Gold Country Nuggets

“Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” Sam Brannan yelled as he walked along San Francisco’s Montgomery Street in May, 1848. The news was electric and within a year, gold fever was a worldwide epidemic. Hundreds of thousands of gold seekers traveled from the four corners of the Earth to California’s Gold Country. 150 years later, they’re still coming.

Today, they come to experience the legacy of the gold country, rather than to pan gold from its icy streams, and that legacy is best found on a circle tour of the Gold Country’s top destinations: Sacramento, Ironstone Vineyards and Yosemite National Park. This tour can be accomplished in as little as three days, though a week provides a more leisurely and satisfying journey.

One can no longer travel from San Francisco to Sacramento by paddle wheeler as would have been done in the 1800s. Back then, riverboats steamed 90 miles up the meandering Sacramento River delta to the bustling waterfront of what is now called “Old Sacramento,” a riverside commercial district that looks much as it did during the height of the gold rush with wooden sidewalks, cobblestone streets, saloons, and iron-shuttered shops.

Old Sacramento is truly where the Wild West began. At the intersection of 2nd and J Streets, the sounds of horse-drawn carriages passing transport you back to the late 1800s. Here, the bronze statue of a Pony Express rider, recalls the exuberant young men who galloped east, carrying mail to St. Joseph, Missouri, a job so dangerous that the company advertised for riders who were orphans. The Pony Express had a brief but thrilling life, but like the frontier was eventually subdued by technology… in its case, the telegraph. As ironic counterpoint, opposite the statue is an authentically preserved Wells Fargo & Co. assay office, with displays containing telegraph equipment, assay instruments, strong boxes, gold dust and memorabilia of the period. Further gilded age technology is memorialized at the Discovery Museum where history, technology and science come to life in interactive displays. Next door, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker met to finance the Central Pacific Railroad that would cross the continent. Fittingly, the California State Railroad Museum stands nearby. Its beautiful steam engines have been detailed to showroom perfection, their massive bodies colorfully painted and glistening. Train rides are offered every weekend, April through September.

As the capital of California, Sacramento is loaded with great museums and historic sites, 16 of them, to be precise. California weapons, uniforms and descriptions of campaigns are found at the California Military Museum on Second Street. A few blocks away, early California paintings are featured at the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest public arts museum west of the Mississippi River. For a taste of what makes California different, head to the Golden State Museum at 10th and O streets with its involving and elaborate interactive exhibits drawn from the State Archives. The 1859-era state capitol building at 10th and L streets functions as a living museum where laws are passed for the fifth-largest economy in the world. Guided tours include entry to the colorfully decorated State Assembly and Senate rooms and historic offices. Tours of the gingerbread Victorian Governor’s Mansion at 1526 H Street gives visitors a look into how 13 California governors (including Ronald Reagan) lived. And for an earlier look at life on the frontier, visit Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park at 2701 L Street, where reenactors depict Sacramento’s earliest settlement, founded in 1839. An online guide to all these places is found at http://www.sacmuseums.org.

Sacramento has lots of places to stay, from a riverboat docked along the waterfront, to Arts and Crafts bungalows and Victorian homes that have been converted into trendy inns, to a carload of moderately priced motels, to full- service luxury hotels. A complete listing of them is found at http://www.discovergold.org.

Considering Sacramento’s charms, its hard to imagine that the ’49ers stocked up and rushed right out of town. Their intent, understandably, was to get rich by the fastest means possible. Author Mark Twain was one of those. Like others who struck it rich during the California gold rush, however, Twain’s fortune didn’t come from mining. In 1865, he reworked a tale he had heard in the gold fields, and within months the author of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” had become a national sensation.

Twain’s subject is reached by driving east along State Route 16, from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills and turning south on SR 49. This historic road connected Gold Country towns like links on a golden chain. Within a few months of the gold discovery, 546 mining towns had sprung up. About 250 still remain. Many look much as they did when “The Mother Lode” was booming. Merchants in these supply towns usually became richer than the miners, because the miners were in constant need of supplies. A shovel would draw $50 from a miner’s thin wages. Worse yet, a slice of bread could cost $1… $2 if it was buttered. Today, the old mining towns are populated with antique shops, art galleries and bed and breakfast inns, yet their prices are far more reasonable.

