Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wind Farms & Noodles

Hi Again,  Beth and I went flying again today and loved it!  The visibility was so good & clear we could  almost see the tail of the Viking Witch in front of us!    It's just right about  7:30 am and we're airborne and headed up to Zerbey Airport in Schuykill County. 

You may have read about our last journey up this way back in July. If you haven't, just don't stop reading this page and you'll work your way down there in about 15 minutes. During our last trip up yonder - to here, we were unable to take Peggy & Paul flying because Mother Nature was being mean and throwing lightning bolts all over the place and causing thunderstorms to try and come and get us.  It was a much safer decision to keep sight seeing on the to-do list instead of on the-gotta-do-it-now list.  Weather wouldn't be a factor today and we were on the way to do that sight seeing flight.

Here we are just 10 miles NorthWest of Reading.  The sun had only been up a few minutes and everyone was still sleeping. That is, everyone WAS still sleeping until we buzzed their houses.  Uhm, Sorry 'bout that.  Now that you're awake though, why not get up and bathe all your parts and then witness the rest of the world wakin' up; it's kinda neat.
We were enjoying the view from 500 feet so much, that when we were faced with rising terrain,  we elected to cut through a gap in the ridge lines instead of climbing over them. I've read that there are more trees now than there were 200 years ago because of tree management services.  It's nice to know that they are being watched after.  There were little pockets of fog here and there around wet areas but for the most part the view was unobstructed. 
Beth and I agree that it would be nice to have such an office view. Although we are fairly low - that would still take quite a number of stairs to get us up here and Beth, being the work-out lady she is, would make me walk every one of them every day. Soon it was time to start our final descent into Zerbey.  That's kinda funny actually to read because seeing that we were flying at only 500 feet above the ground for most of the journey, any descent would pretty much be the one and only descent to land.  Still it sounded cool to say "Ladies & Gentleman, we've started our final descent into Schuykill County's Joe Zerbey Airport.  Please return your seats to the upright position and fasten your seatbelts". 
Our seats don't even recline but if you'd have been there,  you'd have laughed - or - got out and walked the rest of the way.

Notice how long the shadows are due to the sun just coming up over the Eastern horizon.

I think many folks would be surprised to see how much wooded area Pennsylvania has. Peggy had arrived via car about the same we landed via Viking Witch, and after passing out hugs & kisses  we all loaded up and headed up to Buck Run Chapel to attend service at the direction of Pastor Paul Schaediger,  Beth's Dad. 

We'd brought extra stuff with us, but had made the flight in our Sunday-go-to-meetin'-clothes to save time once we got there.  Beth looked gorgeous as ever and I looked like a hillbilly wearing a tie.  Another thing that still holds true is, I still can't sing on key or within melody.  Not even knowing what hymn number we were singing, I pretty much did a quick compilation of dotted eighth notes intertwined with rests and triplets - all in 3/4 time - that resulted in a biblical waltz - all sung out of key.  Nobody at Buck Run invited me to join the chior there either. 

Perhaps the looks I got was because I couldn't hear myself singing so I'd sing louder  causing everyone else to sing louder to drowned out my voice.  By the time the hymn was over, everyone in church was perspiring and probably feeling like they were at a football game!  I still think I could sing louder than that nice lady in the front row..

Today's flight would be conducted over Schuykill, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, and  Northumberland County's.

After service, we returned to Pottsville and had lunch while Beths' Dad led the 10:30 service.  This gave us time to change clothes, drink coffee, and catch up on how things were going up in Pottsville since we last been here.  We were looking forward to getting airborne again for our sight seeing flight and Beth's Dad had even mentioned it in church.  I truly hope the flight met his and Peggy's expectations.   After service and lunch we went back to the airport and here my new Co-Pilot Paul assists as we step through the preflight checklist.  "Clear Prop" and we fired her up.   It was such a gorgeous day today and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees. 

Bbefore getting in the aircraft we were watching an old warbird put on an airshow for us just above our heads.  Sure was a purty airpblane!

