Golfing in Snow – at Zero (F.) Degrees!

25 years ago this week, in 1993, we came across this guy at the Sagamore Resort above Lake George, New York. We were sledding and cross-country skiing (or at least trying,) and HE….was apparently frozen stiff!

The wind-chill temperature on the mountain above Lake George was 0 (F,) (-18C.)!

As always, click on the image for a closer look and if you see his golf ball, contact The Samaore Resort, Bolton Landing, N.Y.                Comments are encouraged…

Step up, Step Down, and Round They Go – The Dance of the Electrons, Part Three of Three

From the Ramapo River in New Jersey, To the Crust of the Earth and Beyond

See Part One Here

See Part Two Here

This journey traces our electrical power to its source – in three parts.

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Parts one and two follow the journey from our home in northern New Jersey, to just below the New York State line where this image was taken. A connection with this 138,000 volt transmission line and the moon will be noted at the end of this post.
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From our neighborhood ….along the local distribution grid …and through two sub-stations, we follow about seven miles to where it comes in from New York State, from the north. 
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A few miles further, these towers meet up with others at a significantly larger sub-station which fans transmission lines out in several directions. A primary “incoming” feed, is seen below.
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Probabaly in the 345,000 to 500,000 volt range, the cables on these structures carry serious loads, coming into the  sub-station shown in the previous photo,
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Here is a close-up of two cables bonded together, presumedly at the same alternating current phase, …for those of you who worry about such things. Each is about a closed fist in diameter and insulated only by the air. The larger spiral wires simply hold the cables to the brace.
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Heading south (right in this image,) over hills and valleys from Tomkins Cove, these imposing mono poles transfer the power lines from the western end of the trans-Hudson span (out of sight to the left.) The frame transmission tower in the background is not directly related. 
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Standing some 475 feet (148 m) high and separated by nearly a mile (1.6 km,) these towers carry 500,000 volts or more across the Hudson River….
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The top hand railing seen in both the photo above and those below indicate scale: about 4 feet (1.2 m) high. Note the relative size of the insulators!

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About a mile (1.6 km) left of the eastern tower are the two reactor domes of the Indian Point Nuclear Generating Plant, in Buchanan, New York.
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The magnetic-induction generators within, produce a three phase AC potential of several thousand volts, which is immediatly STEPPED-UP through transformers to the half million to 750,000 volt conductors exiting the plant. The lines coming out of the building  just right of center, and to the transmission tower behind,  mark the start of the transmission lines traced by this series.  Others feed Westchester County and parts of NYC… with significant presence also on the North-East U.S. regional grid.
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Technically: Inside Indian Point. An alternating current is produced in three phases, induced in coils of wire moving in strong magnetic fields within these generators. Relative movement must occur between the magnet assemblies and the coiled wires. The resulting  electromotive force is measured in volts, and leaves the generator first at a few thousand, then stepped up, via powerful  transformers,  to 500,000 to 750,000 volts for transmission… and for our use, sent across the Hudson River!
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The relative movement mentioned above is provided by a shaft directly connected to a steam turbine that spins the magnets, (or visa versa, the coils,) within the generator.  Technical Morass Follows: The steam is is produced in a kettle in which Hudson River water is heated via a water exchanger. That water, which is in a closed system, and highly pressurized, surrounds the reactor vessel where a form of slightly enriched uranium dioxide is fissioned by neutrons (usually under initial coaxing,) releasing heat energy and more neutrons to sustain a controled chain reaction. Spltting atoms!  Uranium “pellets” are bundled as fuel-rod assemblies within the reactors core.  Basic Summary: Simply, heat energy from unranium fission heats river water to make steam that turns the turbines that spin the coils (or magnets) in the generator, producing the dance of electrons –>electricity!
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The rods that fuel the reaction in the reactor’s core is comprised of compressed uranium dioxide pellets, which in turn is processed from uranium – a naturally occuring element in the earth’s crust. Above is a rock sample containing uranium. It is likely this is also part of the moon’s geologic make-up. (Remember the moon?)
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FINALLY, (Thank Goodness,) naturally occuring uranium and the earth itself, with its myraid forms of latent energy, originated as a spin off from our sun 4.5 billion years ago.  For now, and for the purpose of this project, the source of my warmed toast, is…the Sun. It’s all amazing, and amazing how we naturally take the science, (physics, chemistry etc.,) and resourceful human ingenuity …for granted! 

Disclaimer: Not being an electrical engineer or public utility employee, some values may be slightly different than stated, but should give a general idea of the actual grid and electrical generation. Any “system” or statistical corrections will be most appreciated.

With the exception of the I.P.Generator, the diagram and the uranium ore above, all photos in this series were taken by myself. General information, and those three photos are greatly apprieciatiated and obtained from various sources, including the internet. Additional information about this is available if requested.

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M:-)

Step up, Step Down… TWO

Part Two: From the Wires in the Neighborhood, to  Sub-Station Transformers.

See Part One Here

This journey traces our electrical power to its source – in three parts.

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Our house is to the left. That single 7,200 volt wire and the bare ground wire (the latter dificult to see,) come into the picture from the left and join with one of three wires making a turn to the right. The power that is delivered to our house can come from either direction, as multiple loops of triple 7,200 volt lines (and a separate ground wire) form a redundant grid which can be switched in advantageous ways to better insure connectivity – as events occur. 
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Three wires, and a ground. This is the same configuration comprising transmission from the generator to every local neighborhood. Technically: Long distance transmission is much more efficient with three alternating current phases, each generated 120 degrees apart, and in the case of most of the USA, at 60 cycles per second. It hurts my head to visualize the principles involved, but the effect justifies the need for three conductors, or wires. Overhead: As seen in the first image above, only one of these wires is neccesary to supply each  house. The bundle above, however, is typical to efficiently bring the necessary voltage to NEAR our homes. 
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About a quarter mile away from home is a junction of two routes, again, with three 7,200 volt feeds, and one common ground. The ground is connected as a bare wire down virtually every pole to the soil beneath, or as in this case, serving the dual purpose of a guy wire. (Lower down the pole in this image, 110 volt wires from nearby transformers, feed houses and the streetlight.)
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On either side of the junction shown in the previous image, these arrays serve as a computerized reclosure system. The second crossbar down holds six conventional manual circuit breakers. Then, each wire enters the components in the rack, continuing down on the far side of the pole to a control panel at street level.  It detects failures, assess the impact and instantly re-directs or cuts off power; and if deemed only a momentary stoppage, re-connects in seconds. A telemetry antenna on the lower side independently transmits info to the utility company via battery back-up. Click to enlarge and see details of this remarkable grid component.
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Reclosure Control Panel at Street Level

Sandy and I often walk under two of these reclosure arrays in an area two blocks away from home known locally as “Doggie Triangle!” Two miles away, the three conductors emerge from a small sub-station, as seen below.

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Here, are the three 7,200 volt lines coming out of the nearby sub-station after having been ‘stepped down’ from 69,000 volts.
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Coming  into this same sub-station, we trace three (of six) 69,000 volt conductor wires (faintly seen dipping down from the hi tension mono tower,) with a fourth (ground wire) way on top. These are handled by the framework, right, and drop down in the foreground, entering the transformer area, out of sight below.  The transformers step their voltage down to 7,200 each after which they exit the sub-station as shown in the previous photo.
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About 6 miles further north, the S. Mahwah sub-station covers several acres with many more transformers, capacitors, reclosures, bus bars and dead squirrels. Coming in from NY State are some serious power towers, possibly carrying 138,000 volts. This image is where that force of power is handled and stepped down to the 69,000 volt towers seen in the previous image,  and also several 7,200 volt bundles exiting to local loops which redundently serve as backups spreading out into the region.
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At least 138,000 volts in 4 groups of three wires (left towers) come into the S. Mahwah sub-station (in the diatance) from New York State, behind me in this view.

The next Part follows the link another 25 miles or so to the massive Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, the source, …where electricity is generated from the heat released from Uranium 235 fission.

Part Three? See http://wp.me/p37YEI-1zn

Disclaimer: Not being an electrical engineer or public utility employee, some values and circumstances may be slightly different than stated, but should give a general idea of the actual grid. Any system or statistical corrections will be most appreciated.

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M:-)

The Day After a Night to Remember – Returning Home

See first part: “A Night to Remember” here

Click on images and maps for better view

It was January 23rd, 1965, and I had driven through the night in a winter snowstorm from New Jersey to Niagara Falls in my parents 1960 Buick.01-23-65    Marty's Niagara Falls trip 19

After seeing and photographing the falls, I continued north, first on the Canadian side, and then back in the U.S., to the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. Heading home now, the first 30 miles or so on Rt. 18, along the lake’s southern edge, was magical …the road virtually deserted as the high winds whipped falling and drifting snow across its breath. I loved the adventure. (See end of first part for more “frigid”comments on this stretch)

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The Niagara River (left) flows north into Lake Ontario (top.) I would take Rt. 18, thirty miles (48 km) along the edge of the lake to Rt. 63, then down to Batavia, and Rt. 5 east to Avon (right bottom on this 2015 Google map,) turning south on Rt. 15 towards Bath, NY.

The image below was taken around 4:00 PM before running out of film and daylight near Avon, The snow continued to fall, although more lightly, into this second night.

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I stayed overnight in a decent $8 motel in Bath, leaving at about 10:30 AM the next morning with frozen hands after cleaning off the snow covered car.

Continuing southeast on Rt. 15 brought me to to nearby Savona, where I turned left onto Rt. 226 with the anticipation of passing through Watkins Glen, noted for its automotive race track, and for me particularly, its famous 400 foot deep natural gorge and waterfalls. See this link. Seeing the gorge was not to happen. In fact I was lucky to get anywhere near it. Being a bit self assured, (think: cocky,) I didn’t mind the snow covered conditions of the back roads. But at Tyrone, (upper right in the first map below,  left of center in the second) I was determined to take a more direct route, turning right off State Rt. 226, onto Schuylar County Rt. 23 (not labeled.)  

