Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alfred University, Alfred New York

Flight Progress Strip 4G6 IFR To Wings Field, Copyright OtisAir 2008

Good Morning! Today we flew up to Alfred University in New York to see Nicole. She’s attending college up yonder and we wanted to fly up to see her since she wasn’t able to get down herself this weekend. The forecast called for a beautiful day all day long, we grabbed our sunglasses and camera and headed out the door. It appeared (at that time) that the forecasters had hit it right on the mark; it was a beautiful day and the wind was calm, no clouds, about 60 degrees, and all was well.

On the way to the airport we stopped by Duncan Donuts to get a coffee and then continued our journey to Wings to pick up the Viking Witch, N8388W. This was gonna be a very photographic flight, I just knew it. All things being said, I still filed IFR as I figured there would be 19,319 weekend flyers out doing the same thing we were so I wanted that extra set of eyes (air traffic controllers) watching over our progress and issuing traffic calls along the way. We received our departure clearance, which was just the opposite of the image at the top of this blog (that’s our return flight plan) and were cleared to our destination airport via Pottstown-Limerick VOR to intercept the Victor 29 airway to East Texas VOR. From there we’d join V164 to Wellsville VOR to shoot the VOR approach into our destination, Hornell Airport in Hornell New York.

Just after getting airborne we could see the morning fog hugging the ground to the north. The ride was beautifully smooth though and the temp dropped quickly to around 50. NICE! I was loving it and Beth was trying to figure out how to get a campfire going to warm up. There is a heather in the plane, but it has only 2 settings: Off and Burning Up! It only took me about 100 miles or so to realize I had my vent open and as quickly as I closed it, the color came back to Beth’s little fingers, bless her. She’d have hit me I’m sure but her arms were frozen to her sides; po lil thing was shivering just like a baby Chihuahua at a Bigfoot Convention.

Yo Quiero Taco Bell  warm blanketo?  SLAP!

Once we crossed over East Texas (ETX), which is just West-Southwest of Allentown and began our journey up airway Victor 164, the clouds started showing in the distance. Sure enough, another 15 minutes flying time and we were now in and out of the clouds. They were the big fat white puffy clouds though so Beth wasn’t too concerned, opposed to the thunderstorm clouds that we’d inadvertently gotten in to once before. Those weren’t fun and could have easily ended up with skidders as lightning was all over us, hail just to the west, moderate to heavy rain beating down on us, and Chicago’s unwillingness to take us over the city while enroute to Oshkosh. Those Brown-eyes!

Anyway, today’s journey up to Alfred was very smooth and an enjoyable ride the entire way. We played in the clouds along the way up and got a few pictures along the way:

This is one of the lecture halls at Alfred University where Nicole is going to school.  The campus is build within the rolling hills of Alfred New York and is a beautiful campus.   Equine stuff is what attracted Nicole to this school.  She's on the college Equestrian Team and must have a screw loose because she actually drives a horse right at a fence until the horse gets scared and jumps over the dadgum thing. It would be my luck that the horse would stop and send me crashing through the fence then gingerly walk around me.  Alpo here we come!  SLAP! Sorry Honey. &#$%glue#&%~!alpo%#$*%# Nothing Dear I was coughing.

As we were walking around the campus we noticed lots of pretty landscape being maintained.  The campus itself is quite clean and the students all seemed to be very friendly.  Of course, since this was family weekend, the students were on their best behavior. I wonder if, as quickly as the last parents left, the wild parties started and they all lost their minds.  I'll have to watch the news closely tonight.  We'd missed getting to go into the campus book store by 20 minutes.  Being just a few minutes late is a recurring thing this week as you may remember we were 3 minutes late for Jamestown just a few days ago.  Po Us, No Books.

Alfred University, Copyright OtisAir 2008Alfred University, Copyright OtisAir 2008Alfred University, Copyright OtisAir 2008
A few more campus shots.  It's a really pretty school and it appears that Nicole is really liking it a lot.

Too soon, it was time to head back to the airport and head back home.  I could tell by the building clouds that the forecast was definitely going to be proved incorrect.  I had already filed an IFR (flying in the clouds) flight plan but I wanted to check the weather again just to make sure it wasn't going to get crazy on the way back home.  "Just a few isolated developments" was the story I received.  We loaded up the Viking Witch and took off enroute to Wings Field.  The cloud ceiling was down to 500 feet so we immediately entered the clouds and would see the ground for another hour or so. 

