30 May 2008

2007... A look back

Ok, well that wraps up 2007, and what a year it has been! American Colonization, the Revolution in the Carolinas, Civil War prison camps, air museums, ancient sites, and so much more! 2008 has already shown to be another great year, and as long as I keep working, I should be able to catch this up soon. Thanks to those who have stuck from the begining, and for any new followers, I very much hope you stick around. Here's to many more Buddventures, and the blogs that go with them!


Ok, this is the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, Mexico. The Mayans were an ancient civilization that populated central America, notably around the Yucatan area. They are known for their massive architecture, written language, and sophisticated math and astonomical systems. Tulum is known as a Post Classical site, being built between 1200 and 1450. Its may have also been called Zama, meaning city of dawn, while Tulum is Mayan for wall or fence. The city was clearly designed to be a temple complex, living area, and fortification. While it was a trading post for ancient groups, it also showed great class distinctions as the upper members of society lived within its walls, while the lower members did not. The city was important as a religous center pertaining to Venus, known as the morning and evening star. The first mentioning of the city was by Juan Diez, after a 1518 expedition, but the first detailed description was by John Lloyd Stevens and Frederick Catherwood in their 1843 book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. Historians believe, based on archeological evidence and early Spanish descriptions, that the now monchrome buildings were once trimmed with brightly colored blues and reds, some of which is still visible on the inner walls of the ruins. The Mayans still exist, soem of them in the far southern part of Mexico still live in a tribe-like environment and only speak Mayan. Our tourguide was also a Mayan descendent and spoke English, Spanish, and Mayan, all very well.
The entrance to the ruins site, through the city wall.

This was a house for a highly placed person
the local wildlife says hello
Some views of the main temple

The Gulf of Mexico, seen from the ruins

This building is known as the Temple of the hands, because in some places, hand prints made with red dye are still visible.
This is another, smaller temple
This small temple is significant to astronomy. It actually has a door on the opposite side, but it is currently blocked. When it is not blocked, the sunrise shines through the door on the Equinox.
This picture shows what the Mayans believed the universe to look like, spiritually.

29 May 2008

Booze Crooze!!!

Ok, so my wife and I went on a cruise for Christmas, and since I got some neat photos, I thought I would share them. The kid-free vacation was her Christmas present, mine was going to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum at out destination of Cozumel, Mexico. Those will be the next post. But now, just so this post has some substance, for those of us who find this stuff interesting: Carnival Cruise Lines was created in 1972 by Ted Arison. The original ship was named the Mardi Gras, and was the former Empress of Canada built by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company in 1958. The ship continued with Carnival until 1993, when it was sold to Epirotiki, a European cruise and shipping company. It went through a series of name changes, but was finally scrapped as the Apollo in 2003. Our ship, the Inspiration, is a Fantasy class ship built in 1996 and refurbished in 2007. It is 859 feet long and weighs 70 gross tons. The above photo is the ship in Cozumel, and the first few photos below were taken as we left Tampa, Fl.

Seriously? This is why we are so stupid. Next will be a sign saying "Caution, jumping overboard may lead to drowning!"
Inside the Grand Hall (those are elevators)
Whale Tail!!
Sunrise in Cozumel

Here the locals tie up the ship.
While we were out, another ship pulled up next to ours. Two cruise ships together = awesome photo oppurtunities! But here's the freaky part: The only other time I've been on a cruise was in High School when my band went on a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Turns out the ship next to ours, is the Holiday, the same ship I took to Mexico eight years ago! Now it operates out of Mobile and goes to Cozumel. So here are both cruise ships I've ever benn on.

two whales = twice the fun!

