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The day after the eclipse, we planned to go to Crater Lake. I had gotten tickets on the boat at 3:45.

The Crater Lake web site is really stupid; it implies there are boats when there really aren't. They say there's a 3:30 boat too -- which there is, on weekends. But not Tuesdays. This caused us confusion at the start, because I checked for 3:30. Also, you can't just click on "get tickets" like a normal web site, instead you click on "request reservation", and a day later it tells you there aren't any tickets. Indeed, I only clicked on 3:45 as a lark after 3:30 said it was sold out, and was surprised to get tickets then. The schedule is seemingly also stupid: the previous boats are at 1:30 and 1:45 (but probably there's no 1:30 boat either on weekdays). I'd been thinking that might be too early for us since it's a 2+ hour drive from Bend.

We planned to leave Bend around 11, drive to the visitor center, poke around, take in the view from the rim, and then get to our boat.


The Crater Lake website gives dire warnings about how difficult the trail down to the boat is, and had scared me into thinking I needed both hiking boots and a hiking pole to make the trek. So, first we discovered that I'd left my hiking boots at home, and so I only had the sandals I'd traveled in. Crap. Fortunately that was early in the morning, so we had time to find a sporting goods store. I decided in the end to buy sneakers -- my regular sneakers at home had recently become less functional, so I was in the market for new sneakers anyway, and there was a pair I liked. We had some other shopping needs, and managed to get on the road just about 10:45 as originally planned.

Google Traffic was telling us about a few slowdowns on the road south, and said it would take 2.5 hours to get to the visitor center. We hit the first traffic jam after about 30 minutes of driving. We asked Google about it, which said it was an "8 minute delay". We got an update on the time to the visitor center: 2.5 hours. Hm. Traffic cleared up, we drove fast briefly, and hit another slowdown. Google again said "8 minute delay" -- and again 2.5 hours estimated to the visitor center. This pattern continued, with some of the delays clearly being much longer than 8 minutes. Our theory became that it always said 8 minutes, it was just that several of them were contiguous! At some point we gave up on the visitor center and put in the boat trailhead, which was closer (fortunately). We finally made it to the trailhead at 2:45, which the website said was the last minute to check in before hiking down.

In fact, the hike, while it is indeed a mile, is a very well-graded wide trail at about a constant 10% grade. Nothing like what they were warning us about. I'd been thinking I'd be scrambling over rocks and nearly breaking my neck or having trouble with my wonky knees. We made it in well less than the hour predicted.

Jocelyn went swimming! It wasn't nearly as cold as I had expected, at least not right by the shore.

The disappointing thing about our particular trip to Crater Lake was all the local wildfires had made the air so smoky that it was impossible to see across the lake. From the rim, you could barely make out waves on the water. We would have been very disappointed at the visitor center, and if we hadn't had the boat ride. I was kind of disappointed anyway, because I'd remembered the jewel of the lake surrounded by the cliffs being so pretty, when I was there in my teens.

The boat goes around the lake near the shore, and the guide gives a narration of the formation of the lake, the local Native American legends that demonstrate people were living in the area at the time of various explosions, descriptions of certain rock formations that we're passing and how they formed, how old they are, etc. It was pretty cool, and pretty informative, and probably repeated anything we'd have learned at the visitor center.

Wizard Island was less interesting looking than I had expected -- it's pretty new rock and so it isn't covered by plants yet. It has some trees, but not a lot. The Phantom Ship rock formation was pretty neat up close.

On the drive back north to Bend, we saw more poor slobs going south in what looked like worse traffic than we'd experienced. So while there wasn't much traffic apocalypse getting TO the eclipse, there was plenty getting home! We were also glad to get back north of the wildfire smoke, which had been pretty thick while driving as well.

nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)

I started to make it a whole travelogue of the trip, but then decided that I'd just post what I had and worry about Crater Lake (about which I have much to say) later. So this is just the eclipse part. Which is the coolest bit, of course. No pics of totality, I tried to get one but it turned out strange. I shouldn't have bothered, there wasn't enough time at totality as it was!
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I'm really scared about the traffic and really feeling stupid about my carefully laid plans. Gang oft aglay!

But, one can still have fun with a partial because little copies of the crescent sun will be in amongst the shadows of trees. You can make your own little shadow generator (really, pinhole camera), by simply crossing your hands at the fingers with little gaps, and letting the sun shine behind you. Look at the ground and there will be four little crescent suns in the shadow of your hands!

