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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Four: North America

Friday, January 11

Oakland to San Pedro The Calfornia coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles is distinguished by a bold mountain fringe, 20 to 40 miles wide, which is broken up into innumerable ridges and spurs, and small valleys drained by short streams of rapid fall. To a geologist there are many evidences of fault lines, and it is said that the largest of these (that which was responsible for the San Francisco fire in 1906) can be traced by airplane photograph for hundreds of miles. There is almost no cultivated area until one passes Point Conception, where fertile coastal plains begin to appear. It is a region of large cattle and sheep ranches, and the occasional towns, such as Del Monte, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, are among the most popular resort centers of the country . . . We took off in the narrow curving channel behind the hangar, handicapped somewhat by low tide and a number of obstructions. Storms of the last few days had passed eastward, and the trip was blessed with clear weather. The coast was reached at Half Moon Bay, where a Navy blimp was maneuvering offshore.

It promised to be an easy day, because Ted Fender, who had trained with the Harvard Flying Club, took over the controls most of the way. He had brought over the published article on "A Method for the Remote Control of Electrical Stimulation of the Nervous System", which was the cause of so much concern at the beginning of the trip. Chaffee had applied finishing touches in August and published it at the advice of the Chief, in the Yale Journal. We were a little fearful over the fate of the mathematical formulae, which are the heart of the work, but George Smith (Edit.) has brought the whole thing through in splendid shape. It is rather exciting to see it in print and makes me impatient to get back to the laboratory. By strange coincidence, Fender was working independently along similar lines in Rochester, New York. While I was reading, he had the ship pretty much to himself, because Wilson also was busy, having picked up the acquaintance of a lonesome ham operator on a tuna fishing boat bound for Panama! They were still going strong as I started down for a landing.

Los Angeles harbor may be satisfactory enough for battleships, but it is a treacherous berth for a seaplane. Out of pure inability to find the duck base of the Catalina Flying Service, I landed in the open harbor in heavy short swells, and we hit like a carriage hack meeting a Mack truck. Anchored near enough to the battleships so that they could spot the plane with a searchlight once in a while during the night. We were soon in Los Angeles and, while Bob went off to visit with some radio amateurs, I took dinner with my old friend and roommate, Herbert Sturdy, and his attractive wife.

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