January 2011

Been travelling lots … next post is about Cayman, I promise!

So I was in Los Angeles for business and in the past trips did all of the “standard” LA stuff such as Disney, Hollywood, etc.   Since I had a day to kill, I decided to go out for a drive to the Mojave desert.   What a great day it was.

First off, out from Grand Cayman.  An unusual flight path, taking off towards the West and banking over Seven Mile Beach.

Close to the LA airport (LAX), I saw this.   Fans of CSI: Miami will recognize this building.  So the Miami-Dade police station is not in Miami! Its actually in Los Angeles.  This is the actual building they use in the show.

Now off from my road trip to the Mojave desert.  I left the hotel before 8am on Sunday.  Virtually no one on the road.  It was great.  Here I am, less that 30 minutes out of town and already some snowy mountain tops.

First stop: Victorville.  Here is where major airlines store their decommissioned or surplus aircraft.  They like storing them here because of the dry air.  In the first picture below you can see a Cathay 747, a United 747 and a Delta 767 and a 737.

Now an hour or so down the road, I got to Hinkley.  What is Hinkey? Well, movie buffs should already have picked up on this.  It was the subject of the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich”.  This city’s water was contaminated by a company.

As I was about to take the exit to go North/West, I saw this.   I seriously considered it.   Las Vegas was only 150 miles away at that point.  Maybe next year.

Next stop: Edwards Air Force base.  There is a large B-52 bomber on display.  Very impressive.  In the foreground, my lovely rental Volvo C30; great car for a road trip like this.

Next up, the Mojave air and space port.  This is the place where they store old aircraft (like Victorville) but is also the base for many space projects such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.  A tour of the premises are available, but you unfortunately are not able to take any pictures during the tour of the hangars and old aircraft. The tour is in an econoline type van and the guy who does the tour is the guy who refuels the planes. On that basis, no reservations are possible.  So if he is out refueling a plane,  you are essentially out of luck.

Here is the link for visits if anyone interested.

In the boneyard section (where planes will never fly again and are usually sold for part), lots of Hollywood history. That white tail section just behind the red “wind direction” thing on the left is the Oceanic plane from Lost. In there there is the 747 used in “24” for when the President was shot down. There is also an old Delta plane with a big hole where the Mythbuster guys did the shoebomb test, etc.

This is the storage section ; aircraft that could technically be brought back into service.  The airlines basically put them here during the recession when they have too many airplanes. The black tailed aircraft are all Air Canada 767’s. The second one from the right is the infamous “Gimli Glider” for any airplane buffs reading this blog. However, out of the 7, a few of them look in pretty rough shape so I suspect that Air Canada will sell these for parts of they will become beer cans at some point 🙂

Last stop … Palmdale airport. I had not planned this stop , but Ron, my “guide” at Mojave suggested I go. Lots of military aircraft on display.  Here I am with the SR-71 Blackbird stealth aircraft.

So here is the map of the day.  +-320 miles in all.  7:30 – 4pm.  Great time! Start and finish is downtown Los Angeles.

Just kidding.  That’s just the slogan that I am sure many of you have seen in TV commercials. I was in Nassau last week.  Very nice place ; similar in many points to Grand Cayman : quite developed, flat terrain, nice beaches and a very quick flight from Miami.

While in Nassau (which is on the island of New Providence – pop +-300,000) I had a little bit of time to tour and see the sights.  My first activity on the week-end was to do a Segway tour!  Oh what fun that was!

Its essentially a 2h trek on an abandoned  lot that leads to a very pretty beach.  The real fun is riding the Segway. Its easy to learn and you have a smile the whole time.

For those who have never been on a Segway, here is a video.  Its probably a bad idea to film while driving this device and you will  see/hear near the end of the movie I hit a bump and almost had an accident 🙂

This island along the Segway tour apparently was in a scene in the James Bond movie Casino Royale.

Back in town, there is a HUGE mound of sand that can be seen ; see picture below.

I wondered what is was an asked the guy who does the Segway tours.   Well, to be able to accommodate the largest cruise ships (Notably the “Freedom of the seas”) the Bahamian government had to dredge the harbor. Apparently the project cost 3M$. I guess with the number of tourists that come to town on those mega-ships, its probably an investment that will pay off relatively fast.  Wonder what they will do with all of that sand.  I assume they will move it in relatively short order since any hurricane would put all of that sand right back where it came from.

While walking around town, I noticed an oil tanker coming towards port. Man-o-man, this ship must have been 100% full … notice how high the water line was.

I am sure this cruise ship setup is the envy of many people in Cayman!  There were 5 cruise ships in town on this particular day and they are all lined up at the dock.  Quite an efficient system if you ask me.

View of the beach!  All in all, Nassau is a very nice place.   A bit more crowded than Grand Cayman, but a great place to visit.

Here is the URL to the company that operates the tour. I highly recommend it.  Its definitely different that just staying at the beach, reasonably priced and lots of fun. On the tour I did, there were even two people who were doing it for a second time in as many weeks.


After 7 years of planning and planning, the USS Kittiwake is now in 60 or so feet of water off Seven Mile Beach.  For those of you familiar with Cayman, it is at the north end of the beach, straight out from Cemetary beach (which is part of Seven Mile beach)

I unfortunately missed the show.  But, here is a great close up video that was posted on Youtube.

Also, here are some amazing underwater shots.  The site was initially not open to the public ; divers went down to make sure everything was safe and they had to attach mooring lines for dive boats to attach to.

All pictures below taken by Chris Alpers – Thanks. I wish I could have been on that dive.  WOW

I cant wait to dive this site.   Hopefully soon.