Trip to the States, and Europe - Jan 2002

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Well, another opportunity to combine work and pleasure. A work trip to encompass Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dayton (Ohio), London, Belgium and The Netherlands. Four of us went and it took a shade over three weeks. Most of it was pretty fast flowing - using the US dollar one day, British Pounds the next and the Euro the day after.

Hawaii - General

We spent five days at Waikiki and were able to see the USS Missouri and do some shopping at the local retail outlets - I finished up with an extra bag by the time I'd finished, but everyone got a t-shirt ;-)

A view from my room in the Waikiki Marriott across the road from the beach! The view down - scared of heights? A lot of the landscape is formed by volcanic action - many of the highways drive straight through them. More landscape as we did a bit of a tourist drive around the island Not a happy chappy - Tom being blown about in the back seat
Another shot from the road These guys get dressed up in theme stuff - often painted in solid silver paint.   They stand motionless until you put a dollar in their kitty and then they arc up with spinning pistols, sword fight action, robot moves, or whatever is their specialty There were a couple of these dudes about - painting names by forming letters from birds and animals in different shapes - very quick and very impressive You work this one out! The International Marketplace - many 'bargains' for the unsuspecting tourist!!
A couple of shots along Waikiki beach itself more beach more beach - even went for a swim one day - surfing lesson next time!! Free photo if you take it of them on their perch, but put them on your shoulder then get your wallet out These fish were in the center of one of the shopping malls
One place still had the traditional guard complete with banging and throwing of rifles - very spectacular Tom and I with the locals A shot from the hotel with dusk coming on - the specks in the water are surfers This is inside Diamond Head which is an extinct volcano and is now a military establishment - the horizon is the volcano wall Historic and tourist landmarks are common
A shot of the swimming pool A shot up the beach A view along the main street of Waikiki  These open torches are lit along most of the beaches and city walks in the evening More torches, parks and surfers in the distance
Even more torches along the 'boardwalk' and a water feature to boot Another silver plated, pistol toting human action machine Again We only asked for a 'medium car' and ended up with a Mustang - looks good but goes like shit!!  By the way, meet Ed My turn

Hawaii - USS Missouri and USS BlueFin

We had time to visit Pearl Harbour, the USS Missouri where the Armistice took place, and the USS Bluefin - a sub which was claimed to have 44 kills

A shot from the side - hard to fit much of anything in the photo it's so big.. 16 inch guns with a range of 23 miles One of the shells for the gun The memorial for the USS Arizona which was sunk in that position in WW2 (attack on Pearl Harbour).   The bottom of the memorial is glass and you can see the superstructure of the ship through the murky waters - all the crew are still entombed on her - they number over a thousand Looking down the barrel of the guns - well almost
Description of the guns Description of the Battle of Okiniwa A kamikaze pilot attempted to crash into the Missouri - he was injured and managed only a glancing blow - see right The kamikaze incident - description to the left Those guns on the aft deck
Inside the Ops Room The plate over which the Armistice was signed Some munitions etc stacked alongside The USS Bluefin The torpedo tubes and torpedos
One of the many control panels - lots of brass to clean there!! Tom in the accommodation section - beds only for half the crew - other half on watch BIG diesel engines The rear torpedo tubes - looks the same as the front. Page One of a description of the Bluefin
Page Two of a description of the Bluefin The deck guns More deck guns - description in the description - see left A silhouette of the Bluefin

San Francisco

We had a very quick trip through L.A. - got in to the airport at 10 pm, hotel by midnight to iron a suit that had been squashed in my bag, to be up by 0730 for breakfast before a meeting before going to the airport to go to San Francisco!! - like being in the army again - go go go.

Anyway, this was San Francisco - here for three days and had 'Clam Chowder in a Sour Dough Roll at Fisherman's Wharf'. Saw Alcatraz from a distance, but missed out on the tour because we just didn't have the time. Huge fog covered the city the whole time we were there which made photo's a bit bleak - heard the fog cleared the day after we left - someone knew something!!

Another Mustang - not even a novelty now - imagine a Mustang not being a novelty (remember they go like shit!!) A view of the marina from the car park next to the Golden Gate Bridge Ivan doing the pose thing Alcatraz in the distance - looks pretty uninviting... The Golden Gate Bridge
The awesome foursome - Ed, Tom, Gary and Ivan The satellite dishes at Napa Valley (Pan Am Sat) - taken for Trevor Mahoney who would dream about these things!! Trams are still used, and they have them from many cities who no longer use them, so they all look different and unique in their own way - some are even from overseas The marina at Fisherman's Wharf Another WW2 sub like the Bluefin
Alcatraz from a different direction (from Fisherman's Wharf) - still looking uninviting A lot of the city's public transport is via cable car - cables are kilometres long, and changed every 90 days - what a job The world's windiest street (thats like bendy not windy) and I've walked it - no t-shirt though Seals at Pier 39 - heard them first, then smelt them, then saw them
more seals see - Pier 39 ;-) Flying from San Francisco to Chicago (right to left) - all of a sudden the fog stopped (looks like cloud) when it ran into a mountain range, then it was clear for a bit, before the snow started to appear on the left The Sierra's Chicago from the air - and I thought I was holding the camera still!!

