Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997




2017/10/14 Oz Day 08: Pre Dawn Field of Lights at Uluru
π 2017-10-14 00:00 in Bm, Ozsafari2017, Trips
We got up earlier than reasonable (04:10) and stumbled to the bus that took us to a field filled with tens of thousands of lights, which looked quite burning man like, except much much bigger and without the playa dust:







nice to see it at dawn
nice to see it at dawn





Way too damn early, but very nice :)

2017/10/13 Oz Day 07-08: Uluru/Ayers Rock
π 2017-10-13 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
Next on our trip was Aluru aka Ayer's Rock, a very nice geological formation in the middle of Australia, a bit south of Alice Springs. It's actually 2 formations since it has the Olgas just a short distance from it too, and they are similarly impressive.

But we first started with the flight from Coober Pedy, up the famous Stewart's Highway that goes from Adelaide to Darwin, and we were lucky enough to see the world solar race solar cars that were driving down, and also road trains:




this guy drove off the road and just abandonned the car there
this guy drove off the road and just abandonned the car there


cattle ranch on the way
cattle ranch on the way

Eventually we got to Mt Connor, a nice formation in the middle of nowhere:





And from there it was a short enough flight to Ayers Rock and its commercial airport:


that jetstar plane nicely waited for me to land before it went
that jetstar plane nicely waited for me to land before it went



After landing and dropping out stuff at the airport, we drove directly to Ayers Rock. Sadly when we got there, the walk to the top was open, and we didn't know how rare it was and how much the rangers are trying to find reasons to keep it closed until they can meet their quota of less than 20% of people climb it, so we can close it entirely (so as to respect the native's wishes, which is all nice and good, unless you equate that to not being able to climb El Capitain, Glacier Point, or other famous landmarks, because the native americans would rather that you don't):



I only had 10mn to climb maybe a 3rd of it
I only had 10mn to climb maybe a 3rd of it

got as high as this before I had to go back down to get back to the group, something I much regret now
got as high as this before I had to go back down to get back to the group, something I much regret now

sigh, we could have been there...
sigh, we could have been there...

the way down was actually harder unless you went backwards while holding the chain
the way down was actually harder unless you went backwards while holding the chain

instead we drove around the rock, which was nice too, but could have been done at some later time
instead we drove around the rock, which was nice too, but could have been done at some later time

little birds liked to live in there
little birds liked to live in there






That evening, we went for a dinner with view of the rock:


the olgas
the olgas


dinner outdoors
dinner outdoors

the stars were nice
the stars were nice

they even had a telescope so that we could see saturn
they even had a telescope so that we could see saturn

After not enough sleep, we got up at 04:15, to go to field of lights. This was followed by sunrise over the rock:








We then came back to our rooms, exhausted, and took a 1h nap before breakfast, and a tour with the group to the Olgas where we did a 7.4km hike:










We then got back to "town" a bit late but made it to our camel tour:





Sadly, by then when we went back to the Rock, not only had it been closed all day for winds that weren't there anymore when we arrived, but the rangers not only couldn't be bothered to staff their booth or answer the phone for the last 4 hours, nor did they of course reopen the climb when it was safe enough to climb. As a result, we never got up, and I'm quite pissed at them:


We checked out the nearby aboriginal center and visitor center where the park staff paid by our entrance ticket, couldn't be bothered to show up for work either, and then headed back:




We then had a "cook your own dinner":



The next morning, we headed out and got some nice pictures of the rock and the olgas on the way out:










last fly by the airport before heading out
last fly by the airport before heading out

So, the place was nice, but we were very unhappy with the rangers and basically how they're artificially trying to meet their "no one wants to climb the rock anymore" by keeping it closed most of the time. Sigh...

See more images for Oz Day 07-08: Uluru/Ayers Rock
2017/10/12 Oz Day 06: Coober Pedy, Australia's Opal Capital
π 2017-10-12 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
Coober Pedy was literally founded after early settlers randomly found opals, and the rest is history: many people moved it like a gold rush, although opals are not that easy to find (mostly random) and in the end aren't worth that much compared to the time and energy people put into finding them. Sadly many people lost their life's time and savings looking for them, and very few ended up ahead.