A couple of times we did "break out" into clear pockets with clouds all around us, but for the most part just stayed inside the clouds and watched the instruments. Everything was going well until lightning struck right in front of us.  We couldn't be for sure exactly how far in front of us since we were in the clouds, but I'm thinking a quarter mile maye.  It was enough to make me nearly suck the seat up my you-know-what.  We hooked at 4G turn to the right, then requested to deviate to the south and continue our journey in just a few miles.  We entered a heavy downpour but the ride was still smooth and no more lightning.


I thought this one was sort of cool because we could see our own shadow on the wall of a cloud as we had intermittent breaks in the clouds to our west. 
The journey itself is about an hour and 45 minutes and we landed just about  sunset but not late enough for the flighttime to be considered night time for logging purposes.

So there we were, crusin' home with the sun going down.  Just before the sun descended over the horizon, we took a quick shot of it as she was turning out the lights.  After landing, we put the Viking Witch's bed clothes on her and headed for the barn.  A Really Fun Day!

Ya'll be safe and we'll write about another adventure soon!  Be Particular!  Beth and Shane

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Williamsburg Virginia - Day Seven

Jamestown Virginia, Copyright OtisAir 2008

Well, it's Saturday and very hard to believe that we'd been in Williamsburg  for a week already.  Today we had to head back towards Phoenixville Pennsylvania, but didn't do so until later in the day after we used up the day having fun.  We started the day off by getting the bikes out that we'd drug all the way down there with us and hadn't yet rode.  It wasn't a super long trip but still 8 miles wasn't a bad way to start the day out. We completed the bike ride, got ready, packed, and loaded the car all before 9:00 am so we were definitely not wasting time this morning.


During our bike ride, we rode up a dirt road to some ranch and bed and breakfast.  The property was really nice and although we were just off a main road, it felt as if we were a hundred miles out in the middle of nowhere. We also stopped at a garage sale, but not having any money with us, and not having any way to carry back anything we bought, we only took a quick peek at what was being offered.  I think it was a 2 wheeled Big Wheel (missing one wheel), a 500 year old weber grill, and 3 worn out tires.  Again, it was a tough call but we elected to not buy anything.   

P9200018We had been wanting to take a look at the model homes in Ford Colony since we'd been there and each time we jogged by them, we didn't want to stop because Beth was afraid I'd lay down to rest and not get up till the rented police fella came and had me removed.  Since we were leaving, via car, we stopped in to tour the place before heading out for good.  The two Southern homes that were being modeled were gorgeous! 


We started to write a check for one of the homes until they told us that the monthly mortgage would be just a dollar or two over $10,000.  I decided I better put my elastic checkbook back in my pocket and walk quietly out the door.  I can't believe they wouldn't take an I O U.   The two houses were definitely purty.

We hung out at the model homes for about 30 minutes walking around and taking a bunch of photo's and then departed for Jamestown.  If you remember from an earlier blog, we'd been to Jamestown a couple of days prior, but arrived 3 minutes after they closed all the attractions.  This time we'd be there in time and have fresh batteries in the camera.  It really surprising how small the original Jamestown is, but then again, thinking about it, there wasn't a lot of folks on the ship that landed.  The James River has really widened it's edges since the original landing and some of it is now underwater out in the river.  The story of how researchers found Jamestown is pretty interesting. Archeologists searched and searched further out in the river until one day a professor said "why don't you try digging closer to the church?  Back in those days, the church was the center of everything." The first shovel full dug at the new location proved successful in find Jamestown.  Today, there is much digging going on.  Many things have been found and reburied as the earth provides the best protector of artifacts.

origHere is an artists rendition of what the original Jamestown looked like.  Notice that the left front corner is shaded, indicating that it's now part of the river and underwater.  Some of the front right corner is also underwater.  The whole size of the original Jamestown was just over an acre in size.  Eventually, there were over 60,000 folks all over the immediate area and part of Jamestown. 