Maybe people will think it's a gang sign -- you can be in the gang Eclipse Nerds.

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I'm posting this from my kindle, testing it as a computing platform, thinking not to bring a real computer. It's better than the phone because it is larger, but the O/S stinks. I read on the net about hacking your kindle to be regular android, but somehow I doubt I'm going to bother.

Chaos is erupting; we learned that the town of Madras, where we thought to view the eclipse, is expecting 100,000 visitors. We think maybe we should not be part of that. Unfortunately, we made a tactical error in choosing a nice rental house an hours drive from centerline, outside of totality, rather than a crummy motel inside totality. If we were anywhere inside, we could give up on centerline and just walk. However, we will have to drive, somewhere. We are thinking to go a little further east and then go as far north as traffic will allow, and in any case, to get up way early to do it. Cross our fingers that it will work!
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There turns out to be a huge windmill farm at the Indiana/Ohio border near Toledo. I took pictures out the car window. You can't really tell just how many there were from this picture. I thought it was pretty cool, just making power for free there. (Just like we are on our roof now! Which I've been tweeting about incessantly, though I haven't posted anything here about the solar panels. I guess now I have...)

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I got the pix from the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory. Photo credit for the one of me to David Resnick, who also has a better camera than my phone.

A good person would know the names and origins of the butterflies pictured. It was totally fun, despite the tshirt.

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I'm still in Fort Wayne at the square dance, though all the dancing is over. A couple of hack tips--mirror and hex, but mostly just dancing. Our flight was late so we only got in 3 tips Thursday night, but there was lots of dancing Friday and Saturday. Getting ready to go back tomorrow. We did one tourist activity, which was the butterfly exhibit at the botanical gardens. It was great, and I will hopefully post pictures when I get back to a real computer.


Jun. 14th, 2017 08:12 am
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
Jocelyn is in Iceland! She's going with a friend of ours. They're spending a few days in Iceland, and then going on to Norway for a week. They'll spend the summer solstice in Tromso, which is above the arctic circle. Unfortunately it will probably rain so they won't actually get to see the sun all night. Planned activities include riding Icelandic ponies and reprising Ken's parasailing adventure in Norway (Jocelyn was too young then, and has since been jealous). They left yesterday.

Me, I'm just going to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for an annual square dance convention. "The great intra-coastal wasteland", or, as a coworker of mine says, "fly-over country". I leave tomorrow, returning Sunday, so it's not a huge trip. I'm actually flying into Detroit and driving with a friend -- that seemed to be the fastest route. Kayak kept giving me choices that involved Atlanta. Um, like, can you say "not on the way"?
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Everyone else in my family seems to be doing it, now we can always get PreCheck. I won't have it in time for my upcoming square dance trip to Ft. Wayne, but maybe I can drop by the Global Entry office and have my interview (which would otherwise be scheduled for like November). Only if they process it enough for me to have the interview scheduled. Ken says they schedule them for 15 minutes, but they only take 5 minutes, so you can just stop by and get interviewed at a random time, but only if you already have one scheduled. So, probably they'll get it done in time for me to stop by on the way to Ft. Wayne. Then, I think it will take effect in time for my return trip! And, for going to Oregon for the eclipse in August. If I don't manage the interview this trip, I'll just have to make a special trip to the airport sometime in the summer, I guess.

One of the questions in the application is "what countries have you visited in the past 5 years" -- well, I didn't remember so I scrolled back through my "trips" tag on LJ... Only UK and Spain; the Norway trip was just beyond the threshold (and they don't count Canada.)
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So, it's May in Maine. I forgot about blackflies. I didn't realize how badly they'd bitten my legs Friday evening until sometime on Saturday when the welts made themselves known.

On my bike ride, 23.63 miles, just about what Google predicted, I discovered that blackflies go about 4-5mph. If you're only going 3mph they can do more than just keep up, but also get some nips in. There was one very steep pitch in which I lost my stride because of waving my arms (alternately) to keep the flies from my face. I tried to get back on the bike but the flies were just too thick. So I sprinted a little bit with the bike to get out of the cloud, and then walked up to the top of the hill (only a few hundred feet). I really wasn't going much slower walking than riding.

