Road Trip

My Second Life Road Trip 7 – Swimming, climbing and hiking in Welsh (part 1)

Things move fast on the grid, even in the old lands (1) and by the time I had decided that best way across the water dividing Clementina from Welsh was to coax Frank into the sea so he could swim us both across, the huge pirate ship and wooden building behind it in Taber had gone. I’ve no idea how long they had been there or why they had now gone, so I just flicked Frank’s reins and eased him down to the water’s edge. To my eternal gratitude, Frank showed no signs off displeasure as I moved him deeper in and soon was swimming away (2) as though he’d been doing it all his life (come to think of it, I had found him on an a sim that was essentially an island and had seen exactly no other horses in my time there – he may well have swum across in the first place).
Welsh - The Horse Ferry

We made landfall near the south west corner of Welsh and came ashore under the boughs of an enormous tree that had been hollowed out for a hat shop by Tweke Underhill back in 2006.
Welsh - The Hat Tree

I nudged Frank off to explore this old area of the grid; the whole sim seemed to be broken and divided by water channels, some shallow, others deep and fast flowing and I wondered just how much swimming Frank would appreciate. We crossed a small bridge and headed to the landmark that could be seen all the way from Clementina and beyond into the inland sea of Omidyar: a huge green beanstalk flanked by a continually rising and falling hot air balloon.
Welsh - The Welsh Beanstalk

I left Frank to graze and dry out as I wandered around the base of the giant stalk to where I found a notice challenging anyone to try and climb to the top without cheating. Steller Sunshine (3), who had grown the beanstalk from a seed prim back in July 2003, was offering to pay L$500 to anyone who succeeded.
Welsh - The Beanstalk Challenge

I looked up at the huge plant and decided that today was not a good day for dangerous sports – instead I flew up and landed on one of the many huge leaves. If you come here and take up the challenge, let me know how you get on – it looks all but impossible to me!
Welsh - Atop the Beanstalk

Just behind the beanstalk I found the half-buried remains of a truly massive statue seemingly uncovered by Steller who had then turned it into a tourist stop (or butterfly haven, I wasn’t sure which).
Welsh - The Fallen Statue

I walked off east past a large water tower towards a huge bucket and spade belonging to Saaz Roentgen and found a delightful Whack-A-Mole game Saaz had built. Unfortunately I proved not to be very adept at it and more moles escaped my fevered clicks than not.
Welsh - Whak-A-Mole Game

Beyond Saaz’s place a wide expanse of water, deep and cold, divided the landmass and across it rose a mighty plateau topped with what looked to be trees and signs of habitation, but I could see no way of getting up outside of flying.
Welsh - Rasied Paradise

Instead I opted to brave the cold waters before me and swim across to the eastern half of the sim. It was hard, cold work and I made a mental note to give Frank an extra sugar lump when I made my way back to him. But for now, I concentrated on reaching the far shore…
Welsh - Swimming  around the plateau

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

(1) It’s strange really, some parts hardly ever change (4), or rather they seem not too. In truth even they do, sort of like digital erosion I guess. But in SL it can happen fast and often. So far during my road trip I’ve lost a volcano, a skulk, a couple of huge ion-cannon wielding teddy bears and now a pirate ship and pirate castle.

(2) Poor Frank, he’d be mortified if he knew I told you this, so please shhhhhhh. Frank can’t swim! I know, I know – there is a photo showing him swimming, but it’s a fake, a phoney, a three quid note. Frank was flying and we hovered in the water to make it look like he could swim. But please, don’t tell him I told you.

(3) Steller Sunshine is credited with being the first resident in SL and was rezzed on Wednesday 13th March 2002 (the grid being opened on Tuesday 12th).

(4) The Forest of Kahruvel is one such place I see as eternal, but as we all know its past shows this to be far from the truth. Even today it is changing with the large, black mall in Noyo soon to be demolished to allow the forest to once more stretch its borders. No matter who or where, the grid is not eternal and everything and everyone in it just a piece of the flux that makes it work.

