Aerial Exploration: JFK to LAX

Connecticut coastline near NYC

I traveled to Europe for a week but with clouds everywhere and a lot of night flying I had no aerial photos to show for the trip. If I hadn’t made the mistake of connecting through New York’s JFK, I wouldn’t have a blog entry for this trip.

It’s never good when you are traveling toward New York City and thanks to horribly overcast conditions end up in Boston to get more fuel. By the time I reached New York, my connection was long gone. Unlike Lufthansa two months earlier, America Airlines rebooked me on a morning flight then shrugged their shoulders, blamed the weather and left me to fend for myself at 10pm. Thank you America Airlines for nothing.

The next day, I got a couple of nice photos out the window on take-off and then had to suffer through half a continent of cloud coverage before the dry southeast offered up some stunning views.

Jamaica Bay with New York, New York in the distance
Google Maps Wikipedia
Taking off from JFK, I could see New York City in the distance. In the foreground, you can see Crossbay Blvd on the left and the subway’s A line on the right crossing over the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on their way to the Rockaway Peninsula part of the New York City borough of Queens.

Zion National Park and Kolob Canyons, Utah
Google Maps Wikipedia
The red Navajo sandstone of Zion National Park really stood out against the southwest’s winter landscape. The canyon was discovered by Mormon’s in 1858 (although Native Americas had lived in the area for 8,000 years). The photo shows the northern part of the park called the Kolob Canyons section. It is home to the Kolob Arch, the second largest natural bridge in the world.

Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, Utah
Google Maps Wikipedia
I loved the contrast between the red Navajo sandstone and the white Pine Valley Mountains in this southwestern corner of Utah. The Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness can be found in the Dixie National Forest. At the bottom of the photo, Highway 15 passes through the small town of Leeds heading southwest toward Las Vegas and eventually San Diego.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Google Maps Wikipedia
The Muddy River can be seen on the right of the photo flowing through the Moapa Valley and into the northern reaches of Lake Mead. To the left is the Valley of Fire State Park — a definite finalist for “state park with the coolest name.” According to Wikipedia, the park gets its name from the red sandstone formations which appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. Cool film factoid — the park doubled as the martian landscape for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 Total Recall.

Zzyzx, California
Google Maps Wikipedia
I’ve seen the sign for Zzyzx — pronounced ‘zy-zicks’ (rhymes with ‘high hicks’) — when driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Highway 15. Now part of California State University’s Desert Studies Center, this settlement in the Mojave Desert was originally named Camp Soda and Soda Springs. In 1944, the name was changed to Zzyzx, a made-up name chosen so it would be the ‘last word in the English language.” Baker, California can be seen in the top right of the photo.

South Los Angeles, California
Google Maps Wikipedia
View looking toward downtown Los Angeles as we’re landing at LAX. You can see the 110 Highway on the left side of the picture above. You can also see the football field of the John C. Fremont High School in South Los Angeles. For more on the area, you can check out the South Los Angeles Report.

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