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PurpleDawg

Places To Go (aka The Travel Thread)

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13 hours ago, Duquesne Frog said:

I will be running the Chicago Marathon

Woot! What are your colors? We must prepare!

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29 minutes ago, PurpleDawg said:

Woot! What are your colors? We must prepare!

 

I have no idea.  Will probably be wearing a TCU hat.  Maybe full clown makeup.  We'll see.

 

Seriously, to each his own and all that, but people who do cosplay bits while running marathons have some screws loose.  I mean you could argue anyone running has some screws loose but I'm just focusing on survival.

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On 9/3/2018 at 10:21 PM, Duquesne Frog said:

I'm not sure I've announced it on these airwaves but I will be running the Chicago Marathon in a little over a month.  I've been to Chicago but it's been almost 20 years and I certainly didn't have kids then.  I know most of the downtown highlights, and that is where we will be spending most of our time, but if I were to take the fam (kids are now 13 and 10) away from the downtown/Grant Park/Millennium Park/Soldier Field area for a few hours (ideally reachable by subway) where should we go?  We will be there on Columbus Day ... is Little Italy worth the time?  Interested in unique neighborhoods with good (ideally affordable) food.

 

I’m gonna be there that weekend. We have tickets to see Hamilton on the 4th.

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8 hours ago, Duquesne Frog said:

Anymore thoughts on this from our outsized Chicago contingent on TFH?  @Rothbardian @Jared

 

My wife ran the Chicago back in 2001, I remember some guy all dressed up in business suit with a brief case running the race. Nothing else seems to stick in my mind, but that was a long time ago. It's a cool race. You'll get to see a ton of the city. The West Loop has really changed over the past few years. Google rehabbed a building and McDonald's move into a development from Oak Brook. It's kind of the new area for companies to relocate. Chinatown is cool too. Lincoln Park, River North, Lake View West...looks like a little bit of Streeterville. I've been to Little Italy but not to Pilsen and some other areas south of the Eisenhower.

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On 9/11/2018 at 4:31 PM, Friskyfrog said:

 

I’m gonna be there that weekend. We have tickets to see Hamilton on the 4th.

My wife and I saw Hamilton in Chicago.  We had seats near the back underneath the balcony.  I was behind a support pole for the balcony with a completely obstructed view, so I was constantly moving from one side to the other depending on what part of the stage the action was on.  In addition, there is an upper part of the set that is completely obstructed for those under the balcony in the back.  Overall, pretty unimpressed with the venue.

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I'm here to tell you, stay away from Yellowstone for the foreseeable future if you hate traffic jams. These aren't even the fun kind of jams that happen when the buffalo or elk or bears block traffic (anyone ever been in a bear jam?). There are two major and several minor road projects going on simultaneously in the park that are causing 30 minute minimum delays while you sit in your car with your engine off (required) in the unseasonably warm temperatures. Plus, there are so many people there right now that the major attractions are impossible to get to. I can't even imagine what it was like in the middle of the busy season with all those people trying to move around on those little roads with the road work going on. These projects won't be done before the weather turns, so they will still be going on next summer. I got so frustrated that I left early and headed down to Grand Teton, but the mountains there were shrouded in wildfire smoke. 😒 

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21 hours ago, PurpleDawg said:

I'm here to tell you, stay away from Yellowstone...

You don't have to tell me twice!

 

The smoke was really bad here the other day, and looking towards the Park it only got worse before visibility ran out entirely. I can't imagine what the Park was like.

 

Sucks about Teton; I like it much more than Yellowstone. Glacier next time!

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3 hours ago, Feeling Froggy said:

Glacier next time!

Yes!

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fBmAZpv.jpg

 

One side of my family hails from Gonzales, and most of my kinfolk are in the area. Both of the families reunions were always held in either Gonzales or Cost, so I spent plenty of time there as a kid and going to visit as an adult. Beyond playing in the creek bottom that bordered the family property as a child (and having no understanding of the significance of the place at the time), I never really got in touch with the history of the area. This last week I finally went on a little Texas Independence sight seeing.

 

I started off by taking a walk (and being very mindful for rattlers, copperheads, and moccasins), until I got to roughly the point that they found the cannon at.

Spoiler

rxhBQ1A.jpg

▲ It might not look like much, but within a couple of hundred yards of that spot either way was what you could argue was the true birthplace of Texas. Standing there to take a picture, with the knowledge of what happened, emotions engulfed me ranging from humility to pride. It was an honor to walk in the ghostly footsteps of a group of men that stood up fought against what they saw as an injustice and affront to their rights. That struck me harder than Washington On The Brazos, the Alamo, Goliad, or San Jacinto ever have. Maybe I am a sucker for history, or maybe my Texas roots run real deep, but that was the highlight of my recent sojourn.