There were a LOT of uppy-downies. It's all glacial there... I must have gained and lost the same 150 feet five times between Sweden and Waterford. (There's also a Norway, ME, which I saw signs for, but it wasn't on my route. Sweden is, well, let's just say "don't blink on the way through".) Despite my claim that I wasn't going on any roads that I hadn't street-viewed, I did in fact go on such a road, which was paved for the first two miles. The next mile was dirt. It was tolerable.

Lunch at the general store in Harrison, then back to Bridgton to pick up the car. There was a lovely park in Bridgton, and surprisingly there wasn't a blackfly problem there, because there was a stiff breeze coming off a lake which kept them away. So I read my book for an hour there before heading back to the camp to pick up the aerial rig.

Blackflies were a terrible problem there too, trying to tie the mat onto the car, I would do a little tying, then duck inside the car to wait it out (a few flies came in with me but not too many), or, after I'd got it partially on, I drove a few hundred feet and started the next bit of work where there were new flies who perhaps didn't know about me yet and I'd get 30 seconds of respite.

The drive was much calmer. Ducktape does not stick when it's hot, the adhesive melts. I think that was a big problem on Friday, with it so hot. Everything stayed in order the whole drive back, at 65 degrees max. Still, I arrived after 11, pretty exhausted from the entire thing.
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Here I am because Jocelyn has a school trip to Camp Winona, and she wanted to bring the aerial rig. Arrived yesterday after a grueling trip through too much traffic (why aren't those people at work? I left before noon!) in too hot weather (what? More 90+ days in May?) with a too bit item on top of my car (we need to find a better plan for putting the mat on top of the car without me freaking out every time it flaps a bit). Shoulda been 3:15, actually took 4:45. Strangely, despite the giant thing on top of the car, I got decent gas mileage. This tank also had the trip home from Vermont with the mat on top. Probably because I was going slowly, and it was all long trips rather than little short shits where the car doesn't even get warmed up.

There was chaos at the camp about where to put the rig, who was going to set it up, who knew anything, so that took a while. Not that I had anything better to do. Blackfly season! Hopefully Jocelyn won't get too bit up teaching this morning. Her gig starts shortly. I'm not staying at the camp, though. We don't need Mom Cooties...

After checking in to my motel last night I had about 1.5 hours of daylight left, so I bicycled down to the center of Bridgton where I had some traditional diner food at a traditional diner, which was better than pizza at the pizza joint, and cheaper/faster than a "real" restaurant. Bridgton is on a hill, the descent (and later ascent) was about 100 feet according to my GPS. Which always sounds stupidly small, but it's pretty noticeable when you're riding!

Today I plan to bicycle ~25 miles in a loop through some neighboring towns. No idea how much ascent and descent there will be -- it will be an adventure. I am expecting not too much, because the area has a lot of lakes, and that usually means not too hilly. But I was surprised last night, so we'll see! One of the roads I'm riding on is named "Ingalls Hill"... Hopefully about halfway through I'll find some place for lunch that also has a bathroom... It's kind of unfortunate that I have to do all this after I check out of my hotel, so I can't clean up when I'm done. I brought another clean shirt so I can be a little less stinky even if I can't really wash.

I'm supposed to show back up at the camp around 5, get the stuff loaded back in the car, and go home. I could have stayed another day, but realistically, she's not going to get much more use out of the rig by my being here another day, and while this is fun, I'm going to be done with it.
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As expected, my performance was worse. My route was also worse - though safer. Yesterday's shortcut involved a highway crossing that seemed somewhat dangerous, so maybe I shouldn't be going that way...

26.31 in 2:32:17 for an average of 10.3.

Tomorrow, I ride to yoga. Thursday I'm not sure, probably just dorking around home. Or, maybe, deciding that when it's 90 (yow! in May!) one should go kayaking instead, despite bike week.

Friday, Jocelyn's school has a retreat thing in Maine that lasts all weekend. Naturally, she wants to bring the silks rig. (Can you spot a theme here?) There was some fussing by the school and the camp about liability, but they calmed down and agreed to have it. But, it has to get there, and the camp bus is not going to work out. So, hm, who gets to drive it? Why the person with the experience from last time!

So, I'm bringing my bicycle. I won't stay at the camp, cuz Jocelyn has better things to do than have her mom hanging around, and I'll arrive after they are already settled, so as to reduce chaos, and hopefully get something done for work Friday morning. (I'm sure there will be chaos anyway.) I'll get there around 4pm, it says here (the place is about 3 hours drive, but it'll take me longer cuz I'll drive slow and stop sometimes to check the load). Then we'll set up the rig, and I'll repair to a nearby motel. Saturday I plan to take a bike ride around the area. It's not a particularly mountainous place, so it'll probably be mostly flat. I street-viewed my planned route, just to make sure there weren't going to be any surprise dirt roads. If it's not street-viewable, I won't plan to go on it. I might do a little bicycling on Friday as well, to go get something for dinner.

