In an effort to help preserve the natural wonder and majesty — as well as the environment — that eco-adventurers experience when rafting the Grand Canyon, one of the region’s major rafting tour operators is going green. In doing so, they’ve turned to Torqeedo, the world leader in electric propulsion systems for commercial and recreational applications.
Several years ago, Page, Arizona-based Colorado River Discovery, decided to develop a green tourism strategy. Initially, the plan began by outfitting rafts with more efficient and eco-friendly four-stroke outboard engines.
But more recently, CRD has taken a more aggressive approach and plans to take the plan a giant step further by introducing a raft powered entirely by electricity — thanks to the groundbreaking technology from segment leader Torqeedo.
The tour company worked with a number of different groups, including local universities and engineers, to get to the point that they are seatrialing their 37-foot river raft in hopes of launching service in 2016.
“The launch of this raft was the culmination of eight years of research and development initiated and funded by us,” says Colorado River Discovery general manager Korey Seyler. “Testing went very well; it far exceeded our expectations.”
Seyler’s outfitting company, which offers Grand Canyon and Colorado River rafting tours.
“They’re going to be making sure that the raft won’t sink or capsize,” says Seyler. “We have no doubts that the raft will pass.”
The 37-foot rafts used by CRD can carry 22 passengers and are powered by a Torqeedo Deep Blue 40 electric outboard. It’s powered by three large lithium-ion battery packs, weighing 350 pounds each. The engine also requires a tower CPU that runs the system, providing feedback from the batteries, which are embedded into the frame of the raft, as low and centered as possible. The tower CPU is sealed inside the raft’s custom-built helm.
Torqeedo Deep Blue 40
“Green is good,” says Seyler, “but ultimately it needs to be a good business decision and needs to answer questions regarding sustainability environmentally, economically, and durability.”
The tour company believes the bet will pay off in the long run. Each season, CRD spends approximately $325,000 in fuel costs alone.
“That’s nearly two rafts right there,” says Seyler.
Colorado River Discovery offers the most fantastic one-day rafting tours anywhere on the mighty Colorado River. They provide tours near Glen Canyon Dam, half-day raft trips as well as full-day river rafting tours on motor rafts that are perfect for the entire family (kids ages 4 and up). They even offer full-day rowing trips for those looking for a more relaxed adventure to experience the Colorado River at a slower pace. For more information, please visit www.raftthecanyon.com.
To learn more about Torqeedo’s innovative line of green boating power solutions, visit www.torqeedo.com
Philip Davis Guggenheim is an Academy Award-winning director and producer whose work includes Waiting for Superman, It Might Get Loud, and An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2007. The following year, Davis produced and directed President Barack Obama’s biographical film, A Mother’s Promise, and he also made The Road We’ve Traveled for the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.
In 2013, he directed Teach, a two-hour television special about what’s working in America’s public schools, namely, that at the heart of every great education is great teaching. Besides documentaries, Davis has directed episodes of many television series including Deadwood, NYPD Blue and 24.
He is married to actress Elisabeth Shue who landed an Oscar-nomination for her stellar performance in Leaving Las Vegas. Nevertheless, she might still be best known for her breakout role as Ali in The Karate Kid. The couple have three children: Miles William, 17, Stella Street, 14, and Agnes Charles, 9.
Here, Davis talks about his latest opus, a feature-length documentary about Malala Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai. He worked closely with Malala and her family, filming their life in Birmingham, England, as well as their travels to numerous countries around the world as they talked about the power of education and its ability to transform a young person’s life.
Kam Williams: Hi Davis, thanks for the interview.
Davis Guggenheim: Thank you, Kam. Where are you located?
KW: In Princeton, New Jersey.
DG: My brother-in-law, Andrew Shue, used to live there. Did you ever run into him?
KW: Yeah. It’s a funny story how we met. He was jogging past me one day as I was putting out the garbage. He stopped to ask if I knew anything about the house next-door which had a “For Sale” sign on the lawn. He looked so familiar that I asked him if we’d met before. He said “No,” and that he was new to town. But when I kept insisting that I knew him from somewhere he introduced himself and said he was an actor on Melrose Place.
