Traffic flow

English: Traffic congestion at Freeway 405, ne...

English: Traffic congestion at Freeway 405, near Santa Monica and LAX, Los Angeles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have just returned to Saint George from our annual visit with our son in Ventura, California for the Thanksgiving holiday. I visited him in August for a week’s vacation in June Lake. Between the August and the November visits, I noticed a striking change in the way Los Angeles freeway traffic is presented to TV viewers, and I was very impressed. Freeways are now shown as thin colored, parallel lines that flow in two directions, mimicking traffic flow. Normal traffic flow is green, congested flow is yellow and stop-and-go traffic is red. It is possible to see at a glance how traffic is moving in an area in which the viewer is interested. I usually avoid LA whenever possible, but I could easily see the usual rush hour traffic patterns where traffic was slowed by major interchanges. I assume that the length of the red sections were directly linked to the severity of traffic congestion. I was very impressed at how readily information can be conveyed by the imaginative use of maps and graphic symbols.

Bluff

Southwestern Utah Landscape

Southwestern Utah Landscape (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

Saint George, in Southwestern Utah, is home to about 60,000 people and was founded by the Mormon church to supply the state with cotton and other warm weather produce. One of the founding families were Mitt Romney‘s ancestors. Bluff Street is one of a handful of major thoroughfares in the city. It possesses an interchange with Interstate 15, our gateway north to Salt Lake City and south to Las Vegas, an hour and a half away at 80 miles per hour. Mitt’s campaign bus drove through Saint George on its way to Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Mitt was scheduled to stop here, but at the last-minute, he flew to Sarasota, Florida instead. He rejoined the bus the next day in Las Vegas.

Bluff Street is well-marked at the interchange at mile post 6 and may have put the word in the minds of the campaign staff remaining on the bus. In any event, the Romney campaign has decided to bluff the media on the status of the race. They falsely claim momentum and that they are tied with or leading President Obama. It is a technique used by Karl Rove in 2000 and 2004 to fire up the GOP base and discourage Democratic voters. This time the technique will fail.

Airline fares

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo credit: RobertCiavarro)

My wife is flying around the continent today trying to reach home in Utah from Thunder Bay, Ontario which is the Canadian Midwest. To get a cheap fare, she was compelled to fly to Toronto and then to Newark, New Jersey on her way to Las Vegas, Nevada. From Las Vegas she will ride a shuttle bus 120 miles to Saint George.

To me this makes no sense at all. My understanding is that the major cost of flying is the fuel cost. Why should an airline or a nation expend more fuel to fly more miles to offer a lower fare? No sense at all. Airlines should be required to offer fares directly proportional to the miles flown. It would have been much more convenient for my wife to fly from our brand-new airport in Saint George to Salt Lake City or Denver and then directly to Minneapolis and/or Thunder Bay. We as a nation are wasting fuel with the present system as well as the time and convenience of our citizens.

Gateway to Ivins

Ivins is a small community west of Saint George. It is a growing community and not as isolated as these photos make it appear. I was impressed with the sculptures, and I stopped to take several pictures. They are sited around a boulder in the center of a roundabout. Roundabouts seem to be appearing throughout the area. They work well for light to moderate traffic, but not with heavy traffic or slow-moving semis and large RVs. Drivers who are not familiar with roundabouts impede the traffic flow. Personally, I favor more traditional solutions for traffic control.

Gateway to Ivins on Google earth
Most of the black in the above is lava. The red marker marks the roundabout.

Did you know?

Wetzel's Pretzels

Wetzel's Pretzels (Photo credit: waltarrrrr)

Visiting Camarillo, California, we wandered into a factory outlet mall that contained a Wetzel Pretzel store. We had one in Saint George that has become part of another franchise. I was surprised to see that the Camarillo store had jalapeno pretzels and also pepperoni pretzels. Both looked good.