Dayton, Ohio. Working at Wright Patterson Airfield

Most of our work (and time) was at Dayton, Ohio. We were working with AFRL to receive joint information over satellite. We flew on the last day to Norfolk, VA and back in a triangular affair to check out the impact of aircraft manouvres on data reception. Ed and I were able to sit in the cockpit for the landing with headsets listening to the whole shooting match - what a hoot - very impressive. It was cooooolld - but didn't snow until the day after we left..

The C135 that we used Ivan, Ed, Tom and Gary checking something important out ;-) The seating arrangements for the equipment operators The cockpit More of the cockpit
The Prime Minister in control The aircraft from a distance Our equipment Having a bite to eat Tom actually doing some work!!
At 20,000 ft The spectrum analysers showing the two receive signals Recording the good oil A photo from the cockpit just before touch down The crew

Ice Hockey - Dayton Bombers vs Cincinatti

Our hosts took us out for an ice hockey game followed by tea - pretty physical stuff and good to watch

The game More of the game They throw pucks onto the ice during the game break - closest to the centre wins a prize

Dayton Air Force Museum

We got to the museum on the last afternoon - this place is amazing and just about every aircraft that ever was is there in all its glory. B17, B everything - there are some huge ones, Wright Brothers originals, WW1 Camel's, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Presidential aircraft, satellite command modules - the lot - and it's free

Got the story on the F111, but the photo didn't turn out - was pretty dark so it made it difficult This was an early attempt at aircraft which would escape radar detection due to their rounded lines - looks like it's from the Jetson's ;-) An early stealth fighter A sea plane - can't remember the significance A training module for a F16
Not much room for a party in here... The Apollo 15 Command Module Description - The Apollo 15 Command Module Another Lunar Command Module The B29 which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki
The B29 which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki Description - The B29 which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki A WW2 Hurricane Not sure what this was - anyone? The Wright Brothers were from Dayton and did much of their design work here (We drove past their testing field each day)

Oxford, U.K.

I didn't realise until quite late that I had more than an hour or two as a stopover in London - a shade over 24 hours, so caught the Oxford Tube down to Oxford, met by cousin Helen who I don't remember from when we were in England (we left in 1969 when I was 6) but she remembers me!! Checked out the Trout and then caught up with Steph and Tony at Irondown farm where they live - out for tea, a couple of pubs and finished up on some coconut liqueur after midnight. The next day, a wander round the farm, fed the animals, visited Helen on her narrow boat and then off to Oxford to catch the tube back to the hotel to meet Ed, and out of there.

A view of the Thames from the bridge next to the Trout Inn The Trout Inn from the bridge Helen doing her Heron impression in a 'been there, done that' photo Ivan and Helen in the Trout with some mulled wine (Glu-Wein) Ivan and Tony at the bar
Steph and Helen Tony, Steph, Helen and Ivan Tony, Steph, Helen and Frances (seated) Cows on Tony's farm Sheep on Tony's farm
Babe.. The shed's had been around for a day or two More sheds The farm buildings from one of the paddocks Helen on her 65' narrowboat - three mph


A very quick trip into Belgium - landed at Brussels, train to Antwerp and then my first taxi ride in a Mercedes (following a BMW taxi). These photo's are of some of the churches in the middle of town - we were only there the two nights before we caught the red eye special to The Hague in The Netherlands

This building looked pretty impressive though I had trouble getting a reasonable photo of it Looking tall Ed on the train from Antwerp (Belgium) to The Hague (Netherlands)


This place was amazing with its many canals, the closeness of the buildings to them, the push bikes - many of them looked about 50 years old and straight from WW2. Anyone and everyone rides them - from 7 to 70 - when they get older they ride them that slow that you'd think they should fall off - but they don't

The other thing that spun me out was the width of the buildings. Evidently in early days, taxes were levied based on the width of your frontage. Houses were therefore built very high (like three stories), and very deep. The average house would be four to five metres wide. The narrowest one that we saw was only two metres wide.....

Pushbikes out the front of Amsterdam station - the number of them spun me out They line every inch of fence and bridge And lots of them won't be going too far in a hurry The canal's were a blowout A lot of the buildings were very narrow and many on a tilt either to the side or forward.   Most have big hooks on the top to hoist furniture up with
The view up a canal The Rijkes Museum - we had a tour inside We did an hour tour in this boat - very interesting commentary - there is over 100 km of canals in Amsterdam dscn0658.jpg dscn0660.jpg
Some other views from the canal boat They live on all sorts of contraptions on the water More scenery More scener More views in and around the canals
This was an interesting restaurant - find whatever you want, have it cooked and then pay - I got into trouble for taking the photo ;-) A night scene in one of the alleys