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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Vacation

The family just returned from summer vacation.  It was an exhausting whirlwind of a trip, and I don't intend to repeat that sort of vacation again.  It took 3 days of driving to get to SoCal, and 3 days to return, with a lot of side trips while we were there.  Disneyland, the Ringling Circus, Bakersfield, and Morro Bay.

Although we saw some really cool things and got to visit old friends, we didn't go anywhere that was nicer than where I live.  Hmmm.  Maybe that's why this is a vacation spot...

That said, I did get some really cool pictures of places that we visited.  One of those places was Bodie, California, a turn of the century ghost town.  There is a lot more there than the pictures posted here.  I just wanted to share the cool old steam and electric power stuff :)
Below, a skid-mounted boiler

A steam piston engine for running the mine elevator.  Note the journal for the shaft at the far end.

The flywheel and shaft that were attached to the steam engine.  This wheel is enormous.  The shaft is a foot across.

A small AC generator.  This is about 3 ft across.

We also went to Twin Lakes at Mammoth Village.  A very pretty place, although after a year of living in northern Idaho, the forests in California looked pretty sparse and dry.

On the way home, we drove over White's Pass, between Mt. Ranier to the north and Mt. St. Helens to the south.  Below is a photo of St. Helens.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of moisture haze in the air, so I didn't get a clear shot.  This is the northwest side of the mountain that blew out in 1980.

Mt. Ranier, another dangerous volcano.  The forest here is quite lush.

Upper Clear Creek Falls.  The water spreads way out, maybe 20 ft across and maybe an inch deep, before pooling together again at the bottom.
Lower Clear Creek Falls.

While we were at Morro Bay I happened to see DSRV-2, the "Avalon", on display.  This is a little electric deep-diving submarine.  "DSRV" stands for "Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle". 

During the cold war, the Navy had a DSRV stationed on each coast.   In the event a military submarine sunk, the Navy had the ability to load these into a cargo aircraft and quickly get it to the sunken boat, to hopefully rescue survivors.

Unfortunately for the crew of the submarine Kursk, this DSRV hatch would not have mated to the Russian submarine hatch.  Also if I recall correctly, the hatch was too damaged to open, probably due to hull flexing and deforming after impacting the bottom.

Here are the specs for DSRV-2.
Builder:Lockheed Missiles and Space, Co., Sunnyvale, California, USA
Power Plant:Electric motors, silver/zinc batteries, one shaft, 15 shaft horsepower (11 kW), four thrusters, 7.5 horsepower (6 kW).
Length:49 ft (15 m)
Beam:8 ft (2.4 m)
Displacement:38 tons (39 metric tons)
Speed4 knots (7 km/h)
Maximum depth:5,000 ft (1500 m)
Sonar:Search and navigation
Ships:Mystic (DSRV 1)
Avalon (DSRV 2)
Crew:Two pilots, two rescue personnel and the capacity for 24 passengers

Side note:  A shipmate of mine transferred to this little guy back in the 1980's.  He said that he finally got a chance to look out at the ocean while submerged (military subs have no windows, for obvious reasons).  For his first dive, they took Avalon clear to the bottom off the coast of San Diego, put him in front of a window, then turned on the lights.  He said there was nothing to see but sand and a few empty beer cans.  Hahaha!