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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Photos

Above, The Beast at the viewing area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Photos by Armand Vaquer

After a full night's rest (I went to bed at 9:00), I feel much more refreshed after that marathon four and a half hour drive back to Lava Hot Springs from Roberts, Idaho. That traffic jam had to have to set some sort of record for the state of Idaho.

Was there a million people on the road? Two million? More?

So far, I have not seen any numbers on the total amount of cars that invaded Idaho. Zombie apocalypse, indeed!

From KSL.com:
IDAHO FALLS — Travelers leaving east Idaho following the total solar eclipse Monday were dealing with major traffic backups more than eight hours after the spectacular event ended. 
The Idaho Department of Transportation reports delays in the southbound lanes of I-15 between Idaho Falls and Pocatello. Earlier back-ups along U.S. Highway 20 from Rexburg to Idaho Falls seemed to have cleared Monday evening. 
Traffic has been bumper to bumper along this particular section of I-15 since around noon. Some EastIdahoNews.com users said that it took over three hours to get from Idaho Falls to Blackfoot.
To read more, go here.

Still, the experience was worth it and here's some more eclipse photos:


Before Totality:






Totality:








After Totality ("diamond ring" effect):









In The Moon's Shadow (During Totality:






Monday, August 21, 2017

Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

Above, somebody's having a tough time floating down the Portneuf River. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The drive today was a 200 mile round trip from Lava Hot Springs to the eclipse viewing site near Roberts, Idaho.

The trip up was easy. The return trip back was something else. The predictions were right that there would be a lot of people going into the eclipse umbra zone. Still, it was worth the experience. I should sleep well tonight.

Lava Hot Springs is a nice recreation town with water parks, hot spring baths and massage businesses. The Portneuf River flows through town and right next to the Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA (where I'm staying). I have a riverside campsite.

The town has the usual tourist traps, including restaurants, souvenir shops, bars and other places that draw tourists. It seems (not really) almost every business has river tube rentals.

I made my campsite reservations back in February. This place is nice enough to come to without the draw of an eclipse. I recommend it!

Some photos of the town:
Above, Greystone's Silver Grille. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the front of the City Center KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Chuckwagon Restaurant and the Wagon Wheel bar next door. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a place to enjoy a hot spring soak. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Blue Moon Bar & Grill. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Dempsey Creek Trading Co., where I bought my "eclipse ring". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view down the main street of town. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the entrance to the Mineral Hot Pools. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the mineral hot pools. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast at the KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Portneuf River and the Pool and Speedslide Complex behind my campsite. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

AWESOME!

Above, the sun's corona during the total eclipse. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The trip back to Lava Hot Springs took me four and a half hours. It seemed like half (or more) the population of Utah was in Idaho for the eclipse.

By the time I reached the KOA, I was tired and hungry. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic from a few miles north of Idaho Falls to Pocatello. We crawled at about 2-15 m.p.h. most of the way.

But was it worth it? Yep, you betcha!

I got up earlier than planned and headed out of Lava Hot Springs by around 4:30 AM. The traffic heading up Interstate 15 was busier than usual, but not too bad.

I found an area that is next to Interstate 15 that was to the west of Rexburg (I was actually on the outskirts of Roberts, Idaho). Eclipse watchers occupied areas next to the Interstate from both side. I joined the bunch on the western (or southbound) side.

After getting parked, I made a pot of coffee and waited for the time of the eclipse. It was to begin with the partial eclipse at 10:15. A little over an hour later, the total eclipse would occur.

The word awesome is bandied about a lot these days, but it perfectly described the display I saw this morning!

Here's some photographs of the event:

Above, The Beast at the viewing area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, other people at our viewing area near I-15. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, an early phase of the eclipse before totality. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, eclipse watchers across Interstate 15. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the area in the moon's shadow during totality. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast during totality. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the total eclipse of the sun. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, this is called "the diamond ring effect" as the sun emerges from totality. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Great American Eclipse Day

Above, the Portneuf River and the Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Okay, it is almost 4:00 AM on the day of the Great American Eclipse. I was planning on waking up at 4:30 in order to drive 70 miles to the Idaho Falls/Rexburg area to view it. But I woke up at around 1:30 (I went to bed at 9:00).

Above, Sierra enjoying the view. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I was wondering why I woke up and then I glanced at my phone. It indicated that a voice mail message came in at around 1:30 (12:30 Pacific Time) from Asya in St. Petersburg, Russia. That explains it.