In addition to a pan full of historic sites, Calaveras County is home to superb golf courses, snow and water skiing, whitewater rafting on the Stanislaus River, the giant sequoias of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, tours of spectacular caverns and wine tasting at several exceptional wineries. Many of the region’s wineries have roots that extend back to the gold rush. European miners often found it more profitable to make wine and brandy for the miners than dig in the mines and the Gold Country became California’s first economically successful winemaking region. Today, several award-winning wines are being made here; the most famous producer of them is Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys.

There’s no mistaking Ironstone as some faux Loire Valley chateau. John Kautz and his family have unabashedly designed the Ironstone Winery as a tribute to the California gold rush. The winery’s architecture resembles a stamp mill where ore would have been crushed, and its grounds include placer (hydraulic) mining equipment, flumes, water wheels and miner’s cabins, recreating the look of the period. A museum inside the winery displays the Ironstone Crown Jewel, a 44-pound crystalline gold nugget that is stored in a vault surrounded by shatterproof glass and lit to dazzling intensity.

There is so much to see and do at Ironstone Vineyards that one might overlook tasting the winery’s great wines, if they weren’t so good. Several have won international acclaim, and medals signaling their excellence hang throughout the tasting room. Ironstone owns over 5,000 acres of vineyards including the largest plantings of Cabernet Franc in the United States. Much of Ironstone’s wine is aged in large caverns that were hand-blasted into a hillside. The trickling sounds and delicate lighting of the cave’s waterfall serves as a beautiful background for wine tasting and the winery’s award-winning gardens. When this all becomes too much and you need a good night’s rest, the 1856 Murphys Hotel is just minutes away. It’s the same place where President Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain rested on their Gold Country sojourns. More information is found at http://www.ironstonevineyards.com and http://www.murphyshotel.com.

The circle tour continues on Highway 49, past the gold towns of Sonora, Jamestown, Chinese Camp and Groveland, up into the High Sierra (on State Route 120) and Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley was first entered in 1850 by the Mariposa Battalion a group of impromptu soldiers enlisted to suppress attacks on miners by Indians who lived in the Valley. Five years later, the first tourist party entered and visitors have been returning ever since. It’s little wonder. The Valley’s towering granite walls, domes and waterfalls are so breathtakingly beautiful that seeing them often moves visitors emotionally.

Increasingly today however, park visitors are not satisfied with sightseeing; they seek deeper meaning and understanding about Yosemite National Park, its wildlife and special places. Responding to this interest, the Yosemite Guides, a private guide service, provides privately guided trips from the Yosemite Gateway Visitor Center at the Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal near the west entrance to Yosemite National Park (SR 140). There, mountaineer Peter Mayfield and naturalists lead small groups on individualized trips into the wilderness. They cater sunset picnics on Sentinel Dome with alpenglow-painted views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and the High Sierra, lead morning bird walks across meadow boardwalks in Yosemite Valley to hear the song of the yellow warbler, guide fly fishermen from around the world to float cast upon alpine eastern Sierra lakes, and pilot hikers to the quiet solitude of the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias. Visit http://www.yosemiteguides.com for more information.

Many of these trips explore the wild and scenic Merced River Canyon. In March and

April, Hite Cove, midway down the canyon and recognized as having one of California’s best displays of wildflowers, wears a bright blanket of green grasses, decorated with iridescent yellow, pink, red, purple, orange and blue blossoms, and visited by hundreds of fluttering butterflies, Mariposa County’s namesake. Neon-colored paddlers add to the show as they challenge the Merced’s whitewater, in splashing, laughing choruses, through spring and into early summer.

Farther down Highway 140 is Mariposa, the final Gold Country stop on this circle tour. At the California State Mining and Mineral Museum, 13,000 minerals, rocks, gems historic artifacts, and fossils are maintained in a collection that was begun in 1865. The pride of the collection is the crystalline-gold Fricot nugget, which at 201 ounces, was the largest crystalline nugget found during the Gold Rush. Though millions of travelers pass through Mariposa on their way to Yosemite each year, this isolated gold rush town has been largely unaffected and retains its small town atmosphere, as evidenced at the Mariposa County Courthouse which is the oldest county courthouse in continuous use west of the Rockies. After all, taking the circle tour is all about uncovering gold country nuggets like this one.

