Saturday, June 27, 2009

Carlisle 2009

The Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is known for its massive car shows. This year was no exception.

On June 27th, I went down myself for the "All GM-Nationals", an annual event showcasing the magnificent cars produced by America's own General Motors. As with every one of their shows I've been to, a few of the company's new models were pushed right up front to where the most people would see them. This time the prime real estate was taken up mostly by the new Chevrolet Camaro.

Also near the front was a line of new Pontiac G8's, the next generation of American performance sedans from 260 to over 400 horsepower. Unfortunately, production will be cut short due to General Motors' bankruptcy deal with the U.S. Government.

Just to see these wasn't the real reason why I came to Carlisle this year, though. I was here to see one of my favorite cars, the Pontiac Fiero. I've got two Fieros back home. If you don't know, the Fiero was Pontiac's 1980s sport coupe with the engine in the back and only two seats.

Usually the shows up in this area have just one or two Fieros, but Carlisle 2009 had many more; in fact, I counted 55 Fieros in all, many of which were modified with V8 engines and one was even purely electric. Of my favorites was a mint condition 1988 Fiero GT with t-tops in a brilliant red: the most desired year and trim of the whole five-year lineup. Another Fiero, still looking sharp, had 424,726 miles on it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yellowstone National Park

(I'm writing this in July about a month after it happened so I am being very brief):

Update: New post with video clips: Click Here.

I recently visited Yellowstone National Park for almost a week with a handful of students from Daniel Webster College as part of a course called "Searching for Yellowstone". After a month or more of pre-travel study, we set off to experience everything we read about first-hand.

After two tiring days of driving from New Hampshire through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, we were supposed to fly to Salt Lake City, Utah. Unfortunately there were an array of issues in the airport and we ended up taking a later flight that connected through Minneapolis, Minnesota; except it was delayed and thus after missing the connected, got to Salt Lake City the next day. We then drove from Utah through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park.

After staying overnight in Mammoth Hot Springs, we went on a nature expedition with local wildlife biologist Nathan Varley from Mammoth all the way to Cooke City and back to see bison, elk, wolves, bears, moose, and many other rare and unique animals. After that, we met up at the Roosevelt Corral and rode horses to a remote location for dinner.

The next day we went to Gardiner, Montana, and met with park historian Lee Whittlesey to learn more about the park. From there we drove to Canyon and saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and then south around Yellowstone Lake to West Thumb Geyser Basin and finally to Grant Village for the night.

The Grand Tetons south of the park came next. We hiked a trail around Jenny Lake and met some curiously friendly chipmunks and saw some great scenery. After stopping in the famous town of Jackson, we headed back to Grant Village and passed a really cute baby bear on the side of the road with its mother.

For our final day we set out to see the geysers. First stopping at Biscuit Basin, we ended up at the tourist-packed Old Faithful and then walked through another basin and finished our trip at Grand Prismatic Spring.

(Photography is Copyright © 2009 Chris Andrews and cannot be used without permission)