Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to the Tennessee Aquarium.  We are remarkably fortunate to have this “fish tank” for many reasons.  First and foremost, the Aquarium has demonstrated one significant fact—it was the anchor for Chattanooga’s renaissance.  Chattanooga is no longer just a stop on your way to Florida.  It has become a destination for hundreds of thousands of non-citizens on an annual basis.  The aquarium gives tourists and residents something to do during and on week days and weekends.  The digital picture below will give you some idea as to the striking design of the facility.

It is hard to believe this week marks the twenty-fifth (25) anniversary of the aquarium.  I can remember the time prior to construction when many wondered whether or not the facility could support itself with visitors.  How would the City pay the employees?  How would the city maintain the facility?  Why take up precious land when it could be used for manufacturing and production?  All of these questions and more were asked—and answered.

The Tennessee Aquarium has been at the epicenter of the city’s downtown revival.  That fact is reflected with the knowledge that since its opening on May 1, 1992, more than twenty-three (23) million people have visited what has become, by far, the region’s biggest attraction.  In my opinion, the exhibits are much better than the aquarium in Atlanta and the Smokies. (Just my opinion.)

Let’s take a look at several facts that will highlight this marvelous addition to our city.

  • A new economic study estimates those visitors have pumped nearly $3.3 billion into Hamilton County’s economy and helped spur more than $5 billion in private investment downtown. Last year alone, out-of-state tourists coming to visit the Tennessee Aquarium are estimated to have had an economic impact totaling $115.7 million, according to a study by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sustainable Business and Development.
  • As you can see from the following graphic, the aquarium is just where it should be— right downtown.

Before the aquarium was built, you could go downtown and there would not be one soul on Broad or Market streets.  Broad and Market and the “main drags” in Chattanooga.  Today, those downtown streets are filled with people, even on most weeknights, and most of that has to do with what began with the aquarium.  After 6:00 P.M. any night, go downtown and try to find a parking spot on the street.  The garages have ample parking but on the streets-not so much.  The aquarium has also attracted a huge number of restaurants, bars, food trucks, dance halls, etc etc.  The vision our community leaders had to transform our city began with the aquarium, and without the aquarium we would not be where we are today.

  • The aquarium employs more than two hundred (200) people with seven hundred and fifty (750) volunteers.
  • The facility is home to more than twelve thousand (12,000) animals representing eight hundred (800) species.
  • Annual revenues = $25.2 million.
  • Mitch Patel, president of Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality Corp., credits the aquarium for much of the growth in the city’s $1 billion-a-year tourism industry.
  • The aquarium’s educational and research mission has expanded its scope and footprint to add research and conservation institutes and extra attractions, such as the IMAX Theater, Ocean Discovery saltwater tanks and the River Gorge Explorer boat trips in the Tennessee River gorge.
  • Chattanooga downtown boosters also have added to its appeal with the development of Coolidge, Renaissance and the Tennessee Riverwalk parks; the Children’s Discovery Museum; the Walnut Street and Holmberg pedestrian bridges; the AT&T baseball stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts, the expansion of the Hunter Museum of American Art and growth of the Bluff View Art District, among other successes.
  • There has been $5 billion of private investment in our downtown area since 1992, including a billion dollars of projects announced in the past year and a half. That’s just extraordinary, but it shows the power of finding what is authentic and fits your community. That’s what the aquarium has been for Chattanooga.

As a catalyst for growth, the aquarium and other attractions helped to increase the hotel business in Hamilton County nearly fourfold. In 1991, the last full year before the aquarium opened, Hamilton County hotels captured forty-seven ($47) million in total revenues. Last year they generated $187 million in revenues, according to the Hamilton County Trustee’s Office and before the aquarium opened, the only major hotel built downtown in decades was the Marriott, which that opened in 1986 next to the Trade Center. For a major city, even a small city such as Chattanooga, this is big.   Since 1992, more than a dozen hotels have been added across Chattanooga, and more than $140 million in new hotels are being built or in the pipeline in Hamilton County, including five luxury or boutique hotels downtown.

