STS-131 Second spacewalk hits a snag
By Mark Daymont
From his Blog:
The centerpiece of the collection is the famous Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose. While not in flying condition it is in great physical shape. The sponsor of the museum is Evergreen Aviation, which is into everything from crop dusting to cargo and passenger charter services. In fact they have one of there own 747s parked out front. These guys have very deep pockets. The museum is a memorial to Captain Michael King Smith son of Evergreens owner. Captain Smith (He was an F-15 pilot in the Oregon Air National Guard) brokered the deal to move the Spruce Goose from Long Beach to Evergreens McMinnville Oregon facility. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident before the aircraft arrived. He was 26 years old. The facility is state of the art and has a very strong emphasis on education. Our Space Center would fit very nicely into their program. If only we could get a patron like that. This is not exactly the high travel season but a substantial number of people were there. Also there were about a half dozen classes they’re being supervised by guides who were obviously teachers themselves. They just added an IMAX Theater and a Space Museum to the existing aviation facility. Both are very well laid out. The current construction project is an indoor waterpark. With a real 747 perched on top and the slide tubes coming out of it as though they were emergency exits. This place is a destination by itself. But you can see the project is a true labor of love.
The Tillamook Blimp museum. By comparison looks a little shabby. They too have a large number of classic aircraft in flyable condition but you can see they have to scrape for money wherever they can. This facility is housed in an old WWII Blimp hangar made entirely of wood. It is amazing to see how it was constructed. What is more amazing is the amount of unrestricted space here is inside of it. Something like 7.5 acres. Movies are often filmed in the hangars that still exist. They make great studios. Question: Name 2 science fiction films that did a substantial amount of filming inside a Blimp Hanger?
Of course no trip to Tillamook in complete without a visit to the Cheese Factory. A fun place to visit and if you haven’t had lunch you can fill up on cheese and ice cream samples. Another Question: What is the definition of cheese making.
Near Tillamook I discovered the fabled city of Cloverdale. I have photographic proof. Actually I have more proof than I care to have. When I stopped and got out to take the picture I stepped square into a pile of cow manure. Upon retreating to the safety of my truck I discovered the aroma retreated with me. (I can’t make this stuff up!) At least Victor could have warned me as to the mainstay of Cloverdale’s economy. Forewarned, I would have watched my step.
I finally reached the coast late in the afternoon. The Grey Whales are supposedly migrating north this time of year; all I saw were a lot of waves. The coastline looks fine but the really rugged coastline is to the south. Did I say this would be a short blog. I guess it is short like Vic’s final bridge talk, before he starts a mission.
I’m done, Goodbye
Pictures From the Road:
The Business End of a Russian Booster
In Want to Own This Plane!
The Apollo 17 Capsule.
The Yukatat Lighthouse
Hello Troops,Greetings Space Center Staff, Volunteers and Fans.
While all many of us are stuck at home during this Spring Break Bill Schuler, our Space Center colleague, is on the road hunting down new destinations for his other job, a tour director for West Tours. This is Bill's first report 'On the Road'. Written just to make the rest of us jealous I'm sure.
I am writing you from beautiful Woodlawn Washington. Doesn’t that sound like a private mental institution? “Sorry Bill isn’t available, he’s resting at Woodland.” Truth is I am on the road for spring break. I generally do this every spring break. I pick a direction and go. I love snooping out new places. One year I even ended up in Mr. Williamson’s home town, Rapid City, South Dakota. This helped me understand Vic much better. Any town with concrete dinosaurs, 7 story churches, the worlds largest drug store, and statues of dead presidents peppered through its downtown streets is going to have a profound impact on any young intellect residing there.
Well I’m not in South Dakota, This year I decided to come up to the Northwest then drive down the coast. This isn’t entirely for pleasure. Being a Tour Director in the summer, the better acquainted I am in an area the more valuable I am to the company employing me. As I am being sent to run more tours of the Northwest and Coast It is in my best interest to better acquaint myself with the area. I took off about noon on Friday and made it as far as the Idaho, Washington boarder before calling it a night. I wanted to get closer to Portland that first night but I ran into 2 blizzards on the way. Fortunately I have four wheel drive and new tires, so chains did not come into the picture.
Next day I cruised through the Columbia River Gorge, which is very beautiful. Among other things I stopped at Vista House on the Gorge’s scenic highway. It gives you a fabulous view of the Columbia River Gorge. That however, was not its intended purpose, it was a fringe benefit. In reality it was at the time, the most expensive bathroom ever built. It was built in 1918 for the ladies who complained of the primitive nature of the comfort stations on the then new road. I also drove the Mount Hood Loop, a very scenic road here in Oregon, when you are not driving through a blizzard. I even stopped at a famous ski lodge that had snow up to the third story window. There should be a photo of the lodge with this post. Can anyone tell me what 1980s movie was filmed here, exteriors only.
The next day I spent in Portland, mapping out a more definitive tour of that city than I have done in the past. Portland is a beautiful city, if you don’t happen to need to drive through it. To put it mildly, this town is very motorcoach unfriendly. Imagine yourself as the Flight Officer aboard the Voyager and you must navigate through an asteroid field, except when you do it you are hung upside down by your ankles, blindfolded, hands crossed behind your back and tied, wearing headphones playing Nirvana at 300 decibels.
