Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 12, 04/10/11 -- Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Today was a slow day. With the cryostat filled with liquid nitrogen and the internals slowly cooling, there's not much that requires immediate attention. Since it's Sunday we went into the high bay only for a short period of time today -- long enough to check the liquid nitrogen levels (and refill as needed) and for Jeff to open and close the internal mechanical heatswitch to try and optimize its thermal contact.

We then drove to Tyler, TX to see what it was all about. A city of over 80,000 people, we figured it must have something worthwhile, right? Turns out we were right: Jeff found that they have a zoo and a historical aircraft and aviation museum. We went to the Caldwell Zoo first, and were treated with a surprisingly nicely maintained and well-curated zoo, with all manner of big cats (lions, white tigers, leopards, and cheetahs), a couple of black bears, and some large mammals from both the US and Africa (rhinos, giraffes, and elephants) along with the requisite reptile area (which focused mostly on species native to the area) and a nice contingent of water and tropical birds.

The aviation museum was also quite a find. Located at the Tyler airport, they have a nice collection of aviation-related memorabilia from the entire history of the US armed forces as well as a nice collection of real (but mostly engineless) aircraft sitting on the tarmac (an F-101, F-105, F-111, and an F-4 Phantom come to mind immediately out of the 10 or so aircraft they had). They also had knowledgeable and helpful docents on hand to answer questions about the aircraft, which was a nice bonus. And all for $5! Highly recommended if you're ever in Tyler.

The only pictures from today are some cell phone pictures of pelicans, so I'm not going to bother. Tomorrow we're back in the high bay, and are planning our first of many liquid helium transfers!

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