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Vacation can be fun as well as arduous for someone who likes to take pictures. We scheduled our Christmas vacation flight to be as cheap as possible, which also meant as inconvenient as possible. We departed RDM, Redmond, Oregon, at 6 AM which meant being to the airport an hour earlier, which meant getting up two hours earlier. Ugh. We made it on time after an anxious night’s non-sleep. Whew.

Redmond airportThe view from inside of our airplane while moving out.

There wasn’t much to see in the dark.

Bend Oregon at 6 AMA view of Bend Oregon at 6 AM, from six miles east.

I was amazed at how small Bend looks at night. Perhaps the trees were blocking the street lights. Our house is near dead center of the photo.

The Sam Mateo bridge to the East Bay.Over the San Mateo bridge with Mt. Diablo silhouetted on the crepuscular horizon.

Precisely below this point, on approach to San Francisco airport SFO, I have illustrated to people the curvature of the Earth. By standing on the shore you can easily see the long horizontal part of the bridge curve over the horizon and disappear.

Oakland and Berkeley from San LeandroDeparting SFO Oakland and Berkeley are seen from over San Leandro

I have lived for 50 years within walking distance of that white area to the upper right of center. That is Berkeley, California, and a wonderful place to have lived, because it is filled with so very many wonderful people. The dark line running from the bottom center touching close to the white patch of downtown Berkeley and beyond is the infamous Hayward fault. It is due for a major rupture at any moment and is part of the reason I moved to Bend, Oregon, which might have a problem with a volcano every hundred thousand years or so.

O'Hare airport ChicagoDebbie is worried because we were a mile from our next gate.

O’Hare (ORD) at Chicago is a really big airport and connections between flights require a long walk sometimes. And this was one of those times. I thought we had plenty of time, but I was very wrong.

On the O'Hare people conveyor That’s Debbie on the right trying to hurry me along.

Above us were these strange twisted neon tubes lighting one of the O’Hare airport’s connecting tunnels.

An O'Hare esculatorI was running but paused to take this snap.

It is painful for a photographer to be rushed past such weird lighting. I want to stop and play with it for a while. But I had only a hundredth of a second, so this was it for my play time.

Control tower for ORD O'Hare in Chicago The control tower for ORD – O’Hare in Chicago

They held the plane for a minute, because the boarding clerks saw us running from a long way away. When we boarded I distinctly felt some piercing eyes from already seated passengers. After we were seated and taxiing out to the runway I saw this beautiful under-the-cloud lighting at the base of the control tower.

Somewhere over IndianaThe lighting over Indiana was translucent layered colors over sheepish clouds.

Sometimes, I find the simplest things most intriguing.

Approaching Columbus OhioThat is Columbus, Ohio, our destination airport CMH.

We met Debbie’s parents at the gate. Our entire journey was perfectly timed, but by the time I got to bed I was ready for the big sleep.