I pick up the rig on Saturday afternoon, because I didn't want to spend TWO days dorking around in Maine, and they don't have a lot of time Sunday morning before leaving after lunch.
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Last Sunday we went to the last day of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey's circus. They're being driven out of business by several factors: Animal rights activists, Cirque du Soleil style circuses, and people just being too busy to go to shows. I mean, if they weren't going out of business, we might not have gone this year. Every year I think, gee, we should go to the circus, but then we're too busy. Well, this year we made sure we weren't too busy...

It was a full house, other people having done the same math. I don't know how full the arena would have been in a typical year. We scored some random parking very near the arena but not official parking, so it was (a) cheaper and (b) much faster in and out. We'd left lots of time for parking, so this got us into the arena right at door-opening time.

They have a pre-show, where you get to go down onto the show floor, and some clowns wander around interacting with you, and other performers do some tricks, e.g. juggling, bike tricks, floor acrobatics, and you can watch them. There were some audience participation parts of the non-clown performers, but we only interacted with a clown.

Trying to buy a tshirt was not a success, as they're trying to get rid of their stock, and no longer had many adult shirts. We came away with one medium. Too big for Jocelyn, too small for me, but either of us can wear it.

The show itself seemed less three-ring-y than I'd remembered the previous time, about a decade ago. There was often only one act performing. And they were more cirque-du-soleil-y than I remembered too. There was one aerial thing done with trapeze and bungee cord, with the lights off and the performers in fluorescent costumes lit by blacklight that could easily have been in Cirque du Soleil. It was lovely. Another act was all about parkour, and it was pretty cool. Trampolines and a very-well-sprung mat and those guys got a lot of height for their flips. The theme of the circus was exploration, and we'd just come from the regular jungle, with the tiger act, and this was the "concrete jungle", which also set the stage for a big act with BMX bikes and ramps, doing 360's in all possible axes, racing around looking like they were going to crash.

We were disappointed there was no flying trapeze. I guess instead we got bungee cord dancing in black light, and a lyra act with several different hoops being used at once. There was a human cannonball, tigers, camels (how are camels really different from elephants for this purpose?), poodles (man you can get dogs to do anything and they sure looked like they were enjoying themselves, tails wagging all over the place), and the usual assortments of clowns, jugglers, dancers, and other extras.

So, it was fun, and I'm sad that I'll never get to go again. But, there are all these other opportunities, what with Circus Smirkus (coming to Waltham in July...) and other local things.
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Went to a weekend gaming party in Vermont at the Hulbert Outdoor Center, our third trip there. Jocelyn, despite having something to do Friday evening AND Sunday morning, wanted to (a) go and (b) bring the aerial rig. Somehow, we agreed to this.

So, since there was predicted rain Friday evening, when we put the mat onto the top of the SUV, we also covered it in plastic. This had an additional design goal of preventing air from getting between the mat and the top of the car, causing it to fly (and, worse, fly and stop flying with a ka-thump). We ended up duct-taping the plastic to the top edge of the windshield, putting flaps through the doors and under the mat at the back, using clips to tie the flaps together across the top of the car below the ceiling in front and below the mat itself in back, and then more duct tape at the rear end to "wrap it like a gift". There were, um, issues with the front edge at the beginning of the trip, but I'd brought a huge roll of more duct tape and was able to redo it a couple times along the way when it got loose. It seemed that 55mph was OK, but 60mph gave trouble. Even 55 was a little dicey, so I finished the last 30 miles at 50mph. Including Friday afternoon traffic getting out of Boston (I had to wait til 2:45 when Perry got out of school) it took well over 4 hours to get there -- it should be about 3 hours.

The trip back was easier, because (a) there wasn't as much traffic, and (b) I'd learned from the first experience how to do the duct tape and it was better to get it right first rather than trying to slap it on at the side of the road, so I stopped a couple times to verify all was well, but mostly we just drove. Still, it was more than 3.5 hours. (Ken managed to duck any of the driving of the mat because he was bringing Jocelyn either to or from VT at night, and all my driving was in the daytime, which is easier to deal with problems.)

