Where in the world have they been lately?
Perhaps some of you have been wondering what we’ve been doing since arriving in Las Vegas. Here is a disorganized list:
We have, of course, been enjoying time with Randy, Jaime, and Natalie. She is (as all Bond grandchildren are!) bright, precocious, articulate, and cute. As well as incredibly beautiful! Jaime is doing well with her pregnancy, and we learned that a baby brother will be born in late October.
I went to Sunnyvale, California, for a few days, to see my brother, Grant, his girlfriend Ginny, and my gorgeous niece Laura. I am so excited that Laura will be moving to Baltimore in early August to attend University of Maryland medical school. While in Sunnyvale we ate at lots of ethnic restaurants (Mongolian, Mexican, Ethiopian), and toured the Computer History Museum. we also lay about in hippie-like fashion, talking and reading. We celebrated Drink0 De Mayo with a picnic in their flower garden, joined by Ginny’s daughter Elizabeth and her fiance Steve.
The two highlights of the Computer museum (in addition to seeing really old game machines) was the Babbage Difference Machine and the history of women’s roles in the development of computers.
The Difference Engine is 5 tons of cast iron, steel and bronze woven together from 8,000 distinct parts. Though it looks like it could be a sculpture, the machine is essentially a giant calculator. It's "the first automatic calculating machine."
This engine — made from 162-year-old designs — doesn't have a power pack; it has a hand crank.
Most importantly, the machine produces accurate results. Not only that, when the machine was built a few years ago it worked perfectly, in spite of the fact that Babbage was never able to build one due to lack of funding.
Here in Las Vegas we visited the Nuclear Testing Museum, a nice follow-up to what we saw at the Los Alamos Museum. It also contains an Area 51 section, which was humorous, entertaining, and -- surprisingly -- interesting!
We walked through a Monet exhibit at the Bellagio. It was a nice group of paintings; we had already seen all of them at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, but it was good to see them again.
Natalie went with Grammie & Grumpie to the Children’s Discovery Museum. Most of the things there were too old for her, but she had great fun looking at everything.
We went on a raft ride in Black Canyon below Hoover Dam. It was hot -- 102 degrees! -- but fun, although pretty short, and we didn’t get to go very far down the canyon.
On Friday night we’re going to a rodeo. Ron has never been, but I went a few times as a child, when my father was interested in western things.
So, you might be asking yourself, what happened to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks? Well, given Ron’s breathing problems when we were at higher altitudes in New Mexico, and the fact that it snows in Yellowstone through June, not to mention the fact that we didn’t make any advance reservations at campgrounds (and Yellowstone is the most visited National Park in the US) we (read “I”) decided that this was not the time for that trip. Instead, we will plan to come back sometime for a fall visit to Wyoming.
The only other thing to mention is the intense study and search Ron and Randy have engaged in, looking for a larger travel trailer and truck to pull it, or a Class A motor home. Truly tedious to watch, but they have had endless hours of fun!
We’re getting ready to head for home on Monday, so watch for more updates!