Paul; lunch in the latter town (delicious mussels & frittes!).

Then on to Quebec City - left early to see some sights along the way - Canyon Sainte-Anne (below, right),  Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, & Montmorency Falls; lunched on the island of Île d’Orléans at La Goéliche, a charming inn & restaurant w/ a great view of the city - 

Quebec City - stayed at the Chateau-Frontenac, now another Fairmont property; perched like a fortress in the old 'upper town' (lower pic) - spectacular views coming up the St. Lawrence River on a cruise; the old 'lower town' has been really built up beautifully since our last visit - great eating & shopping!"


Thanks for bringing up Quebec in the conversation.  I went to summer school there in 1965 with 5 other students from Aquinas college (Michigan).

At Ste. Anne-de-Beaupre we were dismayed to see how commercial it was.  There are so many beautiful old churches in Quebec.

We saw the skull of Champlain in the city and were amazed how narrow the streets were.  At the light at an intersection (8 pm), I remember being surprised one Saturday night to see a lady all dressed up, wearing very high heels, and riding on the back of a Harley-Davidson or some such motorcycle!  Immediately after that a car behind us (5 girls and 1 guy.  He had a car) honked.  That was when we learned that no one there waits for the traffic light to change if there is no one else at the intersection.  At that time in the US everyone waited patiently for the light to change.

Every Sunday we would eat lunch together and then go to the Plains of Abraham to play Bridge all afternoon.  There were always others enjoying the Plains.  Some were making love and constantly the helicopters would "buzz" (fly very, very low) over the top of the couple and remain there a few minutes.  We would laugh, then go back to our card game.

We all liked the French pastries and took some home at the end of our time there.  We also discovered their bean soup - very tasty and available almost everywhere.  Since we were poor college students we only went to a nice restaurent on the guy's birthday.  It was his birthday but he took us all out to celebrate.  We were serenaded by someone with a violin.  The girls loved that and were thrilled.  After dinner we went to a dance.  There were people from everywhere dancing.  We didn't dance very much as we only had one guy with us.

Suddenly an old man started to ask us to dance - one girl after another.  He kept saying something to us but with our Parisian accent and him using the local "patois",
we could not understand him.  To be polite and friendly, we would smile and say, "Oui, oui."

When we got back to school on Monday, we asked our teacher what had he been saying?  To our chagrin she told us he had been asking if we wanted to go bed with him.  The laugh was on us.

I believe there is a beautiful area called the Gaspe peninsula (quite far east of Quebec) that might interest you.

I have not been to Europe but the streets of Quebec often reminded me of streets I have seen in pictures of Europe.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 08:05:19 AM by Anne »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2007, 11:17:35 AM »
we could not understand him.  To be polite and friendly, we would smile and say, "Oui, oui."

When we got back to school on Monday, we asked our teacher what had he been saying?  To our chagrin she told us he had been asking if we wanted to go bed with him.  The laugh was on us.

I believe there is a beautiful area called the Gaspe peninsula (quite far east of Quebec) that might interest you.

I have not been to Europe but the streets of Quebec often reminded me of streets I have seen in pictures of Europe.


Hello Anne - thanks for your memories about Quebec City - LOL @ the above!  ;D

Yes, the Gaspe Peninsula was not that far from La Malbaie - there were 'all-day' tours to the area; I've been to Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, but not to New Brunswick or many other parts of the Quebec Province; and on our last night in Quebec City, I had some wonderful snow crab legs (nicely de-shelled) which were from the Gaspe area.

We love visiting Quebec because it is in our same time zone, a foreign country, and French-speaking, so there is a wonderful sense of goin' to Europe - and in the past the Canadian dollar was much less than the American dollar, so prices were great; unfortunately, no longer the case -  :)   Dave

Heather Harrison

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2007, 04:57:04 PM »
Here is the rest of my Idaho trip.  After visiting the zoo, I headed north from Idaho Falls on Interstate 15.  I took Exit 143 and headed west on ID-33, and then northwest on ID-28.  About 50-60 miles ahead, in southern Lemhi County, there are some interesting places to visit.  A well-marked dirt road heads west to Gilmore and Meadow Lake.  Gilmore is an exceptionally well-preserved ghost town.  As with many ghost towns in the western U.S., when the mines closed, the town died.  These days, people who are interested in preserving the history of the place are moving back into Gilmore, so it isn't really possible to go into the abandoned buildings.  This is probably a good thing; it will help to discourage vandals.  Here are a few views of Gilmore.



