:: Thursday, November 18, 2004 ::
Vacation: I have some blog posts that are sort of done, but they will wait till later. I am currently just leaving Las Vegas for Hoover and the GC and willlikely post more when I am in Phoenix or when home. In the mean time, here are some pics from the last few days. I will put some narrative with them later.
Standing outside the Scaled Composites Hangar at the Mojave Civilian Spaceport. in Mojave California on Tuesday Nov 16th, 2004. They are the peeps that won the X-Prize.
As the caption reads, that’s me standing outside of the Scaled Composites hangar at the spaceport. I somehow thought the building would be more impressive. It wasn’t a let down though. This was where they won the X-prize a few weeks ago. Finding it and for that matter the spaceport was tough. I mean it’s a desert, so you can see it, but finding the entrance was no simple matter. A tiny sign said ‘airport’ so I followed it and as I knew from Driving in Cali for a bit, it meant ‘turn Now!’ not at the next lights. So I went down this side street and ended up paralleling the runway in an industrial area. Another equally small sign pointed to the SC buildings but I had to U turn as I went right by it.
Getting to the spaceport was a good drive from Simi Valley. I had thought I could drive from Santa Monica and hit the Reagan Library and then the spaceport and then head on to LV all in one day. Uh, no. As it was, this wasn’t possible – even if I hadn’t got turned around a couple of times on the Cali Freeways… Ahem. I could have done it if I wanted to drive through the Mojave Desert in the dark, but that would have been no different than driving the 401 to Windsor in the dark. Bor-ing!
As I write this section, I am two hangars over from Scaled Comps, sitting in the Voyager restaurant – named after one of Ruttan’s planes not the interplanetary probe or the starship – on the flight line and beside the control tower and part of the administration building. I am eating a very greasy pastrami on rye (who fries bread to make a toasted pastrami sandwich? ) in the empty restaurant. They are closing in about 20 mins and I am the only one here except for the strikingly beautiful 20 something Latina waitress. And as per restaurants like this at small airports around North America, it is decorated with aircraft photos and memorabilia and has large picture windows looking out onto the airport. The menu was also signed by Ruttan.
I went around the corner of the building from where I took my pic ( I was half expecting police to show up: some of the people coming and going in the area must have thought I was up to no good setting up my camera on the top of my car and running back and forth as I tested out pictures…) and into another that had the lobby. If you have ever been to a small industrial strip mall with a businesses that have a reception out front and all the real work in the back out of sight, you can picture this small lobby. Only differences were that the hallway leading to the back to the hangar area was decorated with dozens of aeronautical magazine covers that featured Ruttan’s aircraft. There was also a prominent trophy case with all the awards that Ruttan and Scaled Composites have won. No X-Prize trophy yet though as it had not been brought out.
I asked the receptionists in a ‘ I already know the answer to this’ kind of way if they did tours and she said no, but she did give me a couple of very high quality 8x10 photos of White Knight and SS1 which might make a cool display one day. White Knight or SS1 didn’t roll by the windows as I ate my late lunch and I didn’t expect them to be here on display – or run into Burt Ruttan, but it was like going to Kennedy earlier in the year. I didn’t see a shuttle, but I did see where it all happens. This was just on a smaller scale.
Being here in the middle of no where at what is essentially an intersection in the desert with a small space port full of scum and villainy – no wait that’s Mos Eisley… a - at any rate it was worth staying overnight at the Motel 6 and leaving the next morning. ( I watched Jackie Chan and the hottie Jen Love Hewitt in The Tuxedo on TV since there was precious little else to do other than drink a very large beer or two) . Did have a wake up sitting heart racing kind of nightmare at one point that night. Not sure what it was about, but it was likely the beer and all the crap food I have been eating contributing to it. I seriously have to stop this junk when I get back or I am going to be quite annoyed with myself in the next few months. If you see me eating crap tell me to stop!
:: Mike Wood 16:05 [+] ::