June 12th, 2011 by Marianne McCann
So I took a long, long balloon ride.
I actually did it over a couple different days – May 30th and June 12th – and in four “sections” so that I would not really “over do.” It was a total of 126 regions crossings. I had to rerez my balloon twice (not counting at the planned breaks), and recovered it from near-calamity two other times. Overall, not that bad.
My vehicle of choice was the Terra Cirrus hot air balloon. it is a slow but stable flyer, and easy to manage. I roughly plotted a course that would take move over protected land for the majority of the trip, only deviating at Abbotts and Cowell. I could likely have stuck to protected land there, but Cowell is such a beautiful spot to fly over.
The slower you hit a sim crossing the better – usually – so the balloon was perfect for this sort of trek. If I was in a speedboat or something, my results would be a lot different. My graphic settings were on high, with a 128m draw distance (I did increase it sometimes for photos, and decreased it in a spot in South Channel that tends to be rough for me)
I started off from Promissa, in the upper waterway on the Heterocera Atoll continent. In retrospect, I wish I’d started from a more northerly location, but I’m not sure I could have stayed to a “protected land” route if I’d done so. Anyway, I found one person’s dock ’round there, rezzed out and move into the waterway to start my journey.
The waterways through this first section of the Northern Continent were pleasant, without having to do a lot of wiggling about. There were even some nice open waterways where I could fiddle around with IMs or check my map while in flight. This was fine until I hit Cepphis. My balloon decided to ail on without me there, and I had to do some backtracking to find a spot to re-rez and continue. A lot of the old protected regions – and some of the new ones – seem to lack rez zones, so this was tricky.
I then flew over the walkways of Iris, and then into the lower end of the atoll. This spot remains one of the more picturesque you’ll find on the mainland. The temple is always so pretty.
The waterways there are a bit trickier and tighter. I did make one wrong turn around Tuliptree, and had to briefly back up and get back on track, but it was no more than a 20m deviation. I also picked up a passenger briefly here, dropping him off at my first scheduled stop in ANWR.
The prim derrick does not have good facilities for lunch, but thankfully I brought a sandwich and a couple cookies with me, and enjoyed a little break there. The derrick is always fun to explore, especially if you ever wondered where all those plywood cubes come from.
I picked up my journey after locating a rez zone nearby and heading on. The next part of the trip started through the new northern passage which has been the bane of more than a few intrepid explorers. The crossing from Hildegardre to Lothair can be especially rough. but it was fairly smooth sailing as I headed into Theodrada, even shouting an “Ahoy” at a sailor below.
And then both he and I failed at that crossing. Thankfully, I was able to recover and even grab my balloon and continue on. A trick: sometimes when you get stuck at the crossings, you can sit on the ground to recover. Also, for some reason, a “stop all animations” can help you get unstuck.
I continued into familiar territory, passing by the Suburbs (I coulda almost seen my house if I’d dared turn my draw up that high!), Nova Albion, and Bay City, then into the new Southern Passage. I welcomed no more mishaps on the way to Abbotts, and met my brother on the tarmac. Well, him and also some role players shooting up some zombies on the runway.
My next leg of the trip took me off from Abbotts and east into the interior of Sansara. There were some areas there that I’d not travelled in a long time. Indeed, some Im not sure I’d ever visited. As much as people mock Mainland, there are some lovely spots. Cowell Village, A little village in Myrtle. The East River Community, the Riverwalk, the canals of Lakeville — each examples of what dedicated Residents can do when given a chance. All very beautiful.
I did run into trouble in Atlas. It looks like one big lake, but there’s a patchwork of Resident parcels in there, making the route treacherous. I ended up against the 1-2 punch of no object entry on one parcel, and ban lines on another. So I again had to find a spot to rez, and continued on my way around.
There are plenty of Linden and Mole made things to see along the route, too. I already mentioned Iris and ANWR, but this route also took me over the asylum, near the vehicle regions, through Ice Bay and the Sea of Fables, over the dam in Ganymede and the Mimas Bridge. All worth seeing.
Speaking of the Ice Bay, brr. I wish I’d thought to not wear shorts back in Abbotts. Thankfully, much of my trip skirted the colder parts of the snowlands. Only Ice Bay proved daunting. I welcomed the warmth of Lakeville, and the Sea of Fables.
There were many spots where I came across automated tours along my path, By the way. Of course the “scourgemobiles” were about, me even almost doing a “touch and go” off one of the buses near Clarksburg. There’s the planes in Abbotts, the “pods,” and even Qu Qi’s old ferry boat in the ANWR passage. But I had no idea that the old Lost Lakes Balloon was still in service ’til I passed it in Hudson. It made me smile to see it still offering tours all these years gone. I IMed the creator – who was on – and took a moment to thank him for still running it after all this time.
At one time, the Lost Lakes balloon was pretty much the typical “style” of balloon in Second Life, featuring a large, glass bottom gondola and seats around the perimeter for looking down on the land beneath. One of my earlier memories of exploring the mainland came when a friend of mine took me out in a similar balloon and showed me the area around Dowden. Somehow it just seemed to remind me a lot of those times, seeing the old balloon tour while only a few sims west of the Dowden area.
It was time for my next stop, and I landed in the big inlet to Poseidon’s Island, in Bohol. Again, dining options were pretty slim, but the scenery made up for the lack of a warm meal.
After another break (and some time spent helping get a stuck region of a friends to be a lot less stuck), I headed off again, heading north. This would take me through Linden Village, which feels a lot less busy than it once was. particularly in Ambleside. The big “temple” like structure is still in Kirkby though, and Waterhead is still, well, Waterhead. old physical cubes littered the waterway, but did not hamper my trip.
I mentioned the beauty of some parts of the mainland, but it can still be hazardous out there. The aforementioned crossing in Atlas was difficult, and I had to clam on the proverbial breaks in somewhere around Cook, saving myself from ban lines as the very last moment.
I would prove to not be as lucky when I made my way through Derwent, and accidently went up the wrong waterway. While trying to correct course, I ended up crossing a private parcel — and their security orb. 6.0000000 seconds later, I was at home, and offered a notecard to get my own little orb of joy. I declined and teleported back, rescuing my balloon from the otherwise empty parcel, and continued on my way.
it wasn’t long after until I entered the last of my waterways, and into the protected land of Bevel. I actually backtracked a bit from there before finishing, making a safe landing in Langdale — but not before one last picture.
It was a fun float, and I had a blast doing it. I hope that, maybe, this will inspire you do to the same. Maybe you’ll take a boat, or a train, or a car, or maybe you too will balloon or otherwise take to the air. either way, explore our world. There’s a lot to see out there, and no time like the present to go and see it.
Oh, to see all of my pictures from the trip, visit Snapzilla. Enjoy!