It is often difficult to obtain acceptable accommodations inside Yosemite National Park, particularly on short notice, but not so along Highway 140. Luxury accommodations with kitchenette units, gas fireplaces, double spa tubs, swimming pools and river views are easily obtained at the Yosemite View Lodge, while the Cedar Lodge in El Portal and the Yosemite Best Western Waystation in Mariposa provide quality accommodations at moderate prices. Virtual tours, online reservations and more information about these accommodations are found at http://www.yosemite-motels.com.

The final leg of this circle tour travels through the rich agricultural fields of California’s Central Valley, before returning to San Francisco. With so much to see and experience, it may not be long before a new gold fever becomes contagious. That is, a fever to take this Gold Country Circle Tour.

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An Introduction to the World of Minecraft

On May 17th, 2009, Markus “Notch” Persson brought to the world the game that would leave hundreds of thousands of people very happy – Minecraft. This amazing game started as a sandbox construction game but eventually progressed to the adventure-like challenge that it is today. For the beginning player, Minecraft can appear to be a little confusing and perhaps a bit overwhelming. A few Minecraft tips can go a long way towards getting them on their way.

Your character starts out in the middle of a randomly generated world with nothing on his person. By looking around you may notice some things, such as trees and animals roaming about. You may also notice that it is day outside, though the sun is moving steadily across the sky. Once the sun goes down the monsters come out, so getting together a shelter is the first thing that needs to be done.

Pressing the “E” button will open up your inventory, but also allows access to the crafting box. In the upper right-hand corner there are four squares where items can be placed to mix them together and create new, useful items. For example, by placing a piece of coal on top of a stick a torch is made. Actually, four torches are made, as Minecraft generally gives things in multiples when you craft.

Now, in order to start crafting anything, the first thing that is needed is some wood. Punching trees (by using the mouse button) until they break will allow you to pick up the piece that broke off. Taking that piece of wood and putting it into the crafting box will turn it into a stack of planks. Once four planks have been collected they can be placed in each of the four squares of the crafting box and turned into a workbench, which allows a crafting box of nine squares and the ability to create more items.

You will find yourself running around beating up on a lot of trees in the beginning. The first thing to make is that workbench. From there, a pick can be made. First, take two planks and place them one on top of the other to make some sticks. Then two sticks, one on top of the other with three planks across the top in a “T” formation will produce a wooden pick. This pick will allows stone and other hard objects to be mined. Then you need to run around and find some coal. After mining that you will need to make some torches using coal and sticks as mentioned above.

Now that you have some torches, a pick, and a workbench you need to hide. Find a nice piece of the landscape and mine your way into it. Hollow out a little area and put some torches up for light. Monsters can only spawn in areas without light, so torches will keep them away. Cover the entrance with some more blocks (to keep monsters out) and wait for daylight again. Nighttime is a good time to go digging into the ground as well, looking for more resources to use to make better items. The most common resources you will find at the surface of the world are iron and coal. Iron can be used to make better weapons and tools as well as some armor to keep you alive.

After the first night is up, you can go out into the world again and explore. Once you know how to survive the night, the rest is easy. Experiment with the workbench and different materials to create things. If you really need a boost, some Minecraft cheats are available online as well as many pages that show all the recipes for crafting items. Once you have the good materials you can make anything from railroad tracks to musical instruments to electrical powered pistons. By using all these items, you can build a world for you and your friends to enjoy and explore, complete with castles, towers, underground railroads or whatever else your can imagine.

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Types of Construction Projects

Construction is defined as “a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure.” (See 1. below) On the other hand, a Construction Project “includes all material and work necessary for the construction of a finished structure for occupancy by End Customer. This includes site preparation, foundations, mechanical, electrical work, and any other work necessary to complete the project.” (See 2. below)

There are different types of construction projects:

