16 October 2017

Flying over and into N.C.

Unfortunately, the sky was very cloudy last Tuesday when I flew over coastal N.C. on my way to the Raleigh-Durham airport. I got only a very few pictures. Here are four of them.

Clouds over North Carolina

The image above is of the Alligator River and the canal that lets boaters float directly to the Pungo River near the towns of Belhaven and Bath, N.C.

A slightly wider view of the Alligator River and the canal

The last shot is of an N.C. landscape farther inland. Speaking of N.C., my mother's move is now complete. We removed the last odds and ends from the old apartment and carted them over to the new one this afternoon. We cleaned the old apartment fairly thoroughly. Tomorrow we turn in those keys and a 12 year era ends. Now we just have to keep unpacking boxes and deciding where to put things in the new apartment. Some of the stuff will likely be donated to charities or given to friends and neighbors.

15 October 2017

On Bogue Sound in North Carolina

Bogue Sound is a body of salty water a mile wide and 25 miles long on the central North Carolina coast. It's shallow, and on each end — east and west — the sound is open to the ocean. It's part of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs from New England to Florida, and it's not a canal but a natural body of water.

What separates Bogue Sound from the ocean is a barrier island called Bogue Banks, and the southern shore of the island is 25 miles of unbroken sandy beach. There's a state park on the east end, and there are four or five resort towns along the length of the island.

The two main towns on Bogue Banks are Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle. There are bridges like the one above on each end of the island. On the north side of the sound is the mainland (if you can really call such low-lying territory "land") with the town of Morehead City on the east end and Cape Carteret on the west end.

Morehead City (pop. 8,000) has grown up quite a bit since I lived here in the 1950s and '60s. One of its main features is its port terminal, one of the two deep-water ports in North Carolina that can accommodate ocean-going vessels. The big brown building in the photo above is a hotel that stands on the site of the little hospital where I was born in 1949.

A lot of the big houses along the shore in Morehead at along the Bogue Banks beach are what we've always called "summer cottages."  The first cottages built in the area, 60 or 75 years ago, were for summer use only and didn't even have heating of any kind, I believe. Or air conditioning either. Now they are equipped with all the modern conveniences, of course.

14 October 2017

Indulge me

I enjoy taking pictures out the window of the passenger planes I fly on. On the way from Europe to North America, I often choose a window seat just because using my camera this way is fun. The other passengers probably think I'm a rube. Tant pis. Below, we were sitting on the runway at CDG, waiting to be cleared for takeoff.

You might just skim these really fast because I don't have a lot to say about them. I don't know what town or towns I photographed, but I do know they are very close to Charles de Gaulle airport, which is a few miles northeast of Paris, and we were still pretty close to the ground.

We flew north out of France. I expected to fly over Normandy, but instead we flew to the east over the Picardy region. That's according to the flight tracker you can call up on the seatback entertainment screens.

We were above the clouds pretty fast. I saw on the screen that we flew over the Baie de Somme, which is part of the English Channel, but be then clouds blocked my view. Walt and I are talking about going to spend a long weekend on the Baie de Somme next spring.

What is interesting about these photos (maybe) is that they show how compact and densely built-up the French towns are. The maximum amount of land is left for agricultural use. Urban sprawl is much less prevalent than in the U.S.

13 October 2017

Départ / Arrivée

Leaving Paris

Arriving in Raleigh

Both of these photos show suburbs of the cities mentioned, seen from the air. Click on the images to see more detail.

Things here in Morehead City are getting serious. Today is moving day #1. We have until Monday afternoon to get everything transferred to the new apartment. Did I tell you that Coast Guardsmen will be helping us? They could see we might be swamped. Wish us luck.

12 October 2017

Au revoir, Paris

Au revoir means "until next time" — not adieu, meaning "good-bye forever." Tuesday morning, my plane took off about 30 minutes late. The Delta Airlines pilot came on the intercom and explained that because of bad weather in Raleigh NC, where I was headed, he had two choices: Leave later than planned to give the bad weather time to move on before we were landed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, or off-load some passengers and baggage before takeoff so he could take on more fuel be sure to have enough to either circle the Raleigh-Durham airport as long as necessary before landing, or fly on — diverted — to a different airport. I thought it was a little odd to hear that, and not especially reassuring.

Then we taxied out to the runway and had to wait even longer because an Air France plane taking off just before us had collided with a bird or flock of birds and maintenance crews had to be given time to go out and clean up the bird debris. Again, what an odd thing to tell us. Oh well. They are fastidious, those airport maintenance crews.

When we finally did take off, I could see the older terminal at CDG airport out the window. It's the round building in the photo above, and it was ultra-modern when it was built in the early 1970s. It's the terminal with giant conveyor belts inside glass tubes that carry passengers up and down through the middle of the circle between the departures and arrivals levels. It used to be called an aérogare — Aérogare numéro un — but they seem to have stopped using that term in favor of the more international terminal [tehr-mee-nahl]. I think I preferred aérogare. "Terminal" sounds so, well... terminal.