You can see some of the digging that is still going on.  Things continued to be found even today.  Just this past summer a gold ring was found, along with a couple of dishes.  That's amazing! 
The whole area just outside of Jamestown itself is very swampy and filled with 22 bazillion skeeters.  We read signs stating that the water was quite stagnant and its dirtiness and disease infested state was the reason that many many Jamestownians (I made that word up) died.  The water, along with starving to death caused the death of over 2/3 of the Jamestown population.  Scientists determined that the Jamestown landing took place right in the middle of a 3 year drought.  It was so bad, the people were eating their own horses and leather from their shoes.  Today, we couldn't imagine such a thing. 

We walked about the area for a couple of hours and really found it very interesting stopping to look at all the structures still standing.  We learned the reasons for the ditches and mounds that marked the owners property. The trenches also served as sewage and a place to dump their trash.  Another place we learned to dump trash was the wells scattered throughout the area.  Water wells had to be dug to an exact depth.  Too shallow would be disease infested, too deep would be terribly nasty tasting.  I'd have hated to be the taste tester!  The structure to the left is actually not the original structure, it's buried.  This is a replica of what was there before 350 years of soil turning over and burying the original foundations.  At the time, tobacco was so popular that all the trees you see in the area were cut down and tobacco planted in every square inch of useable soil. 

After an enjoyable visit to Jamestown, we jumped in the car and headed up the road towards Richmond.  Our destination was the Berkely Plantation which is world famous.  Unlike we were taught in school, the first Thanksgiving actually occurred here at Berkely Plantation a whole year prior to what's written in the history books.  Am I sure?  You bet! President George W Bush presented the official documentation acknowledging that the first Thanksgiving actually did occur here.  The first 10 presidents also spent much time at the Berkely Plantation and President Lincoln dismissed one of his general's during the Civil War because the general had a sit and wait approach and Lincoln wanted a seek and destroy leader.  President Bush did last years State Of The Union Addresses from the grounds of Berkely Plantation. 

P9200101Right:  There You have it, officially!
Below: Here you can also see a cannonball lodged into the side of the kitchen and laundry building.  I guess the didn't like what was being served.  Actually, this occurred in 1862 during an attack by General J B Stuart.
We stayed at the Berkely Plantation for a couple of hours and took a tour of the inside of the main house.  It's still occupied (top floor) by the owner but the lower level is completely used for tours. The funds received from the tours are used to pay for the annual taxes as this property is privately owned and not state or nationally subsidized. 
There was a replica of the ship that brought the settles in but during the hurricane a couple of years ago, the ship got busticated and hasn't been rebuilt. 
The stop here was worth it!

  Long about 4 o'clock pm, we decided we should start heading back towards home and get rested up as we're flying up to Alfred New York tomorrow to see Nicole there at the university. 

The weather is forecasted to be real nice so it should be a fun day.

Thanks for reading along about our vacation.  We hope you enjoyed the recount of what we've been doing for the last 7 days, with one more day to go before heading back in to work. 

Ya'll be particular and we'll see you again soon.  We'll post some pictures of tomorrow's flight here on the blog as well.


Beth and Shane

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Williamsburg Virginia - Day Six


Hello Again!  What a busy day we had today.  I lost out on my pledge last night when I said I was gonna fake an injury.  Beth woke me up this morning at 20 minutes after 6:00 am and told me that I was gonna get to try out my new shoes after all.  There was no bruising to my dislocated feet and my ankles had not swollen like I had told her I was sure that they would.  We ran.  I didn't wanna run, I wanted to eat donuts and drink coffee and sit in the living room in my boxer shorts and play with the dog. But noooooooooo, Miss Jogger USA wanted to run!   "I got an idea! Why don't you go and" SLAP!  "Honey, let's go joggin, I said."


I get tired just looking at our route.  She ran about 20 miles an hour I guess and finished in 30 minutes.  I finished sometime after lunch so doesn't that mean I get a beer?  Don't you eyeball me.  Beer has all sorts of healthy bits like barley and wheat and hops and vitamin B and 2 vitamin E's and a vitamin R is what I heard.

These Garmin Forerunners work really well so I can always prove that I went running.  Except for this afternoon of course.  I wore it all day but she wouldn't believe that I jogged 143.7 miles and averaged 71mph.  I can't believe she didn't believe me.

