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LAVA snaps by firstname.lastname@example.org 9-22-2011 7-52-25 AM
Dilemma at WBFDC Lava
Recently I and one of my friends, both senior citizens, toured Lava. I am 67 year old retired Central Govt. Officer and my friend 62 year old senior medical officer & professor of medicine under Govt. of West Bengal. We are experienced hill travelers. At this advanced age we both were physically fit to travel and stay in high altitude with no difficulty whatsoever. Having a lot of experience in our kitty, we dared to travel to Lava just a couple of days after Sikkim Quake disaster when tourism activities in eastern hill region was at its nadir. During our stay from 21.9.11 to 23.9.11 Lava was a deserted place. There was no tourists except two of us. In fact, subsequent quakes of smaller magnitude took place in Sikkim when we were staying at the eco friendly resort of West Bengal Forest Development Corp. Ltd.
The purpose of this article is not to provide travel guidance to the tourists but to alert them about the shabbily maintained and badly managed WBFDC resort situated at the top of Lava, at a heavenly beautiful location. The future eco loving tourists should think twice before booking WBFDC Lava. A few of the shortcomings are described below.
We booked Log Cabin No. 2 for three days w.e.f. 21.9.11 to 23.9.11 in the name of Dr. B. Basu from WBFDC, Kolkata. Full amount was paid by him and allotment slip was issued by WBFDC Kolkata.
We reached Lava by noon of 21.9.11 and took possession of the log cabin No. 2 from a local boy. Later on we came to know that he runs the canteen along with his sister. No caretaker or manager or anyone responsible was around. The entire resort was deserted. Now about Log Cabin No. 2.
1.The cabin was badly maintained, badly lit and was stinking.
2.There were plethora of light points but only three in bed room, one in sitting room and one in toilet were in order. Rest were fused.
3.Sitting room was very small. A few leeches were found creeping. We killed them by sprinkling salt (we carried a few essentials, salt was one). Centre table of the sitting room was dirty and never cleaned, sunmica top was found dislodged in places. Dried food particles sticking on the surface. The same applied to the bedroom table. There was no bedside table.
4.Bed room was large enough but dimly lit.
5.Bath room was as large as a dance floor.
6.The bed room is not equipped with a room heater or CTV. So the situation there, was such that the moment the darkness dons on Lava at about 5.30 pm or during rain all you got to do was go straight inside the quilt of your bed and pray to God for early morning. You cannot read books or mags you brought with you due to insufficient light or connect yourself with the outer world through TV and also you cannot simply sit on the sofa because of chilling cold.
7.No generator was there inside the resort and so when power went out for one night and a day we had to stay in the dark room as it was raining outside. Nobody came with a lantern or even a candle, while the hotels were having generators and their tariff was much less with more comfort.
8.During our three day stay, no cleaning, no anti pest spraying were done, nobody came to us to enquire about our inconvenience or even say ‘Hello’. Only on second day at about 11 am a dirty looking middle aged man came and introduced himself as caretaker of the resort. He was not uniformed with badge or even appropriately dressed, only wearing a Bermuda type shorts and a vest both dirty and looked like just came from bed. His intention was not wishing us well but he actually came to us for extra money. He informed that one Mr. Rai, Beat Officer was in-charge of the resort (we never saw the fellow) and that we had to pay extra Rs. 124 per day since the charges of the cabin had increased. We agreed to pay only after seeing Mr. Rai and the official order. So we told him that if Mr. Rai kindly visited us we would be glad to be introduced with him and have chat on a cup of tea. Mr. Rai never turned up. On the 3rd day when we were leaving for Siliguri, the caretaker showed up to inform us that we did not have to pay extra charge. So the bottom line was that ‘extract extra buck from innocent tourists if you can and back out if they don’t agree and challenge’.
9.In comparison to the high tariff WBFDC the service to the tourists at Lava is nil. Once you check in WBFDC Lava, pray to God for your well being. Such bad management, maintenance and service cannot serve the purpose of tourism development, at least at Lava where a few hotels are already catering to the tourists in a better way.