Many of the ghost towns I have visited feature old, rusting bedsprings.  Gilmore was no exception.



From Gilmore, I drove west on a gut-wrenching narrow dirt road into the rugged Lemhi Mountains to Meadow Lake, which is exceptionally clear.  There is a campground near the lake; it was rather busy.



Then, I headed back to the south.  A few miles south of Gilmore on ID-28, a sign points west to some charcoal kilns.  A smooth, well-maintained dirt road heads west for about 5 miles, and ends at the kilns, which are now owned by Targhee National Forest.  The Forest Service has stabilized the kilns and placed trails and interpretive signs in the vicinity.  Charcoal kilns are often found near mining areas; they burned wood to provide charcoal for the smelters.  In this case, the smelter was across the valley near one of the area's most productive mines.  These kilns, like others I have seen in the west, have the characteristic beehive shape.



Again, I headed back to the highway and went south.  A few miles down the road, past the Clark County line, is the remnant of a town called Blue Dome.  I have found no information about the town, but I photographed this picturesque abandoned building.



From here, I headed back to the freeway.  This time, I went south on ID-28, then east on ID-22, which meets the freeway at Dubois (Exit 167).  Dubois is a typical agricultural town, and it features the usual array of gas stations near the freeway interchange.  I headed north on I-15 in search of more ghost towns.  I-15 in this area is one of the least traveled freeways in the country; every time I have driven it, it has been nearly empty.  I made a quick stop in Spencer (Exit 180) to buy an opal pendant.  Spencer is near some productive opal mines, and it has a number of stores selling opal products.  If not for the opal business, the town would likely be nearly abandoned.  From Spencer, I went north to Humphrey (Exit 190).  Humphrey is an old railroad town; it probably died when the freeway bypassed it.  There is a very nice abandoned building just east of the freeway.



Part of the old highway (U.S. 91) survives in this area.  I continued north from Humphrey on old U.S. 91 rather than the freeway.  On the way to the next town, I crossed this old bridge, which is surprisingly well-maintained to this day.



A few miles north of the bridge, I crossed the state line into Montana and came to the town of Monida.  (Monida is accessible from I-15, Exit 0, less than 1 mile north of the Idaho/Montana border.)  This was an old railroad town.  There used to be a stage coach that followed the Continental Divide east from Monida to Yellowstone, and Monida was the location where passengers transitioned from the train to the stage coach.  The road from here to Yellowstone still exists, but it never became a major highway.  Yellowstone traffic now leaves I-15 at Idaho Falls.  In later years, Monida served travelers following U.S. 91; Monida Pass was likely a good location for people driving their rickety old cars to get service.  After I-15 was built, the town was bypassed and it gradually died.  While not entirely unoccupied, it is a mere shadow of its former self.  The only active business I could find was a junkyard just out of town to the south.  Monida Mercantile and the post office have been closed for a long time, and the garage looks similarly dilapidated.  Finally, there is a picturesque old barn that is popular with photographers; many pictures can be found on the internet.



By the time I got to Monida, it was getting late, and I still had a long drive back to Salt Lake City, so I got on the freeway and headed for home.  It was a quick trip, but I saw a lot and there are many places I would like to come back to.

Heather

Offline Anne

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2007, 06:45:49 PM »
Hello Anne - thanks for your memories about Quebec City - LOL @ the above!  ;D

Yes, the Gaspe Peninsula was not that far from La Malbaie - there were 'all-day' tours to the area; I've been to Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, but not to New Brunswick or many other parts of the Quebec Province; and on our last night in Quebec City, I had some wonderful snow crab legs (nicely de-shelled) which were from the Gaspe area.