  1. Residential
    Residential construction projects include houses, townhouses, apartments, condominiums, cottages, single unit dwellings and subdivisions. The housing designs are generally done by architects and engineers and the construction is executed by builders who hire subcontractors for structural, electrical, mechanical and other specialty work. This type of project must conform to local building authority regulations and codes of practice. Many new builders are attracted to residential projects because of its ease of entry in the real estate market. This makes it a highly competitive market with potentially high risks as well as high rewards.
  2. Building
    Building construction is perhaps the most popular type of construction project. It is the process of adding structure to real property. Most of the projects are room additions and small renovations. Most new building construction projects are construction of sheltered enclosures with walk-in access for the purpose of housing people, equipment, machinery or supplies. It includes installation of utilities and equipment.
  3. Institutional and Commercial
    Institutional and commercial building construction covers a great variety of project types and sizes such as hospitals and clinics, schools and universities, sports facilities and stadiums, large shopping centres and retail chain stores, light manufacturing plants and warehouses and skyscrapers for offices and hotels. Specialty architects and engineers are often hired for designing a particular type of building. This market segment has few competitors because of the high costs and greater sophistication of institutional and commercial buildings as compared to residential construction projects.
  4. Industrial
    Industrial construction is only a small part of the whole construction industry nevertheless it is a very important part of the industry. These projects are generally owned by big, for-profit industrial corporations such as manufacturing, power generation, medicine, petroleum, etc.
  5. Specialized Industrial Construction
    This type of construction project usually involves very large scale projects with a high degree of technological complexity such as nuclear power plants, chemical processing plants, steel mills and oil refineries.
  6. Highway Construction
    Highway construction involves the construction, alteration, or repair of roads, highways, streets, alleys, runways, paths, parking areas, etc. It includes all incidental construction in conjunction with the highway construction project.
  7. Heavy Construction
    Heavy construction projects usually involve projects that are not properly classified as either “building” or “highway.” Examples of this type of project would be: water and sewer line projects, dams, sewage treatment plants and facilities, flood control projects, dredging projects, and water treatment plants and facilities.

These are the more popular types of construction projects. Construction is a big industry and there are now several construction companies that you can choose from. This, coupled with the use of the internet, has made it easier for the consumer to make a decision on how to proceed with his or her projects. You just need to do a little research. Don’t hesitate to contact these construction companies and ask questions. Construction projects are a major undertaking and you need to make the right decisions when you embark on these projects.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_project

2. http://www.steelbuildingreference.com/steel_buildings_definitions.htm

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Boston Suburban areas a good choice to run a business

BioTechs even with the latest news had shed over 1000 jobs two years ago, as it was reported by The Financial Times, WSJ, and Bloomberg that only 17 of the nearly 1300 BioTech firms were actually profitable. In 2002 the number of jobs were in the 30,000 range in Biotech. 600 layoffs came from Millennium Pharmaceuticals. And the VCs are were barely interested as they hardly even look at tech deals with all of them netting less than 3 Million in venture capital for computer software and less than 10 million in biotech in 2003. But that was then and this is now. Unemployment has dropped, money is flowing the fallout mortgage loans stopped bleeding and money is coming back for investment in all sectors. Nano and Biotech both good.

Small businesses are profitable again, college enrollment is up and we are seeing rebounding numbers in most all sectors. Boston suburbs areas are looking quite good again. Some of the largest suburb office parks which were under the gun as University, Cabot, Cummings, AMB, Canton, Northwest, Cross Point, South Shore, etc. were not seeing the attrition turn to the synergy and critical mass needed for ultimate sustainability? All this had many worried, but commerce and entrepreneurship will always find a way and they did as the buildings are starting to fill up again. Wee must count on the best and the brightest of the literary elite to make something out of nothing in the middle of being bombarded with regulators from every level of government trying to make everything, which is not equal, all the same never-the-less. God Bless them with Holly Sparklets water and wafers from Nabisco. And don’t tell me I do not know what I am talking about because we have washed those delivery vans before showing up at the Catholic Church. If it were not for all the lawyers in Boston, everybody would be out of work? Just kidding, it is not quite that bad. Things are moving along, but a lot faster now than our last surveys of 2001 and 2003.

We believe that a small business with the right market mix can survive and thrive now and probably get a pretty good deal on office space too. If you can handle the Political Correctness and the lust for literary trivia, hey go for it, take their money, they want to spend it and the customer is always right, especially in Boston, just ask them if they know what they are talking about, Think on it.

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Visit Asuncion, Paraguay!

If you’re looking for a place to find historical and contemporary attractions all in one destination, look no further than Asuncion, Paraguay. Situated on the hills by the Paraguay River, you’re sure to love the Waterfront District, where most of the city’s action takes place. You will find Spanish Colonial buildings, dating back to the 1500s right alongside modern architecture and attractions. Best of all, you’ll enjoy the many attractions at some of the lowest prices of any travel destination in the world.