10.About food the less is spoken the better. Potato and cabbage. They cannot give any other food. So those who are vege, carry vege of your choice from plane. For non-veg, there are eggs and chickens.
The best you can do at Lava, stay in a private hotel.
Sujit Kumar Das
A stream to sleep beside
Stream beside my campsite at Wildhorse Crossing south of Mountain City, Nevada. Wednesday 12 May 2010.
On day one of an 8 day, May of 2010 road trip, I found a road that to the best of my knowledge I had never traveled before.
I stopped at Mountain Home, Idaho to get some groceries and gas up the truck (while watching fighter jet pilots poking holes in the clouds with their trainer fighter jets).
From Mountain Home, Idaho I drove highway 51 south through Bruneau and Riddle, Idaho. Then the highway turned into Nevada 225. I continued south through the interesting country of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation until I reached the "Wildhorse Crossing" campground, south of Mountain City, Nevada.
It had rained heavily and the campground roads were muddy. Still I found a nice secluded campsite, next to a tumbling stream and set up "camp". I took several long hikes, east, south, and west of camp and saw a small herd of elk roaming the sagebrush covered hills.
The next morning, everything, including my pickup truck was encapsulated in a veneer of ice. It had got mighty cold that night, and I was happy to get the heater going in the pickup truck cab as I headed south through Nevada to my next destination in Utah (Snow Valley State Park by St. George, Utah).
May 12th through May 19th - - I traveled 9 states in 8 days, camping, driving back roads, visiting scenic and historic sites, and taking some great day hikes. These are some of the photographs from this solo "road trip".
Day One: Home in Eastern Washington; Mountain Home, Idaho; Owyhee, Nevada and a very cold night camped at Wild Horse Crossing south of Mountain City, Nevada.
Day two: NEVADA - - Mountain City; Elko; Wells; Ely (through a snow storm); Panaca. UTAH - - Enterprise, Veyo, to a warm and scenic enjoyable camp and hiking at Snow Canyon.
Day three: UTAH - - Snow Canyon; St. George; Hurricane; to Fredonia, Arizona. Forest Service Road #22 and many others to places like Monument Point and Indian Hollow. Too cold to camp (got down to 19 degrees that night), so dropped down low to BLM wilderness land off 89 A and spent the night among sagebrush and juniper with curious mule deer as "neighbors".
Day four: Opening day of the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Visited the park and arriving early had many places (Cape Royal), entirely to myself. ARIZONA: Vermillion Cliffs; Page; Kaibito; and Navajo National Monument and Betatakin, where I had my nicest camp site (Canyon View at Betatakin).
Day five: Betatakin camp to Kayenta; Monument Valley to drive the 17 mile "loop road" through the monument; to Mexican Hat to recharge my camera battery (Canon G10) while eating Navajo stew and fry bread at a cafe along the San Juan River; to Comb Ridge where I took two short enjoyable "rock art and cliff dwelling" hikes (procession panel and Monarch Cave ruins; up to Blanding, Utah where I checked into a small motel for two nights.
Day six: Get up early and hike a bit over 14 miles down Kane Gulch; down Grand Gulch to Todie Canyon, with many side excursions to visit cliff dwellings, granaries, rock art sites, etc. Weather started to blow in by the time I finished my hike.
Day seven: Changed my mind with the weather. Instead of heading for the Bisti Wilderness (for the first time) and Chaco Canyon (for the third time) - - I headed north through Moab then turned east toward Grand Junction, Colorado. Stopped at Sego Canyon rock art site outside of Thompson Springs, Utah. COLORADO - - Grand Junction, Rifle, Craig. WYOMING - -Baggs, Rawlins, Lander, Dubois (where I got a real nice motel room for a reasonable rate).
Day eight: Left Dubois, Wyoming early. Cold, windy, cloudy weather with a hint of snow in the air. Drove up through Yellowstone Park and exited via Mammoth Hot Springs; then on to Livingston, Montana. On I-90; hitting sun, the clouds, the rain, then a nasty storm (between Missoula, Montana and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho). Slept in pickup camper before driving on through the early morning back to my home in Eastern Washington.
Day nine: Arrived home at 4:30 am. Another fun road trip.
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