These are old photos from the trip my scout troop took out west en route to Philmont in 1991. A friend of mine just finished a road trip out to Seattle and in keeping up with the daily updates and Flickr folder I've gotten nostalgic enough to scan four or five rolls' worth of film. Aside from cleanup everything is here; this is more archival than presentational.
The first leg of our trip took us to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, NE. We tended to stay at military bases when we road-tripped. I'm not sure why they let us on base -- I think one or two of our assistant scoutmasters might have been reservists -- but it was cheap and didn't involve camping out. Offutt was the home of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and is still important to the USAF -- Bush stopped there for a teleconference on his way back to DC on 9/11/01.
offutt001.jpg They have a small museum at Offutt, full of cool planes. I just don't know what most of them are.
offutt003.jpg This might be a B-19.
offutt004.jpg No clue, but that cockpit is completely 50s.
offutt007.jpg Offutt launched the only planes to drop atomic bombs on an enemy. This might be one of the B-29s that dropped The Bomb.
offutt013.jpg Hey, I know this one! SR-71 Blackbird in its secondary habitat. (Its primary habitat being way the hell up going really fast.)
offutt014.jpg Missiles. And a little plane.
offutt015.jpg I feel like I ought to know this one -- U-2? -- but I just can't dredge it out of my memory.
The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake isn't quite the tourist attraction you might think it is. It's shrinking and it smells bad.
gsl001.jpg No, really; this is about it -- a giant puddle in the middle of the desert. No water flows out of the lake, which is why it's salty like an ocean.
gsl002.jpg Here you see a water slide that is nowhere near the water.
That's it for the Great Salt Lake. We didn't spend much time there; basically enough to say we'd been there. Then we continued on.
Bryce Canyon / Mount Zion
Unfortunately, after 17 years I can't tell images from the two places apart. I also have this envelope labelled "Out West", so this seems to have been a grab-bag of photos between the Great Salt Lake and Las Vegas. As far as I can tell there's no order to the photos at all, and they may have come from multiple rolls of film.
bryce001.jpg I'm going to just assume that's Mount Zion. But I don't know for sure.
bryce002.jpg This looks to be in the parking lot of the same place as the first one. It was probably taken before.
bryce003.jpg More of the same.
bryce004.jpg This either shows the limits of disposable cameras, 35mm film, or my skills. Maybe all three.
bryce005.jpg A much better shot than the last one; looking up the side of the hill.
bryce006.jpg For some of these I tried the "restore faded colors" option to bring back some of the vibrancy I remember. Unfortunately, when I do that the shadows tend to swallow things. Also, I'm pretty sure this one is actually Bryce Canyon.
bryce007.jpg The first mini-bear sighting of the trip.
bryce008.jpg More from the hilltops.
bryce009.jpg I like the layout of the shot, but those scan artifacts in the shadows are pissing me off.
bryce010.jpg I laid off the color correction for this one. It looks a little washed out, but at least it isn't dim.
bryce011.jpg Same general area as the last shot, but a different angle.
bryce012.jpg More of the local fauna.
bryce013.jpg Run away!
bryce014.jpg Brazen little suckers.
bryce015.jpg Nice scenery here, and yet another chipmunk. I must've been hungry or something.
bryce016.jpg Shots like this one (with what I assume is Mt. Zion through the forest) make me think that I might almost know what I'm doing.
bryce017.jpg Answering your burning questions with just one picture: Yes, I've always been losing my hair. Yes, I've always been that big of a dork.
bryce018.jpg In my defense, the scoutmaster thought it would look cool if all of us wore those t-shirts with our scout shorts. As you can see, he was horribly wrong.
bryce019.jpg Another overlook of Bryce Canyon. It may be worth mentioning that I actually have a slight fear of heights. I have no idea how I managed all these shots.
bryce020.jpg Bryce Canyon.
bryce021.jpg Um, I'm sure I had a reason for this. I think it was for the hill and not the building, but I'm not entirely sure.
bryce022.jpg Last shot.
About the only thing we had time for at Hoover Dam was the tour. The guy thought he was amusing by using the word "dam" as an adjective every... single... chance he got. The fact that I remember this more than a decade and a half later should give you an idea how annoying this was.
hoover001.jpg We're at Hoover Dam now. I'm sure you can tell by the scenery.
hoover002.jpg I don't know if this was so I'd know later that we were at the dam, or because I was amused by the "snacketeria" portmanteau.
hoover003.jpg This is only part of the dam -- it's a huge structure -- but hopefully this gives a sense of scale.
hoover004.jpg In 1991 I knew what those giant things were. Now I don't.
Nellis Air Force Base, just outside Las Vegas, is the home of the Air Force's stunt squad, the Thunderbirds. I'm not sure they were on base at the time; summertime is their show season.
nellis001.jpg This Thunderbirds statue, if I remember right, is near the entrance to the base.
nellis002.jpg A closer look.
nellis003.jpg Flags from the countries the Thunderbirds have flown demos in.
nellis004.jpg More flags.
nellis005.jpg Flags again, this time on the nose of the plane.
nellis006.jpg And the plane itself. I'm pretty sure this was an in-use plane and not just for looking at.
nellis007.jpg The tail of that same plane. In case you needed proof.
Since Nellis is right there, we couldn't let the trip go without taking a look at Las Vegas. Of course, since most of us were minors we couldn't gamble or see most of the shows, but we got to wander around soaking up the atmosphere. I'm pretty sure one of the assistant scoutmasters lost $100 that night. Anyway, these pictures were all taken at night, which was more than the disposable camera could handle. I've corrected as much as I could but there just isn't much I can do with that.
lv001.jpg The floor of one of the casinos. Those are slots on the left.
lv002.jpg The Stardust and Frontier casino/hotels.
lv003.jpg Benihana, which I thought was a Japanese restaurant.
lv004.jpg The fountains in front of the Mirage casino.
lv005.jpg Sunset as we were heading into Vegas. I just took this one because the cloud looked nifty against the desert. The picture gets the cloud, at least.
The Grand Canyon, to be perfectly blunt, is frickin' beautiful. The only regret I have is that I just didn't have the skill to adequately capture it. If/when I get back out there I'll try to do better.
gc001.jpg Most of these are going to be scenery; there's just so much to take in. It's a shame I didn't have a panoramic camera with me.
gc003.jpg Sunset over the canyon.
gc007.jpg Nightfall. The full moon came up over the rim a couple hours later; it was like a searchlight. Since I was trying to sleep I didn't get a picture of that one.
gc009.jpg They use mules or donkeys on some of the tours into the canyon. You have to be really careful on the trail. (Ew.)
gc016.jpg Some of the wildlife of the canyon. Judging by the signpost that looks familiar I think this is where we camped about 1/3 of the way down.
gc023.jpg I don't know what happened to this one. Still looks all right though.