Archives for March 2011

Hiking Grouse Grind Vancouver British Columbia

I love hiking and I’ve taken tons of photographs over the past few years from hikes have done throughout North America. I’m just beginning to create some hiking related posts, mostly because friends and patients have been asking about where I go to do my hikes, and what the trails are like. One of my first photo posts is of the Grouse Grind in Vancouver British Columbia.

The Grouse Grind is a 1.8 mile hike with a vertical rise of 2800 feet, that’s 2.9 km and a vertical rise of 933 m. It supposedly takes the average healthy individual up to one half hours to complete the hike, but you can be severely slowed down when the hike is crowded, typically during mid-day hours. There’s some beautiful stuff to see up top and you’ll get a nice comfortable ride back down the mountain on the sky ride.

Grouse Mountain Sky Ride

The Grouse Mountain Skyride (sky tram) will take you back down the mountain after completing the Grouse Grind. The grind is close to downhill travel, so unless you’re planning to hike back along the Baden Powell Trail, the sky ride is your best option for getting back to the main parking lot.

Grouse Grind Notice to HikersIf you are planning to hike Grouse Grind, be sure to stop and read the Notice to Hikers, and all other notices and warnings signs in the area. I saw several paramedics and emergency vehicles at the trailhead when I was hiking. Apparently, a person or persons had suffered some pretty serious injuries.

The sign reads… Notice to Hikers

Exclusion of Liability – Assumption of Risk – These Conditions Will Affect Your Legal Rights – Please Read Carefully!

The hiking trails on Grouse Mountain are located in steep and challenging wilderness terrain. Hikers using these trails assume all risk of personal injury, death or property loss resulting from any cause whatsoever, but not limited to: slippery, unstable and dangerous trail conditions; avalanches; rockfall; cliffs, gullies, ravines and waterfalls; rapidly changing weather conditions; over exertion, dehydration and exposure; encounters with domestic or wild animals; becoming lost or separated from the trail or one’s hiking companions; hiking after nightfall; negligence of other hikers; and negligence, breach of contract or breach of statuary duty of care on the part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater Vancouver Water District, and Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd.

As a condition of the use of these premises, all persons agree that the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater Vancouver Water District and Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd. shall not be liable for any such personal injury, death or property loss and release the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater Vancouver Water District and Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd. and their employees and agents and waive all claims with respect thereto.

Please observe all signage and comply with all trail closures. Hikers must stay on the trails to reduce the risk of injury, rockfall, trail erosion and becoming lost or disoriented. Information as to trail conditions is available from Grouse Mountain Guest Services.

The liability of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater Vancouver Water District and Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd. is excluded by these conditions.

Canadian Grizzly Bear British Columbia

And don’t get eaten by a Canadian Grizzly Bear after you’ve reached the top of the Grouse Grind. Haha, I don’t know that there are any wild grizzlies in the area (there’s definitely plenty of black bear) but there is a bear habitat on Grouse Mountain. After you’ve completed your near 2 mile uphill hike, pay a visit to the bears and watch them frolic in the pool. They’re cute from behind the fence. Check out my Grouse Grind Hiking Post on planetc1.com.

How to Disable Google Local Search

I love local search. When Google showed their commitment to local in October of 2010 by launching Place Search I got very excited (but I also had to update a lot of slides for local search presentations). However, it wasn’t long before I discovered Google was sharing local results for everything I searched, and that began to bug me. You too?

Thanks to a tip from Dave Rohrer @daver (one of several tips I got at PubCon) I now have a solution on how to remove Google local search from results. It is simple to remove location from Google search and I’ve shared some screenshots so you can do it too.

search paint google los angelesDefault results when searching the keyword: paint

I did a search for paint and the screenshot above shows default results. My location was auto detected as Los Angeles and the first result was for a business selling paint in Los Angeles. There was also advertising for paint above the top Place Search (or local) results.

search paint google united statesChange Location to United States to Remove Location-based Search

The tip I got was simple, change the auto detected location to United States and set that as your default location. Wow, I can’t tell you how many searches I had conducted during the past several months, that all returned local results. I wanted back my old Google!

search google paint united statesLooks More like Old Google Search to Me

Yippee! The screenshot above shows what the same search for paint looks like when location is set to United States instead of whatever location Google had auto detected. Notice there’s no more red centroid as the top result? There’s also no advertising above the organic results. Finally, instead of Dunn-Edwards appearing as the top result, the top three organic results (Behr Paint, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin-Williams) are in the same order as the match for brands related searches for paint.

