Road Trip Memories, #1

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I have decided to go back and “relive” one of the favorite road trips that my wife and I took. It was around 2011 and we went through the American southwest. We had about 3-4 weeks to spend on this trip so it was awesome. We love to go visit national parks, so over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to follow the route of our road trip and share some of the photos I took back then. Let’s go on a road trip together!!!!

We left the north bay (about 90 miles north of San Francisco is where we lived at this time) and our first night’s stop was in Death Valley National Park. I shot this photo the first evening we were there. It was past the middle of June, so the weather was hot for the entire trip…but perhaps nowhere was it hotter than in Death Valley. Even at night it was stifling. The heat from the sand coming through the soles of one’s shoes was very uncomfortable!  But as they say, “It’s a DRY heat!”

The sand dunes that you can see toward the top left of the picture towards the background were huge…probably 100-150 feet tall. There were people standing on top of them and they looked like ants. We didn’t walk all the way out there…it was just simply too hot even though I took this photo around sunset. 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1966, shortly after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy International Airport, a TWA Boeing 747 jetliner bound for Paris exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people aboard. Flight 800 had just received clearance to initiate a climb to cruise altitude when it exploded without warning. Because the plane was loaded with fuel for the long transatlantic journey, it vaporized within moments, creating a fireball seen almost all along the coastline of Long Island.

The tragedy came just two days before the opening of the XXVI Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and many suspected terrorism. Suspicions of foul play seemed to be confirmed when a number of eyewitnesses reported that they had seen what appeared to be a missile shoot up toward the airline an instant before the explosion. The U.S. Navy and the FBI, in conjunction with the National Safety Transportation Board, launched an extensive investigation of the incident, collecting the scattered wreckage of the aircraft out of the Atlantic and reconstructing the plane in a closely guarded hangar. Despite continuing eyewitness reports, authorities did not come forward with any evidence of a missile or a bomb, and the investigation stretched on.

When it was revealed that several U.S. Navy vessels were training in the Long Island area on the night of the blast, some began to suspect that Flight 800 had been accidentally downed by a navy test missile. U.S. authorities ruled out the possibility of an errant missile strike by the navy, but a number of conspiracy theorists, including former White House press secretary Pierre Salinger, supported the theory. The much-criticized Flight 800 investigation ended in late 1998, with investigators concluding that the explosion resulted from mechanical failure, not from a bomb or a missile.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: ancient methods for tattoo removal include using scum on the bottom of chamber pot mixed with “very strong vinegar” or pigeon feces mixed with vinegar and applied as poultice “for a long time. Other formulas include dried beetle mixed as a powder with sulfur, wax, and oil.

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