 

▼ I then left the way I came on foot and drove back to the "town" of Cost to take a picture of the roadside monument.

Spoiler

Zr5d79Q.jpg

And the inscription -

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Immediately west of that monument is a small road that leads back to the creek and another monument.

▼The smaller monument, located on the south side of the creek.

Spoiler

TxT4pPF.jpg

And the inscription -

KZnof5s.jpg

HERE WAS FIRED

THE FIRST GUN

OF TEXAS INDEPENDENCE

OCT. 2, 1835

------------

ERECTED BY THE

CHILDREN

OF GONZALES

CITY SCHOOLS,

APR. 21, 1903.

 

▼Back to Gonzales for a stop at the memorial and amphitheater in the middle of town. The complex also houses the museum.

Spoiler

The monument -

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A closer look at the inscription -

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And behind it -

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The Memorial Building that houses the museum and serves as the backside of the amphitheater-

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And through the corridor -

mywOdpP.jpg

 

▼There were far more things of significant interest than I have pictures of within the museum. It is, by far, the best of all the Texas Revolution museums, in my opinion. Not only is very well run by a nice man that takes a huge honor in being the custodian of the exhibit, but it paints an exceptional picture of the daily life in Texas from the start all up through to World War II. I will spare a lot of bandwidth and things that I personally found interesting, and just show the centerpiece. If you have any shred of interest in the founding of our great Republic and its journey to Statehood and beyond, make the trip to Gonzales.

Spoiler

u4fBBGk.jpg

And the "money shot" -

AOjG5G1.jpg

(All of the iron pieces are 100% real deal. The carriage is a hand made replica.)

 

 

 

 

More info on the Gonzales Museum can be found here - http://www.gonzales.texas.gov/p/departments/392

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Hey, @Newbomb Turk, do you know about the Campendium website? I use it a lot to find new-to-me campgrounds and rv parks. Members post reviews of campsites, they've got a blog, people review camping gear, they've even got a quick link to find a dump station. One of many newish campground review sites, but this one is done really well. Oh, and you can sign up for an account which lets you "favorite" campgrounds you find to keep for later.

 

Where are you and Mrs. T off to next?

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Oh yes, Campendium is in my bookmarks.  Good resource.

 

In the short run, we might take a weekender to Meridian State Park, but nothing ambitious planned before retirement on Jan 31.

 

After that, Sister Turk and I, and maybe Mrs. Turk, are talking about heading to Big Bend and possible points west.  (Mrs. Turk works part-time, so it might be just sis and me.)

 

I'm in planning stages of a long trip to Chaco Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion sometime this spring.  (I'm all about southwest archaeology.  That'll be my major when I go to TCU so that I can be a walk-on WR for Coach P.)

 

And one of these days, we're going to head east and see all the national parks up there.  (If we make it all the way to Acadia, we might even see Newf!)

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20 minutes ago, Newbomb Turk said:

And one of these days, we're going to head east and see all the national parks up there.  (If we make it all the way to Acadia, we might even see Newf!)

You know, the PNW is a pretty sweet place to visit when it's not raining.

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47 minutes ago, Newbomb Turk said:

...about heading to Big Bend and possible points west.  (Mrs. Turk works part-time, so it might be just sis and me.)

Hopefully your visit is better than mine a few weeks back. All the driving through the valleys was fine, but after the climb to the top of the Basin, the only thing to see was the restroom, fog and snow flakes. The ride outside of the Park through Terlingua and Presidio was neat, at least.

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Oh yeah.  We went to Oregon and Washington in 2004 and again in 2007.  Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Rainier, St. Helens, the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic NP, Vancouver, Victoria (featuring Butchart Gardens, the gayest place on the planet -NTTAWWT), and about 30 minutes each for Seattle and Portland.

 

Gotta get back one of  these days.

 

Hit Yosemite, Redwoods, San Fran, and Big Sur in the way.

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I’ve heard late winter / early spring is best for Big Bend, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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3 hours ago, Newbomb Turk said:

Oh yeah.  We went to Oregon and Washington in 2004 and again in 2007.  Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Rainier, St. Helens, the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic NP, Vancouver, Victoria (featuring Butchart Gardens, the gayest place on the planet -NTTAWWT), and about 30 minutes each for Seattle and Portland.

 

Gotta get back one of  these days.

 

Hit Yosemite, Redwoods, San Fran, and Big Sur in the way.

What?! Butchart Gardens is THE reason to visit Victoria, BC...well, one of the reasons, anyway. It's gorgeous! You're right about Portland, 30 minutes is almost too much time, especially these days. Seattle is much nicer now, though. You should definitely visit there again and hit all the islands in the Puget Sound for whale watching.

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Reviving this thread because it's that time of year and because I bought the coolest little thing for my six months of van camping that I've just embarked upon that I want to mention. (No, I don't get any monetary compensation for this product review.)