Cool stuff eh? Thanks Dave!

PubCon South Top Tweets from Austin

What was the best SEO/Social Media tip overheard at PubCon?

If you set up a #pubcon hash tag for last week’s conference in Austin, you may had noticed that at times the search stream appeared to be moving like a video, as there were so many updates. There was lots of great information shared in the sessions, and tweeting tips was a regular part of audience activities, but did you catch them all?

Twitter Promote PubConTwitter Marketing Slide During @ArnieK PubCon Presentation

Throughout the 2-Day Conference, I grabbed a couple dozen tweeted tips, but I didn’t get them all. If you remember any that I may have missed, feel free to add them in the comments.

joeyabna: best seo tip overheard at #pubcon monitor your social checkins live engage them and make sure they have a good experience.

MonsterResource: The best seo tip I got at #pubcon is to fix broken internal links, if you use word press, The brokenlinkchecker plug in is a good one.

graywolf: TIP: Retweet someone who is at the show you want to meet/talk to, they will notice and its an easy way to break the ice.

MelyssaTweeting: #pubcon Great #ORM tips coming from @btabke – monitor your employees names <– totally didn’t even think about that one!

portentint: Wonderwheel for keyword research, and thought process research – great tip from @katemorris #pubcon

DallasSEOGuru: #pubcon tip: buy a guru a beer and get better tips. I learned it from #dfwsem

joeyabna: WordPress tips from #pubcon Edit Your Urls before you post the article. Make prettier urls with the right keywords nothing extra.

TechLH: nice tip RT @affpathfinder: go to phone stores and test them all for your local business. See what shows up.

ADIO Chiropractic Maps McConnell BraddockADIO Chiropractic appearing centered on screen of Motorola device inside a Verizon store

toddmintz: RT @graywolf: TIP: Don’t sit in your room watching TLC go to the networking events, meet and introduce yourself to people u will be rewarded.

Thos003: Tip… RT @schachin: Co-ordinate your content writing, posting and link building schedules > @saffyre9 #Pubcon

PaulWilson: Greatest tip from #pubcon: How to get your twitter name changed (Twitter Help). Thanks @alison for answering my question!

graywolf: TIP: Make sure you attend at least one session where you learn something new every conference #pubcon

Lau066: Google Webmaster Tool Tip: Make sure email associated with Google Webmaster Tools is correct – this is critical!

martyjbell: Good tip RT @knit_hat: RT @lpickles: Take anyone’s bitly link and add + to see clicks #pubcon

Spencer_Kendall: Book Tip: Brett Tabkes 26 Steps to 15K Visits a Day #pubcon (I think he is referring to a WMW post by @btabke aka Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone)

Also, @DanZarrella (2 R’s 2 L’s) shared a tip with me on attracting more followers by helping people out on twitter. Using Twitter Search, enter a keyword followed by a space and then a question mark (like Headaches ?)

Hope to see ya’ll in Las Vegas (I’m speaking), read my guide before you go, and know you can always walk from the airport if you want the exercise.

OK, what else you got?

Who Else Wants CBS to Spinoff Two and a Half Men Without Sheen?

It’s official, on Monday TMZ reported that Charlie Sheen was fired by Warner Bros. Television. A source at Warner Bros. says no decision has been made on whether Two and a Half Men will come back without Charlie Sheen. Tens of millions of dollars are on the table, and CBS/Warner Bros. Executives (and fans too) want a solution.

Everyone is asking… Can CBS spin off 2 1/2 Men without Sheen? I say yes, and here’s how they can do it!

Rock n Roller Venice Chiropractor Los Angeles2 1/2 Men series spin off should be filmed in Venice Beach, California

Alan comes home from work.
Charlie is gone.
Furniture is gone.
There’s a note.
“Moved to Columbia… ”
In desperation, Alan calls his former chiropractic college buddy in (Venice Beach) Los Angeles, California.
Alan finagles a way for him and Jake move from Malibu to Venice Beach, home of weirdos and freaks, hilarity ensues.

