And the Winner is (2)…

RWH, who guessed:

Approximately 100 yds askew of directly down range.

Down Range of what, you ask? Well, let’s see if this jogs your memory:

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Ring any bells?

How about this one (I didn’t take this one):

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Yep…that’s Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the site of the assassination of JFK. The picture in the first post is the “grassy knoll” that the conspiracy theorists believe the “real” assassin fired from, the second is the Texas Book Repository from which the actual shots were fired.

I’d actually done a research paper on the Kennedy assassination in college. I researched the Warren report and various conspiracy theories. My final conclusion at the time was that there were some oddities with the investigation and other aspects of the case, but that the odds of a cover up were very small. The theories about the shots coming from the front just didn’t hold up ballistically, either from the autopsy reports or the videos of the actual incident, additionally, there simply would have had to have been vastly too many people involved to pull something like that off and keep it quiet for decades.

One of the conspiracy theories opined that the shots were way too difficult for Oswald, a reportedly mediocre shot, to have made.

After visiting the repository and seeing the view from where he made the shots, I have to strongly disagree. The shots were taken at a range that any half-way competent marksman could have made.

Anyway, Dallas it was. I hereby award RWH 1000 internet points. Spend them wisely.

And the winner is…

Chuck, who didn’t actually name the city, but described amazingly close to the exact location the picture was taken from:

Parking lot on 2nd Ave just north of the intersection of Western Ave and West John St., behind the Hilton?

Here’s the other “dead giveaway” picture, that was taken from a location just a half a block from the first:

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I normally would have said: “you’re right, I was in Seattle”, but since he got so specific in his answer, I have to show you just how close to exact he really was:

I was staying at the Homewood Suites off Western Ave in Seattle. The Homewood Suites is one of the Hilton Chain and is near the corner described by Chuck, so I’d imagine that’s the hotel he was thinking about. He was VERY close.

The first picture was taken from the parking lot behind the Westmark Hotel a half a block from the Homewood Suites. It’s marked spot 1 in the below satellite picture. The Westmark is on the intersection of John Street and 1st Ave, just one block from the intersection Chuck described. The only reason I chose that spot is because the parking lot of the Westmark is on a hill and is a higher spot with a better view than the Homewood suites parking lot.

The picture is of the Puget Sound (complete with ferry) with the Seattle Post Intelligencer building in the foreground. If you follow that link, you’ll notice that the globe on their building is part of their trademark and is a designated Seattle landmark.

The second one of the Space needle was taken just up the street a little at spot 2 on the satellite picture.

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So, Chuck is the winner of 1,000 internet points and I’m going to award a bonus of 250 internet points for being so specific about the location.

Congratulations.

That and $6.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks, which is also in Seattle.

Where in the World was Sailorcurt

I think I’m going to start a new theme. I did this a while back when I was in Toronto, I posted a picture of the CN tower and asked people to identify where I was.

I travel a lot for work and I don’t like posting about it while I’m gone…don’t like announcing to the world that I’m not home, I don’t advertise my address, but it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out.

But after I get back from a trip, I can say where I just was. I may start doing this more often.

I just returned from a trip. Let’s see if you can guess where I was from this picture taken a block or so from my hotel (click to make bigger).

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One thousand internet points to whoever gets it first (assuming, of course, there are still a few people checking in here occasionally).

If no one gets it from this picture, I’ve got another that’s a dead giveaway.

I almost forgot

Here’s our “trip picture”.

IMG_0989_2I took this using the timer feature on my camera. It was taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park at about 10,000 feet. Keep in mind that I had been having problems with altitude sickness the whole time we were in Colorado so I was feeling a little woozy to begin with.

After activating the timer, I had to run the 100 feet or so back to my bike in order to pose for the picture. I barely made it in time, and after the picture snapped, I almost fell down I was so out of breath.

I survived though and have good memories as a result.

Motorcycle Trip 4

1 HPIM4966As the last leg of our trip, we left the Black Hills and took the scenic route to the Badlands.

DSC01016After visiting, I can see now why they’re called the badlands.

IMG_1716Could you imagine driving a wagon train and coming up to this? “OK…Now What?”

20140730_153418It really is beautiful, but trying to travel it back before paved roads had to have been a nightmare…especially considering that it’s basically a desert. The badlands only averages 16 inches of precipitation a year…which includes snow in the winter.