 

Because I dry camp almost exclusively, I rarely have an electric hook up to recharge all my stuff while staying in one place for several days. My phone, Kindle, laptop, etc. used to all run out of juice until I either turned on my van to charge them or moved on to somewhere else and charged everything while driving. 

 

I read many reviews for portable power units before I bought the imuto M5 Portable Power Station (sorry, I can't make Amazon give me a link in the mobile browser). It's got several USB, 5v, 12v, and 19v ports, and you can buy an accessory which allows you to plug in a 3-prong AC plug. (It comes with several cords and adapter plugs for a lot of computers, but my older HP laptop wasn't compatible with any of them.) In addition to all the output plugs, it's also got a super bright LED flashlight that's helped me out several times. 

 

The unit can be charged three ways: by the cigarette lighter in your vehicle, AC wall plug, or by solar panel (sold separately). For my Moto G4+, it can charge my phone about 7 times when at 100% capacity. I've used it to run a 12v fan in my van on several warm afternoons and it's barely used any power. I also use it to heat water for my dog's meals, using a 12v immersion heater, and it works great using very little of the overall power.

 

I really can't say enough good things about this little unit. I can see it being very useful for people who lose power due to the weather and need backup to keep their phone and computer charged. I'm planning to purchase a second one so I have one to use while the other is charging. For the price, it's great peace of mind. Plus, it looks like Amazon has a 10% off coupon promotion going on when you purchase it. 

 

OK, so where has everyone been and where are the rest of you going? 

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Mrs. Turk and I did a quick overnight at Tyler State Park last week.  Great park.  Lots of amenities, nice little lake, and the requisite east Texas pine forest.  They rent kayaks, so now I have something else to spend my retirement funds on...

 

The TSP trip was a shakedown for the long-deferred trip to Chaco Canyon / Zion / Bryce / Durango, and fishing/mountain climbing in S Central Colorado originally planned for May.  (At my previous employer’s request, I took a short break from retirement in May.)

 

Sister Turk will be loaning us her suitcase solar panel outfit.  I’m interested to see how well it maintains the battery.  It should work well at Chaco (no clouds or trees), but I’m doubtful about the heavily wooded campsite we’ll use in Colo.  

 

https://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm

 

https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm

 

https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/riogrande/recarea/?recid=29490

 

Also, we’re considering dropping by Trinidad Lake State Park on the way back.  There’s a short hike to a rock outcropping where the K-T boundary ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretaceous–Paleogene_boundary ) is exposed and easily accessible. (Mrs. Turk readily accommodates my nerd self.)

 

https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/TrinidadLake/Pages/Trails.aspx

 

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I'm not sure you deserve Mrs. Turk. 😂

 

I just decided I'm going to visit Chaco on my way to Texas in January, if it's open then. I want to see the dark skies. 

 

Love Durango. Ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad while you're down in southern Colorado. It's a great day trip!

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The lack of sufficient food production on site doesn’t surprise me, actually.

 

Archaeologists discovered one small room in one of the great houses that contained more turquoise ornaments than those found everywhere else in the Ancestral Puebloan world COMBINED.  Shell ornaments from the Pacific coast, macaw feathers (and 14 actual macaws) from central Mexico, lots of copper from Mexico were all shipped in and stored here.  The heavy timbers used for roof and multi-story structures were CARRIED, not dragged, from mountains fifty miles away.

 

So shipping food in seems like a relatively small obstacle to overcome.  

 

Archaeologists still don’t know what Chaco actually WAS, which is maddening because it contains the largest, most sophisticated constructions in the Ancestral Peuebloan world.  The masonry techniques are incredible.  Walls, windows, and shadowlines are aligned with solstices, equinoxes, and moon phases (of course).

 

Religious center, storage and distribution center for precious commodities, prehistoric Las Vegas strip, university - all these explanations fit at least part of what they’ve found.  It may well have been all of the above.

 

It does appear that it was a gathering place for people of different tribes and clans, and the participants probably spoke different languages.  Many modern puebloan oral histories refer to Chaco as “ the place where all the tribes came together.”

 

I’m blown away by how many man hours and resources were expended to build the place, especially by a hunter-gatherer / dry land farming culture. What in the hell did they DO here that was so important that they went to all that effort?  We walked around the ruins and kept asking ourselves over and over again. No one really knows.  It’s not the answers that make this place fascinating - it’s the questions.  

 

On another note, Chaco is REMOTE.  12 miles of heavily rutted, washboard dirt road is the only access.  You have to really WANT to come out here.  As a result, it is amazingly silent. No sound but wind, birds, and the occasional coyote.  (And totally off-grid.)  

 

Mrs. Turk said, “We’ re coming back here” on the first day.  

 

And of course, since it’s all about the hardware, we both added to our collection:

 

74A57FBD5DA149739541.jpeg

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