WTF?!

Remember, Two and a Half Men was a series about a hedonistic jingle writer’s (Charlie) free-wheeling life coming to an abrupt halt when his chiropractor brother (Alan Harper) and 10-year-old nephew move into his beach-front house in Malibu.

I’ll even share the opening for free… Alan comes home from another dejected day in his mediocre life to discover that the locks on Charlie’s house have been changed. There’s a note from Charlie that reads “Dear Alan, House and furniture sold, have moved to Columbia.”

Alan is suddenly homeless! Being the scheming cheap ass that he is, he has the bright idea to make a collect call to his old chiropractic college roommate, former Hollywood rock and roller, and successful Los Angeles chiropractor, Michael Dorausch.

Dorausch just happens to live in a beach-front home in Venice Beach, a short drive away from Charlies place in Malibu. Venice California, the city of weirdos and freaks (Lindsey Lohan lives here), welcomes it’s newest resident.

Winning!

Walking from the Las Vegas Airport to the Las Vegas Strip

For those that have stood for nearly an hour in line waiting for a taxi at Las Vegas airport, surely you have wondered what it would be like to walk to the strip from the LAS airport terminal. As you slowly move through the snaking taxi line, like a herd of cattle, you think that the strip didn’t appear that far away when landing, how bad could it be to walk? Was there even a walk path? How far is it to the first strip casino? I’ve had these questions too, and now I have answers, along with lots of photos.

Walkway to Terminal Las Vegas AirportWalkway to Terminal Las Vegas Airport

First things first. If you’re traveling with family, have luggage, or tire easily, I wouldn’t suggest walking from the airport to the strip (or from the strip to the airport for that matter). Suck it up and take an airport shuttle or cab (or even limousine service), and get the idea out of your head. If you are traveling solo, and traveling light (I had only a backpack and my camera), the approximately 2 1/2 mile trip may be a breeze for you. I did this walk in February and it was 60° out so I don’t know that I’d recommend it during summer months, when it can be 100+ degrees in the Las Vegas desert. Ready? Let’s get walking.

Las Vegas Cowboy American FlagLas Vegas Cowboy – McCarron International Airport

When walking, we often get a chance to see stuff (like the above cowboy sculpture near the airport entrance), we wouldn’t necessarily get to see when sitting in a taxicab. I took quite a few photographs along the way, in an effort to make this post more enjoyable.

I set out for two targets; the casino nearest the Las Vegas airport, and the entrance to the Las Vegas Monorail (MGM Grand Station). I estimated the trip was going to be about 2.5 miles, depending on where I exited the airport. I arrived on a Southwest flight from Los Angeles, and my first mistake was walking out towards the taxi area.

Las Vegas Strip Hotels McCarron AirportLas Vegas Strip Hotels viewed from McCarron Airport

Don’t leave from the taxi area, since the walk path is easier to access from downstairs in the departure area. If you find yourself at the taxi departures, walk across to the short-term parking garage and take the stairs to the ground-level. You’ll see a sidewalk that heads in the direction towards the Las Vegas strip. Expect to be walking on sidewalks along the airport boundary nearly the entire way, and be extra cautious of fast-moving vehicles.

Las Vegas Airport WalkwayWalk Path Leading Away from Las Vegas Airport

The first part of the trip is fairly easy. Once you found the sidewalk, and walked past the cowboy sculpture along Wayne Newton Blvd., you’ll see a series of artistic structures, as you walk along towards the rental car returns area. When you reach the sidewalks end, you can either cross the street (towards long-term parking) or walk along Kitty Hawk Way to Paradise Road.

Terminal 2 Rental Car Return Las VegasTerminal 2 Rental Car Return Las Vegas

The sign for LAS Terminal 2 and rental car returns is on the corner of Kitty Hawk Way and Rent a Car Rd (neither are marked with signs). You can make a right turn here and walk up to Paradise Road and then make a left towards the strip. There’s a Starbucks along the way (on the opposite side of Paradise Rd), which might motivate you to take that route. I chose to walk through the long-term parking area for two reasons. 1) It’s safer than walking along a major highway 2) I was hoping to photograph some planes.

