Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Breathing Flower

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- Karen

Friday, October 26, 2012

Airship Eureka

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a free ground tour of the commercial-based zeppelin, Eureka, moored at the local airfield.
This is the entrance to its office. There is no mistake of where you were from the display outside.

Our guide explained to us the differences between a zeppelin and blimp plus the size differences between the airships throughout history.
A blimp and a zeppelin are both filled with helium and steerable; however, a zeppelin has a metal frame whereas a blimp will lose its shape once it is deflated.
From memory, I believe, the top airship in the picture is the Hindenburg at 803 ft (245 m), the largest airship ever built.
The airship I was visiting on this day is the 4th one down at 246 ft. (75 m).

After our short lecture, we were escorted onto a van to take us to the airfield.

We were dropped off inside a hangar as we watch the airship in the distance.
For local residents in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might have seen the Farmers Insurance advertisement on this ship at one time. Sponsors change ever so often so you will never know what you will see advertised next.

Once we were allowed to go onto the airfield for a closer look, you can see the hangar we were standing in at the background.

The airship is tied here and anchored to a truck. Because of the windy condition during our visit, the airship swayed back and forth slightly and we had to watch to make sure we didn't get too close.

The gondola fits 12 passengers plus 2 crew members. As a comparison, the Hindenburg zeppelin built in the 1930's could hold over 40 crew members and 72 passengers.

Due to the cost, I still hope one-day be able to take a flight in it, but for now, I will have to enjoy the 360-degree view from its website here.

- Karen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Whale Bones

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- Karen

Friday, October 19, 2012

Griffith Observatory

During my recent visit to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to visit Griffith Observatory not far above the hills of Hollywood.
This observatory came about because of a dream of one man, Griffith J. Griffith. Yes, his first and last names were the same. He made his fortune in silver mines and real estate in the late 1800's. He purchased this hilltop land for his home and later decided to donate over 3,000 acres (1,214+ hectares) of it to the city of Los Angeles to build a public park. Later, he donated $100,000 to the city to build an observatory in 1912, but due to many delays, it wasn't completed until 1930 and unfortunately, Griffith never got to see his dream fulfilled when he passed away in 1919.

At the entrance is a pillar dedicated to astronomers of the past.

One can get a great view from the back exterior of the observatory. I am not quite sure, but those tall buildings in the distance might be the city of Santa Monica covered in gray and rainy skies.

One can also get a clear view of the famous Hollywood sign.

This is the ceiling of the rotunda right at the entrance.

It has many neat exhibits and displays including this one with samples of most of the elements in the Periodic Table. I could have used this in high school chemistry class.

This is the new 200-seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. Yes, Spock!
His and his wife, Susan's, contribution to the observatory, gave name to this theater.
A 20-minute film shown daily called "The Once and Future Griffith Observatory" narrated by Mr. Nimoy should not missed if you ever happened to visit.

On display is this full-sized statue of Albert Einstein.
During my visit, I swear everyone who passed by wanted a picture with him.
If I recall correctly, the reason for his pose states that merely placing a finger inches away from your eyes, you would have covered thousands if not millions of stars in the night sky.

There was also a bust of the movie star James Dean.
Many movies have been filmed on this land, but the classic 1955 movie "Rebel Without a Cause" starring James Dean was the first one to portray the observatory and contribute positively to the observatory's international reputation.
Have you seen a movie that was filmed here? If you are not sure, check out this list.

- Karen

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Endeavour in Los Angeles

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- Karen

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Mount Shasta Roadside Stop

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If you have been following along the last few weeks on my road trip to Oregon, this post was my last stop before heading home. Thank you for reading!

- Karen

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Crater Lake Rim

On the 4th day of our road trip, we made it to Crater Lake National Park in southeast Oregon.
At 1,943 feet (592 meters), it is the deepest lake in the United States and the 7th in the world.
From the history books, it says Crater Lake was formed over 7,700 years ago when the volcano on Mount Mazama erupted and then collapsed. This area receives heavy snow annually and the melting of the snow fills the lake.
The drive around the rim is a 33 mile loop so you can get a view of the lake and its geology from different angles.

Wizard Island, inside Crater Lake, is a popular destination for hiking and fishing. The park service offers a boat service to the island where you will be dropped off for 3 hours of exploring a deserted island.

When you return from your exploration, you can spoil yourself with a stay at the fancy Crater Lake Lodge.
Since we brought our dog with us, we could not stay here and had to lodge at a more modest location.

There are a number of wildlife you can see while at the rim like this bluejay?

Or, the playful golden-mantled ground squirrels are live and well and all around the park.

- Karen

Friday, October 05, 2012

Crescent City

In the distance is the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City seen from the city's marina. Crescent City is in the northwestern part of California and about 20 miles south of the Oregon border.

Up close, you can only access the Battery Point Lighthouse/museum during low-tide by walking through the uneven slippery rocks to reach the island.
Luckily, during my visit, it was low-tide.
During high-tide, this area overflows with ocean water and people can't walk to or from the lighthouse.

This is the close up of the lighthouse where it first became operational in 1856. It looks like it is currently going through some remodeling.
It was closed by the time I reached the lighthouse so it not clear if this lighthouse is still operational or if it is just a museum now.

From the permanent shape of this tree, you can tell it gets quite windy on this little island.

When the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan of March 11, 2011, the resulting tsunami damaged Crescent City's harbor thousands of miles away. This is a sign at the harbor that reminds us of that disaster.

As of September 2012, they are still in the process of repairing the harbor.

In my hotel in Crescent City, I find literature how to survive a tsunami. I wonder if this literature was there before the 2011 events.

- Karen

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Paul Bunyan & Babe

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- Karen