All of us here at FRIENDS OF HSR want to wish all our friends, fans, followers and families a very happy LABOR DAY.  We look forward to the day when many are laboring on the construction of a high speed rail track and this tremendously innovative and cost effective form of transportation is hurtling Americans across the continent 200 miles per hour and in the sheer comfort you see herewith.

That day is coming, rest assured!

Meanwhile, visit us on Facebook and join in on the weekly discussions and fun posts we enjoy so much in presenting to all our fellow Americans who deserve to learn about the tremendous benefits of high speed rail and the thrill and economy of riding a magnificent bullet train!  Here: https://www.facebook.com/FastTrainsBook/?fref=ts


Travel Piece: There’s A Lot To Eagle Point, Oregon!

This will matter to you by the end of this article, believe me.  For there’s something about the city of Eagle Point in southern Oregon that’s special.  Not just special, but also reverent and profound. Sure, Eagle Point has the usual trappings of Pacific Northwest communities: nice, quiet rural neighborhoods, a small-town-like ambiance, lots of clean air and rugged forestry environment, friendly people and all that outdoorsy Oregon charm.  Not to mention being a nice place for kids to go to school and families to live and work.  But something more is about Eagle Point in southern Oregon.  What I think it is I do believe is simple to note: the Eagle Point National Cemetery–the only national cemetery in the bottom half region of Oregon.  It is this and truly this that predominately makes this small community the reverent and really nice city it is.

The Eagle Point National Cemetery is home to thousands of American veterans who served our country in war and during peacetime the past hundred-some years.  It is of course the most prominent feature dotting the landscape in southern Oregon.  But Eagle Point is also home to some very nice schools, fancy restaurants, successful businesses, and even a major 18-hole golf course–the Eagle Point Golf Resort.  It’s resort that provides more than just golf play or lessons, but also fine dining, live entertainment, tennis and basketball courts, a large swimming pool and even caters to parties and weddings.

Located about 12 miles from Medford–southern Oregon’s largest metropolis–and but 40 miles from the California border, Eagle Point is a community where people from other nearby communities go to experience the lifestyle and recreation so familiar to Oregonians.  They would include, but be not limited to, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, hunting, nearby skiing, and even nice long walks in downtown Eagle Point where the atmosphere is always friendly and local residents even friendlier.

With a population of about 6,630 residents and offering affordable housing, plenty of fine schools and denominational churches, Eagle Point is a great place to live as well as visit.  Of course, the winter months there can be as in most of Oregon sometimes harsh.  But if you love rain and lots of trees and woodsy country ambiance then here and most all of southern Oregon is where you want to be.

Eagle Point is also really close to lots of fun interesting places to visit and do in southern Oregon.  There’s the Shakespeare festival in nearby Ashland, Oregon, Crater Lake National Park 50 miles west, the Britt festival in Jacksonville, the Oregon Caves National Monument in Cave Junction, local wine and farm tours, and Rogue Valley Mall in Medford where lots of shopping and entertainment venues can be had. 

Local events each year include the Exotic Dessert Auction in early March, Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday before Easter, the Eagle Point Historical Society Annual Yard Sale in August, Christmas Around Town and tree lighting in early December, the Memorial Day services at the national cemetery, and annual July 4th Celebration that includes Main Street Parade, games, food, crafts, fireworks and even a parachute drop.

For accommodations, The Motel 6 in Medford is probably cheapest, with rates starting at $50 per night, or the Travelodge also in Medford, for $48.  Some great places to eat in Eagle Point are Antonios Pizzeria, that offers fines dining, great lasagna, pizza and affordable prices; New Chan’s Palace for great Chinese food; and the Main Event Sports Bar & Eatery for tasty sandwiches and dinner meals while watching sporting events on large screen television.

Simply driving through and around Eagle Point and looking at the sights and lovely homes I found also to be an almost reverent experience.  The national cemetery is a place I intend to visit again.  But if I wanted to settle down in southern Oregon, anywhere in this friendly, reverent community would make me very happy, I do believe.

Uruguay: South America’s Sweetest Vacation Spot

Imagine enjoying springtime during fall and summer during winter.  Strolling a crisp 70-degree pristine beach in late September and windsurfing, sailing or waterskiing the waves of a warm south Atlantic sea in October and November. Well, below the equator all this is not only possible but readily available in South America. There, all four seasons are reversed, and this is not more evident than in the friendly little nation of Uruguay. 

Bordering Argentina in the west, Brazil in the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Uruguay is perhaps one of South America’s best kept secrets. It is the most democratic nation on the continent and one that is rich in natural resources, relatively pollution and crime free, with an affluent economy and thriving industries, and is open to tourism and immigration year-round.  The only annoying thing about the mountainless nation might be the people there are just too darn polite and friendly!

In fact it is a national custom among citizens and visitors alike to exchange a friendly kiss on either cheek when greeting or upon parting company.

Uruguay contains one of South America’s most intriguing capitals, is clustered with many charming, laid-back colonial towns, and has an assortment of internationally renowned beach resorts with Punta del Este along the Atlantic coast the most beautiful of these.  Tourist and resident visas can be obtained year-round without much difficulty and at consular offices located in most developed nations around the world. Citizens though from neighboring countries and from Israel, Japan and the United States do not require a visa, but might need a tourist card which is valid for 90 days and extendible for a similar period.

Travel throughout the second-smallest country in South America is uncomplicated and an Enjoyable experience.  There are numerous cattle ranches, rice mills, wineries and farm lands to visit along the interior highway system.  And Uruguay is very accessible to both regular travelers and disabled people as the nation has an interconnecting rail system, over 20 commercial airports and all kinds of public transportation.

The capital, Montevideo (pop 1,400,000), is host to many fine hotels, motels, theaters, museums, nightclubs and entertainment spots, and offers modern, up-to-date shopping and recreational facilities.  Budget hotel rooms can be obtained for as low as $20.00 US per day, to $80 and upward for top-end accommodations.  The country has thousands of moderately priced restaurants, and full-course meals can be purchased for as low as $8.00 to $15.00, and $15.00 and up for more exotic, expensive dining. Travelers can get by on $15 a day; but those seeking a little more comfort and excitement can expect to spend around $30 a day.

Autumn here but spring there, Uruguay is indeed one long beautiful beach. Sunbathing begins in September along “La Rambia,” with a ton of outdoor fun things to do for both adults and children.  Across an expansive coastal highway and reaching into the interior of Montevideo seemingly endless mini-malls, boutiques, department stores, novelty shops and other shopping venues await eager-beaver tourist and expatriated citizen alike.

Visiting the mineral baths at Minas is a must-do.  Surf-casting enthusiasts can spend a few days fishing along the Rio de la Plata from Colonia to Piriápolis.  How about nine holes of golf at the exquisite Victoria Plaza Hotel or Punta del Este Country Club?  A day at the races is to be had at the Hipodromo de Maronas and Las Piedras racetracks.  And Dune walking in popular Cabo Palonia is not to be missed.  Of course, just about anywhere you look a game of major league soccer can be taken in.

With a population of approximately 3.2 million, the country’s main language is Spanish although many nationals also speak English and French, Italian, German or Portuguese.  The peso is the national currency, Roman Catholicism the main religion and like Europe, Uruguay uses the metric system, provides widespread Internet accessibility, and considers medio-medio (half dry white wine, half champagne) its national beverage.

Being a cattle country, Uruguay boasts the best steaks in the world, but offers fine dining in many international cuisines.  You can grab a “Chivito” sandwich at the Mercado Del Puerto near downtown Montevideo any time of the day, and wash it down with a bottle of medio-medio while people watching and being watched shop and peruse the busy marketplace. 

Beyond its many coastal communities and lovely sandy beaches so much more is to be delightfully experienced in Uruguay.  Besides swimming, body surfing and surfboarding ocean breezes yield continual opportunity for parasailing, boating and exciting windsurfing.  You can also enjoy polo, tennis, horseback riding, hiking and sightseeing, and participating in native festivals and public barbecues (a Uruguayan tradition). 

Then there is shopping for antique bargains at Montevideo’s numerous flea markets. Or dancing until dawn (no last call!) at one of the many night clubs or city discotheques that offer floor shows and famous performers of numerous genres of music and entertainment.  Gambling is also available in Uruguay.  And the country is teeming with swank casinos and affable betting clubs that stay open 24 hours a day. 

With its many splendid beaches, yearly carnivals, fine dining and entertainment activities, mild Autumnal climate, and courteous atmosphere of well-educated, happy citizenry Uruguay is one of the nicest and safest places on mother earth to visit and recreate.  And you don’t have to worry about accessibility, language, customs or paying a lot when seeking the ideal vacation spot.  Or moving lock, stock and barrel to this little dream-filled paradise located near the bottom of the world!