Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grand Canyon National Park

             If you’re looking for a great summer get-away, check out the Second Life Grand Canyon National Park at Grand Canyon (98, 187, 110).  This site has all the fun of the real-life canyon without the heat and crowds.   

               Like its real-life counterpart, SL Grand Canyon National Park is huge.  The best way to see it all is to take advantage of the free hot air balloon tours.  The hot air balloon is great fun as it rises up and down to give you a better view of the activities.  The balloons come in a variety of styles and colors for couples, groups, or solos.  The tour is a great way to get an overview of the area and all of the activities that are available.  You can hop off at any time, of course, or take the entire tour.      

I met Kystalrose, a SL resident who visits the Grand Canyon often.  Since she told me this was her fifth or sixth visit, I consider her an expert on the site.  She also recommends the balloon ride for new visitors.  Another of her favorite activities are the jeeps.  When I asked if she had any tips for residents, she laughed and said “Stay out of the water!” Apparently the jeeps have a mind of their own at times. 

In addition to the rapids, there are other dangers at SL Grand Canyon.  While Kystalrose and I were talking, a huge boulder rolled down the mountain very close to where we were standing.   Warning signs tell residents to not climb on the rocks to yodel, but apparently some tourists don’t heed the sign.  Fortunately Kystalrose and I were unharmed. 

In addition to the balloons and jeeps, there are helicopters to fly and rafts to float on the Colorado River.  You can try out a hovercraft, too, at Grand Canyon (24, 247, 21).  Be sure to check out the menu options.  Hovercrafts are available in a variety of colors and come with other options, too.    

Some of the activities, like the hiking and rafting, are found at the real-life Canyon.   Others are pure SL fantasy.  The Enchanted Forest, monkeys, and tropical beach are definitely not part of the real-life canyon experience.  But they are not to be missed.  You may even find an underwater surprise.      

The skywalk is one of the features that may seem like Second Life fantasy, but it’s a replica of the real skywalk located at the real-life Grand Canyon.  Find it in SL at Grand Canyon (195, 211, 110).  Voice information is available at this location that tells about the geology and early inhabitants of the Canyon.

Hiking and horse trails are also available in some areas.  I hiked up one trail and found a mountain sheep.  There’s also a stable where you can rez a free horse, or you can bring your own to ride.    

There are a few zip lines you can use to go quickly from one area to another.    The one near the gift shop, located at Grand Canyon (128, 123, 22), goes to Crater Lake.    Or you can teleport to Crater Lake at Grand Canyon North (119, 59, 22). 

If you join the group (no cost), you’ll become a Grand Canyon Scout.  You’ll get a free t-shirt and cap, a map, and a snake bite kit.    I spotted one rattler in time to avoid needing to use the kit, so watch out.  Additional canyon clothes are available for very reasonable prices.  I bought new pair of jeans for only $70L.  There’s also an explorer belt for $70L that holds survival tools.  This item just might save your  life.  Not only will you support the Canyon, you’ll have some great souvenirs to take back home.    

Grey Lupindo

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Dusty Streets of Dodge City

The Marshal held his gun in one hand and in the other, the rope that held the well-bound outlaw. He and his deputy were the only ones there to transfer the prisoner to the train to Leavenworth. The prisoner had offered a heavy reward  to anyone who could rescue him before the train. There was a hideout ready. Marshal Cobb knew he and the deputy were taking their lives in their hands. He had asked for help but no one appeared. He began to move down the deserted street dragging the prisoner behind him and watching for any sudden moves. 

As the shooting started from all sides he ran through the prairie grasses and woods to avoid the shots but it was to no avail. Both he and his deputy went down for the last time. The prisoner was  dragged to the hideout and set free. 
This was a role play event in Dodge City that was great fun to watch. 
The American west was a wild one in the days following the Civil War between the North and South. People really began moving west from the Mississippi River when the war was over. Forts were established across the land to protect the migrants on their journey. Towns began to spring up near the Santa Fe Trail. Their histories are not that old since this was in the decades of the 1870-1880s. There has always been a fascination with  the well known bad guys and good guys, names known from movies about cowboys and Indians, Jessie James, Wyatt Earp  and his brother James, Bat Masterson, Wild Bill Hickok and others. 
Now in SL there is a new role play sim called Kansas West. Here, life in the small towns of Dodge City and Ellsworth is re-enacted by those who love the era. Sebastian Cobb, Mayor and Marshall of the town, and Annaliese Cobb are the owners with the region. They try to keep peace but that is not easy. There are issues with the nearby Native Americans, outlaws passing through, rough cowboys who appear to drink and play cards in the many saloons.   Duncan Wolf is the the main builder who recreated the railway station, saloons, inns and shops based on the original photos of the Old Dodge City. The scene is planned to be as close to  real life  as possible from old photos of the era. 
Duncan and his wife Stacy are part of the Cheyenne nation. Near by is Fort Harker. The new Captain, Tak3hiko is recruiting new soldiers for the fort. The soldiers come to town to drink and dance with the “doves” at the Lonestar Saloon and Dance Hall. Although the rule is ”guns left at the bar” there are  fights that often end badly.  There are frequent attempts at robbing the bank. It is a very busy town. And there are the  settlers who come to town for supplies, mail , and to attend Church. Next to the church is a hanging tree and  behind that is the cemetery. 
Kansas West has been up and running only  since the 7th of July so you can make as good life in town or out on the prairie. To participate fully you will wear a hud that allows you to collect food, materials, tools, and other necessities for your life there.  The Pinkerton Detectives have also now come to town. Dodge City is looking for new members: those interested in the history of the time and, especially,  role play; those who would like to join the  Native Americans, soldiers for  the fort, settlers with their families and of course, outlaws. 
 If you are interested you can contact any of the persons listed above, or you can join the group . There is an inviter on the wall of the railroad lobby. You will also find some free period clothing. . Perhaps you can attend an event to see how you like it. 
Nice people, nice place, but keep that gun handy!!! 
Gemma Cleanslate