DG: [Laughs] That’s funny.
KW: Are you related to Eileen Guggenheim-Wilkinson of Princeton who is on the University’s Board of Trustees?
DG: No relation. I’m not related to the rich ones. I’m related to the sock and shoe peddlers.
KW: I noticed that you and I have Brown University in common.
DG: That’s cool. did you like it?
KW: Yeah, I was there in ’75, the year of the black student takeover.
DG: I just went back and didn’t recognize it. Providence was a darker, more gnarly city when I was there in the Eighties.
KW: Well, I was very moved by He Named Me Malala. The movie made me cry as much as I Am Sam and Life Is Beautiful did. and in my review, I called it the best movie of the year so far.
DG: That means a lot to me, Kam. Thank you very much.
KW: I told my readers I’d be interviewing you, so I’ll be mixing their questions in with mine. Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: I am Canadian and I have to tell you that I loved Party of Five, especially Neve Campbell. How long did it take to finance, shoot and complete production on He Named Me Malala?
DG: From the first day, until now, it’s been a little more than 2 years. I was shooting and editing for 18 months, which is a really long time for a documentary. This one was the most difficult movie I ever made.
KW: I can understand how, since it involved so much travel. Plus, you worked hard to interweave those animation sequences so seamlessly. But I hope you consider it well worth the effort. I expect the film to get nominated for an Oscar. Patricia also asks: What was the most rewarding aspect of making this film about Malala?
DG: Actually, one of the most rewarding moments came recently when we screened the movie for 6,000 public school girls from a variety of backgrounds and some of the tougher neighborhoods in L.A. I didn’t know whether Latino andAfrican-American girls would respond to a film about a Pakistani girl. It turned out to be very emotional for them. The atmosphere was very charged. And it was a beautiful and gratifying moment for me to see how universal the story is, and how girls feel like this movie was theirs.
KW: I felt like it was mine, too. What would you say is the most surprising thing people will learn about Malala from the movie?
DG: They may have heard that she was shot on a school bus or that she won the Nobel Peace Prize. But those things aren’t what make her extraordinary. What is so moving to me is that she made a choice to speak out and risk her life for something that was so precious to her, her school. She made that courageous choice, and that’s what makes her extraordinary. And her father made a choice to not stop her, and that speaks to me and makes we wonder whether I’d have the courage to do that.
KW: Lastly, Patricia says: I have been a fan of your wife [Elisabeth Shue] since the Eighties. She went to Harvard. You went to Brown. Many young people think it is possible to make it in Hollywood without an education. Please share how your college background helped you become a respected filmmaker?
DG: That’s a very interesting question, Patricia, because my older son is applying to college, and I now find myself considering what college means from the perspective of a father. There are specific skills I brought to filmmaking. I didn’t go to film school, but I believe that more important than attending film school is developing the ability to write, to conceptualize and to express yourself. And, you learn those things in college, and also to develop your voice and your point-of-view. Many people think that you need to master certain technical skills in order to succeed as a filmmaker. It’s my theory that the technical know-how is always shifting and can always be acquired. More important to me is finding people with something meaningful to say who can express themselves.
KW: Alice Hay-Tolo says: In the movie, Malala’s mother did not seem to encourage her daughter in her crusade for rights for young women which was in striking contrast to her father. Is she old-fashioned in her views, uneducated, or simply detached from what her daughter was trying to achieve. Or is there some other explanation?
DG: She’s not at all detached. In fact, she’s very proud of her daughter, and wants Malala to do whatever she wants. Because the mother is a little bit in the background in this movie, people read a lot into it. But it was really more about her choice to be less on camera. In her culture, displaying yourself on camera is considered to be immodest. But I’ve seen her stand up in many gatherings and say how proud she is of her daughter. And Malala’s pushing her mother to learn to read and write English, so they’re very aligned, even though they come from different generations and have different cultural choices. They’re very much in support of each other.