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This topographic map, dated 1968, does not include Interstate Highway 380 which didn’t exist at the time of this road-trip. Eventually It  would vastly improve travel in New York State, as Rt 15 was out-dated, and one of the original 1926 US Highways.
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My adventure on County Road Rt. 24 started at it’s junction with State Road 226, (just above the label “Tyrone” above, left of center.) I was trying to go east (right) from this point, but could not make it up Huey Hill. Watkins Glen is in the bottom right corner. 

It should be mentioned that the ‘few miles wide’ ridges between New York’s Finger Lakes rise from a few hundred feet to about 1000 feet (3050 m) above the lakes. Watkins Glen was on Seneca Lake over one of these ridges, and Huey Hill was in my way. Starting from the intersection at the bottom, I was able to reach about 40 mph (64 kmh) before losing traction on the hill. But I just couldn’t make it to the top. I backed the Buick down and tried again, gaining only a few more feet. The third time, with more initial speed, ended in similiar defeat as the tires just could not maintain their grip on the snowy surface. I felt I was in control, but the “slide-o-matic” Buick just couldn’t maintain any further, upward-forward traction! (Of course, 4 wheel drive, good tires and posi-traction would have helped.)  Today (2015) I know it was 1.8 miles (2.9 km) from the intersection to the top with a vertical gain of about 600 feet (1830 m.)

Sulking a bit, it took me a while more to get to Watkins Glen by a much longer, gradually climbing (and descending) state road.   And then, upon arrival, the Watkins Glen State Park was closed! I think I was a little relieved.

After 7 more hours, at 7:30 PM, I was back in New Jersey after nearly 1000 miles over about 47 hours, and expenses of about $46.

Immediatly after, my Dad and I had a  “conversation!”

Just another interesting week-end. 

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The camera: a 1960 Exacta (EXA) 35 mm manual SLR, f2.8 50 mm lens.    Body composition: finger-freezing metal!

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome.  M 🙂

The Longest Footbridge in the World

(Below is a re-post, originally published here on  November 17th 2013 only to be lost in cyberspace 2 months later.) 

Recently, a friend and I walked across the 1.28-mile (2.06 km) Poughkeepsie (NY) Bridge; built in 1889 as the first railroad crossing over the Hudson River south of Albany. A magnificent and immensely important structure for its time, its use was abandoned almost 40 years ago. Through “adaptive re-use” it was re-opened to the public in 2009 as a historic state park, now attracting 750,000 visitors a year.

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As seen in this Google view, the “Walkway on the Hudson State Historic Park,” is a mile or so north of the “Mid-Hudson” automobile suspension bridge, connecting the town of Highlands with the city of Poughkeepsie since 1930.

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The bridge is about 65 miles north of New York City. (Map from Wikipedia)

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Railroad tracks have been replaced by a wide, pleasant pedestrian walkway, accommodating people, children, babies, cats, dogs, bikes …….

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Built and re-strengthened as the weight of the freight trains increased, the structure is another testament to 18th century engineering. However… underneath, it certainly shows it’s legacy.

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The scenery from its deck is awesome, especially in the fall.

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The view to the North

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As seen from the eastern end, the spectacular Hudson is winding north, with the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

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Historic plaques, information boards, and even smart-phone connectivity to points of interest via apps, are available across the span.

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Please click or finger stretch the images for full resolution, and comments are always welcomed. Thanks

Original Comments:

From Maggie: “Lovely photos that make me want to plan a weekend jaunt. I think this would be just as perfect as the trees peek spring green, not just peak in the fall. You captured the autumns colors at their apex.”

M: “Thanks Maggie. We hit it right as besides the folliage, it was just a nice day. Wind and cold can be brutal up there. M”

From Sherri: “Wow, amazing views M! Beautiful autumn colours but so high up, I think I would not like that part as I don’t like heights one bit! Very interesting post about this longest footbridge in the world!

I know this is so late but I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, here is the link: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2013/11/13/first-frost-melts-in-the-heat-of-dragons-loyalty-award/

I haven’t been on my laptop for a few days so it’s taken me a while to get round to everyone, sorry about that! Don’t worry if you ‘do’ awards but I just wanted to thank you for being so supportive of my blog and reading my posts. It means a great deal to me.

Have a great day :-)”

M: “Thanks for the comment Sherri, and also for the nomination. By choice I don’t follow thru with the process, but that doesn’t diminish my sincere appreciation. Your writing is an inspiration, not only for its quality, but content. It’s a pleasure to follow your passion. ”

Sherri: “Ahh, many thanks M, that’s so kind. I knew you didn’t do awards, it’s fine, but I couldn’t not nominate you as I do so much enjoy reading your blog too :-)”