360 panoramaAt the highest point we found in the park, I climbed a little hill to the tallest spot I could find, then I used the panorama feature on my tablet to take three panorama shots, then used a piece of software called “photostitch” to piece them together. I’m pretty happy with the resulting 360 degree panoramic view of Badlands National Park (definitely click this one to make it bigger).

IMG_1724After leaving the badlands, we headed back toward Brother’s house in Omaha. We didn’t make it the whole way and stopped in a little one horse town near the Nebraska border. Across the street from the hotel was a gas station with this interesting piece of art named “scrappy”. If you can’t tell from the picture, it is completely made of scrap metal. Very creative.

The next day we completed the trip to Omaha where we dropped off Brother, then back to Indiana where I took leave of Uncle and Cousin, and then I made the final leg of the trip back home to Virginia.

Screen shot 2014-08-16 at 10.39.31 AMHere’s a map of our basic trip path (without all the side trips and sightseeing routes)

IMG_1728And here’s my final mileage.

5,126 miles total.

It was a good trip. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.

Motorcycle Trip 3

Over the next couple of days we wandered around the Black Hills, got in some good twisty riding, and saw the sights.

1 IMG_1393Crazy Horse

2 IMG_1422Mount Rushmore (this picture was taken from the road from a distance, we did actually go up to the monument and walk the trail to the foot of the mountain, but I liked this picture better)

3 IMG_1582Deadwood

4 DSC00965Which is the place where Wild Bill Hickock was killed and Aces and Eights became known as the infamous “Dead Man’s Hand” in poker.

5 IMG_0196Calamity Jane is also buried here. BTW, contrary to popular belief, Wild Bill swears he never had a “thing” with Calamity. “I’m a married man” he exlaimed…”besides, have you SEEN her?” he chuckled.

6 DSC00976Wild Bill flirting with the girls

7 IMG_1617Wild Bill Hickock’s been assasinated!

8 DSC01522“The Needles”

9 IMG_1527Driving the Needles Road

10 IMG_1641Devil’s Tower Wyoming (no, we didn’t see any alien spacecraft)

11 comparisonDevil’s Tower is so huge, and so isolated out there, it’s very difficult to get a feel for how big it is, even when standing right at its foot. It really is a huge natural phenomenon. Here’s a picture I created to try to show the scale a little bit.

Devil’s Tower is 1.267 feet tall from its base. The Washington Monument is 555 feet tall. The eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet tall and the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet to its roof, 1,454 feet to the top of the radio tower.

Only the world’s very largest man-made structures are taller than Devil’s Tower.

It’s really an amazing piece of God’s handiwork.

Motorcycle Trip 2

We left off in Estes Park Colorado, wandering around in the Mountains.

The next phase of our trip was in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but Uncle wanted to make a side trip on the way. Between Colorado and South Dakota we took a side trip to Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

12 HPIM4893Chimney Rock was one of the navigation points along the Oregon trail during the expansion years of the 1800’s. As they were traveling across the plains, they could see Chimney rock for days, making it a good navigation point.

13 20140727_105744The visitor’s center is very interesting with a lot of information on the Oregon trail and the settlers that traveled it.

14 HPIM4926We then continued on to the black hills, ending up in Custer South Dakota, just a few miles from the Crazy Horse monument.

Brother was feeling froggy so after we checked in to the hotel, we took an evening ride of Custer State Park, including a run around the Wildlife Loop.

15 IMG_1241We saw a bit of wildlife including wild burros

16 IMG_1264Antelope

17 20140727_200637And Buffalo who actually got a little close for comfort, but we really didn’t have anywhere to go.

18 IMG_1346They were in a field next to the road, we stopped to take pictures, but they decided they wanted to cross the road and ended up on both sides of us, so we just stayed close to the bikes and watched.

Family Motorcycle Trip

OK…if you insist:

As always, click pix to make bigger

Last year we skipped the family motorcycle trip due to schedule conflicts, but this year we got it back on track again.

IMG_0889In the wee hours of Sunday, July 20, I departed Southeastern Virginia to head to Central Indiana to hook up with the Indiana Stones.

Starting Mileage

That’s about a 750 mile trip by itself and took me about 12 hours of driving time (14 hours total travel time with stops). I arrived on Sunday evening and spent the night with my best friend CB and his family.