KW: Ilene Proctor says: Malala is obviously a very old soul. How has she managed to maintain her sanity and humility when she’s surrounded by so many people worshipful of her?
DG: [LOL] That’s a great question, Ilene. She is an old soul, and she has this quiet poise about her. At the premiere, all the adults were getting worked up, spinning around, and acting like children, and here’s this teenage girl who has a serenity and calmness about her. I don’t know how she does it. A clue might be found in the birthday card her mother gave her when she turned 18, saying “Happy 3rd Birthday,” the point being that it’s been 3 years since she was shot. I think there’s something very powerful about being given a second chance in life. It enables you to focus on what’s most important. Malala feels like she’s been given a new life and she’s very focused on what really matters.
KW: Sangeetha Subramanian asks: How do you choose what documentaries to make?
DG: Hmm… That’s another good question. I’m very picky, Sangeetha. Perhaps the most important part of a movie is choosing whether to do it or not. A great, compelling story comes along very rarely. I’m always looking for a personal journey and for a story that transcends the specifics of an issue.
KW: Speaking of great stories, I loved your documentary Waiting for Superman, and I was surprised when it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. I guess it had to do with a political backlash after the picture got pigeonholed.
DG: Awards are very weird. Sometimes you get them when you don’t deserve them, and vice-versa. You never know. I’ve learned not to focus on them. Even reviews can be confusing. My focus is really on getting people to see the movie.
KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Are any of the proceeds going to assist Malala’s goal to guarantee girls 12 years of education?
DG: I don’t believe there are going to be profits from the film. But the partners involved, Imagenation Abu Dhabi, Fox Searchlight, Participant Media and I are very focused on Malala’s mission, on helping her build her schools and on getting her message out..
KW: David Roth has a question about your treatment of time in the film. You decided not to treat the sequence of events linearly but rather to group material based on sub-themes around family relations, living in England vs. Swat, the situation in Pakistan, the assassination attempt, etcetera. This approach had you moving back and forth in time. I get that the images of the blood-stained bus and talk of bone fragments in the brain and the assumption she was going to die added dramatic impact to the end of the film. But it also risks diluting the effect of the earlier segments. At long last, my question: What were you hoping to achieve by choosing this approach over a more linear treatment of the material?
DG: A chronological treatment of the movie didn’t seem to have a dramatic shape to it, since you’d have the shooting of Malala in the middle and then you’d devote the balance of the time on her life in England, in Birmingham. To me, movies build toward a moment and, if they’re really good, they build towards a character making a choice. I wanted the movie to build towards her deciding to risk her life and speak out for what she believed, and towards her father’s making the choice to not stop her. I knew that to build the film that way I had to cut time. It made for a very complicated story structure.
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
DG: [Laughs] A lot of credit cards.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Davis, and best of luck with the film.
DG: Hey, it was really a pleasure talking to you, Kam. You made my day.
Your Taxes: Feds Take in Record Haul While Corporations Hide Profits Overseas
By Burt Carey
Reports just before the end of the federal government’s fiscal year suggest Uncle Sam had collected a record $2.67 trillion in taxes in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2015.
Analysts expect the final tally for the year to set a record in the number of dollars collected by the feds in one year.
That news was dampened somewhat this week with a report released by two left-leaning groups that a majority of America’s largest 500 corporations are holding some $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas accounts to avoid paying about $620 billion in U.S. taxes. The report comes during the same week that finance ministers of the G20 nations meet in Lima, Peru, to put the finishing touches on international tax rules intended to curtail tax loopholes currently being used by corporations to hide profits.
The study, by the Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, claims that 387 of the 500 biggest firms by gross revenue are operating tax haven subsidiaries in countries such as Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. They used the companies’ Securities and Exchange Commission financial filings to reach their conclusions.
Interestingly, how the federal government’s coffers get filled today looks much different than it did just a half-century ago. In the 1950s, corporations paid 30 percent of the overall taxes taken in by the feds, while individual Americans paid 42 percent of those dollars. Today, individuals pay 47 percent of the fed’s tax income while corporations pay just 11 percent.
