Saturday, August 19, 2017

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Janne and I managed to see yet another space shuttle, the Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. They also have the one remaining external fuel tank on display.

Interestingly, the museum is undergoing expansion, and their new building will house the shuttle, boosters, and the fuel tank fully stacked, in upright position. That will be amazing!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. New building schematics originally downloaded from strxur.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Damn Foot

Getting tired with my foot hurting. Another re-occurrence of the problem in May. For the last two weeks its been hurting again, on several days I've been unable to walk and on others it has been at least disturbing. All tests and X-rays show nothing. So maybe it just hurts...

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Vegas. Yuck.

Vegas. Glad we visited it briefly. Never been here before. But, all in all, and considering the breakfast options, I think it is time to move on.

And oh boy what they have done... Eiffel tower base that starts from a noisy gaming hall... too many people, hotel complexes that are on purpose difficult to navigate... noise... really glad we got away!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Santa Monica and Commercial Aviation's roots

I hadn't really known about this, but one of my favourite places in L.A., Santa Monica, played a large role in early commercial aviation. The Douglas Aircraft company was based here, for instance, and many iconic aircraft, DC-3 included, were designed here.

The Museum of Flying hosted near the airport is a good source to browse through this history. Among other things they have a DC-3, the nose part of a Boeing 727, Douglas board room round table, and a McDonnell-Douglas SST nose model. They also have staff that is eager to tell you various parts of the history, and show you around. Recommended!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Air Force One Classic

I never thought I'd visit a presidential library in the US. Couldn't imagine anything more boring. But, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library hosts a VC-137C SAM 27000, or more commonly known as the Air Force One.

And amazingly, you are allowed to walk through the plane and even take photos.

This plane is the classic version of Air Force One, a modified Boeing 707, used before the current 747-based versions.

The library also hosted a previous version of Marine One, and a number of other interesting displays. Much recommended! Although I have to say, this is the first time that I paid an entrance fee to a library!


From the back:



Marine one:

Air Force one president's office:

But ... don't touch:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Crystal Cave at Sequoia

Janne and I are on a trip through California (and few other states). We dropped by the Crystal Cave at the Sequoia National Park.

Our visit was brief, as we were on our way somewhere afterwards, so we didn't have more than an hour or two. The Crystal Cave is a 3.9 km karst cave in marble rock. It is a show cave, this time we were unable to explore on our own. We might have allocated more time, but the 4-5 hour adventure tour that they also offer was sold out basically for the whole season. Sad.

However, the cave itself was quite interesting. This cave was initially discovered by the native indians, and was their sacred site. We should be thankful being able to visit the cave.

The hike down to the bottom of the ridge to the start of the cave was airy and offered nice views of waterfalls. Coming back you had to hike 100 m up.

This was a nice addition to our tour of the more usual parts of the Sequoia park. If you are interested in visiting, do book in advance though! Possibly months in advance, if you can! Also, in 2017 there are major roadworks in the area, and it is easy to end up waiting for an extra hour for passage.

We also almost run out of gas on this trip, surprised by how much fuel our car took in the curvy and mountainous roads in the park. But, going down to Three Rivers from the park was mostly downhill, so we managed to make it to the gas station just fine.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Arizona Sauna

I'm on vacation with Janne, a road trip through western US. Our hotel in Flagstaff turned out to have a sauna. Great!

The sauna was small, but OK. It came with a water bucket for pouring water on the heater. You could turn up the heat high enough.

It was placed in the gym area, which for some reason had no showers or changing places, however. And as usual, ventilation in the sauna was suboptimal. There was also a pool and a jacuzzi.

Not overall bad, one more state and one more sauna :-) For the sauna itself though I'd give a grade of 6/10, due to lack of shower/changing rooms.

Nevertheless, the Hilton Garden Inn excelled in comparison to almost all other hotels (most Hiltons included) by having the sauna. Our experience at the Flagstaff Hilton Garden Inn was in general exceptionally good. The sauna; free and good breakfast; very nice staff; parking not far. Recommended for other people's Flagstaff visits, too.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Road trip!

Had plenty of meetings, but now I'm on vacation for a bit. Janne and I are headed to California for an epic road trip. With skis!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Skis Present

When I finished my term as a chair, my friends at the IETF gave me a truly wonderful gift: skis tagged with stickers from our meetings and little notes and signatures from everyone.

The skis finally arrived yesterday, after Alexa applied some varnish and shipped them safely packed to Finland. They look great, and will be displayed prominently somewhere soon. And unlike all my other skis, they won't be screeching on snowless rock slopes.

Thank you Alexa and everybody else!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Friday, July 21, 2017


Cool. Got a certificate in the mail from the caving course earlier in the summer :-) and clearly they were focused on things that needed improvement on my side, like responsibility and safety.

But I also would have appreciated a diploma just crawling. It was a central topic on the course and would also be more generally applicable, e.g., could show it on the way out of the bar

Well I suppose this is a good certificate to have. Hopefully I'm worthy of that statement :-) Thank you Finnish Caving Society!

Photo (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Meeting a Friend at Killington

Patrick and I share the same hobby: skiing in as many different places around the world as we can. We had run into each other in the Internet and chatted often. But I had never met him. In spring 2016 I finally got an opportunity to do that *and* go skiing in Killington for the first time.

Patrick's stories about his skiing can be found from his blog, "Mad Pat Ski".

But boy, Killington in May is a hard place to ski at. An amazing slope, but just one slope, one steep slope, and slope covered *only* with bumps. Large, icy bumps. Uh... my knees and leg muscles.

This was a weekend before my second visit to Killington and the opportunity go skiing with a friend who I had seen in person very often, but had never had an opportunity to ski with him. It was a good May. And on the next weekend I got to meet some more Canadian skiers and Patrick's friends.

I stayed at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel, with nice pools and a sauna.

Here are pictures from the hike to Killington Peak:

Here are pictures from the hotel sauna and pool:

Photos and videos (c) 2016 by Jari Arkko and Patrick Corcoran. The video editing and music is from Apple iMovie. For copyright of the music, see

This blog is also available at TGR. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Remember that pointers to all my stories about skiing can be found at the ​Planetskier.Net and web sites.