A shelter program in the Tri-Valley area held a fund raising run a little while back. A few of our friends had decided to participate so I headed along to get some shots of them running. There was both a 5k and a 10k to choose from. The 10k was the first to head out. This meant they could get away rather than conflict with the 5k runners and would hopefully avoid any 5k runners being directed off on the longer route by mistake.
A few minutes later, the 5k participants lined up and were sent on their way. They headed through the park and off to the trail that would be their out and back route. They needed to cross a road so the volunteers were out to manage the traffic and allow the runners to cross without having to stop. (Most drivers managed to handle this concept but I saw one dope that didn’t seem to think the stop signs meant anything.)
Everyone seemed to be having a good time when they headed out. The return meant some of them looked a little less perky but they had done well and supported a good cause. Well done everyone.
Not all old airliners end up being broken down for parts. Some get a reprieve, at least for a while. A frequent secondary use for airliners is freighters and FedEx have an extensive fleet of old DC-10s that they use. These have gone through a cockpit upgrade program and have been renamed MD-10. However, even that is not enough to keep them going indefinitely and the fleet is gradually being reduced. One of them has got a new lease on life though.
Orbis is a charity that carries out eye surgery around the world in places where the medical facilities are limited. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure in some countries but a rarity in others yet it is a simple solution to a problem that affects thousands of people. Over the years they have had a number of airliners that are fitted out with an operating theater and they can fly into locations and carry out surgery on people who would otherwise have little hope of regaining normal sight. The current aircraft (see at the bottom) was a DC10-10 that had originally been with United. That aircraft is now being replaced with the MD-10 from FedEx.
I first saw the aircraft at LAX during its press roll out. I was landing and looked out of the window and there it was on the ramp. No camera to hand so just a memory. More recently, it spent some time at Moffett Field and I was able to grab a few shots. It was hot so, while I chose the better side for the light, it meant being a distance away and getting a fair bit of heat haze. I did also see the shady side through the fence. I imagine the jet is now off doing good work around the world. A great cause.
When we still lived in the UK, I took part in a charity bike ride. The ride was from London to Paris and was in aid of the Royal British Legion. Spread over 4 days, the first leg was from London to Dover and over on the ferry to Calais, the second leg was from Calais to Abbeville, the third was Abbeville to Beauvais and the last was Beauvais to Paris. The first leg was not a lot of fun. Eighty miles through the south east on some busy roads when you were pretty much left to your own devices was not too relaxing. The trip through France was a totally different story.
For our whole ride through France we were escorted by motor cyclists. It was like being in the Tour de France. As we approached, the traffic pulled aside and the motor bikes cleared our path. Red lights and stop signs meant nothing. In each town at which we stopped, the town would turn out to provide us with food and wine (not a good idea when there is a big climb straight after lunch) and entertainment. Everyone was unbelievably welcoming and we were constantly being cheered along by anyone we passed.
Each town we stopped overnight in would have a parade. The remembrance ceremony each time would be a really well supported event and I felt like I knew the Marseillaise by heart by the end of the trip. The first two days were eighty miles each, the third was a slightly easier seventy miles and the last day was under sixty. I had always thought of northern France as quite flat. I will never make that mistake again.
The final day was pretty impressive. We rode through the outskirts of Paris coming through areas I had heard of before but never visited. Then we were running in to the center of the city itself. The run up to l’arc de Triomphe with all of the traffic was an amazing feeling. The whole group together with our police escort stopped Paris traffic. We rode around the monument before parking our bikes and then walking up the Champs Elysée before holding a final remembrance ceremony under the arch itself. Quite an impressive event and one that really meant something after the effort to get there.
I only had a small film camera with me so there aren’t too many shots and they were taken while on the move. Hopefully they will convey something of what was a really cool trip.