Goodbye to Wabash – Before It Returned

The demolition of the Sun-Times building was discussed in this post.  The building wasn’t the only thing to go, though.  The creation of the new tower meant that the street needed to be rebuild around it.  Consequently, a section of Wabash Avenue was completely taken apart before being rebuilt.  This meant our street became a dead end for a long time.  You could walk through on a temporary footbridge that they installed (which was good for seeing what was going on) but road traffic went elsewhere.  This made getting a cab a lot harder!

The roadway was elevated, built upon a series of steel girders.  The surface was drilled out and the structure taken down.  There was a lot of construction for what would ultimately sit under the new roadway and for the access to the new building.  Then new supporting structures were erected.  Finally, a new roadbed was installed.  Before the finish was laid on top of this, you could see the elements that would be contained within it.  Drainage elements as well as the central dividers that would be filled with plants could be identified.  There was also going to be a concrete pump to support the building construction and the exhaust port for this was built into the new road in the center.

Eventually the new road was completed and the traffic was free to come through again.  Since everyone had found new routes, it was actually quiet for quite a while until people got used to having the road available again.  Once it was complete, it was quickly hard to remember what it had been like when closed.

C-32s

The demise of a bunch of airline fleets of 757s at the moment is a shame as it is a type I was always fond of from the days of British Airways using them for shuttle services around the UK as well as being the first commercial jet I flew on heading to Lisbon from Heathrow.  The military has also made use of the jet of course.  The New Zealand 757 displays in the past have been pretty impressive and maybe that gives me an idea for a future post.  The USAF has a bunch of them, designated as C-32, and they are used for VIP transportation.

They are not a type that you often come across but I have seen them on a few occasions.  An Andrews AFB Open House provided one movement – they are based there so not such a surprise.  Another was at Nellis AFB when one launched just prior to a Red Flag launch when we were waiting between the runways for the action to kick off.  The VIP colors of the USAF jets are quite elegant and they suit the 757 nicely.

North Rim

Nancy and I took a trip to Arizona and Utah many years ago.  It proved to be a really excellent trip and we saw some amazing locations.  The first stop on the trip was the Grand Canyon.  While the majority of visitors go to the South Rim of the canyon, this trip took us to the North Rim.  The two locations are not far apart but to get from one to the other involves hours of driving.  Apparently, there is some canyon in the way!

The North Rim is accessible for a smaller part of the year because it gets snowed in and doesn’t clear out until late in spring.  The views are supposed to be similar on either side but the lack of people at the North Rim makes it a more peaceful place to visit apparently (I haven’t been to the South Rim so can’t speak with authority).  The scenery was definitely beautiful.  We had some cloudy times and some very clear weather.  At night you could look at an amazing night sky.

The problem with the Grand Canyon is that there is little you can do to convey the scale.  Images are really not able to provide an understanding of just how vast the place is.  You can see it is pretty, but the experience is not reproduced.  To be honest, even when I was there, I found it hard to appreciate the scale.  With so little to reference, you struggle to realize what is close and what is far away.  Occasionally, if you see a boat on the Colorado River, you realize just how immense it all is.  Awesome is a word that should be used when describing the Grand Canyon!

I haven’t looked at these pictures for years.  I realize that I took some of them as examples at the time and then focused on those.  I haven’t been through some of the others.  With newer processing techniques, there is plenty to be done with some of the shots I have overlooked.  I shall be playing with this for quite a while I think.

Stored 737s

After two month of shelter at home, I did finally venture out in the car to see something other than the house or my bike routes.  I swung by Paine Field to see some of the stored Southwest 737s that are there.  Planes seem to have been arriving and then heading out again so I don’t know what the overall plan is.  They also seem to have moved from where they were when they first came in.  I got to see a few of them scattered around near FHCAM.

These jets look like they are in place for a while.  The nacelle inlet which is normally unpainted metal is currently covered in some black coating which runs on to the inlet blanking.  The exhaust ducts are similarly blocked up.  The jets are arrayed around the ramp and, while behind the fencing, the use of a monopod with a ball head and the remote shooting app from Canon allowed me to see what the shots looked like and to take the pictures.  I went with a few panos since things are rather close to the fence in some places.