We really did go 143.7 miles this afternoon but obviously, it wasn't on foot.  I'll tell you about it in a minute or two, whenever you get down to the bottom of today's blog entry.

After joggin, and before the sun hardly climbed above the horizon, we showered, ate yogurt (yuck) and got in the car and drove to Historic Williamsburg to look around.  That was cool!  We took over 100 pictures while we were there and ate sammiches and had a beer and petted a horse and saw a cow and bought a postcard. Here's a few pictures we took....

Entrance to the Historic Williamsburg area.  It's a beautiful place, but again, we were a bit disappointed when they wanted money to see everything doggone near.  It may be hard to tell it here, but the "table" on the bottom of the picture is a replica of Williamsburg with 3D building sticking out of the table.  It's equipped with street names and and the surrounding terrain. A beautiful waterfall trickles down in the back ground.  Very Nice!

I had to laugh because I told Beth I could read sundials (just after I looked at my watch). She was amazed that I knew it was 11 minutes after 1:00 pm!

The Redcoats are here!  Officers rode around on horseback whilst the enlisted troops marched along on foot.  Those uniforms have to be hot and they are authentically made of wool.  No Thank You Ma'am!  There were several places that we couldn't go without giving them more money so.....we didn't go.  Don't get me wrong, they did a really nice job maintaining everything, but I felt like everytime I turned around, they were asking us for more money.  Negative on that one!

Some dude was hittin' on Beth.  She said he introduced himself as Thomas Jefferson but I bet he was just trying to act cool.
There were tons of shops and buildings to look in and shop at.  There were speakers and story tellers (that we missed, bummer) and there were guided tours all about the area.  We'll have to plan another trip down this way soon. It sure is a beautiful area.

The time here was really fun.  To see the whole slideshow of pictures we took of Colonial Williamsburg, please click HERE.


Again, we had a really fun time in Colonial Williamsburg and while we were there, we stepped out of the "towne" and entered into the market area cause Beth had some power shopping she "needed" to do.  On of the first stores we came upon was a Peanut store that sounded fun so we went in.  The fact that they had dog bowls outside with water and biscuits made us like the place before we even went in.  When we got inside, I almost had to laugh out loud because there were many opened peanuts cans allowing people to take taste tests.  The funny part is, the BAPE's (Big-Arsed Peanut Eaters) SLAP! sorry, the "occupiers-of-more-space-peanut-eaters put such serious looks on their faces as they were cramming their hands into the cans of peanuts.  They looked like they were professional wine tasters as they approached the peanut cans with slobber on their chins and twinkles in their eyes.  SLAP... sorry honey,  the non-starved starving peanuts eaters enjoyed their jobs as peanut taste testers very much. 

As you can tell by the large bag in the background, Beth was successful at her shopping adventure and found a Williams-Sonoma store that was calling her name.  After all that touring and shopping, we were starving.  I only had one beer for lunch (it was 34 ounces & YAY! For lunch, we ate at "The Cheese Shop" and it was delicious.  We still had a few more hundred-thousand places to see before the day was over so we finished our lunch and headed back out on the tourist scene to continue our journey back in time.   I was enjoying the day but looking forward to stopping by the Piggly Wiggly on the way back to the room and buying a couple of big ole thick steaks, along with some corn still in the shuck, and asparagus, and sweet potato's to cook all on the grill.  Hmmm Hmmmm mmmm!  Just a few more minutes and we'd be on the way to start the grill!  Nice!

Here's a quaint little colonial house with some folks sitting outside chatting.  I bet the conversation was quite a bit different back then. Not any less important mind you, but quite a bit difference.  What would you talk about?  No internet, no email, no tv, no football, no aircraft, no space shuttle, no radio... I guess we'd talk about chickens and heffers.  Speaking of which, we saw a few.

What a fun looking tree to climb!P9190078

Look at that cute lil thing.  I suppose back in the day, these cattle were like gold.  I've no idea how old this little thing is, but it sure does look cute though.  I'm not sure what the purpose of the harness is on it's little head, but it looks like it can get in the way of it opening it'll little mouth and getting a hooter in to have a swaller of milk.  Well, I think at least that it'll lead a long and happy grass-eating life and not be put in the veal line.  You go little fella!


