DAY 10 – Bye bye, shining coast …

Welcome wind and rain!

May 11/12 2010

The last day. The evening before, I asked at the guest house’s front desk about the time I may need to reach the airport. The predictable answer was “unpredictable”. To be on the safe side, I left one hour earlier than needed and – as expected – there was no traffic jam in Highway 405 (according to Murphy’s Law this would have only happened if I was late).  I dropped my vehicle at the car rental and arrived at the airport way ahead of time 🙂

Boarding and departure was on time and – as usual – I enjoyed to get a window seat (for some resaon it’s in most cases the southern side) . Over L.A. and the Mojave Desert the weather was clear and I had a nice view over the landscape. Unfortunately, I could not see Death Valley and Las Vegas since those locations were north of the flight route.

South L.A. and Long Beach.

Junction of Highways 405 and 105.

Mojave Desert: lava field at Rodman Mountains.

Mojave Desert: lava hills and sand.

Mojave Desert: Broadwell Dry Lake.

Lake Mojave (Colorado River) between Nevada and Arizona.

Next was the Colorado Plateau with one of the most dramatic examples of erosion on our planet: the Grand Canyon (here it got a little cloudy). I just love canyons  – as you might have already noticed in my blog about Day 5 – and I live at a little tiny one in Germany (the Lahn Valley).

Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon colours.

Details of Grand Canyon with Colorado River.

Snow on the Colorado Plateau.

Erosion at work: branch of the Grand Canyon.

East of the Colorado Plateau stretches the Painted Desert, Arizona. High winds were present further to the east over Chinle Creek causing a “pink dust storm”. Deposited dust was visible one the snow caps of San Juan Mountains. The dust is known to cause accelerated snow melt. Another dust storm was active over the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Finally, we rached the Sagre de Christo subrange of the Rocky Mountains with a nice lenticular cloud over it. The next long part over the plains was cloudy and boring and the flight got increasingly bumpy as we approached the Great Lakes region – in particular during the descent to Detroit where the stratiform rain was convectively enhanced in places.

Western rim of Painted Desert, Arizona.

Dusty conditions over Chinle Creek, Arizona.

Dusty snow on the San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Another dust storm: San Luis Valley, Colorado.

Altocumulus lenticularis over Sagre de Christo Mountains, Colorado.

Since we landed into Detroit ahead of time, I enjoyed watching the laminar-flow fountain just next to the gate where my flight to Frankfurt was going to depart. McNamara Terminal Concourse A at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport  is the world’s second-longest airport terminal building (1.6 km) with 78 gates and an automated people mover system (Express Tram).

1.6-km-long terminal building: Concourse A at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Laminar-flow fountain at Detroit Airport with the aircraft to Frankfurt in the background.

Laminar-flow fountain and Express Tram at Detroit airport.

Next day, I arrived (with some delay) in Frankfurt – tired as usual since the noise inside an aircraft hardly allows me to sleep. Fortunately, the Thursday May 12 was a holiday in Germany which gave me some time to get rid of the jet lag. I don’t like to comment on the weather in Germany – at least it was not raining when I arrived (11°C).

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