Wings over the Piedmont

Ok, so this is the Carolinas Air Museum, an amazing little gem of a museum in about the last place you would expect to find one, just west of Charlotte, NC. My dad and I found this by accident on the way back home from Cowpens. While its collection is small, in relative terms, it is certainly bigger than you would expect for a rural little airport museum, and it has some real treasures you would never expect. For example, this beautiful example of a DC3. I am in love with this plane! I really like the DC3/C47 in general because they look so classic and elegant, but this one is just so nice! By the way, it is also in flying condition and does regularly fly to shows. For this post, I have only put up my favorite pictures and the most interesting stuff, but almost all of my photos from the museum are on my new Dropshots account. <---Click the link if you want to see them. It's easier than putting them on here. Also, luckily for me, they weren't really busy, and one of the museum staff (a former Air Force pilot) walked us around, telling some of the aircraft's unique stories and showing things most people don't see. So to start, a few photos of this amazing DC3, including two of the inside, just one of the things our guide showed us.

This strange looking critter is a 1962 Gyrodyne remote controlled anti-submarine helicopter. Note the torpedoes slung underneath.
This is a real rarity, a Douglas Skystreak, one of only three built (and one of them crashed.) It was built in 1947 as a joint venture between the Navy and NACA (predecessor of NASA) to test high subsonic flight speeds. Sorry the picture is not great, the plane is kind of crammed in the back and difficult to photograph.
Another unique find is this small flight simulator form the 1930s (?). Well before anything electronic came along.
A gorgeous example of a PT17 Kaydet Navy WW2 trainer
Everyone loves a Tomcat, right? This one is my dad's favorite, but he also worked on them for many years. I also included it because of its story as related by our guide. When the pilots flew it up to the Charlotte airport for the museum, they knew it would be their last time to do anything in the Cat, so they got permission from the tower, and buzzed the airport a few times. The people in the terminals loved it! When they landed and the plane was brought to the museum, they also signed the crew ladder and had their photo taken (below.)

A nice C47 painted in DDay colors, but in need of restoration. This one actually is a war veteran, but not of DDay. It flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force out of Burma in WW2. Since then it had a colorful military and civilian career, until it had a landing accident in 2000 at the Charlotte airport. Shortly after, Saber Cargo Airlines, which had been operating it, went bankrupt, and the plane became part of the museum.
Just a nice overall picture including the museum hanger. Aircraft tails visible left to right are the A7 Corsair, AV8 Harrier, F14 Tomcat, F101 Voodoo, and F102 Delta Dagger.
This Sea Knight helicopter is a true piece of history. Because its story is worth being told in full, here it is from the museum website: "The Museum's CH-46 is extreamly historic. On January 31st, 1970, US Marine Corps Pfc. Mike Clausen, Jr. earned The Medal of Honor, this country’s highest honor, for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in Vietnam at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Clausen was a crew chief of a CH-46 helicopter named “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” While participating in a helicopter rescue mission of a Marine platoon that had inadvertently entered a mine field south west of Da Nang (the "Da Nang Barrier" mine field) while attacking enemy positions. Pfc Clausen skillfully guided the helicopter pilot to a landing area cleared by one of several mine explosions. On the ground, 20 Marines were surrounded – 11 of them already wounded.
Clausen repeatedly left the safety of the chopper to get them home alive. Despite the ever-present threat of further mine explosions, he continued his valiant efforts, leaving the comparatively safe area of the helicopter on 6 separate occasions to carry out his rescue efforts. Clausen was the only enlisted member of Marine Corps Aviation to win the Medal of Honor during Vietnam.Now this historic helicopter resides at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. This helicopter not only saw combat in Vietnam but in Iraq also. It received combat damage in Iraq and was considered uneconomical to repair. Because of the historic significance of this particular aircraft, the U.S. Marine Corps would not abandon it in Iraq. With the assistance of a US Air Force C-5A crew, it was taken apart and flown back to Cherry Point Marine Corps Base, North Carolina."
Helicopter row including left to right a Sikorsky Dragonfly, Kaman Huskie, Bell Cobra, and Sikorsky Jolly Green Giant.
This oddity is a Fogle Skycat. Built in 1982 and first displayed at the Dayton Air and Trade Show in Ohio, it never actually flew, but was built to displat the tiltrotor concept that would later be part of the V22.
A small towed anti aircraft gun
A Sheridan tank used by airborne troops
The museum's A4 Skyhawk and Regulus missle greet visitors to the museum, along with the flags of the US, South Carolina and North Carolina, and the view of Charlotte in the background.