But that’s not the biggest change in tax collections between the 1950s and today. That distinction belongs to payments for Social Security and Medicare. While Social Security started out in 1937 as a 2 percent tax that covered just 10 percent of fed tax income, it is now taxed at a rate of 12.4 percent. Combined with a 2.9 percent tax for Medicare, those two make up 30 percent of the fed’s tax income.
All of that might make some Americans hopping mad to know that Apple, for example, was holding profits of $181.1 billion offshore as late as 2010, more than any other U.S. company. Apple would owe nearly $60 billion in U.S. taxes if it took the money from three overseas tax havens and brought it back to the United States, according to the study.
Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are three of the biggest tax havens for U.S. companies, according CTJ and the U.S. PIRG. These islands house subsidiaries of powerful multinational giants, allowing companies to filter their profits and avoid paying high corporate taxes in the U.S.
According to the report, U.S.-controlled companies on the three islands reported $155 billion in profits in 2010, the most recent available data. And yet the gross domestic product of those countries in 2010 was just $10 billion. In Bermuda, where U.S. corporations have tucked away $94 billion in profits, the gross domestic product for the year was $6 billion.
Other corporations with large profits being held overseas include General Electric, which recorded $119 billion in 18 offshore tax havens. Microsoft held $108.3 billion in five tax haven subsidiaries. And Pfizer, the drug company, used 151 tax havens for $74 billion in profits.
Just 30 of the largest 500 firms accounted for $1.4 trillion of the $2.1 trillion being held overseas. Their filings with the SEC say they are paying about 6 percent in taxes overseas, while those same dollars would be taxed at a 35 percent rate in the U.S.
Finance ministers at the G20 meetings have been working on reforms for two years.
Astronaut Stranded on Mars Survives By Wits in Outer Space Adventure
MacGyver was a TV series which revolved around a title character famous for relying on his vast body of scientific knowledge while using everyday household items to save the day in a variety of life-and-death situations. The Martian is an outer space adventure in which a stranded astronaut with an uncanny knack for improvisation takes a similar approach to surviving on Mars.
The picture stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, a wounded botanist inaccurately presumed dead and left behind by fellow crew members in the wake of a dangerous dust storm on the red planet. However, he is actually very much alive, but without the oxygen, water, food, equipment and other resources needed to last the four years it would take for NASA to mount a rescue mission.
So, resourceful Mark proceeds to do everything from perform surgery on himself to growing potatoes in a makeshift garden, fertilizing the plants with his own poop. And, like an intergalactic variation of the island-bound protagonist played by Tom Hanks in Cast Away, Matt Damon appears alone on screen for the bulk of the sci-fi saga.
The great news is that Damon proves captivating, and the 141 minutes running time flies by in a flash. Besides amusing us with his ingenious inventions, Matt repeatedly makes us laugh via myriad humorous asides.
Directed by three-time Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott (for Thelma and Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down), The Martian has all the tension of Gravity, plus it manages to keep you on the edge of your seat for an hour longer. Furthermore, its visual effects are the equal of Interstellar, and it features Mark Damon for the duration instead of merely for a cameo.
Think Robinson Crusoe on Mars, though sans any primitive manservant named Friday.
Excellent (4 stars)
RatedPG-13 for profanity, injury images and brief profanity
Picking the right propeller(s) for your Yamaha Outboard-powered boat just got a whole lot easier thanks to an innovative new web-based interface called Yamaha Propeller Selector (www.yamahapropselector.com), introduced recently by one of the world’s leading manufacturer of two- and four-stroke power solutions for the marine market.
“Our customers have never had this much propeller information available at their fingertips,” said David Meeler, Marine Product Information Manager, Yamaha Marine Group. “With this intuitive new tool, we greatly reduce the anxiety customers can have as they try to navigate the world of propellers, and bring it down to some manageable options – which translates to improved customer satisfaction – and ultimately a better boating experience, too.”