“Jack’s fish tank” questioned

As mentioned above, some were initially skeptical of the aquarium idea, which was proposed by architectural students at the Urban Design Studio in 1981 and later embraced as one of the goals in the community planning process organized by Chattanooga Venture in the 1980s. When the aquarium was pitched to then-Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander among a group of community projects, he urged local leaders, including Chattanooga Coca-Cola magnate Jack Lupton, to make the attraction distinctive and world-class.   Lupton, Chairman of the Lyndhurst Foundation and other backers agreed to build the facility with private money and contributed ten ($10) million from the foundation and eleven ($11) million of his own money.  He also led the forty-five ($45) million fundraising drive.

The Tennessee Aquarium was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, which had previously designed the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the New England Aquarium in Boston, to tell the story of aquatic life from the headwaters of the Smoky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. The 130,000-square-foot River Journey structure is the equivalent of a 12-story building and follows the path of a raindrop from high in the Appalachian Mountains to the ocean.  The digitals below will give you some idea as to what’s inside.

Many of its tanks and exhibits bear the names of corporate or individual donors. Memberships, admission fees and ongoing capital campaigns help pay to operate and expand the aquarium and support its educational research and outreach.

The 21st Century Waterfront, which included the thirty ($30) million Ocean Journey structure built in 2005, revamped the Ross’s Landing are to include a riverfront park, walkway, pier and boat docks, opening up the waterfront to pedestrians and Chattanooga’s downtown to boats.

The aquarium quickly won over most skeptics, topping its first-year attendance goal of 650,000 people within its first four months and topping out at nearly 1.5 million visitors in the first year. It consistently has ranked among the nation’s top aquariums in visitor satisfaction surveys. Please keep in mind the population of Chattanooga is 167, 674.  This will give you some perspective as to why the facility is so very important to our city.  How many other communities of our size can say they attract over a million visitors per year?  Think about and then, plan your next trip to Chattanooga.

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PECAN LODGE

December 8, 2016


This Thanksgiving my family and I traveled to Dallas, Texas to visit our youngest son and his wife Sarah.  Even though we are East Tennessee “ridge-runners” we love Dallas.  It’s a great place to visit with “tons” of wonderful restaurants, museums, and other terrific things to do and see.  If I may, let me recommend to you the following five visits that we consider “must see and do” experiences.  We have visited each of the following sites and I can attest to experiences.  Here we go:

  • Dallas Arboretum and Gardens–The gardens are truly outstanding but bring your walking shoes.
  • Dallas Cowboy Stadium—Seating 80,000 rabid fans, it sits prominently in Arlington, Texas
  • Ross Perot Museum—Downtown Dallas
  • Downtown Dallas Skyline—A wonderfully modern skyline with truly cutting-edge designs.
  • Pecan Lodge Restaurant—Best ribs and brisket in Dallas and voted one of the best four in the world.

OK, I know there are many many others but if you have only two or three days you might consider these five.  Dallas Cowboy Stadium is out of town but is a remarkable engineering and architectural feat—it is a must see.  Put that one high on your list.

This may be a little off-the-wall, but I would like to take you to the last one on the list—The Pecan Lodge Restaurant.  If you like smoked brisket, smoked ribs, smoked sausage AND all the sides that might go with each, you NEED to visit the Pecan.  The Texas Monthly called it one of the best four (4) BBQ restaurants in the world.  (Of course, they are a bit bias but it is a great experience.)

The owners tell us the following: “It all started when we ditched our corporate jobs and weekly travel that came with them so we could spend more time as a family. And, to be honest, we weren’t out to set the world on fire – just some mesquite wood, plus a little oak. But one mouthwatering bite of brisket led to another, and before we knew it, the juicy secret about Pecan Lodge was out. Folks began to serve us up heaping portions of praise, and soon after, lines started to form for what Texas Monthly called one of the Top 4 BBQ joints in the world.


It’s not easy work, but we love what we’re doing. And there are no shortcuts to doing it right. Our BBQ pit burns 24 hours a day, fueled by nothing but wood and passion. We grind and stuff our own sausage. And anything we can make from scratch, we make from scratch – from our Southern Fried Chicken to Aunt Polly’s banana pudding to our Mac n’ Cheese to the collard greens. Times change, and sometimes you have to roll with the punches. Our little stand at the Farmer’s Market had to make way for redevelopment, so we’ve now set up camp in the heart of Deep Ellum. You’ll find us where Main St. meets Pryor St., and good old-fashioned elbow grease meets smoked perfection”

Before we really get into a pictorial visit, let’s look at how they do it.