On the flight to and from Coober Pedy, we got to see the very many holes that were dug out to look for opals. From the gound it almost looks like the ground got shot by many big bullets and then finished off by bombs :)




It's only looking closer in the places that you see more:





Going for landing, and found a nice little dragon on the taxiway:





After going to our hotel with rooms dug in the hill, which is how people live to stay cool in the otherwise hot sun:

gets 100% dark with no windows
gets 100% dark with no windows

the clay gets a varnish on top so that it doesn't fall on you
the clay gets a varnish on top so that it doesn't fall on you

We went to see the hotel museum and nearby mining museum:



Australia had a big island sea with prehistoric sea creatures
Australia had a big island sea with prehistoric sea creatures

wicked
wicked


Lots of displays on how mining is done:




Opals:




The museums also showed multiple rooms cut into the hills how people lived/live. As a bonus, when you dig to add one room to your house, you might just find opals at the same time:




You could also tour some caves:




you can see the tunnel boring machine
you can see the tunnel boring machine





Many stores selling opals in all different ways:



Visiting the town had a few left over props from multiple movies that were shot there:

From Pitch Black with Vin Diesel (a good SciFi movie actually)
From Pitch Black with Vin Diesel (a good SciFi movie actually)







not a movie prop, but super cool to see a DS so far from home
not a movie prop, but super cool to see a DS so far from home

They also have landscape that looks close enough to Mars for Mars movies to have been shot there:



They also have a kangaroo sanctuary where they raise little joeys adpoted from killed moms:







We had a morning tour that took us to a mining area:


most holes are left unattended and are easy to fall into
most holes are left unattended and are easy to fall into





Nearby was breakaways, a former inland sea:













A few shots of breakaways from the sky:





Nearby was the dingo fence, it kept Jennifer safe from being eaten :)





Last part of our tour was a church built into the side of a hill, very interesting:






We then went on our own to see another mine, and house built into a hill:






More housing quarters:










A fair amount of aborigines live there:


nice art
nice art


Misc:






Coober Pedy is definitely a cool place to visit, and learning about a different kind of mining that isn't really practiced anywhere else.

2017/10/11 Oz Day 05: Birdsville to William Creek via Lake Eyre and onto Coober Pedy via Painted Hills
π 2017-10-11 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
We left Birdsville early in the morning in pretty hellish winds and headed for Lake Eyre which was half dry but still interesting to fly over. One plane in our group flew low enough that they were able to spot wild camels in the sand dunes. Sadly we were a bit too high to see them, and probably didn't look carefully enough:


I first flew over big red, where we had gone for sunset the previous evening
I first flew over big red, where we had gone for sunset the previous evening






by then I had a nice tailwind and was doing 159kts on a 125kt plane
by then I had a nice tailwind and was doing 159kts on a 125kt plane




when flying down lake eyre, I clocked a peak 169kt in level flight at 2500ft. Not bad for a 172 :)
when flying down lake eyre, I clocked a peak 169kt in level flight at 2500ft. Not bad for a 172 :)





finally arrived at William Creek
finally arrived at William Creek


William Creek, population 12, doubled in size when we arrived for lunch :)


special planes with magnetic detection probes to do land surveying for minerals
special planes with magnetic detection probes to do land surveying for minerals

most people arrive to William Creek the hard way, through harduous 4WD tracks
most people arrive to William Creek the hard way, through harduous 4WD tracks






After lunch and a refuelling, we went to Coober Pedy via the very pretty Painted Hills:








one of our pilots did some low level flying
one of our pilots did some low level flying



pretty
pretty




We then landed at Coober Pedy, which we visited in details the next day.

2017/10/10 Oz Day 04: Charleville, to Windorah, to Birdsville
π 2017-10-10 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
Day 4 started to get more remote. and turning into the true outback by the time we arrived to Birdville.

The first flight, we did some makeshift formation flying. That was definitely challenging and kept me on my toes, and I flew nowhere close to others compared to what the 2 best pilots, did:

morning pre-flight briefing
morning pre-flight briefing

cute pink plane
cute pink plane

formation takeoff
formation takeoff

I was so happy to have a G1000 to show me where other planes, were.
I was so happy to have a G1000 to show me where other planes, were.