Hey! I got a mention in NWN and IDG 🙂

My Second Life Road Trip 6: Trekking through Clementina

With the noon sun high above me, I swung the speedboat north east and headed for the small sandy shore gathered at the base of a cliff that supported a large white mansion that looked like the kind of place Columbo would have rolled up to in the late 70s to solve a cunning murder. This, I thought, was something I had to see.
Clementina 1

The boat gently crunched onto the beach and I hopped out, tied off the boat* and began the long climb up the steep hill.
Clementina 2
Halfway up, the land plateaued out and there, nibbling the warm grass, was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen. Fully seventeen hands if he was an inch and with feet as big as my head.
Clementina 4

I approached slowly, not wanting to spook him, until I could reach out and stroke his face. He snorted contentedly and shook his mane. I gingerly took his reins and put a foot into a stirrup. He instinctively braced himself as I swung my leg over and dropped into his saddle, which fit me perfectly almost as if it had been made for me. I pulled on the reins and with a snort the horse padded off to the left, up the hill towards the mansion.

Once again the rise flattened out and my mount stopped by the sources of a gushing waterfall that led down to a beautiful wooden house.
Clementina  6

I climbed down while he drank (I would have to find a name for him… Charger? Adolphus? ClipClop? I needed to think) and gazed across the expanse of the inland sea back towards Davenport and Bodega. The hills and mountains of Sansara rose into the sky like old friends waving to me and I felt my first real pang of homesickness.
Clementina 3

I climbed back into the saddle (Speed? Fleet?) and headed along the ridge that circled the white house until I came to an opening leading into the grounds. I rode in and found that the whole place was in fact a partial reconstruction of an earlier mansion built by SL’s first ever resident, Stella Sunshine. Having built the original in the days of Linden World, she gave it to the Lindens for the move across to the grid as we know it. Some things have been lost along the way and a team of volunteers have worked hard to restore it and maintain it as a sort of museum of lost builds.

I decided not to linger, rather to carry on around the house to another waterfall where my new friend (Dasher? Europa?) decided to leap down in a manner that frankly (Frank! That was it! Frank!) left my stomach in my mouth.
Clementina 10

But soon, sure-footed Frank had us down on the ground and we meandered through the beautifully maintained park…
Clementina 11

…to take a closer look at the wooden house by the sea I had seen earlier (which turned out to be a Victorian marvel selling musical instruments…
Clementina 9

…before Frank whinnied and stamped impatiently, eager, I felt, to move on to the next location. Although I would have liked to make my way back to the car so long ago parked in Bodega across the inland Omidyar sea, I patted his neck and we headed North towards what looked like an enormous beanstalk. An enormous beanstalk laying just past a fully rigged pirate ship that is…
Clementina 12

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

* Well, it was auto-returned immediately, but it’s sort of the same…

Backpacking Burro Road Trip 5: Around Mohrr and The Inland Sea.

The question of how to get five people across the water to the small island of Mohrr was, in the end, easy to answer. Speedboat! I had one that comfortably took seven people so I started the engine and we all hopped in*.

Mohr 1

The water behind us spewed white foam as we sped off towards the ever burning spaceship embedded in the small tropical island. Once on land, we circled the smoking craft and examined the crash site – it turned out that it belonged to Harry Linden who crashed here back in early 2006.

Mohr 2

He must have survived the accident though as his tent and campsite were still there, along with his luggage… which we riffled, of course! Such wonderful freebies he’d thoughtfully left behind for visitors!

Mohr 4

After we had relaxed in the sun loungers, my fellow explorers had to leave and as the sun set over the horizon, I found myself alone.

Mohr 5

I made camp for the night and resolved to explore the small islands dotted around in the morning before returning to my car.

Mohrr and About 1

The sun splashed rose petals across the new sky as I woke and started the motor once more. I took a far more leisurely pace and headed over to the lighthouse I could see rising from a sea in Kremer.

Mohrr and Around 2

I swung my boat over to the stone steps and set off to explore the small island – all I could find was a few seats and some information screens that told me this was an Linden office where public meetings were held. As I climbed back into my boat, I couldn’t help but think that this was one office with a far better view than mine…

Mohrr and Around 3

I headed over to the only other small island I could see and found it was deserted but for an empty Linden tee-shirt and collectors card dispenser – for what purpose, I could not tell.

Mohrr and Around 4

The inland sea offered a myriad of possibilities – the huge lighthouse to the south, the forest to the west, the rivers and inlets to the east or the buildings to the north. I had to choose one and I decided on the architectural temptations of the north and headed across the empty water of Rechleff towards Clementina. The only problem was that I had left my car parked in Bodgea far across the sea in the south…

Mohrr and About 5

Yours in Travel. And a speedboat!