Boat owners can take advantage of the new web portal in three easy steps. The intuitive system refines prop selections based on vessel type, horsepower and the type of performance goals boaters want to achieve. The most refined level bases its results on the “pitch” and “RPM” target goals of the owner.
Just the latest in technological advances from Yamaha Marine, the new tool alleviates much of the initial guesswork when trying to select the right prop for your boat. Boat owners receive a target number of prop selections that they can discuss in further detail with their local authorized Yamaha Outboard dealer — information also provided in the final Prop Selector step where boaters are prompted to “Find Your Nearest Dealer,” or “Have a Dealer Contact Me.” The latter option prompts the customer’s nearest authorized Yamaha Marine dealer to contact him or her for more discussion.
Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Award every year since its inception. VisitYamahaOutboards.com.
This document contains many of Yamaha’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.
New Charleston Water Taxi Catamaran Powered by Yamaha F200s with Digital Electronic Control
FORMER 8,700-HOUR OUTBOARD OWNERS LOOK FORWARD TO QUIETER OPERATION AND IMPROVED FUEL EFFICIENCY
Owners Scott Connelly and Chip Deaton, who have powered the Charleston Water Taxi with two sets of Yamaha F150 outboards that have run 6,800 hours* and 8,700 hours* respectively, have decided to power their newest vessel with Yamaha F200s based upon their experience with the reliability of Yamaha inline four-cylinder outboards.
“As much as we rely on our F150s as true workhorses, we were excited to be able to choose Yamaha’s F200 outboards for the Dorothy Marie,” said Connelly, of the 40-foot Corinthian catamaran they added to their fleet. “With digital electronic control, we can look forward to even smoother operation shifting in and out of gear, reduced rigging components and maintenance – all fantastic benefits when you’re on the water running a high-hour commercial operation like ours.”
Yamaha plans to monitor the performance of the new, twin 16-valve DOHC in-line four F200 application under commercial load, and anticipates the advanced technology design and impressive power-to–weight ratio – as well as improved fuel economy – to be big assets in daily operations for the Charleston Water Taxi.
Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builder partners with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.
*Results are based on commercial use, and may vary for traditional retail consumer use.
This document contains many of Yamaha’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.
The multi-billion dollar daily fantasy sports industry has come under scrutiny this week following a release of information on teams built from National Football League players before their week 3 games began.
The New York Times broke the story Monday after a user on an online fantasy forum site recognized that an employee of the daily fantasy sports company DraftKings released data on player ownership for its Millionaire Maker contest before those NFL games started. The employee, identified as Ethan Haskell, won $350,000 that same week playing on FanDuel, a rival daily fantasy sports company.
Officials from both companies released a joint statement saying the data release was inadvertent, and declaring that the integrity of their games is intact. The companies, while acknowledging that their employees play at rival sites, claim to have protocols in place to detect employee misuse and that none has been detected. On Tuesday DraftKings pulled its advertising from ESPN.
The incident underlined the possibility that these high-dollar fantasy game stakes could be rigged.
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone (D-3rd District) has called for a congressional review of the industry for its exemption from gambling laws. “It’s clear now, with million dollar jackpots and the advertising that goes on, that this is straight-out gambling,” Pallone said.
It is certainly big money. The Fair Trade Sports Association estimates there are 42 million players in the United States and Canada. On average, they spend about $465 per year. FanDuel and DraftKings reportedly spent $100 million on advertising in September alone, attempting to capitalize on the new NFL season and bolster the number of people playing their games.
With Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft as investors, DraftKings has signed a three-year deal with the NFL as a partner of its International Series in Britain. Sports gambling is legal in the UK. FOX Sports has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in DraftKings. FanDuel investors include Comcast and KKR.
Fantasy sports players act as owners who build a team of players in a given sport. They accumulate points based on each player’s statistics. Traditional fantasy sports leagues stretched over a sport’s entire season. That’s where daily fantasy sports differs. Players at DraftKings and FanDuel pay an entry fee to build a team of professional athletes for a particular day or week. Entry fees range from 25 cents to $1,000. Those who accumulate the most points win money from that day’s entries.