That done I headed for Seattle. This town I know well because I used to spend the summers up here while I was working for Holland America Line doing tours of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. I hadn’t been there in ten years so I needed to refamiurize myself with the area. It can be rather grueling to map out a tour route cold turkey, I knew where all of the important sites where but the ballet of getting from point A to point B is another story. I was not looking forward to this day.
Then a bit of serendipity came in. While inspecting the hotel my company uses, I hear what sounds like a world War II tank rumbling down the road. I also hear strains of “Saturday Night Fever. Over this I hear very enthusiastic, nearly hyperactive commentary. I turn and behold a 1944 war surplus General Motors Amphibious DUK. Once used to deliver troops and supplies to World War II beachheads. As it races past propelled by some demented soul, I read the side of the vehicle, “Duck Tours!”
I think, Why not! I grab my faithful iPhone and type in duck tours on google maps. A moment later I see they are based near the Space Needle about 1.2 miles from my current location. The weather this morning was clear and warm so I went for it. With clipboard, paper and pen, I was able to rough out a suitable tour of the city. The tour guide had a very enthusiastic, bordering on silly, delivery but it worked fine for the 1.5 hour tour. I would never get away with that kind of frantic delivery on a 7 to 10 day tour. At the end of 2 days the group would mutiny, skin me alive and tack my skin on the side of the motorcoach as a warning to all other tour directors.
Tomorrow I head to the coast, the part of the trip I am really looking forward to. I am done with all the big cities, now its time to putter along, see the sites, hike and such. Looks like it will be wet and cool. That’s OK I grew up on the California Coast where fog is elevated to a religion. With sites like the Tillimook Cheese Factory, Blimp Hanger Museum, Sea Lion Caves, Worlds 2nd shortest river and Trees of Mystery, I won’t let a little rain get in the way.
So much for life on the road.
Bracken's Story to Accompany the Picture.
Vic slinked down the basement stairs to where the old microwave had been hidden, hidden for a very long time. Since Central had been opened is what he'd been told. The only ones who knew about it were Mr. Henshaw, the District Superintendent, and himself. He recalled the evening where Mr. Henshaw had shown the magical microwave to him.
"We don't know where this came from, Victor,"Mr. Henshaw told him sternly, "We don't know why it's here either. We don't know what it does exactly, and it's never been used. From what the owners manual said, that button stops time. It stops it as soon as you press it... But as far as exact sciences- we haven't the slightest idea. We are showing this to you, because you are doing something here that no other teacher has done. A simulator in a school, with all sorts of potential problems, and thousands of students promised to come here. Should anything go wrong, we want you to know where this is."
He smiled, that had been 1990, two days after the Voyager officially opened. He knew back then he wouldn't be able to resist nearly weekly use of the device, there was never enough time for anything. His mind wandered back to review the day.
"Mr. Williamson," it was the voice of Jon Parker that started his daydream.
Without giving a second thought, the tone of Jon's voice insisted that somewhere very nearby, trouble was lurking, Fortuna, the arch-nemesis of Victor Williamson was waiting to place a card in something that was supposed to be left alone. He looked at Jon, without saying anything to allow himself time to keep the imminent explosion of anger inside.
"It's the Dragon Lady... She's angry about everything again... The lights, the sound, the pet perrett... We don't know what to do..." Jon sounded sheepish, Vic could tell that Jon really wished he could've solved the problem on his own.
"I'll take care of it," He didn't even need to ask for the location of the problem. He headed directly to the Odyssey. Upon arriving, he found the dragon lady breathing fire across thousands of dollars worth of equipment, breathing threatenings with every burst of flame that protruded from her black lips.
"May I help you, Miss DL?"
"YES!! I'm trying to train my future dragons, and your raucous over here is much more than I can stand. The occasional yelp, the 30 seconds of loud music at the end of your mission. The every once-in-a-while hum of your alarms from this place is too much for me to focus. It ruins everything... Why... It's so noisy, I have a constant migraine."
"Well, we'll do what we can if you'll stop burning down my ship," Vic said wryly, watching her walk away still muttering about how she never has any say.
He had completed the first task of the day, but that wasn't going to be the end for sure.
Upon his first field trip flight, the projector went out, a typical Friday happening. The Voyager felt like it was closing night for it's performance- it had to pull it's pranks. And so, the projector died, frustrating him slightly, nothing he couldn't deal with.
Several minutes later, an angry woman with a phaser should up. She wasn't angry with him, just with the phaser. Had the phaser been an animated object, I'm sure she would have beat it. It had been left in a hallway.
Filch came in to tell him that he was the ONLY person that was allowed to move the curtains, seeing as how he had his curtain pass from a young age. This was going to cost him money.
Several students puked in the middle of the day flights- he hoped to get time to REALLY clean that up.
The Voyager, Magellan, and Phoenix sound systems decided to die in the middle of the private flights later, as well as several phone calls that he had to deal with, which generally consisted of mothers crying on the other end begging him to let their kids come to the overnighter. And... Several of the Voyager chairs broke.
With all of this, there were still several things which needed to be handled. He now came back to his senses, standing in front of the microwave.
"I must be the only human being who has a 120 hour work week... I hate Fridays..." He thought.
And with that, he pushed the button, stopping time so that he could attend to all the things that required his attention.