Friday, February 5, 2016

"Let's take a trip to Niagara; this time we'll visit the falls"


A couple of years ago, I asked my partner Ziki if she had ever blogged any Mainland destinations. Her response was to wrinkle her nose and ask, “Why??” I grinned, but I think that’s a pretty typical view of Mainland in Second Life: people complain that the builds are random and often ugly, that there is a lot of low-hanging sky clutter, and that abandoned parcels are everywhere. There is truth to all of those complaints. But Mainland also contains some wonderful hidden gems, expansive transportation networks, and some strong, tight-knit and welcoming communities like Bay City and East River. The resident/builder “moles” of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) have created road and trail systems on each of the ten Mainland continents*, and their creative and often humorous builds dot the landscape. In this blog, I plan to highlight places on the Mainland which are well worth a visit...or two!

Mainland advertisement from the ever-delightful LDPW
 
After deciding to write about these vast and oft-maligned regions, I was pondering exactly where to begin. Should I start with listing the Mainland continents and giving some history about each? What about highlighting one iconic location, like the sim DaBoom, or the volcano Mt. G'al? Should I start in Bay City, my home away from home on the Grid? Finally, I opened the World Map to Sansara, the first Mainland continent, clicked at random, landed on a small island, and almost immediately had to duck out of the way of an airplane. That small island is the only spot of dry land in the sim Kremer, and consists mainly of a sandy airstrip and a rez zone. A cluster of mostly empty shacks dots the south end of the island, and on the north end, a single wooden pier hosts a working sailboat giver. From there one can set sail across the oddly-named Bay of Space Pigs to such iconic destinations as the Beanstalk.

But first, what’s that big, concrete arrow on the ground nearby?

In first life, a transcontinental air mail route was initiated by the US Post Office in 1920, but those were the days before radar or even any decent aviation charts. Pilots had to navigate from New York to San Francisco and back using only landmarks, which made flying in bad weather or at night nearly impossible. Responding to that situation, in 1924 the Postal Service created a series of bright yellow concrete arrows, connected to beacon towers and placed every ten miles along the route. Most of the beacon towers were torn down in the 1940’s and their steel reclaimed for the war effort, but many of the big concrete arrows remain.  Click here for more information and a wonderfully illustrated 1929 map of the arrow route. In Second Life, the arrow and accompanying beacon at the Kremer airstrip are a nod to this early form of navigation.

There are a great number of very active aviation communities in Second Life, and most of them are located on Mainland sims. The advantage of Mainland for travel is that each of the continents is at least 100 sims linked together, making long distance trips possible. Sim crossings and ban lines can make these trips especially interesting! So pay a visit to Kremer, rez a plane or grab a free boat, and set off on your own adventure. The Mainland awaits! 

"Let's get away from it all"

* There are ten Mainland continents - not counting the Wilderness or Premium Home sims - and those ten are listed here starting with the oldest: Sansara, Heterocera, the Sharp Continent (the old Teen Grid), Jeogeot, Nautilus, Satori, Corsica, Gaeta 1, Gaeta 5, and Zindra.

12 comments:

  1. Hi, this post was awesome, not only did I get the connection to SL2.0 being called Sansar, with your mention of the first continent being Sansara, but I also got a history lesson. I always find Second Life Residents fascinating, in that their RL love of history or travel etc can produce something in world that represents that, even down to some what others may see as random arrows on the ground, in their own right have a very rich story to tell.

    Thank you for this post and thank you for your ability to point out these things so incredibly well.

    Sasy Scarborough

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Sasy! I love the care with which residents continue to create this world, and the moles (Michael Linden, head LDPW mole, actually built the arrow) are especially great with their meaningful, detailed, and often wryly humorous builds.

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  2. I have to admit that I haven't visited the mainland all that much since starting out in SL, but those few times I have been on the mainland, I have been confronted with those odd builds that Ziki wrinkles her nose at. :) Now I'll be on the lookout for those you have explored. This post was great and like Sasy commented, the RL history lesson was particularly of interest. thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Sophia...I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. As one of the founders of East River I fully agree with your views on Mainland. We founded East River with the intent that creating an attractive and cohesive community was possible on Mainland. My congratulations for your new blog. I have added it to my RSS feeder and will help sharing.

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    1. Ah... and thank you for the mention. :)

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    2. You're very welcome, Indigo, and when I do a post on East River, I'll give you a shout for some background!

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  4. Congratulations on the launch of Mainland Matters!

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  5. I am very pleased with this blog and am excited to continue reading. Back in the first few months into SL,(8 years ago with my first avi) I bought my first piece of mainland and built like crazy. In a short time I had ridiculous lag and my friends convinced me it was a mainland fault and that I should, as the trend was, move to an island. I didn't realize it was probably my own fault with my newbie building skills, and have regretted the loss of that piece of land ever since. After a couple years I went back to mainland and got a nice piece of ocean front property on top of Corsica. I came to love the diversity of mainland. I found it inspiring. I felt lonely on island estates. And talk about ugly builds; quartered sand lot sims with six people living there with all different in-cohesive themes. I love exploring mainland, riding the trains, sailing the seas,driving the roads and the history.I find it sad how empty it has become. I hope this blog with help revitalize it some.

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    1. Wonderful to hear, Shakti! It is an awful lot of fun to explore, isn't it? :)

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