Texas Style Brisket by Pecan Lodge
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups paprika
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons onion powder
    • 3 tablespoons garlic salt
    • 1 tablespoons celery salt
    • 1 tablespoons black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 trim brisket, about 5 to 6 pounds
    Directions
  1. Combine all the drying ingredients in a bowl and blend well.
    2. Trim the brisket, leaving about 1/4-inch of fat.
    3. Season the brisket with about 1/4-cup of the rub. (NOTE: You don’t want such a thick crust that the smoke won’t penetrate the meat. Let the brisket marinate overnight in the refrigerator.)
    4. Preheat your grill to 250 degrees F using charcoal and hickory.
    5. Using indirect heat, cook the brisket for 3 1/2 hours and flip. Cook another 3 1/2 hours, cooking for a total of 7 hours (about 1 1/2 hours per pound.) The brisket should cook to an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
    6. Rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board before slicing. Slice brisket against the grain

How long does it take to smoke a brisket? And at what temperature? Are there any tricks to creating the “bark” on the brisket?
The answer varies, depending on the weight and type of smoker you are working with. Most of our briskets cook between 15 and 18 hours. To get a nice bark, we use a generous layer of spice rub, which — blended with the fat insulating the brisket — leads to a nice, dark bark on the outer layer.

I hope you’ve got that and will be willing to give it a try.  The Lodge is very willing to give you this recipe which I think is outstanding.

THE VISIT

The Pecan Lodge opens at 11:00 A.M. each day. Parking is no problem at all with plenty of spaces in the back and sides of the building.  As you walk towards the entrance you see two massive smokers.  These smokers run seven days a week with each brisket taking eighteen hours (minimum) to cook.  We were fortunate this day because the doors to the smoke house were open.

massive-smokers

Since it was the Thanksgiving holiday, there were fifty or sixty people in line to pick up call-in orders.  I can imagine turkey and brisket sitting on dining room tables across the Dallas area. NOTE:  The pick-up line is separate from the line for indoor and outdoor seating.  Don’t get in the wrong line.

call-in-orders-pick-up

We got there around 11:20 thinking we would be one of the first families in line.  Please note we were at the back of the line you see below.  Down the sidewalk and around the corner past the “bull” you see in the background.  I stepped out to take this picture to indicate just how popular this place is.

waiting-line

Due to the number of people ordering and needing to be seated, the management requires each order to be submitted before individuals are seated.  In other words, you can’t send a family member to save a seat while you are in line.  They are really big on this one.

please-be-seated

The two digital pictures below will give some indication as to the size of the indoor dining room.  It’s big and notice not too many people are looking up—all looking down at their plates and going at it.

inside-seating

inside-seating2

It would not be a BBQ “joint” without hats, shirts, belt buckles, etc etc.  These are on display so you can choose and pay as you place your order.

hats-shirts

Given below is the menu.  It’s the only one you get.  We all ordered one, two or three meats and one or two sides.  This gave us variety to share with each other. Note the “Hot Mess” in the upper right of the menu.  I did not order this but my son did and it is outstanding—hot but outstanding.

menue

We were very lucky in that the day gave us seventy-five degree temperatures and plenty of great sunshine.  We ate outside where there were eleven picnic tables—most of them full.

outside-seating

I know we have BBQ in east Tennessee and some of it is pretty good, but we do not have Texas brisket.  Hope you enjoyed this post and can make the visit to the Pecan Lodge in big “D”.

CHATTANOOGA MARKET

October 22, 2016


One of the best events we sponsor in Chattanooga during the summer and fall months is the Chattanooga Market.  It is the gathering place for over six thousands people every Sunday.  The Market is, by far, the region’s largest meeting place for local artists displaying their arts and crafts and local farmers selling their produce and fruits.   It is held every Sunday from April to December at the open-air First Tennessee Pavilion.  Times are typically from 11 A.M. until 4 P.M.  but the hours can vary depending upon special events planned for that day. The market has over 300 vendors including food trucks offering just about any food idem you can imagine. One of the very BEST facts about traveling to the market—ample parking.  You do NOT have to park, walk or take a bus to the event.

This past Sunday the theme was Octoberfest.  Let’s take a digital tour of the market.