Southwest Airlines Flight Las Vegas AirportSouthwest Airlines Flight Taxiing Runway at Las Vegas Airport

Glad I chose this route, I got some nice photos of planes taxiing to the runway, which even included Las Vegas strip hotels in the background. That’s Hooters Casino, New York New York, the MGM Grand, and the Cosmopolitan, in the background of the Southwest Airlines flight ready for departure. Now onto a short walk to the corner of Paradise Rd and E. Tropicana Ave.

McCarron International Airport Clark County NevadaMcCarron International Airport Clark County Nevada

Getting to the corner can be a little bit sketchy, just because there is lots of potentially fast-moving traffic from people heading towards the airport. You can stay on the sidewalk the whole time so it’s not so bad. At the end of the road for long term parking, you’ll likely see a whole bunch of limousines parked in a waiting area, as you walk across to Paradise Rd. It’s only a few hundred yards to the corner, where I took the above Clark County Airport photo.

From here you can cross the street on Paradise Rd. (remain on Paradise for a short walk to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino) and walk along the north side of E. Tropicana Ave. towards Las Vegas strip. I stayed on the south side (airport side) so I could see oncoming traffic and continue getting photos.

McCarran Village Hamburgers Pizza LiquorMcCarran Village – Hamburgers Pizza Liquor

If you did choose to cross the street at Tropicana and Paradise, there is a newly constructed McCarran Village, which has burgers, bagels, pizza, a Subway, liquor, and an ABC Store (popular in Hawaii). Great place to stop if you want to get snacks or a quick meal before continuing onto the strip.

Atlantic Terminal McCarron AirportAtlantic Terminal McCarron Airport

Heading along the south side of East Tropicana I passed another terminal, the Atlantic Terminal, at McCarron International Airport. Lots of white suburban limousines had me figuring this was a private terminal. I think this is where smaller planes and helicopter tours depart from.

235 E Tropicana Atlantic Terminal235-275 E. Tropicana Atlantic Terminal

Here is a view looking back along East Tropicana. You can see there’s lots of traffic, and it definitely felt like vehicles were passing by at more than 45 miles an hour, so a reminder to stay aware of passing traffic while you’re walking. I did see evidence of vehicles that had jumped the sidewalk and crashed into areas along Tropicana Avenue, always use caution when walking in Las Vegas.

Atlantic Terminal 235 E TropicanaAtlantic Terminal 235-275 E. Tropicana

See what’s in the background in the above photo? There is the Luxor Casino Hotel to the left, and Hooters Hotel Casino just up ahead. This walk is turning out to be shorter than I had expected. Las Vegas is funny that way, some things appear so far away, and you get to them quickly, and others appear so close, but they feel like they can take forever to walk to.

Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Business CardsLas Vegas Adult Entertainment Business Card Trash

You know you’re getting close to the Las Vegas strip when you begin seeing trash like this along the sidewalks. From this point I can also see signs for $1.50 beers and both of my destinations are only a few minutes away. Vegas baby Vegas!

Hooters Casino Hotel Las VegasHooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas

Part of my journey was to find out just how difficult it would be to walk to a Las Vegas Casino Hotel from the airport. I didn’t time it, since I paused several times along the way to take photographs and make notes of landmarks, but I figure the average healthy person could do it in about 35 minutes.

I stopped at Hooters (had a craving for hot wings), played roulette (a bad day to play 10 black), enjoyed a few drinks, and headed to the corner of E. Tropicana Ave. and Las Vegas Blvd.

MGM Grand New York New York Las VegasMGM Grand – New York New York – Las Vegas

The journey for this photo post ends here. From right near the sign of the Hooters Hotel, you can cross the street (Audrie Street) and walk on over to the MGM Grand Station of the Las Vegas Monorail. From there you can travel to dozens of hotels, including The Sahara, which is several miles away. If your destination was the Las Vegas strip, you’d be at the corner in a few minutes. The MGM Grand is a huge property, and the New York New York Casino Hotel (also owned by MGM) is directly across the street.

Can I walk from the Las Vegas airport to the Las Vegas Strip? Yes you can!