Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Picture of the Day: November 20th to November 26th

November 20th: Dinner of champions! Pizza, tater tots, and a bourbon and ginger ale. You're supposed to color coordinate what you eat, right?

November 21st: My buddy Bob came over to the hangar and helped me get my bigger tools set up. I actually cut sheet metal with my band saw...you have no idea how happy that makes me! I'm one healthy step closer to getting started on my kit. I know it'll be hard to make much progress over the next month or so with the holidays, but once things calm down I'm planning to spend lots of quality time in my shop.   :)

November 22nd: Mark and I had our Thanksgiving today since we'll be spending actual Thanksgiving at work. We roasted a chicken, and had stuffing, veggie mac and cheese, Brussels sprouts, challah buns, and cranberry sauce. It all turned out really well!

November 23rd: Actual Thanksgiving! I stuck with my tradition: watch the Macy's parade while I eat leftovers (in this case, homemade bread pudding), drink coffee, and read the Washington Post and all of the sale papers. We went to work in the afternoon, where we spent most of the shift hanging out and stuffing our faces.

November 24th: My mom sent me a really neat birthday card; the inside was a pop-up airplane that you can detach and turn into an ornament! It was pretty cool.   :)

November 25th: I had to make a quick stop at my hangar on the way home from work. If I hadn't been so tired, I would have gone up for a quick flight...the sunset was gorgeous!

November 26th: We both worked day/mid and had a very hectic afternoon in between! We had a flight to catch first thing the next morning, so we had to get the dogs to the kennel, finish packing, and close up the house before we left for work. I was counting down the minutes until we left...I couldn't wait for a few days of warmer weather!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Shenandoah Hiking

We lucked out and actually got some fall weather this year! I almost didn't know what to do with myself with all of the nice weather in October. Mark and I decided to take advantage of it and tried out a new hike up in Shenandoah.

The hike would eventually take us up to Little Stony Man Cliffs, via the Appalachian Trail. It was a pretty straightforward out-and-back hike, and was about 4 miles round trip.

We saw a wild turkey along the way! I've never seen one of these up in Shenandoah before, and it was only a few feet off the trail.

It kept a sharp eye on us as we walked past, but it left us alone.

In some spots, the trail ran right below Skyline Drive; we could see the walls of a few of the overlooks as we hiked along. We may have pretended to be bears at one point when we heard voices above us at the overlook.   :)

After a little while, we made it to Little Stony Man Cliffs. The view was pretty nice...

...and the visibility was fantastic.





We hung out at the top for a little while...

...then eventually started making our way back to the car.

Some of the leaves had already blown off the trees, but there was a little fall color here and there. We made it back to the car after a little while. No more turkeys, but we did make some more bear noises below the overlooks.   :)

We had driven Mark's Datsun up to Skyline Drive, and we stopped at a few overlooks on the way out. It was a perfect day to cruise around in a car like that! We eventually made our way out of the park...

...and stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Turns out you can fit an entire shopping cart of groceries in the back and still have space left over. Overall, it was a fun hike and drive!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Picture of the Day: November 13th to November 19th

November 13th: Mark had to make a short-notice trip to NJ for a few days, so I made sure to do enough hanging out with the doggies and a drink in front of the fire for both of us.

November 14th: I spent the day doing some odds and ends around the house and the airport. I did at least stop for a break to catch a pretty sunset.

November 15th: I finally got checked out in the flight school's C172. It's a little bit older than mine, so there are a few differences, but nothing crazy. I did learn the hard way to watch out for the giant step on the landing gear; I hit my leg HARD as I got out of the plane and got a baseball-sized bruise as a souvenir. Oof.

November 16th: Back to work. I spent most of my breaks in the cafeteria, editing pictures on my computer.

November 17th: I made a quick stop at the airport in the morning to pick up my Mercedes. As if things haven't been crazy enough lately, I have to take some time to go get it inspected down in Fredericksburg next week. Fun fun!

November 18th: Today was Remington's 5k Turkey Trot! I wound up having to sit out this year, thanks to the giant bruise on my leg I got from flying a few days earlier. Mark ran, though, and got first in his age group (and 5th overall)! We now have a 15 lb. frozen turkey in our freezer.   :)

November 19th: It was such a nice afternoon, I was a bit sad that I had the mid and had to sleep instead of playing outside with the doggies in the sun.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Millers Come to VA

When I was in Arizona last year, my friends Timmy and Tara mentioned that they were probably going to do a big East Coast trip sometime in 2017 with their son, Canyon, and their dog, Simba. I had been following their trip on Facebook and knew they had left Maine and were making their way south when I got a text from Timmy asking if I wanted to meet up at the Culpeper Air Fest. He had no idea that I had already arranged to work there for the day to talk to people about ATC, so it was perfect!