Above, the commemorative t-shirt I picked up in town. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I tried going back to sleep, but that was a fruitless endeavor so I stayed up to put things away for the drive. I will be heading out in about an hour or so.

It will be interesting to see how the traffic will be. Luckily, the area of Idaho is pretty spread out where the eclipse path takes and that should help with possible traffic congestion.

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA Kampground Reviewed

Above, The Beast at Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My review of the Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA Kampground has been posted at RV Park Reviews.

In a nutshell:
I came here to use as a "base camp" to view tomorrow's solar eclipse. I was given a riverside site and I am enjoying it. The price was a little higher than expected. The campground has beautiful surroundings with a easy walk into the town's main street. I would stay here again! We camped at Lava Hot Springs / City Center KOA (formerly Rivers Edge RV & Camping) in a Motorhome.

To see this and other reviews, go here

Lava Hot Springs Base Camp

Above, The Beast at the Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA The river is at left in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The base camp destination has been reached.

I am currently at the Lava Hot Springs (Idaho) City Center KOA Kampground. I got here a bit early, so I spent some time wandering around the down's main street.

I have a nice riverside campsite and I am next door to a family from Santa Clarita, California (we're practically neighbors). The daughters went gaga over the black onyx/sterling silver ring I bought in town and they invited me to float down the river with them. They are here for the eclipse as well.

I had to decline (reluctantly) as I had too much wine and was a bit buzzed.

Above, some people floating by on the river past my camp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

But, since I have a riverside campsite, I have been relaxing and enjoying the show of people floating down the river (particularly the bikini-clad ladies).

I will be getting up early tomorrow morning so I can avoid the traffic (I hope) to secure a "beachhead" to experience the eclipse.  I will be going to somewhere near Idaho Falls and Rexburg.

The Wi-Fi here is weak, so I will end this now.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Las Vegas

While texting with Asya on WhatsApp the other day, she asked if I had any photographs of Las Vegas (she's currently in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia).

At the time, I only had photographs of the Riviera RV Park. I figured that since she asked, I would take a few while on the way out of Las Vegas.

There are several streets in Las Vegas named after performers who had a big impact on the city. For example, there's streets named after Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley (note, although it is named Elvis Presley Blvd., it does not take drivers all the way to Graceland in Memphis).

I went down to downtown Las Vegas and it is hardly recognizable. Progress, I guess.

On the Las Vegas Strip, I noticed that there's a lot of construction going on.

Here's some photos:

Above, approaching Elvis Presley Blvd. near Circus Circus on Las Vegas Blvd.. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, there's a building boom in Las Vegas. I noticed many properties having hotels
 built. Here's one with the Trump Tower in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Stratosphere in the distance. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Trump Tower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


Cedar City KOA Review Is Up

Above, The Beast at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My review of the Cedar City (Utah) KOA Kampground is now up at RV Park Reviews.

In a nutshell:
This is my first time at this campground and after checking in and setting up, I was immediately pleased. There's many trees in the section I was assigned to and the sites are reasonably spacious. Each comes with a table and a barbecue. The staff is friendly (they sell ice cream cones) and helpful. I would stay here again. We camped at Cedar City KOA in a Motorhome.

To read the full review, go here

CasaBlanca Resort

Since the Wi-Fi at the Cedar City KOA was a bit on the slow side (photos I posted yesterday took forever to upload), I decided to hold off on posting some photos of the CasaBlanca Resort in Mesquite, Nevada. They also have a RV park, but I didn't go over there.

Here's a few:

Above, the main driveway to the hotel and casino. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the main sign in front. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the casino, where I won a whopping $3.50 (at least it partially paid for breakfast). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, The Beast and an earlier model Minnie Winnie. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Timing Is Everything

Above, The Beast and the other Minnie Winnie at the Cedar City KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At the Cedar City KOA yesterday, there was another Minnie Winnie motorhome two spaces to my left.

It was a longer model and occupied by a couple in their (I'm guessing) forties. I mentioned this at the Minnie Winnie Owners Facebook group and one of my fellow members suggested that I invite them to join our group.

That would have been fine, but the lady spent most of yesterday (after I saw the suggestion) in her bikini. I thought it best to wait, so that the husband won't get the wrong idea. (Timing is everything, right?)

Unfortunately, no good opportunity presented itself. Oh, well.

A side note: I saw several Minnie Winnies on the road of varying model years.

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