Honey,  I know it's 5:00 o'clock PM, but can we go to Virginia Beach?


So at 5:00 pm tonight, we left to go 70-something miles to Virginia Beach Virginia, and I don't know why?  This will be fun, a nice long walk along the beach watching the sun go down (behind us) cause we'll be looking to the East at the water while the sun goes down behind us.
The beach was beautiful when we go there. The bird population though, was 50,000 birds to 1 acre of beach land. Don't look up!

We had been to the beach for about 6 minutes and had just only seen the water and wave for 22 seconds when I heard....
OK, we can go back now.


uh uh, oh no we ain't.  We drove 900 miles to Virginia Beach at midnight and we ain't just turning around and leaving now.  We're doing something!  Damnit!


K, honey, uhm, ouch!?

We walked about a mile down the beach and went into the Maui Maui restaurant located inside the Radisson Hotel.  We had a great seafood dinner at 10:00 pm and then left to go back to Williamsburg.  It's 12:45 am tomorrow now so I'm going to bed.  Ya'll be safe and be particular!

Shane & Beth 

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Williamsburg Virginia - Day Five


Amelia Did It! or maybe it was Earnest!  No No Wait, I think it was Lemont.  Maybe!

Well hello again.  This afternoon/evening turned out to be pretty fun; this morning, EARLY this morning, Beth made us go to the gym to lift weights, and then during the business hours of the day,  Beth had some followup work to do, but that's not a problem because it gave me the chance to work on next weeks Penn State lesson, which if you remember from an earlier blog is the ADDIE model. Beth is working on Excel spreadsheet stuff that spawned from her meeting in Austin on Tuesday so we both planted our behiney's in the living room and worked till 3:55 pm; honest!  The dog didn't move the whole time either.

We looked at the various brochures for the area an know of a few places that we want to go while we're here.  For starters, we're definitely going to visit the "Historic Triangle" which includes Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Having already been to Yorktown, we have Williamsburg and Jamestown remaining.  We took off and headed to Jamestown after getting ready and arrived at 5:03pm  Bummer! They closed Jamestown at 5:00!  Po thing, Beth stood out front with her bottom-lip sticking out.  We'll have to get over there tomorrow or Saturday. We are supposed to check out on Saturday but that doesn't mean we have to leave in the morning!  There's still lots to see around here!  Oh Yeah!

Entrance to the Jamestown Settlement.  The only "sad" thing about it is, they completely commercialized it and charge you to even look at it.  This is quite different from Valley Forge where we live. One can spend all day in the park (often we do) and never be charged a dime. Plus, there are running/jogging/riding routes all over the place.  It's nice to run, I mean the view is nice while running although the running part ain't fun.  I'm filing for workman's comp if she makes me run anymore damnit!  SuuuuLAPPPPP!

I was looking at Beth, Beth was looking at a boat, and the boat was flying up the James River making all the wildlife lose their minds.  I do wish the park had been open because just up the waterway floats three large historically accurate replica's of the ships of the day.  We didn't see them so I don't know if they were the Santa Anna, Santa Barbara, And Santa Claus.

We drove along Colonial Parkway for a little bit and snapped a couple of photos from the information posts that are stuck in here and there.

Jamestown:  Across the swamp lies Jamestown Island; Powhatan Creek below you, takes its name from the Indian Chief. To the right is Glasshouse Point, place of early glassmaking and later a part of the suburb of "James Cittie"

Neck Of Land - near "James Citty": This area, like a peninsula and bounded on three sides by marsh, is just across Buck River from Jamestown Island. In 1625 there were a number of houses and 25 persons were living here.  The settlement had close community ties to "James Citty" and sent representatives to the General Assembly there.

The sun down here has been really nice, and except for the humidity, the weather has been quite perfect.  Surprisingly, I have only been bitten a couple of times by skeeters and Beth's hasn't been bitten once.  Beth wanted to buy a sweater before the dinner theatre tonight so we left closed-up Jamestown and headed for the shopping center.  I still hadn't gotten nuthin', but that is about to change.  YAY

Marshalls' Is The Bomb!  I was throwing stuff in the grocery cart like a crazy woman at a shoe sale!