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You can hopefully see that the entrance way to the Market is wide and accommodating even though there are vendors occupying both sides.

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You get some idea as to how various vendors approach setting up to sell their products.  Tents, booths, you name it, they were there.

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What Octoberfest would be complete without a German band?  The Market had two bands playing their hearts out.  Both bands were really good and played familiar songs the entire three hours we made the visit.  I did not capture the dancers helping their efforts but they were definitely there in force.  I might mention Octoberfest is extremely popular due to the presence of VW and Wacker industries in the Chattanooga area.

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The Market has four somewhat narrow isles and run about two hundred yards from front to back.  All vendor locations are definitely accessible to visitors although somewhat tight.  People understand this and are very courteous to each other when moving through the complex.

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As I mentioned, there is a great verity of products available, food, arts and crafts, honey, produce, fruits, what I would call trinkets, etc.  It’s all there are available.

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There are several vendors from Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia selling honey.  This product remains extremely popular and most booths sell out during the one-day event.

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Jewelry is always on display and you can find just about anything you wish to purchase.  I was surprised in talking with one vendor as to how many people were shopping for Christmas.

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The fruits and vegetables are the freshest. —the very freshest.  Generally, gathered for sale one or two days prior to display at the Market.

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The pumpkins you see above are ceramic, crafted, painted and fired just for the Market.  There were three tables available with the ones shown giving only a quick view of what was available.

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This is Mr. John Muncie.  He is the owner of the Well Turned Pens company.  I have several of the products John produces.  He turns selected woods to form the bodies for fountain pens and ballpoint pens.  I am always amazed at how many pens John sells during the summer and fall months.  They are truly works of art in my opinion.

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There are three vendors selling baked goods, primarily bread. The vendor above is Niedlove’s Bakery. They provide bread for the majority of restaurants in the Chattanooga area.

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You would not think butter would be an item Chattanoogans would purchase.  Let me tell you, butter is high on the must-buy list.  There were no fewer than six vendors selling their product.

 

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The second band was located in an area devoted to people having lunch.  There is a dance floor just forward of the band itself.  If you look carefully on the left, you can see several children dancing.

I certainly hope you will visit Chattanooga and when you come, take time to see our Community Market.


I think everyone is very proud of their home state and city.  Most in this “neck of the woods” would not live any other place than Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It hasn’t always been that way.  We were at one time one of the most polluted cities in the United States.    The copy from the Chattanooga Times will indicate the conditions we all lived with during the 1960s.

CHATTANOOGA city councilman Dave Crockett remembers when the dust and smoke in the air of this Tennessee city were so thick people turned on their car headlights at noon and businessmen brought an extra white shirt to work. That was in the 1960s when federal authorities said Chattanooga had the worst air pollution of any city in the United States.

In 1969, a U.S. survey of the countries air quality confirmed that Chattanooga was the worst city in the U.S. for particulate matter in the air. Before the Clean Air Act in 1970, in 1969, Chattanooga created its own legislation called the Air Pollution Control Ordinance. It controlled emissions of sulfur oxides, allowed open burning by permit only, placed regulations on odors and dust, outlawed visible auto emissions, capped sulfur content of fuel at four percent (4%,) and limited visible emissions from industry. Additionally, new pollution monitoring techniques were set in place to make sure these regulations were being followed.

That condition has long since been altered. As a result, the city has attracted a great number of business with many being foreign companies.  Clean air, welcoming environmental conditions, access to great transportation, willing workforce and affordable housing have made Chattanooga a very desirable place to live and work.

Much can be said for the entire state of Tennessee.  As you can see from the digital photograph below, twelve (12) countries have placed manufacturing locations within Tennessee borders and we are talking about multiple sites for those investments. These companies employ approximately 81,800 men and women.

investment2

In looking at the largest foreign-based companies in Tennessee, we see the following.

investment3

One facility just coming on line is the Wacker facility in Savanna, Tennessee. Wacker is by far, the most expensive facility at $2.5 billion.  The company has been extremely methodical in researching a proper site for their facility and training employees to work in that facility.  Many have made the trip to Germany for training.  It has been a great experience for the Chattanooga area.  A photograph of Wacker was given by the Sunday paper.  Very brief stats are given as follows:

Project Highlights:

  • US $2.5 billion plant investment–the largest single private manufacturing investment ever in     Tennessee
  • 650 new jobs
  • 20,000 metric ton capacity
  • 550-acre greenfield site
  • The plant will produce 20,000 tons of polysilicon annually at full capacity.
  • The plant was built with expansion in mind, noting the current facility is only using about 40 percent of its land. Wacker as a worldwide company produces a broad range of products.

