.All Trips / Arizona / North America / Southwestern USA

The National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas — unlike any other

03 National Atomic Test Site (10)

I’ve been to Vegas more times than I can remember.  It’s always been a decent weekend getaway  destination and is a good place to meet up with friends as it’s easily accessible, has reasonably priced accommodation and great restaurants.  And if you want you can explore the desert, catch a live show, gamble, or go to a night club.

I’m not much of a gambler or a nightclub guy, but I do like to visit an interesting museum.  The National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) certainly is different than most and if you have an interest in science and military history, is well worth a visit.  The museum opened in 2005 and is operated by the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation.  It’s …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Nova Scotia

Halifax’s Legislative Home — Province House

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During my travels I often find myself visiting sites of government.  Not sure why this is so because, as a rule, most governments really annoy me.  Perhaps it’s because the buildings in which they’re housed are often grand and opulent and their landscaping beautiful, covering many acres of prime real estate. 

So a visit to Province House in Halifax was a pleasant change from the norm.  When we first spotted the building during our exploratory walk through the city, I thought it must be of some significance because it was old and looked important, but it is not at all large, occupying only a small city block.  Perhaps, I thought, it was a courthouse or library?  Turned out this was Province …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 5, 2018 : Space Shuttle, “Discovery”

04 Discovery

When the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in the early years of the Obama administration, museums around the world scrambled for the right to receive and exhibit one of the four remaining shuttles.   It seems highly appropriate that one of these unique spacecraft should find its final home at the prestigious Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located in Virginia, close to Washington Dulles Airport, about a half hour’s drive from downtown DC).  

Situated in a separate wing of the Udvar-Hazy Center with other relics of space travel (including an especially an impressive collection of satellites), the Shuttle is one of the Center’s prized exhibits.  The shuttle Discovery is parked so that you can walk around it …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Visiting Alberta’s Dinosaur Country: 1) The Royal Tyrrell Museum

006 Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.  Albertosaurus 69,000,000 yrs ago

At first glance, the small city of Drumheller seems an unlikely place to find a superb science museum – one of the finest in Canada and one that is very family-oriented.  The museum opened in 1985 and was given “Royal” status in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth, a sign of high distinction.

I live in Calgary and when I have visitors who are inclined to see a museum, I always suggest they drive to see the Royal Tyrrell.  Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world and this museum houses one of the most interesting and diverse collection of fossils and related items you’ll find anywhere.  The Royal Tyrrell has a collection of over 125,000 fossils, mostly vertebrates.

Entrance to Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

The Museum is located in …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Nova Scotia

A Visit to the Citadel, Halifax

00 Citadel, Halifax (9)

Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor.  When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill.  The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position.  As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it. 

The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site.  Its official name is Fort George (after King George II).  It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure.  Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 24, 2018: A Disappearing Prairie Icon

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Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie cathedrals — all synonyms for the large structures that have dotted the Canadian prairies for more than a century.  I recall when traveling across the plains as a boy, you could spot these wooden towers at great distances — often 20 or more miles away — providing welcome relief to the otherwise flat landscape.  Each elevator was a storage facility that marked the location of a prairie town; the larger and more plentiful elevators were in a given location, the larger and more prosperous the town.

The business of the prairies is agriculture and mechanisms needed to be developed to get the bountiful grain crops to world markets.  After some experimentation with bagging the grain, it …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Space View Park, Titusville, Florida

00 Titusville (8)

Situated on Florida’s east coast, 15 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads, is the small town of Titusville.  Titusville sits on the Indian River and has a lovely park on its waterfront called “Space View Park”, wherein we stopped while making our way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching.  The park is a lovely shaded spot with some wonderful views towards the Kennedy Space Center and, to our delight, had a great monument to the earliest American astronauts, the Project Mercury team. 

I was a schoolboy during the great era of space travel that President Kennedy’s challenge spawned in the 1960s.  “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things not

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California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, July 6, 2018: Flying A Service Station, Truckee

04 Truckee Ca (36)

I’ve previously discussed my visit to the small town of Truckee, which rests on California’s eastern Sierra Nevada slopes and which you can read about at this link.  The town has a nicely preserved historic core, with lots of buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

My favorite building in Truckee was this old Flying A Service Station, which brought back memories of many like it I’d see when I was much younger, under a variety of banners like Texaco and Sinclair’s.  Most of these old buildings have been torn down and replaced by large self-serve fueling outlets, each with an attached convenience store.  These new structures may be efficient but they lack the intimacy …

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