Here’s the rub: Employees at DraftKings and FanDuel have access to data that tells them which professional players have garnered the most bets, allowing them an advantage for making tactical decisions before making their own bets. Haskell’s winnings during week 3 of the NFL season raise the question about who has access to such valuable data when millions of dollars are at stake.
A fantasy player’s odds of winning are low – way low. Research released in July by Sports Business Daily showed that over a three-month period 91 percent of profits collected by players at DraftKings and FanDuel were won by just 1.3 percent of the players. FanDuel claims to have paid out more than $2 billion in winnings; about $6 million of that went to DraftKings employees.
An old saying by an over-worked mom is: “Someday I’m going to take the cat and head to a log cabin in the woods.” The feline was always invited, but the kids driving her crazy were not.
Over time, the log cabin became a part of various industries; even horror movies made sure that all the bad guys lived in a haunted cabin in the woods, a place that all the stars (idiots) decided to venture into and then wondered why bad stuff happened.
But the popularity of the log cabin, and log cabin “kits” in the 21st Century, has entered an entirely new phase. Everyone seems to want the rugged outdoor look again. Not to mention, log cabins also come in the form of expensive “wood” mansions that are aimed at the wealthy.
What began as a home built from logs, located mostly in Europe, the cabin was a dwelling that was chosen to be built because of how simple the construction was. If one looks back in history, these homes were never more than a one or one-and-a-half story structure that were definitely not as finished or pristine as other homes. However, the architecture and construction of the homes were unmatched. In other words, although some other huts would fall during a torrential rain or wind storm, the log cabins could withstand almost everything Mother Nature handed out.
Now Europe is no longer the home of the log cabin. In fact, America has become one of the most favored country when it comes to choosing a log cabin to live in, raise children in, and are even built far away from the “top of that mountain” that Mom wanted to escape to so long ago. They can be found nowadays right in town, adding a simplistic beauty to any area. And the architecture isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Abe Lincoln is not needed to split logs in 2015. (Yes, he may be needed as President once again, but that’s a whole different discussion).
Log Cabin kits have become one of the biggest industries in the world, and Americans are racing to order all different kinds; from the wealthy, finished, three-story cabin, to the rustic home. Many decisions are made before the building begins. The most important decision is finding the perfect site on which the cabin should be built. Site selection still, even with the ability to add on solar panels, etcetera, is aimed at finding a place that will allow the cabin to have the best sunlight. Although this is not the “frontier” anymore, when it comes to the log cabin, the need for light is a must.
When looking up this subject on the internet, a wannabe homeowner will find a multitude of log cabin kits that they can study before purchasing. From the “small” log cabin to the “mobile” cabin to Amish, Appalachian and more, the manufactures are numerous. The floor plans provided are available in “easy” forms that any builder can create. In addition, there are large organizations that will work with anyone on how to choose and build their perfect home.
Perhaps it is the need for ease in this technological world that has made log cabins and log cabin kits so popular. Now that the hard work of the 1800’s builder is gone and the options are many, it will not be a surprise to anyone, in any state or town out there, to soon see a deluge of “log homes” decorating their streets.
Turning Leaves and History Await the Adventurous at Cumberland Gap
By Burt Carey
Fall colors don’t get any prettier and history doesn’t get any richer than what you can find at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park this fall.
Situated where Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee come together, Cumberland Gap is a pass in the Appalachian Mountains whose use dates back to crossings by Native Americans, early settlers and soldiers during the Civil War. Today this national park sits on 24,000 acres, and there’s plenty of activity for those looking to fill a getaway weekend.
First, you’ll want to get into the mood. The Tennessee Historical Society’s “Cumberland Gap National Historical Park,” a history of the park by William W. Luckett, can be read here.
And now you’re ready to take in Cumberland Gap. The Pinnacle Overlook provides a panoramic view of all three states while overlooking the Gap. Over the next few weeks, you’ll definitely want to snap photos from up here. The scenery is spectacular.
This is the park where you’ll want to strike out on a day hike or two. The park offers 85 miles of hiking trails.
