palmdale

All posts tagged palmdale

Technically we visited them the other way around, but we found the Joe Davies Airpark accidentally when we were looking for the Blackbird Airpark, so Blackbird gets the priority.

This trip was an object lesson in something that Thomas and I discovered when a friend came to visit us in the mid-90s. And it was in the mid-90s, both chronologically and meteorologically. We took her to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and were dragging her around showing her all of the cool things we’d noticed about the buildings and the grounds during our own visits. She was more interested in the air conditioned parts, like the bookstore. The next day we took her to the botanic gardens and she was enthralled with the plants and the gardening techniques. She had a long conversation that I was completely unable to follow with one of the workers about something horticultural. Meanwhile, Thomas and I were about to keel over from the heat.

While she was talking to the worker, Thomas turned to me and pointed out that when we were at the missions, we didn’t notice the heat so much because what we were talking about was interesting to us but she was miserable. The next day, she didn’t notice the heat but we sure did!

And our trip to Palmdale definitely was an experience along those lines. I mostly noticed the heat. There was a little picnic shelter that was the only shade around and so I hung around there as long as I could before I returned to the rental car and sat with the engine and air conditioner running. Going out into that southern California desert sun made me feel even more like Gollum than usual. And the summer sun does a pretty good job of that regardless of where I am.

Alex, on the other hand, had a blast. Which was my intent. Alex is an airplane buff, so this side trip was for him specifically.

The reason why there are two open-air airplane museums in such close proximity is Plant 42, which 20-ish miles southwest of Edwards Air Force Base. Near as I can figure, Plant 42, which manufactures top-secret aircraft, is actually part of Edwards Air Force Base, despite the distance. The space shuttle Enterprise (which Alex and I saw at the Intrepid museum in New York City) was assembled at Plant 42.

Enterprise at Plant 42

NOT MY PHOTO (I was 10 years old and in a completely different state when this photo was taken). This is the Enterprise at the Edwards Air Force Base end of its trip in 1977. The photo is labeled on NASA’s website as “NASA Photo,” which my understanding of copyright law leads me to the conclusion that it is in the public domain.

The claim to fame of the Blackbird Airpark is that they have not just the SR-71 Blackbird but its predecessor, the A-12. At first Alex was disappointed that the place we ended up didn’t have even one Blackbird, let alone two, but I got onto Google and found that we were next door to where we wanted to be. So I ventured out into the summer sun to see if there was an easy way to get from one to the other. And there is. There is a gate in the fence between the two parks.

b52 with better saturation than last time

I’ve already posted this picture of the B-52 once before, but I goosed up the saturation a bit before I resized it this time.

So Alex got to explore both airparks while I hid in the air conditioning, first in the car, then in the minimuseum/gift shop once we got to the Blackbird Airpark side of the fence. As we returned to our car, I made a quick detour because I’d been seized with a desire to take a picture of the B-52 at the Joe Davies Airpark, even though The B-52s were named for a beehive hairstyle, and not the airplane.

Since I didn’t really explore much, I may ask Alex if he’d like to do a guest post.

We did so much this day, that looking back I’m all, “Are you sure that was all one day?” And, well, I guess it is.

As we’ve covered before, Alex is a vehicle buff. His particular interest is in airplanes, and I discovered that there is a museum, called the Blackbird Airpark, in Palmdale, California, near the Palmdale Regional Airport and Plant 42 Plant 42 is a manufacturing plant that makes vehicles for the Air Force and NASA).  Blackbird Airpark has both types of Blackbird airplanes — the SR-71 and the A-12 (I’m kind of scared that I remember those letters and numbers).

So, in the morning, we headed off to Palmdale. We got there without incident, only when we got to the airpark, none of the planes that we’d been promised were there. They were great planes, including one of the 747s that carried the Space Shuttle, but Alex was still disappointed. Once I went to hide from the heat, I did some research and discovered that we were in the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, next door to the Blackbird Airpark. I found the open gate between the two, told Alex where it was, and went back to hide in the shade (July in the desert is not Olivia-friendly).

After Alex had photographed everything he could at the Joe Davies Airpark, he came to get me and we went over to the Blackbird Airpark, where I hid in the gift shop/museum while he took more pictures. He came in, got some souvenirs, talked to the workers for a while, and we headed back to Los Angeles.

B-52, Palmdale, California, 2017

The B52 at the Joe Davies Airpark. Everyone sing along with me. “Here comes a stingray . . .” And, yes, I know that the B52s were named after a beehive hairdo, but my fondness for the band led me to take this picture.

After a two-hour drive, we arrived at Hancock Park, home of the La Brea Tar Pits. we ate lunch at a Vietnamese food truck, then visited the George C. Page Museum*. After we left the museum, we walked around the park and looked at the displays, including the Observation Pit, which was closed when we were there. It’s strange how familiarity can change the way something looks. I swear that Hancock Park has changed a lot since our 1996 visit, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how it’s changed.

Back in the days when Thomas and I used to meet up with friends in Los Angeles, we’d stay at the Sportsmen’s Lodge and would frequently eat at the Jerry’s Deli just down the street. So, since we weren’t too terribly far from there at Hancock Park, we had dinner at Jerry’s Deli (I had to have the chicken noodle soup, which tasted just like I remember it) and left the car there while we hiked up to the Sportsmen’s Lodge, which looks almost nothing like I remember. I know that they’ve remodeled, but between the remodel and the 18-year gap, it looked very different from what I remember, but still similar enough that I was sure we were in the right place.

On the way back to the hotel, I made a big loop, and I’m not entirely sure why. I think that might have been when Alex and I had a miscommunication on which way to turn when and we ended up driving around Arcadia at night. Then again, maybe that big circle is just because the cell towers lost track of us.

*Which is probably going to earn itself its own entry after I finish the travelogue.