You’ll want to make sure to spend a day at the Botanical Garden and Zoo. With over 500 species of local flora and 70 species of animals, most of them native to South America, it is one of the oldest and finest zoological parks in South America. In addition to the gardens and zoo, guest can spend time at the Museum of Natural History and the Asuncion Golf Club.

The Museuo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Asuncion (National Museum of Fine Arts) is also a must see for visitors to Paraguay’s principal city. Featuring the work of international and Paraguayan artists, in addition to several exhibits dedicated to the preservation of historical documents and artifacts important to the history of the region. Perhaps due to the influx of immigrants in the late 1800s, much Paraguayan art shows the distinct colors of the diverse European people groups who now call Paraguay home. The Museum was founded in 1909, and has contiguously offered residents and visitors alike to take in the rich art culture of Paraguay.

No trip to Asuncion would be complete without taking an excursion to see the local waterfalls. Both the Salto Crystal Falls and the Iguazu Falls are accessible from the area. Most visitors book package trips, allowing them to take in both, along with several other river attractions.

Finally, neither history lovers nor those who follow current events should miss the opportunity to take in the Plaza de los Heroes. Built as a tribute to the many colorful figures who have impacted the history of Paraguay, it is often used as a place for demonstrations commemorating significant events as they unfold. Should you be fortunate to visit Paraguay when such an event is taking place, you will not want to miss the chance to see this country’s proud people gather outside the Plaza, patriotically waving their national flag.

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10 Senior Portraits Dos and Don’ts

DO reserve a session with your photographer early in the season since their schedules can be booked months in advance.

DON’T wait too long…many high school yearbook deadlines are as early as October, so consider scheduling a session during late summer, before the school year begins.

DO pick a myriad of scenic backgrounds for your senior portraits – think wooded areas, old buildings with intricate architecture, railroad tracks, lush greenery, etc.

DON’T choose locations that have busy and really detailed backdrops that can detract from you as the focus.

DO opt to wear a variety of different outfits, both casual and dressy, especially if you will be shooting photos outdoor. If you are involved in school sports or activities, consider wearing your uniform (i.e. letter jacket or cheerleading uniform). You’ll get a wide variety of photos to choose from.

DON’T clash with your surroundings. Avoid wearing loud, busy patterns and wording on your clothing – it distracts from you. Stick with solid, flattering hues such as neutrals, blues, and reds.

DO stick with your own, natural look to achieve the best photographs.

DON’T try out a new look! You’ll end up with photos that look nothing like you! Boys should avoid getting a new haircut right before the shoot and girls should not try new hairstyles or makeup for the pictures.

DO relax! If you are comfortable, relaxed, and enjoying yourself, your personality and happiness will show beautifully in the portraits.

DON’T stress over blemishes, tan lines, and other minor imperfections – most Salt Lake senior portraits studios can easily erase flaws during the touch-up process.

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Model Trains for Beginners

Model trains are a hobby that fascinates enthusiasts and attracts admirers from all over the world. When taking up this exciting hobby, some thought should go into what type of model railway you wish to build as model trains for beginners can be overwhelming if you just dive in. This creative past time is the perfect way to display skill, imagination, and capture the wonderful essence of historical railways and trains with nostalgic memories of the past.

Whatever your vision is, spend some time planning your model railway and join a local enthusiasts club where you will find plenty of helpful tips and hints to get you started. Many small model railway projects start small and expand into complex systems capable of operating several trains at once in all kinds of different terrain. The tips in this article will help you plan and think about how to commence your own model railway.

Theme and Era

Are you looking for the days of luxury trains like The Flying Scotsman or Orient Express, or looking to the great Trans continental railways like the Trans Siberian Express or the Indian Pacific, which ran on the world’s longest straight stretch of track across Australia? You need to decide on the year, the country and the rolling stock and trains you require. This is a very exciting task, and your project will evolve from these ideas.

Display Space

Model trains for beginners should not be over ambitious and should allow enough space to show off the layout without overwhelming the room for a first time model. You can always expand or start a new project that is wall to wall. All model railways are a labour of love, and it is best to start small because of all the detail involved.

Scale

If you have a small display space, then a smaller scale model railway will work better although more impact is needed from the scenery and setting. Larger scale models are easier to work with, but are more expensive.