We love visiting Quebec because it is in our same time zone, a foreign country, and French-speaking, so there is a wonderful sense of goin' to Europe - and in the past the Canadian dollar was much less than the American dollar, so prices were great; unfortunately, no longer the case -  :)   Dave



 ;D  I laugh every time I think about it.

If I remember correctly, there was a poster that showed a breathtaking view of the Gaspe Peninsula with a train going through the area with a sheer dropoff that was almost frightening to imagine.

DavidW

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2007, 03:05:30 AM »
If you're ever wandering through Texas, there are some really cool things that you might not know to watch out for because they're in the middle of nowhere--

Kerrville has an art museum featuring some great art such as some Renoir and Picasso!!

Dublin is the home of Dr Pepper, and they have a museum and sell the original imperial cane sugar formula.

Oh fiddle sticks I'm out of time, I'll come back to this thread tonight.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2007, 03:33:12 AM »
If you're ever wandering through Texas, there are some really cool things that you might not know to watch out for because they're in the middle of nowhere--

Kerrville has an art museum featuring some great art such as some Renoir and Picasso!!

Dublin is the home of Dr Pepper, and they have a museum and sell the original imperial cane sugar formula.

Oh fiddle sticks I'm out of time, I'll come back to this thread tonight.

David - hello!  Great to see you back, and congrats on the 'new' job (believe I saw that notice on another thread) - been to TX about a half dozen times but mainly the largest cities - would love to explore some of the other areas of that immense state!   :D  Dave

Heather - again, thanks for those pics!   :)

Offline MishaK

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2007, 11:38:58 AM »
I'll be going to Ottawa in two weeks for a friend's wedding. Any recommendations for what to see and do around there? I'll only have a long weekend, one day of which will be completely booked with wedding activities.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2007, 12:27:41 PM »
I'll be going to Ottawa in two weeks for a friend's wedding. Any recommendations for what to see and do around there? I'll only have a long weekend, one day of which will be completely booked with wedding activities.

On a previous visit to Canada (maybe 4 yrs ago), we combined Ottawa & Montreal - was our first trip to Ottawa and had a wonderful experience; stayed at the Chateau Laurier (below) which is in the 'heart' of the downtown district right next to the government buildings & the canal; plenty of excellent restaurants in the vicinity and w/i walking distance.

Plenty to do, but two favorite remembrances (outside of eating!), included a boat ride on the Rideau Canal (below, right - near the Ch. Laurier in the background) & a visit to the Canadian Museum of Civilization nearby in Hull (but plenty of other activities & museums).  Report back please - wife & I would like to return soon!  :D

 

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2007, 12:51:15 PM »
Ottawa is a very quiet city, large but it just purrs along contentedly. It's a beautiful place, with lots of tree lined avenues and imposing but tasteful government buildings. Make sure to visit the Parliament Hill and maybe take a horse drawn cab ride through the city.

The Museum recommended by Dave is indeed worth a visit. Its architecture is quite spectacular and it boasts a great collection of totems. A lot of focus is actually directed at the First Nations. Currently there's an exhibit of contemporary aboriginal art. BTW Hull has merged with a few other cities, it's now called Gatineau. 

DavidW

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2007, 02:35:58 PM »
David - hello!  Great to see you back, and congrats on the 'new' job (believe I saw that notice on another thread) - been to TX about a half dozen times but mainly the largest cities - would love to explore some of the other areas of that immense state!   :D  Dave

Yeah Texas is amazing! 

I screwed up-- it's Albany, TX not Kerrville I was thinking of.

So here are some pics of this cool little museum from the outside:





And they have a website-- it's http://www.theoldjailartcenter.org/

It's really cool if you happen to be in the area.  Hehe happen to the area, that's funny. ;D

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2007, 06:57:48 PM »
If you're ever wandering through Texas, there are some really cool things that you might not know to watch out for because they're in the middle of nowhere--

Kerrville has an art museum featuring some great art such as some Renoir and Picasso!!...