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Monday morning, I headed to my uncle’s house and met up with them for the leg to Omaha, Nebraska.

Uncle and his wife and Cousin and his wife tend to stop a lot more often than I do on my own, so although the mileage on that day was only about 640 miles, it was another 12 hour day.

IMG_0114We did make one sightseeing stop. On a previous trip, Cousin had noticed this big tractor supply place with displays out front and wanted to check it out. It was pretty neat, and they had a showroom with some company history and displays of their big tractors and such. Very interesting.

2014-07-21 13.20.35We also stopped at the world’s biggest truck stop in Iowa. Yes, that’s a full sized tractor-trailer in the back of the store. They had another just tractor in there as well with their display of lighting and chrome accessories.

We spent the night at Brother’s house in Omaha and then the next day, took the leisurely 400 or so mile trip to Sidney Nebraska to visit the Cabella’s world headquarters and have dinner with Sister and her family. Brother, by the way, joined us for the remainder of the trip until the return to Omaha. Sister and family are not bikers, so…

Incidentally, if you ever happen to need to spend the night in Sidney, NE, be sure to make reservations in advance. There are only a couple of hotels and they can basically charge whatever they want since they’re always full. We paid $209 a night to stay at a run-down Comfort Inn. I usually pay way less than that to stay in very nice hotels when I’m traveling. About the only place I’ve ever paid that much was in swanky downtown hotels in Toronto or Seattle. Didn’t even pay that much in San Francisco. I saved the receipt…I may frame it.

5 DSC01264The next day, we headed for the mountains. Only a couple hundred miles so we took our time and saw the sights and ended up in Estes Park Colorado, next door to the Rocky Mountain National park.

6 HPIM4759One of the really cool things about the Rockies for me is how abruptly they begin. One minute you’re in the plains, the next you’re in the mountains. Like pulling a curtain.

That must have been a very daunting view for people who’ve been traveling on foot and wagon for weeks and weeks to see those forbidding peaks rising from the plains in front of them. Amazing.

We stayed in Estes Park for several days, each day driving to see different views, try different roads, etc. I’ve got probably a couple of hundred pictures of it all so I won’t bore you will all of them. Here are some highlights:

7 20140724_121401

8 DSC01317

9 HPIM4806

10 HPIM4838

11 IMG_0151

Next, we headed Northeast to South Dakota, but I’ll pick up with another post later on. This one has gotten long enough.

Windmill Musings

Just got back from a family motorcycle trip. I may post more on it later if I get motivated. I’ve got lots of pictures, but I’m not sure I even have any readers left considering how little I post any more.

At any rate, as I was riding my motorcycle across the country, two observations struck me:

1. There are windmills everywhere. In every state, I saw them stretching across the land, sometimes in both directions as far as the eye could see. According to the Wind Energy Foundation, only about 4% of our power comes from wind energy. How many conventional or Nuclear power plants do you see when traveling across the country? I can recall seeing three Nuclear plants, one coal plant and two what I believe were gas fired plants, all of which took up very little landscape relatively speaking.

But I saw at least 10 wind farms and each of them covered vast areas. All for 4% of our power. I’m wondering: how much of our landscape is going to have to be covered with windmills before an appreciable amount of our energy comes from that source? All of it? I, for one, am not happy about it.

2. On my way back toward home, I was on my way through Iowa and Illinois. I passed two huge wind farms in Iowa and two in Illinois. The interesting thing is that it was dead calm that day and three of the four farms had their blades feathered and locked down except for a couple of turbines, which were turning very slowly, definitely not at their rated speeds.

I tried to take video of them, but the resolution was so crappy on my little digital camera that I use from the bike that you couldn’t really see whether the blades were turning or not.

This illustrated exactly why relying on wind for our energy needs is not a good idea. I’m sure that no wind in that area of the country is an uncommon thing, but even if uncommon, who, specifically, gets to play Soup Nazi on the rare days that the turbines aren’t providing any electricity? “No Power for You!!! Come back tomorrow!”

And calm winds aren’t the only thing that can shut them down, to much wind also can result in the turbines being shut down. Between the two, I’d guess that a not insignificant number of days are not suitable for the production of wind power. Then what? Declare a power holiday?

For those people living in areas that are becoming increasingly dependent on wind power, I’d highly recommend having a backup power generating system installed on your house or place of business.

Humanity is going insane.

Maybe more on the trip later.