Old McDonald may have had a farm but he didn't have a litter of wind mills, thank you.

Sitting atop the ridgeline somewhere in Columbia County (I think) stands a very long line of wind units.  From here they don't look all that big huh?  I was truly surprised as we got closer and had something to scale their size against, like a road. I'm guessing there were about 13 units all together and each of them was turning slowly.  Remember the wind was very calm today so during windy days, I bet those blades are rotating quite quickly. 

Notice the road along the top of the ridgeline and perhaps that will put into perspective how large these things are.  I would guestimate that they reach close to 100 feet tall.     On another note, did you notice how the colors have started changing in the background?  Trying to put into words how beautiful the scenery is - acnd actually doing it justice - would take a while.

Beth and I sometimes take along a video camera that I seatbelt into the back seat so we can record how cool the scenery is around us.  Being me, I've already had 2 flights that I forgot to actually turn the video camera on so all we got was a blue screen.  Some people's kids......

We definitely, however, bring along the camera though so we can share all the great  postcard shots
that Mama Nature is giving to us. 

Continuing the 360 degree turn away from Old McDonald's Farm, population centers
started to appear as far as we could see.

I knew the visibility was at least 50 miles because we could see the cooling towers of Pottstown-Limerick
from Zerbery Airport and the distance between them was 54.7 statue miles.

Fourty-five minutes and 5 counties later we returned to Zerbey Airport but the day was not yet over.  Somewhere out there was a big ole bowl of noodles with my name on it and it was time to eat!
Before landing though, we had to take one more shot of the fall colors thatc were covering the ground below - somewhere between Bloomsburg and Hazleton.  Roman Delight was what was on the menu and I was delighted to be roamin into their restaurant.  The choices were many but I had a craving for noodles on white-sauce and unless they told me they didn't have it, I was gonna have it.  We made our orders and continued talking about flights, the kids, the dogs, singing lessons, lack of singing lessons, and noodles. 

We enjoyed our salads and I was gettin' all worked up about the noodle delight that would be heading my way.  Just minutes later, the waitress pushed up a wheel barrow and had her two assistants lift each of our plates up to the table.  Sat there in front of each of us, we a bath tub full of noodles and chickens and sauces and fish.  I think we could have fed the entire Pottsville Jeungling brewery with just what we had ordered.  I wasn't sharing though unless Beth gave me the look and made me.  She didn't and I didnt't. Just kidding, she did and I did.  Ah c'mon honey, I'm just joking,  I would have shared even if you hadn't of pinched my leg under the table. 
Eleven hours of eating and we had to go.  The youngens would be getting home around 7:00 and we still had to fly back to Pottstown-Limerick.  The flight wouldn't take long and I wondered who would get home first between Peggy and Paul, and Beth and I.  They had about 20 miles of surface driving to do and we had about 55 air miles and 2.6 driving miles to reach our home.

Reaching the airport, we passed out hugs and thanked them for another wonderful day.  I hadn't mentioned the race to get home and but did tell them that we'd wave from the air.  This way, we'd get a head start - unbeknownst to them that we were even in a race.   We got airborne, waived (honestly) and made a direct steer towards the runway at Pottstown Limerick.  I had mentioned earlier that we
could see the cooling towers of the nuclear facility and that's what I had the Viking Witch pointed at. The ride was smooth the entire trip home and we enjoyed the view of the ground sweeping by 500 feet below us at 135 miles an hour. 

We entered the traffic pattern at Pottstown Limerick between another Cherokee and a home built "Vans" aircraft.  When it was our turn, we landed softly and taxied up to parking.  After tieing the Viking Witch down and putting her cover on her, we headed home after a wonderful day.   Thanks Mama Nature for playing nice.

Oh, we called Peggy and Paul to let them know that we'd arrived safely and learned they had beat us home by 2 minutes.  We're 0-1 (for the race that they didn't know we were having) but there will be a next time.  I hope, uhm, they don't misplace their keys at the airport the next time we're up there.  I'll hold them for you, honest!

Ya'll Be Particular!

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