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Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Crowding

View from Yavapai Point

We can all agree that the scenery at Grand Canyon’s South Rim is nearly unsurpassed in its spectacular views of the canyon. And, looking at the second photo below of the South Entrance traffic this morning, we can all agree that the canyon’s popularity tests its infrastructure to the limit. Also, given that 2019 is the canyon’s Centennial celebration, it has become an even more internationally popular attraction.

South Entrance Traffic Jam

Although Damsel and I haven’t been there in a couple of years, the last several times (starting in 2008) we have gone to the South Rim we have found difficult parking, overcrowded view areas and tons of inconsiderate people who seriously detract from the enjoyment of the visit. We probably will not visiting there soon, but I asked the internet to show me slow times at the south rim and I got the following hit from the National Parks Service about a South Rim Survival Guide. They address several points, not all of which are useful to us, but I’ll share them anyhow.

Visiting During Busy Periods

Like other national parks, Grand Canyon has seen a dramatic increase in visitation over the last few years. The South Rim experiences crowded conditions during busy periods throughout the year, including spring break, summer, and holiday times during fall and winter. You can expect:

  • Long entrance station lines,
  • Long shuttle bus lines,
  • Limited parking near Grand Canyon Visitor Center,
  • Large crowds at popular viewpoints.

However, there are ways to navigate and avoid some of this congestion to make the most of your time on the South Rim. Here are some tips:

  1. Park in Tusayan and Ride the Free Shuttle into the Park
  2. Planning to Drive Your Vehicle into the Park?
  3. After 10 am Parking Becomes Limited Around the Visitor Center
  4. Enter the Park at Desert View, If You Are Approaching Grand Canyon from the East
  5. Tips for Touring Scenic Hermit Road
  6. Visiting the South Rim with 3 Hours or Less?
  7. Arriving in the Afternoon with 4 or 5 Hours?
  8. Less Crowded Sunset Locations
  9. Take the Train

The enumerated tips above are all expanded on their Survival Guide. As I said, not all are options for our needs, but we may try to avoid some of the hassle by taking a suggestion or two.

As usual, click on either image to enlarge.

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Celebrating Our Irish Heritage

stpaddyvb.png

Damsel’s sister is an Ancestry addict, having traced not only her roots, but also those of mine, and many of her other in-laws. Thanks to her, we were able to look back in our family tree to establish that, indeed, there were Irish ancestors in both Damsel’s and my lineage. In both cases, we have to go back quite a few generations to actually find someone who lived on the Emerald Isles.

Damsel’s birth surname is quite Irish-sounding, while mine is more of English derivation. In both cases, we each trace to that region of Europe with some Dutch showing up in my ancestry (e.g. Van Patten, Van Slyck). Damsel has some Native American in the Oklahoma region up her tree.

Regardless of our actual heritage, we’re both Irish today as we settle in to enjoy a traditional (to Irish Americans) Corned Beef and Cabbage boiled dinner this afternoon. We hope that you are enjoying the day as well, Irish or not.

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Happy Pi Day - 3/14/2019

pi.png

Before there was a PI key on our Bowmar Brains, many of us would approximate the value of PI using the formula 355/113. Some of us also memorized the first nine digits of Pi - 3.14159265 and input that into our calculators. Either way, the result would be off by less than 1 part per million, good enough for most applications short of space launches.

Scientific American has this offering about How Much Pi Do You Need?:

You might have observed Pi Day on March 14. It gets its name from 3.14, the first three digits of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Always on the lookout for excuses to eat pie, some geeky math types also celebrate the number on July 22. The fraction 22/7 has a value of 3.142857, so it has the same first three digits as pi.

Both 3.14 and 22/7 are approximations of pi, so the two days deserve the same title. In fact, 22/7 is closer to pi than 3.14 is. So if you’re an aspiring pedant, you can choose to celebrate July 22 as Pi Day and March 14 as Not Quite as Close to Pi Day. (Either way, you’ll enjoy more pie.) But what does it mean to be an approximation of pi—and why does it matter?