If you want to actually go through Cumberland Gap, you’ll need to get onto the Wilderness Road Trail. It can be accessed in a variety of places within the park.
Park Ranger Carol Borneman says hikers looking for a trail and some history will particularly enjoy a three-mile jaunt that goes where Daniel Boone walked more than 150 years ago. Begin at the Thomas Walker parking area, near the intersection of the Pinnacle and Sugar Run roads, and follow the Object Lesson Road to its intersection with the Wilderness Road Trail.
“Along the way, you’ll be immersed in a sweet grove of hemlocks,” Borneman said. “Once on the Wilderness Road Trail, it’s another 0.2 miles to the historic Gap itself. The view into Kentucky from the Gap is spectacular in the fall as the mustards of the hickories, the maroons of the sour gum and the orange of the maples paint the mountainsides.”
A side trip of 0.6 miles along the Tri-State Trail will take you to Tri-State Peak. Here you can stand in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Head back to the Gap and the Wilderness Road Trail, and at the Object Lesson Road Trail/Wilderness Road Trail intersection, continue on the Wilderness Road Trail back to the Thomas Walker parking area. The Wilderness Road Trail winds around the side of the mountain through immense tulip poplars and oaks.
Oh, and watch for wild turkeys that frequent the area.
Some of Cumberland Gap’s trails are very strenuous and go through steep terrain. Others are easy trails with no elevation gain. All of the trails are well marked and mapped. You can download a map of its hiking trails here.
The park visitor center opens daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The visitor center houses a museum, book sales, handmade crafts from the region, and an auditorium.
The park itself is open daily. It has a limited number of camping sites with electric hookups that are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. There are plenty of campsites for those who do not require electric hookups.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is closest to Middlesboro, Ky and Cumberland Gap, Tenn., both of which also have lodging. The park is at 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, Ky., 40965. Need more information? Call the park at (606)248-2817 or go online.
I went to a Jackson concert one Friday night last month in an old Loew’s movie house so grand they named it the Kings Theatre when it opened on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue in 1929 less than two months before the epic stock market crash. Abandoned in 1977 while the city teetered on the verge of collapse, and taken over by that same city six years later for non-payment of taxes, it reopened earlier this year with all the shine and restored art deco that 95 million new American dollars and rehabilitation talent can bring.
It wasn’t Michael. He’s gone years. Nor was it Janet, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, or even Joe Jackson at the piano. It was Jackson Browne, he of the soulful wails that brought at least one young man to his knees in that wellspring of emotion, dreams and future nostalgia known as the 1970s.
After picking guitar in relative obscurity with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and building his rep as a writer of powerful songs, Clyde Jackson Browne arrived in my life in 1972 with a bang and his debut album Jackson Browne, sometimes referred to as the Saturate Before Using album. I was in 11th Grade and more than ready to leave for somewhere. Doctor My Eyes and Rock Me on the Water foretold for careful listeners the misery to come if their eyes were open when the water came in a flood. Not for me though because those two singles were just melodic and upbeat enough for a suburban kid to whistle to while he waited for his college ticket out. It turns out that I should have paid more attention to the hints of resignation in Something Fine and the simply elegant relationship ender and difficult choice opener laid out in My Opening Farewell.
I arrived in Ithaca autumn of 1973 with vague ideas of becoming a doctor (soon to be dashed, for the benefit of patients worldwide) and expectations of a more exciting and fulfilling life than I’d left behind. Instead what I got was frigid cold and difficult adjustment. JB’s sophomore effort For Everyman made its way to my turntable to ease it all. He lamented the common man’s struggles and prayed for people to get it together and I was on board with that. Take It Easy, his easy take on the song he’d co-written with Glenn Frey that had launched the Eagles the year before, and These Days, one of the finest songs I have ever listened to. Other melodies almost as beautiful completed an album unlike any other I had ever heard, with gentle guitars that cried as much as the anguished words they accompanied.
