Rainbow Falls Hike

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

I went on a hike last Saturday to Rainbow Falls in Jones Gap State Park. The trail is 2.6 miles long from the parking lot with about 1000 feet of rise. It was a beautiful day, not to hot, partly cloudy, low humidity, light breeze, no bugs. What a difference from two weeks ago. The trail was different too. It was clear and well prepared with steps where required making the climb less difficult.


Governor Sanford was away for a while. I guess that I would not have noticed if it had not been for the tizzy that everyone seems to be in. He was in Argentina or on the Appalachian trail. Sounds like a game of “Telephone” may be responsible for the accurate information. If Assistant Governor Andre Bauer wandered away I doubt that anyone would notice. Unless he was trying to fly an airplane with the brakes on. Or land with the wheels up.


There is a sign posted on a power pole on a road that I travel. It says “Do you need a headliner replaced?” with a telephone number. I suppose I should call the number to find out if the person behind the advertising is a repairer of automotive interiors or an aspiring entertainer.

Michael Masley

One of the CD’s that I just took off the player is by Michael Masley. I think that I bought this one near the corner of Jefferson and Hyde in San Francisco in 1999 when I was there for a SHARE conference. I guess that Michael Masley is still going strong as attested by his own web site and the number of Google entries. But most especially by the Wikipedia article. A very intense, dedicated, talented and interesting fellow. He played on the street outside Mac Expo in January.

Spread of Language

By an interesting coincidence, I received a mailing from The Great Courses with a free sample lecture on the spread of language through Austronesia just as I was reading the chapters in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel on the very same topic.

The lecturer is very good and maintains interest on the topic but he is also using an overhead or projected presentation as he seems to pause to point or indicate features. I suppose this is one good reason to pay $400 to $1000 to take the real college class as opposed to getting just the lecture for $40 to $80.

Mackinac Straits Bridge – Part 2

Our family would occasionally take a boat trip to the bridge if the weather was calm. I can remember when the towers were being built. But more, I remember the next year when the catwalk was put in place. This was followed by the cable spinning operation. This is the most fun to watch. A device that looks like a collection of bicycle wheels is drawn from anchorage to anchorage by a winch. Each wheel pulls a loop of wire. Two wires per wheel. One wire is pulled off of a supply spool at the anchorage, the other is left standing still as the wheel goes by. Two wheels per trip. When the wheels get to the end, the loop tensioned, fastened to the anchorage, and another loop from that side is put on and the spinner is drawn back. That is about 5,500 round trips. I think that the spinner moved about 5 miles per hour. There was a bell that rang that warned the men on the catwalk that the spinner was coming. Quite an exciting thing to watch going on 200-400 feet overhead.

Part 1

St Ignace New Special Supplement

Mackinac Straits Bridge

On November first it was the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Mackinac Straits Bridge. The Straits of Mackinac (pronounce Mac-in-awe) are between the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula of Michigan. My grandparents had a summer home in the UP near the Straits. When I was young, my family would drive to the Straits and take the ferry across. I always remembered it as enjoyable although my mother said that the wait was sometime difficult with 5 children between 2 and 9.

The Mackinac Island Ferry operates out of the dock in Mackinaw City where the Straits ferries used to land. If you follow the link to the picture, you can see the size of the parking lot where the cars would wait to be loaded. For the most part, I think that they were roll-on-and-through. I know that that Vacationland was. If you were near the front of the line when the cars loaded, you would be the first ones off. I think as kids we wanted to be near the front so that we could see the hull lift up and the ramp go down. I know my parents would just as soon have been the last car on the previous load so that we would be on our way.

I do not remember distinctly the very first trip across the bridge the next summer. I think I was a bit disappointed that we did not get to ride the ferry. The bridge was exciting though. At mid-span, the bridge deck is about 200 feet off the water. The bridge is 4 lanes (and a bit more wide). The middle two lanes on the suspended part are open decking. This reduces the wind load and lets the snow fall through in the winter. As you a riding along in the travel lane, you can look left and right 200 feet down and see the waves. The bridge authority will provide a driver if this is too scary for you.

Each Labor Day, there is an opportunity for pedestrians to walk across the bridge. I should probably try it some day. On the other hand, walking from the southern approach to the southern tower of the Golden Gate Bridge provoked mild acrophobia. Maybe I will just think about it.

If you like bridges, this is the best. Goto his home page for a complete index.
Goto Part 2