HeadBurro Antfarm.

* Well, in truth, while the others chatted on the roof of the Bodega Explorer’s Base, I did a quick search for speedboats, teleported to a few marinas until I found one I liked, bought it, teleported back, discovered I could not rez it up in the water there, spent five minutes flying around for a place where building was allowed, sped back to my friends and hollered for them to leap from the three-storey building into my new boat below. What followed was the amusing spectacle of five people shouting “Where are you?” “Down here?” “Where?” “In the water! Jump!” with avatars blindly leaping off and missing the boat completely. But none of that sounds as romantic as “I had one that comfortably took seven people so I started the engine and we all hopped in…”, now does it?

BB Road Trip: Driving Through Davenport

The road east from Noyo leads into Davenport and this is your first glimpse of just how truly stunning Second Life can look*. Here the road hugs the southern coast of the inland sea and away to the north the water rolls over the famous hand of Omidyar and away towards several small islands marooned in the azure forever. One of these islands is the crash site of a huge porcine spacecraft still smouldering from the impact and if you have time, you really must fly (or sail!) out and take a look at this unique sight.

Davenpoert 1 - The road east from Noyo.

But back to Davenport and back to the road. To the south hills rise and dip and it was next to a gap in the hills I parked my car and headed of to explore. Beyond the gap my way barred by a cold, deep water channel that ran roughly parallel with the road, but gazelles are good jumpers and I managed to cross and climb the other side without getting too wet.

Davenport 2 - Exploring the hills and waterways

From here the ground rises and bulges until, guarded by a huge robot lizard, you will find the caldera of the Pompomio volcano – although it looks as though the volcano is at last dormant**

Davenport 3 - The extinct volcano?

The giant sentinel I had seen on my ascent crouched just beyond the lip of the volcano was named, I discovered, Skulk by its creator, one OoPs Galatea. OoPs was good enough to answer a few quick questions and he informed me that the amazing creature was on a sort of spring clean holiday, banished, if you will, whilst its renovated natural home was being renovated**.

Davenport 4 - The Skulk

As I stood in the afternoon sun and gazed across the sea to the north, I spied some impossibly floating gardens and I girded myself for a cold, fast flight up to them. I say impossible, but of course this is Second Life and little is impossible. Suffice to say that a quick “Up! Up! And Away!” saw me swoop over the larger of the to land on the gallery, its glass gleaming brightly against the garden’s stone bulk. These were owned, a check informed me, by the Wood Elf alliance, a group dedicated to preserving virtual nature spots. I wandered around for quite some time, waving at the regular airplanes that flew by from Abbotts aerodrome to the west.

Dabenport 5 - The Floating Gardens

Soon though, the sun was dipping to the horizon and decided it would be best to press on. I used a teleport ball at the gallery to get down and found myself at a delightful white marble arbour by the water. As I watched the sun go down I found myself wondering two things – why was there a huge rubber duck in the water here, and where did I park my car.

Davenport 6 - The Rubber Ducky of the Wood Elves

Yours in Travel. And waders.
HeadBurro Antfarm.
p.s. Look out for the gorgeous firebirds 🙂

Davenport 7 - Firebirds at night

* Providing you have the hardware, of course. You need a good graphics card to really make the most of this world, but even on my weakling of a laptop I am treated to many, many beautiful views.

** The volcano seems to be dead now, but it certainly did used to erupt. Maybe it is just storing up its energy and will take us be surprise any day.

SL Peeps: Nish Mip

I was flying over Kahruvel when I saw a lonely green dot on the map. Thinking it might be my mate Douglas, I headed over and found instead the very lovely Nish Mip floating high above the trees on a slowly descending disc of magickly generated particles. We stood and talked for a while, it was late for me and I was heading over to my next location on the road trip so I couldn’t stay with her too long, but aside from being thoroughly delightful company, she also had one of the most beautiful avatars I’d ever seen 🙂

Strange really (not her av, but my meeting her) as I’d been discussing SL at work earlier that day and showing some people what I look like as they wanted to know if the graphics were “cartoony like the Sims”. I think from this picture we can say they most definitely are not 😀

New friends in Kahruvel

BB Road Trip: Silence in Spooky Noyo

It begins in Noyo.

