Friday, April 13, 2007

Mo' Mojave!

In part one of Mojave! I mentioned that the desert is a strange place. Here is some more strangeness for you.
Apparently, Mojave is where old airliners go to die. There is a vast graveyard of mothballed aircraft at the Mojave Air and Space Port. What better place for us to mess around until dark?

Click pics to enlarge.
Notice the 747 on the right is missing an engine and the other three are plugged. The McDonnell Douglass aircraft on the left are “wrapped” with some sort of a protective coating.

My daughter Rachelle enjoying her ride in 5th class.

There is a lot of strange stuff in the desert. This one baffled me at first when I saw it. But now I suspect that it has been outfitted to facilitate movie and TV production. Because of Mojave’s relative proximity to Hollywood, a lot of that goes on here.

Mojave also has a nice collection of vintage aircraft.

This one looks about right for our family needs, we’ll take it!

“Hey Buzz! It’s a space port!” Not exactly what I envisioned as a space port, or the rest of America for that matter. But, Mojave is an authentic, bona-fide space port, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST)! According to Mojave Airports website “"Mojave is to the emerging space industry what Silicon Valley was to the computer industry. There is a concentration of like-minded businesses here like no where else in the world." Well! I’ll be keeping an eye on this Mojave Air and Spaceport (As well as real estate values in near by Tehachapi)!

The Rotary Rocket. Strange. Described as a six-story traffic cone sprouting helicopter blades, this rocket was well on its way to becoming the worlds first single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft. It’s only failure? Funding.

My good friend Jason Hitchens took these photos when he went to Mojave, September 28, 2004 to witness Spaceshipone winning the Ansari X-Prize for private spaceflight. Above is the Mothership with Spaceshipone attached underneath.

Spaceship one making its historic flight.

Astronaut Mike Melvill after the spaceflight.

More strange stuff. These are very large and very aerodynamic. And there are hundreds of them stored here. But what the heck are they?! They’re not fuselage, they’re not wings. My wife Cindy, proving that she’s more than just good looks, figures it out...

...on the Tehachapi Mountains, overlooking Mojave, there they stand, hundreds of them, silently doing their work: windmill generators. These are the blades for windmill generators! Way to go Cindy (I knew I kept her around for a good reason)!

“As the sun slowly sinks in the west...” our day in the Mojave comes to an end. An interesting and full day to say the least, starting with a glimpse at California’s gold mining past, and ending with a glimpse of California’s aerospace future. A fascinating state indeed.

Coming up on "A California Adventure" we have another boyscout campout planned. This time to Switzer~land! You'll have to tune in to see!


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