 

When fully operational, the facility will employ right at 2,000 people.  An amazing addition to our East Tennessee area.

wacher2

You can get a much better feel for the size of the facility by looking at an aerial view.

wacker-3

One additional inducement for locating your facilities in Chattanooga, is Chattanooga downtown.  We are having a movement from the “burbs” to the downtown area simply due to the fact that there is a great deal to do in the downtown area.  Great places to eat, sights to see and one of the most vibrant outdoor communities in the United States.  Come on down for a visit.

JUST HOW BIG ARE WE

May 21, 2016


My wife and I went to a party this afternoon—an outdoor party given by a company devoted to fitness.  They wanted to show their appreciation for allowing their clients to beat them up several times each week.  (We even pay for them doing this. Go figure.)  Great party and it made me realize what a marvelous country we live in.  There is room on top of room if you happen to be in the right “neck of the woods”.  We traveled only thirty-five (35) minutes to Jasper Highlands, Tennessee to enjoy the day and say hello to our friends.  The location was on the top of Jasper Mountain.  Take a look.

Looking West

This is looking West from the top of the Highlands.

Looking South

Looking South from the Highlands.

It got me to thinking: Just how big are we in this country?

Together, the forty-eight (48) contiguous states and Washington, D.C. occupy a combined area of 3,119,884.69 square miles (8,080,464.3 km2), which is 1.58% of the total surface area of Earth. Of this area, 2,959,064.44 square miles (7,663,941.7 km2) is land, composing 83.65% of U.S. land area, similar to the area of Australia.  Officially, 160,820.25 square miles (416,522.5 km2) is water area, composing 62.66% of the nation’s total water area.

The contiguous United States would be placed 5th in the list of countries and dependencies by area; the total area of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, ranks fourth. Brazil is the only country that is larger in total area than the contiguous United States, but smaller than the entire United States, while RussiaCanada and China are the only three countries larger than both. The 2010 census population of this area was 306,675,006, comprising 99.33% of the nation’s population, and a density of 103.639 inhabitants/sq mi (40.015/km2), compared to 87.264/sq mi (33.692/km2) for the nation as a whole.

If we just look at Alaska, we see the following:

According to an October 1998 report by the United States Bureau of Land Management, approximately sixty-five percent (65%) of Alaska is owned and managed by the U.S. federal government as public lands, including a multitude of national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges. Of these, the Bureau of Land Management manages 87 million acres (35 million hectares), or 23.8% of the state. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the world’s largest wildlife refuge, comprising 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares).

Of the remaining land area, the state of Alaska owns 101 million acres (41 million hectares), its entitlement under the Alaska Statehood Act. A portion of that acreage is occasionally ceded to organized boroughs, under the statutory provisions pertaining to newly formed boroughs. Smaller portions are set aside for rural subdivisions and other homesteading-related opportunities. These are not very popular due to the often remote and roadless locations. The University of Alaska, as a land grant university, also owns substantial acreage which it manages independently.

Another forty-four (44) million acres (18 million hectares) are owned by 12 regional, and scores of local, Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Regional Native corporation Doyon, Limited often promotes itself as the largest private landowner in Alaska in advertisements and other communications. Provisions of ANCSA allowing the corporations’ land holdings to be sold on the open market starting in 1991 were repealed before they could take effect. Effectively, the corporations hold title (including subsurface title in many cases, a privilege denied to individual Alaskans) but cannot sell the land. Individual Native allotments can be and are sold on the open market, however.

Various private interests own the remaining land, totaling about one percent of the state. Alaska is, by a large margin, the state with the smallest percentage of private land ownership when Native corporation holdings are excluded.

To get an idea as to just how big Alaska is, take a look at the map below.

How Big is Alaska

OK, now let’s look at our biggest state within the contiguous United States—Texas.

Texas

Texas is the second largest U.S. state, behind Alaska, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2). Though ten percent (10%) larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide among country subdivisions by size. If it were still an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.

Now if you really want to talk about the wide open spaces, take a look at the area around Telluride, Colorado.  You would think enough room for the entire nation.

Colorado

Colorado (2)

We are a vast country with something to satisfy every taste. You can travel to Manhattan where the population density puts you right on top of everyone else or Alaska where you nearest neighbor may be twenty miles away.

TELLURIDE

April 11, 2016


One of our favorite places on the globe is Telluride, Colorado.   It is a very unique place and the anticipation of another visit brings a BIG smile to everyone’s face.   For spring break this year, my wife, our oldest son, our oldest grandson and I made the trip.  Getting there is a task for the stout hearted due to the remote location but it is definitely worth the time, effort, and money.  As you can see from the map of Colorado below, Telluride is located in the southwest part of the state.  Telluride has an airport but we felt the best plan was to fly into Montrose, then rent a car.  This is due to frequent inclement weather and cloud cover.   The trip from Montrose to Telluride is a little over an hour so, basically one long commute.

Telluride Map

THE TOWN

Telluride is the county seat and the most populous town of San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of Colorado. It is a former silver mining camp located on the San Miguel River in the western part of the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The first gold mining claim was made in the mountains above Telluride in 1875 and early settlement of what is now Telluride followed. The town itself was founded in 1878 as “Columbia”, but due to confusion with a California town of the same name, was renamed Telluride in 1887, for the gold telluride minerals found in other parts of Colorado. These telluride minerals were never located near Telluride, causing the town to be named for a mineral which never was mined there. However, the area’s mines for some years provided zinc, lead, copper, silver, and gold ores.   The Telluride Historic District, which includes a significant portion of the town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado’s twenty National Historic Landmarks. The town population was 2,325 in the 2010 United States Census, but during the winter ski season and the summer the population increases substantially due to tourism.

The first ski lift was installed by Telluride Ski Resort founder Joseph T. Zoline and the Telluride Ski Corporation (Telco). Zoline bought the land for the development of the future resort in 1969 and at that time began to profile the slopes. Along with his mountain manager, Telluride native Bill “Sr.” Mahoney, slowly and thoughtfully put together a plan for sustained development of Telluride and the region. As you can see from the JPEG below, the ski slopes are well defined with everything from “green” to double-black diamond.

Ski Slopes--Map

Beyond the ski lifts, Telluride is now widely recognized as an all-season resort. Telluride Ski Resort is definitely the main attraction in the winter.   When summer comes around, Telluride transforms into an outdoor recreation hot spot, with tourists visiting to enjoy mountain bikinghiking, river rafting, sightseeing and more.  My family and I have visited in the winter and the summer and both seasons offer a remarkable and diverse variety of entertainment.  You do not have to be a skier to enjoy Telluride.

What I would like to do now is give you a tour using digital pictures I took during our visit.  Let us start with a great picture of our son and his son.

Nick and Greg--Gondola

Greg is a skier and Nick is the snowboard champion.  They hit the slopes each day from 0900 hours to 1600 hours —did not miss a minute of the great weather.  It snowed just about every day with accumulation one day amounting to approximately six (6) inches.  From the map above, you can see they had their choice of slopes.

Lift 7

Lift seven is across the street from the condominium we rented for the week.  It is a chair lift.  A block away, is the gondola ride to the Mountain Village.  From there, you can take additional lifts to greater altitudes and slopes with increased difficulty.

DOWNTOWN TELLURIDE

As I mentioned earlier, Telluride is one of the most unique towns you can imagine.  No fast food, no bowling alleys, no video or gaming arcades.  There is a theater, and when we were there, the kids and their parents were lined up to see Zoolander.  The JPEG below shows the main street, Colorado Avenue.

Mainstreet

If it were not for running water, indoor plumbing and store lights, you would think Telluride is right out of the late 1800s.  It is a remarkably well-preserved frontier town and the permanent residents want to keep it that way.  It’s really laid back and certainly casual.

Telluride Downtown(5)

The most prominent landmark is the mountain just north of the town.  It certainly marks the location as you can see from the JPEG below.  A huge peak that stays snow-covered nine months of the year.