Plan of the Track

Your track design has several options, and it is best to draw some different configurations on graph paper. Once you are satisfied with the layout of your track, you can use your sketch to build it into your setting.

Which Track Type to Use

There are many different brands of track on the market with varying rail sizes, roadbed attached track pieces and track only. Custom curves can be made from a flex track product. Review and try different types to see what suits you.

Display Table or Bench

Before deciding on the size of display area for your model railway, you can do a dummy run with your track on the floor. This will give you an idea of overall size required. Estimate how much extra will be needed for scenery and extras. This will give you the size of board, bench, or table for your display.

Electronics and Wiring

The operation of your model railway can be very sophisticated with digital command control (DCC) that enables you to operate two or three trains at once. Locomotives are electronic, but many other components and accessories are also electronic which will give you an authentic replica of a real railway with lights, switching of tracks, steam and smoke, whistles and other sounds. You can even buy tiny video cameras to record your train’s journey around your personal layout, which is great fun to watch.

Starting a model railroad can turn into a life long experience with something new and different to be added every day as your imagination updates your vision. Model trains for beginners are a rewarding and interesting hobby that not only gives satisfaction to the modeller, but also to people who see it. Just remember to plan carefully for a layout you will have for life.

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High Altitude Locomotives

When China decided to build a   railroad  line, which would be nearly 16,000 feet high a special locomotive had to be built to run at these high altitudes, as well as oxygen had to be secured for those passengers and locomotive engineers. This technology had to be borrowed from other sources and luckily there was a multinational corporation, which was able to handle this.

General Electric has built the GE C38AChe, which is a high altitude locomotive, which runs at optimum even at high elevations. In fact, General Electric has built 78 of these GE C38AChe Locomotives. Each one having 4000 hp and to they are an engineering marvel of technology both old and new. If you look at the GE C38AChe, you see that slightly resembles a locomotive, but it’s guts are state-of-the-art technology on the leading edge of locomotive engineering. Here’s a picture;

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=133146

The GE C38AChe is able to operate over the Himalayas, something no other rail line has ever achieved and a bold step for trade indeed. Apparently, whether it is building a Treasure Fleet, Great Wall, Massive Cities or even a  railroad ; China thinks big and boldly. Using the best technology in the World, China is making the grade. Consider all this in 2006.

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Disney Orlando Theme Parks

Walt Disney World is a place that seems magical. It is a world set apart from the real word where childhood reigns over all. Yet, Disney World can be daunting for any parent who takes their children on a Disney World Adventure. Therefore I present my guide to Disney Orlando Theme Parks to help the parents find their way around. The Walt Disney World Unofficial Guide contains information on the theme “lands,” the rides and the must sees in each area.

Magic Kingdom

The Guide to Disney Orlando Theme Parks starts off with the most famous, iconic and majestic of the four theme parks: the Magic Kingdom.

  • Main Street USA

Upon entrance to the Magic Kingdom, you will find yourself on the streets of Main Street, USA. Main Street is the center of it all. This one street branches out to the six mini worlds of the Magic Kingdom: Adventure Land, Frontier Land, Liberty Square, Fantasy Land, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and Tomorrow Land. Cinderella’s Castle is at the center of it all. On Main Street, you and your family can take a   railroad  ride on the Walt Disney World  Railroad  line. This  railroad  has stops in Frontier Land and Mickey’s Toontown Fair. Main Street USA is also the site of parades. During the Daytime, there are the Main Street Trolley Parade and the Disney Dreams Come True Parade. At Nighttime, there is the SpectroMagic Parade. This parade features bright floats that light up the nighttime sky as well as lively music that echoes throughout the park. This is a can’t miss event! Of course your favorite Disney characters make appearances. The Genie from Aladdin and Sebastian from the Little Mermaid all appear on the floats as well as classics such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

  • Mickey’s Toontown Fair

Mickey’s Toontown Fair is located in the North east section of Magic Kingdom between Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land. There is a stop here on the Walt Disney World  Railroad . You can board this  railroad  to Frontier Land or Main Street USA. The Toontown is the home of all toons, so have your camera ready. Famous cartoon characters such as Goofy, Donald, and Mickey are bound to make an appearance here. You and your family can take a tour through Mickey Mouse’s House or ride a mild roller coaster on “The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm.”

