Saturday, August 19, 2017

Santa Monica Beach

For some reason, one of my favourite places in the greater Los Angeles area is Santa Monica. Maybe it is because on my first trip I stayed there, various fun memories from all my time there. Or the beach.

In any case, Janne and I spent an evening walking on the beach and playing in the waves as the sun was setting. Fun!

We had not planned to do this, so we didn't have swimsuits, but it didn't matter - we went in with our city tour clothes, and it was even more fun that way :-)

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Falcon 9 Booster

When Janne and I were in California, we made a pilgrimage to the SpaceX headquarters. In front the building stands a used Falcon 9 booster. Impressive feat of space technology!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko.

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Janne and I managed to see yet another space shuttle, the Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. They also have the one remaining external fuel tank on display.

Interestingly, the museum is undergoing expansion, and their new building will house the shuttle, boosters, and the fuel tank fully stacked, in upright position. That will be amazing!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. New building schematics originally downloaded from strxur.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Damn Foot

Getting tired with my foot hurting. Another re-occurrence of the problem in May. For the last two weeks its been hurting again, on several days I've been unable to walk and on others it has been at least disturbing. All tests and X-rays show nothing. So maybe it just hurts...

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Vegas. Yuck.

Vegas. Glad we visited it briefly. Never been here before. But, all in all, and considering the breakfast options, I think it is time to move on.

And oh boy what they have done... Eiffel tower base that starts from a noisy gaming hall... too many people, hotel complexes that are on purpose difficult to navigate... noise... really glad we got away!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Santa Monica and Commercial Aviation's roots

I hadn't really known about this, but one of my favourite places in L.A., Santa Monica, played a large role in early commercial aviation. The Douglas Aircraft company was based here, for instance, and many iconic aircraft, DC-3 included, were designed here.

The Museum of Flying hosted near the airport is a good source to browse through this history. Among other things they have a DC-3, the nose part of a Boeing 727, Douglas board room round table, and a McDonnell-Douglas SST nose model. They also have staff that is eager to tell you various parts of the history, and show you around. Recommended!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Air Force One Classic

I never thought I'd visit a presidential library in the US. Couldn't imagine anything more boring. But, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library hosts a VC-137C SAM 27000, or more commonly known as the Air Force One.

And amazingly, you are allowed to walk through the plane and even take photos.

This plane is the classic version of Air Force One, a modified Boeing 707, used before the current 747-based versions.

The library also hosted a previous version of Marine One, and a number of other interesting displays. Much recommended! Although I have to say, this is the first time that I paid an entrance fee to a library!


From the back:



Marine one:

Air Force one president's office:

But ... don't touch:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Crystal Cave at Sequoia

Janne and I are on a trip through California (and few other states). We dropped by the Crystal Cave at the Sequoia National Park.

Our visit was brief, as we were on our way somewhere afterwards, so we didn't have more than an hour or two. The Crystal Cave is a 3.9 km karst cave in marble rock. It is a show cave, this time we were unable to explore on our own. We might have allocated more time, but the 4-5 hour adventure tour that they also offer was sold out basically for the whole season. Sad.

However, the cave itself was quite interesting. This cave was initially discovered by the native indians, and was their sacred site. We should be thankful being able to visit the cave.

The hike down to the bottom of the ridge to the start of the cave was airy and offered nice views of waterfalls. Coming back you had to hike 100 m up.

This was a nice addition to our tour of the more usual parts of the Sequoia park. If you are interested in visiting, do book in advance though! Possibly months in advance, if you can! Also, in 2017 there are major roadworks in the area, and it is easy to end up waiting for an extra hour for passage.

We also almost run out of gas on this trip, surprised by how much fuel our car took in the curvy and mountainous roads in the park. But, going down to Three Rivers from the park was mostly downhill, so we managed to make it to the gas station just fine.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko