Grand Canyon Traffic Webcam

South Entrance Traffic Webcam

While browsing National Park Webcams, I found that the NPS at Grand Canyon had established a traffic webcam to evaluate arrivals at the park via the South Entrance on Arizona Route 64. Evidently, the NPS is concerned with the increase of traffic and visitation in not only Grand Canyon, but in other parks as well.

This is the blurb explaining the purpose of the experimental webcam:

We are testing a webcam to monitor the flow of vehicles entering the park at the South Entrance Station. Check the date and time in the lower right corner to make sure the image you are seeing is current.

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 the fall and winter.

This experimental traffic count makes me wonder if NPS is considering a plan to require reservations to be made prior to entrance to the park. I can tell you from personal experience that the parks where we have recently visited can be overrun with people and vehicles.

At Grand Canyon last September, many of the turnouts for canyon overlooks had no parking spaces left for either autos or RVs. The main Village area was also very congested.

Click on the image to enlarge.

UPDATE: Out of curiosity, I looked at the South Entrance Webcam this morning (Saturday). My advice is to use the East Entrance on AZ 64 via US 89 at peak traffic times.

South Entrance Webcam

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Queen of the Night Cactus Flower

Queen of the Night

We have been waiting for the last bud to open on the Queen of the Night cactus (Peniocereus greggii) across from our driveway. There were two buds, but one came and went already before we noticed. We managed to get this shot last evening after nine PM local time after watching the ISS fly over. Click on the image to enlarge.

There are several p. greggii growing in the wild around the property. We also have one cutting that we have growing in a pot in the courtyard. Only a couple of the cacti are accessible at night which is when the flowers open.

The cutting in the courtyard finally has shown us a new branch and we are hoping that we will be getting flowers on it too. That is not likely this year, but we will be keeping watch on it.

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Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular Clouds

As we were taking our evening stroll Damsel and I were watching the sky since there were still a few isolated thunder cells around us. There were a few raindrops falling from a small cloud overhead and a rainbow was partially visible almost straight up.

In the distance east of us (seen in the image), we observed a few lenticular (altocumulus lenticularis) clouds in the lee of the Bradshaw and Weaver mountain ranges to the north of us. The flow (as observed from our position on the ground and on radar on the computer) was from north to generally south.

We also observed what appeared to be some commercial air traffic being diverted from (my guess based on the direction of travel) Phoenix Sky Harbor to McCarran Las Vegas due to a large cell in the Phoenix Metro area. I feel for the crew and passengers on such flights for (a) the inconvenience of the diversion and (b) the turbulent ride they certainly would encounter under the observed conditions.

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94 Million Hits on the Never Forget Tribute Counter

nft94meg.jpgThis morning at about 10:34:40 Arizona time, the hit counter for the Never Forget Tribute rolled past ninety-four million. The hit counter displays an approximation of the number of times that the Tribute has been accessed since August of 2005, the date when it was made available to other websites. Knowing the exact count is virtually impossible, since we only began tracking it after it had been deployed for a couple of years. We used an extrapolation algorithm to establish the approximate count back then, and have incorporated a real-time hit counter since.

The Hits per hour and Hits per day readouts are also approximations. One thing for sure, though, is that the HPD and HPH have diminished from their peak values from about 2009; at that time there were more than 1000 hits per hour. I suppose that a lot of bloggers who previously displayed the Tribute have dropped out of the game. I also suspect that the paradigm shift towards social media had an effect of reducing hits to blogging sites.

The last time we posted about the hit counter was when it passed 90,000,000 in December of 2014. We again note that the hits continue to diminish. In the last post, we extrapolated passing a hundred million hits during this year, but also noted the hits dropping off due to attrition in the blogosphere and a shift to social media other than blogging.

We also adjusted the hits per hour and hits per day estimation based on more recent hit data. As you can see, the HPH and HPD estimates in the image above are substantially greater than the hit counter graphic numbers displayed in the right sidebar.

Despite the decline in popularity of the Never Forget Tribute graphic, we will continue to support those sites that display it. We will also continue to NEVER FORGET the surprise attacks by Islamic Terrorists.

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Two Types of Fishhook Cactus Flowers

Mammillaria sheldonii

Mammillaria yaquensis

Both of these cacti have open flowers today. On top, open in the back patio area, is a local native mammillaria sheldonii fishhook cactus we rescued from a construction area down the road a year or two ago. Below, open in the courtyard out front is a mammillaria yaquensis fishhook cactus that was a gift from our friend Crotalus.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Update: Crotalus advises us that the top panel specimen might actually be mammillaria tetrancistra. The one we quoted above typically is found only in Mexico.

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Genealogy Research Nets a Treasured Photo

Prairie Schooner

Having made the decision to locate and visit the graves of some of our ancestors before and after the eclipse, we have been doing some research using several genealogy websites. We have plans to visit two different cemeteries in Colorado during our excursion; one in Montrose, Colorado and another in Pueblo, Colorado. Thus far, we have located a dozen family graves to visit. Five of those family are direct ancestors.

Someone unknown to me uploaded a similar image to the one above to one of the research sites I visited. The uploaded image was crooked and cropped such that I couldn’t read the entire message below it, so I did some additional digging and found a photocopy of the original magazine in which the image appeared and was able to render the improved image seen above.

The image itself appeared in a company magazine of the Pacific Electric Railway in 1945. My grandfather, the kid on the right, was an engineer on the line back then. The couple with the wagon, mules and kids were my great grandparents, Eugene and Emma. The other kids in the photo are my great uncle Clark and great aunts Melissa, Bernice and Myrtle. I remember visiting a farm in Western Colorado as a kid and meeting Great Aunt Myrtle. I knew my great grandmother Emma and in fact attended her funeral in Montrose in 1960.

I have to say that it was a very pleasant surprise to discover this ancient photo in my research. Click on the image to enlarge (use the scroll bars to view the complete photo).

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Happy Independence Day

gba.jpg

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. We will be barbecuing, watching fireworks and we’ll put on a DVD after that. Click on the eagle to see a larger view.

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