They had been mostly parking their camper in Walmart parking lots overnight, so I invited them to park in our driveway for a few days instead. They got there Friday night while Mark and I were still at work, but Timmy came over to say hi and hang out for a little bit Friday night after we got home. We didn't hang out too late that night, though...I still had to get up early for the AirFest the next day.

It was IFR when I got there in the morning, but at least it wasn't pouring like it had been the year before! The weather was forecast to improve as the day went on, too. I set up the canopy and table while I waited for my buddy Joe to arrive. They had this sweet warbird parked right in front of the table at the beginning of the day...not a bad view!

The weather started to clear up and Timmy and Tara arrived shortly before the airshow began. They wandered around a bit, then came back to watch the show from the shade of our canopy. Joe and I took turns manning the table to talk about ATC and wandering around, checking out the planes and catching up with some pilot buddies.

They had a pretty good show; I wish I had my better camera! (Oh well, next year!) We finished out the day with a really good turnout, then packed everything up and headed back to our house. Mark ran out and picked up some pizzas from The Brick in Warrenton, and we spent the evening hanging out and catching up.

I had originally been scheduled to work day/mid the next day, but I was able to get leave from the day shift so I could spend a bit more time with my buddies before they had to leave. There were a bunch of things we would have liked to squeeze into the trip, but since we only had one day, we decided to go for a hike up in Shenandoah, then head over to HWY so they could see my hangar before I had to grab a nap in the afternoon to go work the mid.

The weather hadn't looked very nice at our house that morning, but the webcams up in Shenandoah were showing clear skies. We drove up to Skyline Drive, and by the time we got to the top...

...we were well above the clouds. I've wanted to get a picture like this for years!   :)

Timmy, Canyon, and Tara. We stopped at one of the overlooks to enjoy the view for a little while.

I could have sat there all day, just watching the clouds drift around, but we had hiking to do!

We decided to hike up to the summit of Hawksbill, which is the tallest peak in the park at 4050'. I'm used to being up in Shenandoah in the middle of the week, so it was definitely weird to see so many cars parked at the start of the trail.

Timmy and Tara brought Canyon's carrier backpack, but Canyon didn't want any part of it and did a fair amount of the hike up himself. The first mile is fairly steep, so it was nice to hike with someone more my speed: slow!   :)

We did eventually make it to the top. Visibility was great, and there were lots of other people up there enjoying the view, too.

Initially, Canyon thought the ocean was on the other side of the cliff. Um, nope! Tara walked with him up to the edge so he could see the valley.

It was pretty clear out to the west, but the lower clouds were still hanging around to the north and east. It made for a neat view from the summit.

That's Old Rag on the right. I'll eventually hike that again!

We hung out at the top for a little while. I took a bunch of pictures of the views...

...while Canyon played with the pointer on the compass.

We took a couple last looks around...

...then eventually started back down toward the car.


We took a different trail down from the summit. It's not as steep, but it's a bit longer. Canyon was alternating between wanting to hike and wanting to be carried (but NOT in the carrier), so we took a little break off the side of the trail.

Canyon wanted me to take pictures of all of his silly faces.


My favorite, his "stank" face.   :)

After a little while we met up with the Appalachian Trail and followed that for a mile or so until we got back to the car. Timmy thought it was really cool that we were hiking on the actual Appalachian Trail. I don't think Canyon was as impressed.

After hiking, we went over to the airport and I showed them my hangar. Timmy was impressed with the planes, but the highlights for Canyon were my Krazy Kart (basically, a tiny go kart), and a big puddle in the front of my hangar. We hung out for a little while, then went back to my house. I took a nap, then worked the mid, while they went out for dinner and some errands.

They had to hit the road the next morning to continue their trip, but we did take a little time to grab breakfast at the Corner Deli first.

It took a little while for Timmy to get their FJ Cruiser hooked up to the RV. I hung out with Simba for a bit while Timmy fiddled around under the car, trying to get everything set. They eventually got everything hooked up and packed up, we said our goodbyes, and they got on the road. I'm really glad they were able to come visit; I've always had such a good time when I've visited them, so it was nice to be able to return the favor and catch up with them for a few days!   :)