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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Skycoaster


We can fly.
-- Jason Pearce, Realization, September 15, 2012, Royal Gorge
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Road Rage

I admit, I have a road rage problem.  When I was testing my GoPro mount in the truck during my commute yesterday I wasn't really intending to capture a "road rage" incident, but I did.  It's a fairly routine one, as far as they go, no guns, no knives, just some dummy driving stupid and me cussing him out.

Here's the tape:  (NSFW language)

Now tell me....who's the asshole?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hornblaster

Beware the power of the train horn.

I want one.

Broncos Lose to Falcons

Peyton says, "I'm not saying it was Obama....but it was Obama."
The guy sitting next to him?  Let's call him Drop from now on.  Eric "Drop" Decker.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Royal Gorge

I'm one of the last people on the planet who will ever see the Royal Gorge and its bridge from this vantage.

The only way to get to this look-out is on a miniature train, which will be closed for good at the end of the month, dismantled, and shipped out to billionaire William Koch's private ranch, where it will join the remains of Buckskin Joe, an old theme park near the Gorge.  Neither will be open to the public.

William Koch is one of the dreaded Koch brothers, rich motherfuckers who give millions to right-wing causes.  Depending on your viewpoint, that may be a good or a bad thing, but packing up the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway and Buckskin Joe off to some rich motherfuckers private ranch is most definitely NOT a good thing.

I don't begrudge a rich man his toys, but it would have been nice if they sold it to someone who had an interest in continuing to operate it as a tourist attraction.  You know, for the people.  But this is America.  All hopes, dreams, and memories are for sale to the highest bidder.
This is the train Bill Koch will ride when he plays Conductor on his private ranch.
Aside from that bad taste in my mouth, the Royal Gorge is pretty awesome.  Here's a panorama from one of the viewing decks.  (Click to embiggen)  On the right is the bridge, which we walked across, and on the left is the aerial tram, which we took on the way back.  Below, out of frame, is the Arkansas River.

Same angle, but a better shot of the bridge.  Check the bird of prey circling.  (A hawk?  An eagle?  I suck at bird identification.)
We also went on the incline railway, which takes you down to the bottom of the canyon next to the river.  It's an amazing ride, deceptively smooth and surprisingly non-terrifying considering you're standing in a cage descending down a huge gorge.

Here's a view from the bottom.
And a view of the bridge and tram, also from the bottom.
I still cannot believe that I walked (quickly and without looking around) across that bridge and rode that tram back, all without a tinge of panic.  Later, we drove up a mountain and found ourselves literally driving along a ridge with steep drops on either side.  That's when I started to panic....

Fear of heights, not yet overcome.

The bridge:
Yes, those are wood slats, and while they're strong enough to accommodate car traffic, they're spaced in a way that light peaks through.  That's not optimal if you have a fear of heights...

On the way back home, we stopped --briefly-- at the prison museum.  (Canon City is home to a number of prisons, both state and federal, including a Supermax.)  That's where I snapped this picture of a gas chamber.
Upon reflection, it struck me as a horribly inefficient, and frankly weird, way to kill people.  I think it was seeing all the welds. An engineer designed this and a fabricator put it together.  A lot of thought and effort went into figuring this out, and I don't know...I'd almost prefer they just shoot the bastards and be done with it.

So there you go...bridges and gas chambers.  What I did on my last weekend of the summer.