As I began to shift more attention from mandated high school science to the world at large, this For Everyman album was there for this Everyman. It was there for the withdrawal from Vietnam, the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East and the start of the Watergate hearings. I had yet to learn that this world at large was really a world at worry, and always would be, but in any event it took a distant second place to the real questions of my own life. How would I find someone and something to connect with? And manage to keep whomever and whatever around long enough to even get to what will be will be? For an hour, for a week, for, dare I say, ever?
And then along came Jackson in the fall of 1974 with perhaps his greatest masterpiece, Late for
the Sky, to answer all these questions with the resonant message that I was indeed screwed, along
with him and everyone else, both in relationships that were failing and would continue to fail,and an awareness that the end of everything wasn’t all that distant. Late for the Sky, The Late Show, For a Dancer, Before the Deluge, and four more, all so magnificent, and so sad. Even now it’s hard to know whether this music was sent to soundtrack my life or relationships failed for me to accompany the music.
I was leaving college when the fourth album arrived in late 1976 after the suicide of Jackson’s first wife. With The Fuse, Here Come Those Tears Again, Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate, it seemed more about getting away from sadness than living with it. Daddy’s Tune to a father and The Only Child to a son. Your Bright Baby Blues, Linda Paloma. Almost upbeat, relatively speaking, until the last tune, the title song The Pretender, which let me know that all finding love would do was help me sell out, endure malaise and watch my dreams disappear.
Ah, the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight
I’m gonna find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each other’s paint by number dreams
And then we’ll put our dark glasses on
And we’ll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We’ll get up and do it again
When I met my wife, a lover of Motown and music with a beat you could dance to, my Jackson Browne LPs found their way out of sight and ear. Life was busier, and pretty good too, the joy of children and a happy marriage making sadness elusive. Sure, I knew the world out there was changing for the worse in so many ways. Many people from my generation, sometimes people I knew who were smart but not that smart, seemed to be making so much money which was hard to comprehend while so many others were suffering. Folks seemed to yell at each other about everything and CNN and this Internet thing made it easier to yell long distance and actually be heard. We seemed to find enemies everywhere, not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. And don’t get me started on the environment. Sure, GE was no longer openly dumping daily in the Hudson but they were telling anyone who would listen that cleanup was impossible.
I lost touch with Jackson Browne completely and had no idea that he was now much more focused on songs about plastic and bloodshed than love shed and performing in one good cause benefit after another. I, on the other hand, was resigned because I was Everyman and not someone singing about him. This Everyman grew older but more accepting and happier and didn’t think of himself as The Pretender. Knowing that you can’t change the world and that the world can’t change you is freeing.
Then came Friday night at the Kings. Those chords, that finger picking, that pedal steel, those poetic visions.
How long have I been sleeping?
How long have I been drifting alone through the night?
How long have I been dreaming I could make it right?
If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might
To be the one you need
Where was she, that girl to let me down gently? She was home, in New Jersey, same as she’d been for the past 32 years, with no intention of letting me down gently or otherwise.
Where was that belief that someday I was going to say something, write something, think something, maybe even do something that was going to make that world at large a little more magical? How had I been so comfortably numb for forty years, thank you Roger Waters and David Gilmour, wandering as long as Moses and sleeping twice as long as Rip Van Winkle? No idea.
Only when the house lights came up did it dawn on me that the encore Our Lady of the Well, from For Everyman of course, was indeed the end of the evening.
But it’s a long way that I have come
Across the sand to find this peace among your people in the sun
Where the families work the land as they have always done
Oh, it’s so far the other way my country’s gone
Across my home has grown the shadow of a cruel and senseless hand
Though in some strong hearts the love and truth remain
And it has taken me this distance and a woman’s smile to learn
That my heart remains among them and to them I must return
I looked out at many of the three thousand 50 and 60-something faces and the philosophical smiles that mirrored my own. Gray hair, sagging skin, bulging bellies. Nicer clothes, finer jewelry.
Tired eyes, very tired eyes, Doctor. Verging on tears.
Thank you, Jackson.
Peter Brav is the author of the novels THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING, SNEAKING IN and ZAPPY I’M NOT.