Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Voyage to Winsor McCay City

Now available as a puzzle at:
The greatest adventure of my childhood was a trip to Winsor McCay Ctiy.  Now that my two children (age 8 and 10) are old enough, it was time I made a return visit.  Winsor McCay City is an oasis, not just of nature, but also of culture, of science and of art.  The city is surrounded by a largely barren mountain range, sparsely populated by the world’s toughest and most bizarre creatures.  These are the rare species that can withstand the lethal stone terrain.  The city itself is lush.  Its engineers carved out this mini-metropolis from the landscape 150 years ago.  They transformed 15 thousand acres of rocky peaks into tree-laden parks, ornate buildings, ambitious civic sculptures, a wide variety of museums and all of it is connected by an ingenious system of bridges and tunnels.  Renting a car or bringing one here is virtually impossible.  It’s best to use public transportation.  Fortunately it is a pleasure to ride.   Maps are posted all through the system and the symbols are easy to understand.  Uniformed helpers who seem to speak almost any language are found in information booths.  If you have a fear of heights, though, this is not the place to visit.  It’s difficult to go anywhere without going vertical: venicular, escalator, elevator, sky lift and old fashion stairs are the various methods of travel on this many-leveled land.  The city, after all, was built atop mountains, well above the unforgiving valleys.

It’s a treat to just to visit the city’s many parks.  Each has a unique theme, but they were all designed to inspire and rejuvenate.   They range from simple tree-lined walkways to giant extensive gardens with massive natural-looking waterfalls.  Most of these parks are like open-air petting zoos for the kids, with exotic animals from all over the continent.  Watch out for the tree impits though.  They can be very mischievous.  One came up to me like a tame squirrel, and quick as a wink, slipped off my watch and ran away with it.  The park superintendent was familiar with this little creature’s game, and simply took me to where the little imp kept his stash to recover the watch for me.

The only reasonable way to travel here is by airship.  I flew in a giant, rigid, lighter-than-air dirigible.  The passenger gondola was opulent and expansive.  Throughout the eight-hour voyage I experienced all manners of luxury and delicacy.  As clouds floated, my cares went with them.  Neither the crew nor the passengers were in a rush to make their destination.  Several times the captain took the ship low to conduct some aerial sightseeing.  Something of this weightless travel has yet to leave me.

As we came close to our destination, the wasteland surrounding McCay City came into view.  It is stunningly beautiful from a height.  Centuries of erosion and unique growth of lichen has created some unusual seasonal effects that belie the deadly nature of this land.  As we flew low I looked through one of the ship’s attached binoculars.  I could see grazing hoopers and some wild phantors lugging the large cactus melons they are known to “farm.”  At one point on our journey a flock of colorful aeros flew along side the airship as if to welcome and guide us to the City.  Although the captain told me that this is common occurrence he added that he was always thrilled to see them.

The heart of this city is its vast collections – especially in the sciences.  Nowhere else on this world will you find such a concentration of museums stocked with large varieties of prehistoric artifacts, animal fossils, epic art and important historical antiques.  Numerous expeditions via airship have brought most of these collections here.  The exhibit “Hardly a Footprint” does an excellent job of explaining the history and the importance of using airships for exploration.  Everything I saw was presented in an exciting manner and there are active demonstrations for the kids, especially in the science museums.  Indeed, the massive Science Hall, occupying an entire mountaintop, is the centerpiece of the city.  Its importance cannot be understated, for it was science that built this city.  A visit to Science Hall is an all-day affair.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't Feed the Howndders!

Don't ever, ever feed a howndder. These are pleasant and friendly creatures. However, if you make the mistake of throwing one a scrap of food it will follow you night and day begging for more, at first politely but with increasing intensity. You cannot hide from or outrun them, as they are the greatest trackers on the continent. Several of them followed us back to our airship and we spent several hours shooing them away. It was quite sad to hear them howl as we lifted away. One industrious howndder held onto a gondola robe but was shaken loose so he wouldn’t fall to his death when we lifted higher.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slow Going

This is the most sure-footed creature on the planet. It wobbles a great deal as its legs swing to and fro but it'll surely get you to where you're going. Make sure you have plenty of shade, a good book to read or something to daydream deeply about.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rock Lobbers

Young predators are in a big surprise if they think these creatures are easy prey. Once pummeled by these rock-throwing mammals a prowler is not likely to forget the experience. Living on a mountain of stones, an endless source of ammunition, the Rock Lobbers are the dominant species.

Besides throwing rocks, the Rock Lobbers also use their prehensile noses to capture insects, find water and as whips against smaller trespassing animals. Normally they wouldn’t advance as closely to a predator as seen here. The forward Lobber has been pretending to be lame to lure a hungry Grindhundt away from a hidden nest. The ruse has worked and the Grindhundt, despite his armored skin, is about to receive some hard knocks.

By the way, I’ve updated and corrected an earlier entry here. I do my best searching through Gnemo’s notes and drawings but sometimes I make mistakes. The full understanding of something may not be revealed along with a drawing but will be contained in later notes. This is something of a puzzle with many missing pieces. I have to guess what some of the missing parts are and sometimes my guesses are wrong. So now, Godandreas has been renamed. It is now Chwotashun and the story behind it is considerably more interesting. Scroll down.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Airship Musing

For some, traveling slowly is better. For them absolute privacy and luxury is much more important than speed. This way, by the time you reach your destination you are filled with creative energy and ideas. These beautifully ornate and intimate little airships were built to transport people needing careful rumination, deep reflection and airborne meditation.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cloud Cruise Liner

On the great Cloud Cruise Liner Skyship the richest of the rich travel this world at a leisurely pace. This massive airship cruise liner has no equal. Every possible luxury is on board along with the most exotic of entertainment. Still, the most popular pastime is sit on the ship's deck or look out its massive windows and to simply watch the clouds float by.

Passengers are loaded and unloaded via smaller airships seen here. This airship rarely moors.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Swimming Hole

From Gnemo's Journal:

The nooks and crannies of the Booth Tree made it quite easy to climb. I came across a number of Marsulephants along the trees branches. They paid little attention to me as long as I was respectful of the tree. From a higher branch I saw some of them swimming in a water-filled hollow of the tree. When I climbed down to them I got sprayed with water but in what I interpret as just being playful. Fortunately I'd packed away my sketchbook at that point.

Ed: Marsulephants are arboreal pachyderms that have a symbiotic bond to the Booth trees and live in their branches.