  • Frontier Land

Frontier Land is located on the West Side of Magic Kingdom sandwiched between Liberty Square and Adventure Land. The Walt Disney World  Railroad  line has a stop in Frontier Land. Frontier Land features one of the more famous attractions in the Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain. The guests ride a log flume 52 1/2 feet into the air and then drop down at a 45 degree angle. As the log drops from such a high location, there is a 40 inch height requirement. The log drops into a pond called Briar Patch. Riders in the front usually get soaked the most, but lookout! There have been reports of the whole log getting soaked. How about a indoor roller coaster ride to dry you and your family off after Splash Mountain? Enter Big Thunder Mountain  Railroad . The ride takes place on cars resembling locomotives and features locales both indoors and outdoors on a huge mountain and abandoned mining town.

After these big thrills, it is best to sit down, relax and watch a show: Country Bear Jamboree! The Country Bear Jamboree features robotic, but real-looking bears that sing country folk songs for the whole family. Once the merry show has ended, the family can take a raft to Tom Sawyer Island where they can enjoy an incredible walk through attraction featuring elements from pirate and Tom Sawyer lore. And obviously who kind of Frontier would it be without a little arcade shooting range? Experience the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade with 97 targets and 35 shots from the infrared rifle for one dollar.

  • Adventure Land

Adventure Land is located on the south west of the Magic Kingdom. The theme of Adventure Land is the far away worlds seen in such Disney movies as Tarzan and Disney properties such as Indiana Jones. Adventure Land takes you to the jungles and deserts of Africa and Asia. Here, you and your family can board the Jungle Cruise Ride. This ride simulates being on a riverboat in the rivers of the Amazon. Along the ride, robotic animals, resembling the animals found in the Amazon in real life, are found along the shore of the river.

Next, you can visit The Enchanted Tiki Room. This is a short ten minute show hosted by two birds from Disney Lore, Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from the Lion King. After sitting down and enjoying the show, your family can be well rested for The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Your kids can get into little vehicles that resemble the Magic Carpet from Aladdin. These carpets are attached to a center that lifts the vehicles up into the air and turns them around and around like a merry go around.

The ride that inspired the movie Pirates of the Caribbean is found right in Adventure Land. And obviously enough, this ride is called Pirates of the Caribbean. This is an indoor boat ride as guests float through spectacular pirate scenes featuring cannon blasts, buried treasure and other surprises that I won’t spoil here. Beware: there are two hair-raising drops on this ride!

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Modeling – Plastic Modeling Kits Considered

As a teenager, and even starting as early as age 6, I liked to build plastic models. At one point I think I had built every single 1:172 scale plastic model which existed. I built race cars, army tanks, HO scale rail-road buildings, and nearly every possible aircraft. In fact, I had so many airplanes hanging from my ceiling with fishing line, that times you could not see the ceiling. A miniature Smithsonian Aviation Museum in the making – so, that’s what I did in my youth, and I enjoyed it very much.

Now that I’m older I still occasionally enjoy building models, air brushing them, and although I don’t have space for them all, I enjoy building dioramas also. Now then, if you would like to learn more about building plastic models, or if you would like the models you build to come out better, more realistic, and more historically authentic, then there is a very good book I’d like to recommend to you, and it is actually one that I own myself. The name of the book is;

“Plastic Modeling Kits” by Jack C. Harris, Crestwood House Publishers, New York, NY, (1993), 48 pages, ISBN: 0-89686-623-8.

The author of this book is a master modeler, and this book is well illustrated. Mr. Jack C. Harris has written an excellent book and he has included chapters about; plastic model kits, how to choose your first plastic kit to build, and how you can work your way up in skill. He also explains the tools you will need to build these models, along with the glues, and paints. There is a great section on airbrushing, and I wish I had this book back when I was a teenager because I could have really used it.

Would you like to learn how to customize your plastic models once you are completed, there is a chapter on that as well. And there is information on how to win and enter contests, and where to display your plastic models where they will be viewed the most. You’d be surprised that museums will be happy to have your plastic models if they are done correctly, and you can even enter them in the local county fair for prizes and accolades.

In the book there is information on joining master modeler clubs, or even how to make your own club with other local hobbyists. And if you are worried about using the right terminology when talking to your modeling friends, then there is a complete glossary in the back, so you use the proper buzzwords. Indeed, I hope you will please consider this if you plan on building plastic models for profit, or as a hobby. Please think on it.

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