Noyo is amongst the earliest sims to come online back in February 2004 and it is here, in the shadow of the swaying trees of mighty Kahruvel, that the great road east is born. Here you can rez a car* and prepare to start your journey.

Except don’t. Not yet. Look to the southern edge of the little patch of tarmac and you’ll see a sign for a ghost train ride below you. This is Sinatra Cartier’s Spook House and you should take five minutes out of your busy schedule to take a seat and pay 10L$ for a ride – it’s good, honest scary fun! The ride was built way back in 2004 by Sinatra Cartier to celebrate his childhood trips to funfairs and has been a permanent fixture of the region ever since.

Sinatras Spook House in Noyo

Sinatras Spook House

BB Road Trip - Noyo and Sinatra Cartiers Spook House ride

Sinatra himself** is one of the early adopters who still call these old regions of the mainland home – in fact it’s rare when land this old comes up for sale and this means a strange and comforting sense of continuity can be found here, a sense of the stable in a world that is constantly making and remaking itself around you.

Across the water in front of the spook house ride, the land rises up towards Albion where the beautiful Japanese gardens can be found. To the west rests the beautiful village of Cowell and beyond that, Abbott’s Aerodrome rises high above the sea below. The waterways here are perfect for navigating a small boat or kayak around the coast or pressing deep into the river network, but that is for another time and another travel guide. Now it is high time for this Backpacking Burro to get back to the open road and start both hiss car and his journey.

Wagons Roll!

The Lure of The Open Road

Yours in Travel,
Headburro Antfarm.

Direct SLURL to the Spook House ride

Sinatra Cartier’s website

* Not something you can do on most stretches of road, instead you have to find a small patch of land next to the road and try to ‘hop’ for fly over the barriers. Actually, this is a good point to say a wee word about roads. Although they are largely empty these days (and have as long as I have known, which is from November 2006) they were at one time the best way to get around as instantaneous point-to-point teleportation as we have now simply did not exist. At first the world was small enough to walk or fly around. Then, as it grew, teleportation hubs were placed at key locations and you had to pay to beam between them before continuing your journey on foot or by vehicle. It was at this time that the road network we see now was introduced and people used to cherish roadside properties as it allowed them easy access to the main transportation network they needed to get to places and see their friends.

I think there is something wonderfully romantic about having to travel somewhere rather than just beaming in (although, curiously I feel the opposite about RL – I rather dislike travelling and would much rather just teleport in 😀 ). But free P-2-P teleportation came and the roads and rail and plane and water network died overnight. And let’s be honest, travelling by car or plane in SL is not easy – sim borders, lag, ban lines all these things go towards making any travel but teleportation the preserve of the dedicated. Or insane.

**Sinatra, aside from being the creator of the spook house ride, is also a bloody good Frank Sinatra tribute act in both RL and SL and I’m hoping to see his next in-world concert in a few weeks – I’ll let you know when it is and we can all turn up if you like?

The Great Backpacking Burro Road Trip Starts Here!

This is it folks… The new project I’ve been banging on about for about 2 days (I was going to tease you for a week, but I’m a very impatient chap and couldn’t wait any longer to get started). Your favourite Burro is buggering off on a Road Trip across the northern edge of Sansara, the first continent. I’ve no idea where this will take me* but the plan is to explore the sims I drive through and speak to the people behind the wonderful things I find. And you’re all invited to join me at anytime – just IM me and I’ll TP you to wherever I am**. WARNING: You are more than welcome to drive with me, but I can not stress enough how badly I suck at driving in SL and my passengers frequently require relogs as I shoot over 3 sim crossings at 100mph shouting “AARRRRSSSSE! SORRRRRRYYYYY!”

Here is a map of the first part of Sansara, followed by my planned first stage in a little more detail (sorry about the crappy yellow lines but hey! I’m no artist you know):

Grid Map 1

Grid Map 1b

Grid Map 1d

The X marks the starting point in Noyo and the circle is the first major junction where I plan to head down the southern spur before returning north to the main road.

Yours in Travel. And a 1931 Primouth Cheetah.
HeadBurro Antfarm. Toot Toot.

* Well, that’s not true really – the map shows where it’ll take me but that’s not what I meant and you know it. Sigh.

** Good job there’s no need for toilet breaks in SL!