John & Anne Wiley

2013/03/22

Orleans!

We’re settled into our hotel in the Big Easy, and got this special clearance from ATC to fly past the city to Lakefront Airport (the runway sticks out into the lake in the distance, just right of center).

0247 N'Orleans

0247 N’Orleans

We often fly low and slow, but today was sort of low, fast and slow. Low in order to avoid the stronger quartering headwinds just above our minimum altitude of 1200 feet or so. Fast (100kt., faster than usual for us) trying to compensate for our relatively slow progress across the ground, and of course slow (actually our preferred pace of 80kt.) ground speed due to that same wind. Pretty smooth, and a little longer than we’d have most liked for this leg. But among the advantages was closer looks at things like this.

0223 Whazzat?

0223 Whazzat?

A small lake in a vast marsh was dotted with dozens of these things. Duck blinds? Fishing platforms? Gator traps? You tell me. As we climbed a little approaching the busy New Orleans airspace I told ATC I’d like to fly near roads because I’m unfamiliar with open marsh lands and didn’t want to be a gator snack. He didn’t laugh, nor could I detect even a smirk as he came back with, “Fly 090 degrees at 3,000 feet.”  In other words, shut up and do what I say. I did. 🙂

But I’ve jumped ahead. We woke to this beautiful scene in Galveston.

0023 Galveston Beach

0023 Galveston Beach

Christian and Danica at the airport had not only set us up with a nice hotel (Great, if it only had free wifi like every other place – even Starbucks!). They also loaned us a nice van this morning for a drive around town. So we got to see some of the old buildings that have survived hurricanes that all but wiped this low spit of land clean. Like the old Opera House, which I liked this painted back view of better than the front.

0067 Galveston Opera

0067 Galveston Opera

Anne liked the fanciful buildings and touches like this arch, and the nearby cruise port district.

0043 Playful Arch

0043 Playful Arch

Anyway, on our low, fast, slow flight we also saw the massive refinery complex at Port Charles. This tiny portion somehow reminds me of milk. Certainly not the color, I’m talking about when I was a kid and thought milk came from cartons and then got grossed out when I leaned it’s actually the steaming exudation of a smelly animal.

0153 Black Milk

0153 Black Milk

Since I loved milk, especially with fresh-baked cookies, I soon forgot my distaste for the origins and then got curious about the whole dairy process. Even helped a farmer milk his cows before dawn once and tasted the incomparable sensory experience of really fresh milk. So this pool of hideous black goo is part of the process that makes the “milk” Tripp likes best. Still, I’ll be glad when the aviation biofuel production process is finally ramped up, and even happier when most small planes are electric or at least hybrid powered.

0182 Rice? Fish? Shrimp?

0182 Rice? Fish? Shrimp?

Nearby are large tracts of flooded farm land like this, that I suppose are for farming fish, rice, or shrimp. Which of course got me thinking of how this mixes with the black goo in hurricanes. Remarkable how powerful the forces of nature are, both for mixing these things up and for repairing the damage with new life.

Another discovery today was several places like this. Want to know my guess as to what it is?

0210 Double Parking

0210 Double Parking

I think oil workers drive here, park their cars, walk to one of those helipads, and are flown out into the Gulf for a shift working on a rig.

Well, we’re off to explore the French Quarter…

Advertisements

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: