Finally home and a real computer. It’s nice to be home in my own
bed and with my own files.
I haven’t moved my digital presence totally onto the network
so my own files and desktop and organization are not portable.
It feels comfortable to be home.
I’ve sorted through the pictures and the main groups are up.
This is a long, catch-up entry with descriptions and pointers.
First is the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
which were, well, smoky.
The haze is a natural phenomena and the park is full of hills, trees,
camping, water falls and streams.
previous blog post
was from Mingo Falls
and later in the day we hiked in to see Laurel Falls
We hiked the mile to find a small falls filled with people.
Some had obviously packed everything for a day of picnicking
and splashing with the kids. A nice hike in the woods, though.
Just outside the park is Tuckaleechee Caverns
This is an old fashioned, family owned cavern roadside attraction.
An easy walk through the well paved cavern with interesting rock
For a little historical South, we stopped at
This is the farm Andrew Jackson retired to after
service as the president of the United States.
It’s back in the time before secret service and security
details. It’s just a farm although, these days, they make a big
deal about the slaves who lived there and made the farm work.
Keeping with the presidential theme, the next stop was the
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
Wikipedia has a
of the history of this monument.
In our cynical age, it is hard to comprehend the adoration a
log cabin received. Eventually, it was enshrined in a granet monument.
The next stop was to downtown St. Louis with a visit to the Arch.
If you were following the news at that time, you would know that the
central U.S. was surviving record floods and tornadoes.
We weren’t sure the arch park would be open but it was completely
operational although some of the
do show the Mississippi overflowing it’s banks onto the sidewalks.
The trip up the Arch was bizarre.
You get into these claustrophobia attack inducing little pods which
then click and clunk as they take you to the top.
Once at the top, you are in a small arched room with
TINY windows to peer out over the city.
It is clear that Disney was not consulted when they built it.
A lot of driving brought us to
Jewel Cave National Monument
that a “national monument” is declared by the
president without requiring the approval of Congress.)
This gigantic system of caves now has an elevator for us softies
to casually tour the underground.
There are still people squeezing through the caves but we get to
walk through the cool 56 degrees on concrete and aluminum walkways
and enjoy the formations.
It was hard taking pictures because the lights they used
had widely different temperatures.
That, and my little digital camera doesn’t have a flash that
goes more than a few feet.
did turn out.
Out of the ground and over to Yellowstone National Park
It was an amazingly beautiful day — cool temperatures, bright sun,
blue sky filled with white clouds.
The park was showing itself off.
Bison grazed (and clogged the roads) and the rush of melting snow filled
Well, how do you top Yellowstone?
With a nuclear reactor, of course.
In the 1950′s, a small reactor
(“Experimental Breeder Reactor 1″ or “EBR-1″)
in the middle of Idaho
proved that nuclear reactors could create their own fuel
(“breeding” plutonium) and generate electricity efficiently
(output more than goes in).
The DOE keeps the building open in the summer with tours by informed but otherwise very bored
Up the road is an area of lava formations in the
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.