I hope these jets are back up and working before too long.

Lightning In Kansas

It’s been a while since my last visit to our friends in Kansas.  I need to get back and see them soon.  Our first visit there was a dramatic one.  We had gone to the movies to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.  At the beginning of that, there is a scene of what looks like lightning striking but it repeatedly hits the same place.  In the film, that is noted as being unnatural.  As we left the theater and drove home, a storm started raging around us.  The lightning was striking frequently and seemed to be in the same places.  Uh oh!

We got home and stayed inside as the storm reached its peak.  I have always loved thunderstorms and this one was outstanding.  I watched the lightning striking around us constantly.  I decided to take some pictures.  Photographing lightning is normally tricky to do.  If it is dark, you can go for long exposures and hope to get the lightning in some of the shots.  If you have a lightning trigger, you can let it do the work.  In this case, you didn’t need either.  I just shot out of the window and the chances were that there would be some lightning in the shot.  It was crazy.  Here are a couple of shots looking out of a bedroom window!

Omni 767s

Omni provides a lot of charter work in the Seattle area, presumably military work for JBLM.  The planes usually operate from SeaTac but then will reposition to Boeing Field.  There is often an Omni 767 parked up at the south end of the field but I have not ever seemed to have been there when they are moving.  More recently, I happened across one coming in to land after a short trip from SeaTac (I could probably have driven it faster given the routing that they had to take).  It was nice to see one up and about so it prompted this post with a few Omni 767s.

Sun Times Demolition

When we moved to Chicago, our apartment overlooked the Chicago Sun-Times building on Wabash Avenue alongside the Chicago River.  This plot was sold off for development with a large tower being built on its site.  The construction that followed will be another post but this one relates to the demolition process.  The view from our window provided a great view of the tearing down of the old building.  It didn’t hurt that much of it was done during the Chicago winter, but I could watch from the comfort of our living room.

The building came down pretty quickly.  Crews were using jack hammers to drill out the concrete flooring of each level and the machines that these were mounted on could also pull over the wall sections once cutting torches had taken out key elements of them.  There was plenty of cutting going on with torches taken out structure and piping.  This didn’t always go smoothly with more than one occasion when the cutting set fire to something and the fire department came to deal with it.  A lot of water from the hoses would pour out of the spaces in the walls and, given the low temperatures, lots of icicles would result.

There weren’t too many floors in the building with the lowest levels being where the printing presses had once been.  The whole thing came down quickly.  It wasn’t an attractive structure so we weren’t so sad to see it go.  However, since it was low, it gave us a good view across the river.  The new building would be 92 floors tall and was going to take out a chunk of our view but such is the way of things when you live downtown in a city that is constantly evolving.

Marine Corps Herc

The heat haze was a bit of a problem on this day so I was hoping that they would roll out a bit long to get into usable range.  They couldn’t have been more obliging.  It turned out to be a US Marine Corps KC-130J.  They didn’t exit early for the taxiway even though they could have done so with ease but instead rolled all the way to near me before exiting and taxiing back to the ramp in the other direction.  This was very kind of them.  I got them close enough in to have little in the way of heat haze and to get a decent look at them.

Looking Down on SF Bay

As we left San Francisco after our brief visit in January, I was on the side of the plane looking down on the Bay as climbed out and headed north.  The usual departures of the 01s take you straight out over the bay and then you turn north as you head towards Oakland.  The lighting was a bit harsh on this day but it was a good view of the city as we made our way home.

FAA Gulfstream

I have plenty of photos of Gulfstreams and a few photos of FAA jets – mainly flight checking Learjet 60s.  However, the FAA Gulfstreams have not been something I have seen a lot of.  I did have a nice chance to shoot one at Washington National many years ago, though.  I did see the jets on the ramp at the south end of the field occasionally but I think this was the only time I got one airborne.  It was shot from Gravelly Point so I was nice and close to it as it was on final approach.  That is a great place to shoot from (or just hang out and watch the planes) and I will have to get back there at some point.