Telluride--Downtown(2)

 

The buildings are rustic but well-kept.  You can purchase everything from a Band-Aid to a complete set of ski equipment including the lift ticket, but as I mentioned, no McDonalds, no Hardees, no Sonic Drive-In.   The number of SUVs in the town must be fifty to one in comparison to regular automobiles.  The residents are equipped for the ten to twenty inches of snow frequently had during from late December to mid-February.

Telluride Mountains(2)

Telluride--Downtown

TYPICAL CONSTRUCTION

Typical House

Most houses and commercial establishments are frame-type with some brick found, but not that much in the downtown area.  You do find brick and stone in the high mountains around the Mountain Village complex.

We were there over Easter Sunday and attended the First Presbyterian Church of Telluride.  That church is shown below.  The membership is less than one hundred but the service was excellent.  The music was exceptional—really exceptional.  At the beginning of the service, the children are asked to gather around the bell rope.  They ring the bell signaling the beginning of services.  Ten o’clock sharp.

Presbyterian Church

We are now going from church to the Sheridan bar. Quite a leap but both are must-see when you visit Telluride.  The bar was initially designed for mine owners and high-level mine operators in the town.  The bar (and brothel) down the road was for the miners themselves.  Apparently they did not mix during after hours.  The bar is oak and mahogany and is huge.  The JPEG does not do it justice.  (Sorry about the lighting.  It’s very subdued. Hopefully you can get an idea as to the construction of the bar.)

Sherridan Bar--Telluride

Sherridan Bar--Telluride(4)

MOUNTAIN VILLAGE

When you take the gondola ride to the top of the mountain, the very first thing you see is “The Beach”.  This is the gathering point for all lifts going from the Village.   From the JPEGs to follow, you can see Mountain Village is an extremely modern collection of condos, restaurants, retail shops and other commercial establishments.  Not much in common with downtown Telluride with the exception of “tons of fun”.

The Beach

Mountain Village

As you can see, Mountain Village is extremely modern and caters to every personal need of the visitors vacationing in the facility.

Mountain Village(2)

 

One of the “coolest” places we found was the Black Iron Café.  This establishment serves gourmet meals to the hungry crowd seven days a week.  The fire pits are established to drive off the cold after hitting the slopes.

Black Iron Cafe

On the flip side, is the Diggety-Dog Café. It’s a hot dog place that’s over the top.  Greg and Nick met up with a home-town friend Duke Ritchie.  If you can see the menu, you will notice a sandwich called the heart attack.  (Stay away from that one.) Take a look.

Duke,Greg & Nick

RIDGEWAY AND QURAY

One morning we decided upon a field trip to the towns of Ridgeway and Quray.  Both are northeast of Telluride and about an hour’s drive.  Quray is noted for its natural hot springs.  You can tell when you are close; the steam coming off the springs is very discernible, especially when the air temperature is in the low thirties.   Both towns, as we will see below, are right out of the 1800s.

Rocky Mountains

As you can see from the digital photograph above, the scenery on the way is spectacular.  After leaving Main Street, most roads are dirt and gravel.

Ridgeway

True Grit Cafe

We discovered the movie True Grit was filmed in Ridgeway.  From that name came the True Grit Café. Notice they are now serving breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 0900 hours till 1100 hundred hours.

Firehall

One very unique thing about the fire hall is the sophisticated telecommunications equipment behind the building.

Brewery--Ridgeway

Every town MUST have its own brewery and Ridgeway certainly does.

Quray(3)

As with Telluride, Ridgeway is tucked solidly in the mountains.

Quray(2)

Quray is much like Ridgeway as far as mountains and general topography.  Main Street is paved but most of the side roads are again dirt and gravel.

Quray(4)

Mule Deer

In driving from Ridgeway going back to Telluride, we stopped to say hello to one of the local residents.  We do NOT see many mule deer in downtown Chattanooga.

No Smoking

You have to love this one.  I think they mean it.

VIEW FROM THE DECK

The last night of our visit we were invited to dinner by a longtime resident of Telluride.  The following pictures were taken from their rear deck.  As you can see, the view is breath-taking.

Rocky Mountains(2)

We were told this mountain range is the most photographed range in the world.  It is shown on bottles of Coors Light Beer.

Backyard-Stewart House

Backyard-Stewart House(2)

I hope you enjoyed this post and certainly recommend you put Telluride, Colorado on your bucket list.  It is definitely worth the visit.