Don't forget about the "Van Gogh" museum in Van Horn, Texas! I kid you not. (I drove from Austin to Sacramento after 9-11. I was originally scheduled to fly back on the 12th!)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2007, 07:01:40 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2007, 06:59:23 PM »
Heather, thanks for the Idaho report. Any opinions on Couer D'lane (don't know how to spell it, too tired to look it up.)?? Any opinions on Spokane, WA? I might be applying for a job in that area pretty soon. Thanks.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2007, 07:02:09 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Heather Harrison

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2007, 07:26:06 PM »
I have only been through Coeur d'Alene and Spokane once, so I don't have a strong opinion of those places.  They are quite far from the part of Idaho that I visited and a long day's drive from Salt Lake City.  I noticed that they have grown together a bit; the town of Post Falls fills the gap between them.  Coeur d'Alene seems like the most attractive of these places.  From what I have seen, it is a very beautiful area.  East of Coeur d'Alene, gorgeous scenery can be viewed practically anywhere; even the freeway is a scenic drive.  I do intend to visit those areas again eventually; I would like to get a better feel for what is there.  The Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area, by the way, doesn't look much like the part of Idaho that I just visited - it seems like a different world.  Idaho is a very large, strangely shaped state; it can be split into at least three regions which have very distinct cultures.  Southeastern Idaho (where I visited) is like a northern extension of Utah; the Mormon Church is a prominent cultural force there.  Southwestern Idaho seems to have more in common with nearby parts of Nevada and Oregon, and Boise is a fairly typical mid-sized city.  Northern Idaho is best known for neo-Nazis, but that element is probably a small minority.  Aside from that, I haven't heard a great deal about it and haven't spent enough time there to figure out what the culture is like.  You might want to ask around; maybe someone else here has spent time there and can answer your question.

If you do end up in that area, I'm sure you will figure out its good points and bad points after a while.  Of course, if you like outdoor activities (hiking, camping, etc.) it should be a very good location.  For classical music, the region is probably rather provincial, but I don't know for certain how good (or bad) the local music scene is.  If you like historic sites, it seems to be a good area; there are many historic mining towns nearby.  If you like wine, you will be within a half-day's drive of two very good wine regions.

Hopefully, this limited information is helpful.

Heather

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2007, 08:35:06 PM »
Thanks a lot Heather, it is indeed useful. I'm a bit of a peace and quiet fanatic and also a nature lover (I am a biologist after all), so I think I'd really like such an area. And, I'm really sick of the obscene cost of living in Vancouver. It will be a huge relief to live in a place where a million dollars buys more than a one-bedroom, 800 sq. foot condo, and where an $8 bottle of wine costs $8 and not the $28 we pay here.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Anne

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2007, 05:46:46 PM »
On a previous visit to Canada (maybe 4 yrs ago), we combined Ottawa & Montreal - was our first trip to Ottawa and had a wonderful experience; stayed at the Chateau Laurier (below) which is in the 'heart' of the downtown district right next to the government buildings & the canal; plenty of excellent restaurants in the vicinity and w/i walking distance.

Plenty to do, but two favorite remembrances (outside of eating!), included a boat ride on the Rideau Canal (below, right - near the Ch. Laurier in the background) & a visit to the Canadian Museum of Civilization nearby in Hull (but plenty of other activities & museums).  Report back please - wife & I would like to return soon!  :D

 

If my memory is correct, maybe springtime would be a good time to visit.  Didn't the Queen give Ottawa a large number of tulips?  I've forgotten the occasion.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Vacation Advisory!
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2007, 06:07:59 PM »
If my memory is correct, maybe springtime would be a good time to visit.  Didn't the Queen give Ottawa a large number of tulips?  I've forgotten the occasion.

Canada provided safe haven in Ottawa for Queen Juliana of The Netherlands and members of the Dutch royal family, who began a tradition of gifting thousands of tulip bulbs each year to the people of Canada to symbolize international friendship. It's the largest tulip festival in the world, with over 3 million bulbs blooming in May.

 

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