Many people enjoyed watching Jocelyn and participating in the easy beginner tricks she can teach on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon we participated in the ropes course. I had a better time than last time -- I think because fewer people were participating so there was less waiting for staff to check that you were clipped in properly, so there was more doing stuff. I don't think Jocelyn played any games. I played some Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning. Perry played all the time, and Ken played some while Jocelyn and I were roping.

I managed to bring my bicycle on top of the rig inside the SUV. The difficult part of putting the bike in was not tangling in the ropes holding the mat cover in place. I did two 8-mile bike rides in the mornings. One of them was up a fairly tall hill. I didn't get to the top because the pavement quit before the hill did, and I don't do dirt, but it was still pretty high. I looked at the GPS readings on my phone, which claimed about 940 feet. USGS claims that the nearby lake's elevation is 417 feet, so it was a little over 500 foot climb, in about a mile. This is equivalent to Blue Hill, though I think Blue Hill has a short stretch that's a lot steeper than anything on Terry Hill Road.
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I slept really badly last night. I was lying awake thinking about the whole United Airlines thing, and worrying about my August trip to Oregon to see the eclipse. I wasn't really thrilled with our plan to be arriving the day before the eclipse, but because of Jocelyn's camp schedule, we really can't go earlier. And now, in addition to having possible weather- and broken-aircraft-related delays, we might also be beaten and dragged off the plane! I've been planning this trip for almost two years, and I'm really unhappy that the airlines have given me another thing to worry about. I really don't need more things to worry about.

I don't remember what airline we're flying. I hope it's not United. Glad to see their stock tanking.
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We couldn't leave until Jocelyn finished her silks lesson Saturday, so I piled her and our two Spanish students onto the bus from Providence at 1pm. It was only half an hour late so we got there just before dinner, where we met up with another group. Failed to go to a famous pizza joint, ended up at a famous​ kosher deli instead. Still a New York tradition. Also swung by M&M World, comparison with Las Vegas is that the NY place is much more crowded.

Then, though we didn't​ have time, we went to the Empire State Building. If they'd told us before we had spent 5 minutes walking through the line that it would be an hour, we might have bailed. But we had already gone quite a ways in and had gotten excited about the whole thing. So, up we went... It was a gorgeous, clear night, with a view for miles. We walked the last six flights (otherwise there was another half-hour wait for a second set of elevators). If you're only going to New York once in your life, it's well worth the outrageous $34, IMHO.

This, however, left us at 11pm with the trip to Brooklyn for the hotel yet to do. We had also acquired another student, whose ride to NY wasn't​ staying overnight. So, MTA cards to buy for all. We saw an official New York Subway rat scurrying around! I thought it was kind of bold, up there where passengers were buying tickets; rats should be down in the tracks.

Then, when we finally got on the train​, they announced it wasn't going to stop at our stop due to construction.  It was late enough that I wasn't coherent anymore.  An (as it turns out) unhelpful passenger said we could get off and just take the next D, but that was wrong.  

We could have walked; it was about a mile. But everyone was tired, so we went on the detour, taking the N, then going back on the D, which was running in the other direction.  The return direction D took forever to come, and it was​ an outdoors station, for which we were not dressed, so now we were cold, tired, and cranky. Finally got to the hotel.  Very bare-bones, but clean, so I have no complaint.   We managed to get the free breakfast even though it had officially stopped by the time we got up.

Back to Manhattan to meet up with the other group.  Some logistical delays, but not bad.  Saw the charging bull and the defiant girl, then walked to the shore to view the statue of liberty, passing by an environmental display of painted globes, signifying various different ways to help the planet, which was pretty cool.

Spent a while at the 9/11 memorial pools.  I like the way they are very deep holes; I had expected one of those very well leveled pools with water pouring over all sides evenly. But I think the deep hole conjures an image of the void better.

Pizza for lunch (at a chain, not a famous place, but time was of the essence by now), then souvenir purchases, then street vendor ice cream, then subway back to the bus station. Final MTA screwover was that the first subway we got turned into an express, so we had to get off. But that was kind of fun, because the next train must have just been put into service, and it was completely empty!

We got to the bus station kind of late for my tastes; we were last to board and had to take potluck on seats. I'm sitting next to a fat person which is making this hard to enter on my phone.  Maybe I should have waited, especially since the wifi isn't working so I will (did) email this to myself and post it later anyway...

View outside our bare-bones hotel:

The private subway car:
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