Beth found a pair of shoes and a sweater that she is wearing right now, but I found 3 pairs of shoes, 3 socks, 2 Zune speakers, and 2 history books on the area.  I was so tickled pink that I was grinning from ear to ear like a mule eatin' bryars! Mmmm Hmmmm.

Whilst Beth was in Austin working, I had been online trying to find plays that were showing in the area so we could go out one night and get educated to the finer thespian and theatrical events of the area.  She didn't know I was doing this and therefore couldn't suggest to me the lateral limits of which theatrical performances I could select from.  As a result, I picked GhostBashers at the all-you-can-eat Captain Georges house of seafood, grits, and hominy.  We had a brilliant time!

Captain George's is huge!  It has a seating capacity in its main restaurant area of 800 people. Honest!  We had to stand out in the back yard to get our tickets - no, not from a scalper - but the entrance to the theater area. Some dude in pajama's walked out to brief us on what would be happening as we approached the hour of 7:00 pm.  He would come out every 5 minutes beginning at 6:30 to tell us the same thing; I think he was crazy too.  When we finally got seated, Beth needed a beer or four!  Ok Ok, perhaps those ALL weren't Beth's, but then again......

The pajama'd fella led us all into the buffet area and turned us loose, table by table.  I started with all the unhealthy fried stuff (oysters, fish, clams, chitlens, grits, tomatos, ice-cream, shrimp, mussells, and donuts), while Beth started with a salad.

The lady sitting next to me started with dessert and a lot of it.  I was nervous that all the cheese cake and rice pudding would be eaten by this lady before I had a chance to choke some down.  We had 30 minutes to eat before the show started, but we would be allowed to go back during intermission 1 and intermission 2.  At intermission 1, Beth and I ran back and got a couple of small desserts and a fresh Yueng-Ling. Intermission 2 somehow found me at the fried chicken pit holding a chicken's breast in one hand and a piece of cornbread in the other.  I managed to eat my own body weight tonight.  The lights dimmed and the show began ...

When we were first seated, the cast members came to each table (We were table 2, front-row center), and passed out a clue sheet and money that we would use to buy clues.  The show was about a series of hauntings and shortly after the show starts, one of the main characters is murdered!  Lawd Ham Mercy!  Through the rest of the show, the audience attempts to solve the murder case using their clue sheet and filling in the blanks as they are acted out on stage.  Beth and I both figured it out!  Ok, Beth figured it out and I figured she was right, especially after I looked at the dessert lady's clue sheet and she had the same thing too so I copied their sheets and joined them on the slueth's list.

This fella is Emmet, who is one of the GhostBashers.  I wanna be a GhostBasher too!  He's been called out to assist in capturing ghosts here at the Quarterway House.  The house was built in 1630 and believed to have been built on an ancient Indian burial ground and the place of the death of Chief Powhatan.  The Quarterway House has become one of Virginia's most historic and well-known Bed and Breakfasts.

This is Pete McGowan, owner of the Bed and Breakfast  where the haunting and the murder takes place.  Not sure if you can see them in this picture of not, but the picture of the lady on wall there to the right has eyes that light up.  I think she has pink eye or something.

After the show, Beth asked them if we could take their picture and the next thing we knew, they had drug us up on stage and some other fella had our camera and was snappin' photo's left and right. 
We really did have fun and I'm so happy that we went.  The food was superb and the performance showed us a great time.  If you ever find yourself in Williamsburg, you may want to go down to Captain George's and have some grits and a show. You'll not be disappointed!


We had a great night tonight and I can't wait till tomorrow to get up and do some more fun stuff.  This orange/pink picture by the way is the inside of my hand. I was just about to snap a photo during the show when all the lights went out (by design) and I didn't want the flash going off and spoiling a surprise that they might be working to setup so I covered the camera with my hand.  We just thought it was a cool looking background color for something so there you go!  Alrighty then, its time for bed as it's almost midnight again.  Shhhh, Beth thinks we're going running tomorrow but I'm about to act like a pull a muscle here in about 5 minutes. I'll let you know how it turns out.  G'Night Ya'll, Be Particular.

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