[Continue Reading]

This interesting article goes on to discuss how many decimal places of PI accuracy are needed for space operations, navigation (GPS) and quantum mechanics.

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Diet Support Kitchen Gagetry

VeggieSpize Spiralizer

One of the things we most lamented about when we started on our diet last October was giving up pasta. For years, we have enjoyed dishes with all those carbohydrates and all the adverse effects they may have been having on our metabolic systems.

Now that we are on our reduced carbs diets and have been for about three months, we see our results taking place. Damsel is losing a little weight but more importantly, is reducing her blood glucose (she will be tested for that soon at the clinic). I have lost about twelve pounds and two belt notches since the start.

And all the while, we have been enjoying our new cooking lifestyle with substitutes for those things we thought we couldn’t live without. Instead of mashed potatoes, we have mashed butternut squash. Instead of noodles, we have enjoyed Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) and that brings us to the gadget in the photo.

The photo shows the spiralizer cranking out zucchini noodles. It is a VeggieSpize Spiral Slicer available from Amazon. Damsel and I used it for the first time last week to prepare Zoodles to be served with her homemade low carb pesto.

You can buy prepared zoodles and other veggie or tofu products already packaged in the store, but the drawbacks there are 1) cost and 2) preservatives and other additives. Packaged zoodles in the size that correspond to one spiral cut zucchini is about $3.00. To do it yourself as in the photo is about $0.55 in cost and you know what’s in the final product.

As far as spiral-cut veggies being a substitute for pasta, they do the trick; zoodles, like spaghetti, actually take on the flavors of the sauces and are of no special value other than to transport to your taste buds. The Pesto Zoodles made a nice side for some Filet Mignon steaks we had last week.

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New Arizona Ham Radio License Plate

W7GD License Plate

That was a pretty fast turn-around! I ordered the new plate 29 days ago and it was already in the PO Box this morning. The lady at the MVD that took the order said about 30 days while the literature on line said six weeks. Regardless, it’s here and already mounted on the Motorhome.

They only issued a single plate because AZ doesn’t require a front license plate. I think I can get one for the front of the RV, though. I will check on-line and see if that is possible.

We won’t be able to show off the new plate until springtime because we’re not going to go on our planned trip to Colorado until the weather changes. Maybe we will have some other place to go in the meantime, but we’re not planning on anything yet.

So, there ya go . . . a good-looking ham radio call plate on a good-looking Motorhome. Click on the image to enlarge.

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2018 Cops Who Care Car Show

Notice the Beautiful December in Arizona Weather

We drove over to the Community Center this morning to attend the Annual Cops Who Care classic car show. We donated a few unwrapped toys for their Christmas “Toyz for Totz” Gift program. We browsed around the lot where there were scores of Custom and Classic Cars and Trucks. Here are a few photos that one or the other of us took. Click on any image to enlarge.

Custom Ford T-Bucket 1939 Chevy Interior
1947 Cadillac Hearse 1955 Chevy Bel-Air Interior
1954 Chevy Bel Air Coupe Self Portraits 911 Memorial Engine Cover
1958 Chevy Apache Pickup Classic Willys Jeep

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My Amateur Radio License Plates are on the Way

w7gd-plate.jpgI went to the local AZDOT MVD office and ordered Ham Radio license plates for the RV, which was up for renewal in a few weeks. I killed two birds by ordering the plates and renewing the registration at the same time.

The image at the right is a mock-up of what the new plates might look like. I took a screenshot of the image on the DOT website and cobbled in the radio tower from another image. You can see what I did if you look closely.

Besides the call sign, there is a radio tower with lightning bolts coming out of it and the words “Amateur Radio Operator” instead of “Grand Canyon State” seen in my mock-up. In addition, there is a mountainscape and several saguaro cacti in silhouette along the bottom. The plates are colored in gradient from turquoise at the top, through white in the center and to gold on the bottom. I think they’re quite nice looking. An actual completed ham radio license plate can be seen here.

The agent who took my order said that the plates take four to six weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I’ll be impatiently waiting!

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