AERION

February 27, 2016


Aerospace Defense and Technology, February 2016 publication, presented a fascinating article on joint engineering efforts provided by Aerion and the Airbus Group relative to a new supersonic business jet. This team has dedicated design and production planning since 2014, which has definitely been productive with a mid-November announcement from Flexjet ordering twenty (20) aircraft.  Aviation Week made the announcement as follows:

“Flexjet has placed a firm order valued at $2.4 billion for 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic jets, with delivery to begin in 2023. First flight is expected in 2021.

Flexjet CEO Kenn Ricci said the company will use the supersonic jet for overseas flights and also in China, which does not have restrictions on sonic booms.

Customers are already excited about the jet, he said. They immediately began citing city pairs where they would like to fly. But no one wants to fly it sub-sonically, Ricci said. The AS2 can fly sub-sonically over land in the U.S., Europe and areas where the boom is restricted. But it won’t be cost-effective to do so.

The three-engine jet will burn a high amount of fuel, roughly 1,000 gal. Per hr., and its long length will restrict its use at some airports, Ricci said. “It’s still going to be an expensive plane to operate,” he said. Still, with the aircraft traveling at Mach 1.2, its boom will not touch the ground, Ricci said. Because of that, regulators may be able to be convinced to allow the jet to fly supersonically across the country, he said. Even so, the aircraft can be placed at points on the Atlantic and Pacific for international travel.”

The digital photograph below indicates the basic airframe and shows the three engines designed into the fuselage.

Aeron AS2

Kelly Johnson, leader of the famous Lockheed “Skunk Works” stated years ago; “If it looks like it will fly, it will fly.  Well, this one looks like it will fly.

This biz jet will hold eight to twelve passengers and will have an intercontinental-capable range of 4,750 nautical miles at supersonic speeds.  At these speeds, three hours will be cut from traveling across the Atlantic and more than six hours on longer trans-Pacific routes.  It could get you from London to New York in 4 hours and 24 minutes. It takes a normal jet about seven hours to make that trip. The typical flight time from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia is about 15 hours and 30 minutes. On the Aerion AS2, the flight time would be just ten hours.

The AS2 will fly at a speed of Mach 1.5, using supersonic laminar flow technology.  The wing design will allow for lighter fuel consumption and increased travel ranges by reducing aerodynamic drag by twenty percent (20%).  NASA has issued a contract to model supersonic boom at ground level to ensure no issues result from supersonic flight.   New noise regulations coming in 2020 caused Aerion to change design from two to three engines to meet upcoming noise specifications.

The three-engine jet will make its first flight in 2021 and enter service in 2023.

As you can see from the digital below, the design is definitely cutting edge.  Other specifics are as follows:

 General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 8–12 passengers
  • Length: 170 feet (51.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 61 feet (18.6 m)
  • Height: 22 feet (6.7 m)
  • Wing area: 1,350 ft² (125 m²)
  • Empty weight: 49,800 lb (22,588 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 121,000 lb (54,884 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 × turbofans (low bypass ratio), 16,000 lb s.t.
  • Cabin size: 30 feet long, 6’2″ high, 7’3″ wide (9.1 * 1.9 * 2.2 m)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.5 (1140 mph) 1837 km/h
  • Cruise speed: Mach 1.4
    • Mach 0.95 at lower altitudes to minimize noise
    • Mach 1.1–1.2
  • Range: 4750 nautical miles  to 5300 nautical miles (8797 km to 9816 km)
  • Controls: Fly-by-wire flight controls
  • Structure: Ten (10) spar carbon fiber wing structure, fuselage and empennage structures.
  • Landing Gear: Articulating main landing gear system that minimizes space requirements when stowed.
  • Fuel System: A fuel system that is integrated with the digital fly-by-wire control system for control of center of gravity

Aerion and Airbus are presently working to specify the engines for the AS2 while keeping in mind the upcoming noise requirements.  Their goal is to provide acceptable fuel usage just below MACH 1.

Specifics

The interior is an absolute dream, as you can see from the next two JPEGs.  Talk about first class.

Interior

Interior (2)

This aircraft “ain’t “cheap but will serve a very specific function and is targeting a very small clientele.  Of course, there are no figures on how much this mean ride will cost relative to operating expense or maintenance but payback will have to result or there will be issues with cash flow and continued operation.  This one will be fun to watch.

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