'traffic alert, traffic alert!' :)
'traffic alert, traffic alert!' :)


well done, guys
well done, guys

We then resumed our regular flight to Windorah, our lunch stop:

there were watering holes for cattle
there were watering holes for cattle





Windorah had a small airliner from Regional Express (REX) that links the small australian towns that are a bit too far to reasonably drive in between:


we had to hold our planes when it left to make sure we didn't get blown over
we had to hold our planes when it left to make sure we didn't get blown over

We then resumed our flight to Birdsville, the gateway to the outback:




arriving at Birdsville
arriving at Birdsville


the hotel was walking distance from the airport gate
the hotel was walking distance from the airport gate

We then got a tour of town and to the Big Red, a nice sand dune. Birdsville has a big horse race once a year, which draws crowds from all over Australia, and requires days of driving for many, on outback tracks, kind of a rite of passage, apparently a bit burning man like in some ways:






I think I found some bilby holes
I think I found some bilby holes


And that was it for Birdsville, we had dinner in their restaurant, and slept on location too, dodging the super annoying and plentiful flies that seemed to be everywhere.

2017/10/09 Oz Day 03: Toowoomba to Charleville via Surat
π 2017-10-09 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
Our 3rd day in Australia/Toowoomba, was the day we'd head out. I was understandably a bit nervous about navigating on my own in a totally different ATC system that quite frankly didn't have much in common at all with the US system I learned in, but in the end it wasn't so bad, thanks to the training we had gotten the previous days.

Two legs of just under 2H, the first one took us to Surat, a small deserted airport with no facilities:




natural gas pipelines
natural gas pipelines

seems that our planes were all equipped with ADS-B, so I was able to see other planes from our group
seems that our planes were all equipped with ADS-B, so I was able to see other planes from our group


Surat
Surat

Our 2nd leg had a bit of convective weather, including this big rain cloud that shook the hell out of us when we had almost cleared the side of it
Our 2nd leg had a bit of convective weather, including this big rain cloud that shook the hell out of us when we had almost cleared the side of it

Charleville
Charleville

Once in town, we got a short guided tour:





and then dinner
and then dinner

2017/10/07 Oz Day 00-02: Flying Air Safari over Western Australia, Brisbane and Prep in Toowoomba
π 2017-10-07 00:00 in Flying, Ozsafari2017, Trips
Jennifer and I first flew to Brisbane via Seoul, though 2 nice business flights we got from Korean Air via miles. It was not the quickest way there (12h + 9h), but it avoided the hellhole that is Sydney airport and its joke connection (or lack thereof from International to Domestic, and we got much nicer seats and amenities from Korean Air. The seats were got were actually first class like, only the food was ok not fantastic, however it didn't matter.

We started by checking out the Amex lounge in SFO that Jennifer got access to (sadly on the wrong side of security for us, so we had to go through security twice):


she liked the wine sampler/dispenser
she liked the wine sampler/dispenser

made it to Incheon/Seoul, and connected to Brisbane
made it to Incheon/Seoul, and connected to Brisbane

very nice seats
very nice seats

and we arrived in Brisbane around 06:00 to meet Clare from Safariint and the start of our tour. Since I had a bit of time, I did a quick walk around the south bank of brisbane:




this guy was doing a photo shoot :)
this guy was doing a photo shoot :)




We then took a bus to Toowoomba, about 2h inland from Brisbane, and got some briefings on how to fly in Australia, as well as check rides from the club that was going to rent us planes for the next 21 days. I'll sheepishly admit that I kind of sucked during that check ride given how little sleep I had gotten, but I guess whatever I had left was enough to pass:



On day #2, I was up before sunrise, fog to the ground, and then we got some very loud birds that all went off at the same time exactly at sunrise, despite the heavy fog:


more planning with Oz charts
more planning with Oz charts



this was the C172 I was going to use for the next 3 weeks, with a slightly faster engine and a G1000
this was the C172 I was going to use for the next 3 weeks, with a slightly faster engine and a G1000


More pages: October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997