The New Year is upon us, yet I am still trying to catch up from 2014! As we all know, the holiday season can get pretty busy and hectic. This holiday season elevated my definition of busy to new heights. It was the good kind of busy but still busy. One of my favorite aspects to this blog is, it gives me the ability to reflect and remember. It forces me to sit and write my memories and experiences down. It forces me to utilize the photos I took; instead of having them collect digital dust in “My Photos” folder. Thank you for bearing with me as I slowly dig myself out of a full inbox and catch up on the last few months. I will begin in late November and my trip home to Texas for Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Ashley and I flew from Spokane, WA to DFW via Minneapolis. Finally, back to a state where the sun shines and the people drive fast! It was unseasonably warm in Texas for November. On Thanksgiving Thursday the temperature reached 80ᵒF! It was a welcome break from the grey cold of north Idaho. Breaking tradition, my family and I drove to Burleson to spend the afternoon at the Atkinson residence for Thanksgiving dinner. Pat cooked a delicious fried turkey with all the accoutrements of a typical southern Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner we began watching the Cowboy’s play the Philadelphia Eagles. It was evident that game would not end the way any of us wanted so we quickly switched over to watching TCU dominate the UT Longhorns. [Side note: TCU just DOMINATED Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl bringing our 2014 record to 12-1, proving to everyone that the playoff committee got it wrong by not including TCU in the final four.] Friday, Ashley and I woke up early and went for a morning flight in her 1946 J3 Cub. The wind was kicking this day! It was gusting to 30 knots making it a bumpy flight, but any day I can get in the air is better than a day my feet stay on the ground. One fun thing to do when it is windy is to fly backwards. The stall speed of the J3 is about 19-23 knots, so when the wind is blowing 30, we can fly 7 knots tail forward! Later that day, I went and flew a friend’s V-Tail Bonanza in Bridgeport. This was my first time flying a V-Tail and it was a joy to fly. Fast, smooth, and solid. Quite a bit different then flying a Cub! The following morning, Ashley and Pat, took me to breakfast in their Cessna 195. As the photos show, it was a perfect morning, and the sun treated us to a beautiful sunrise over Cleburne, TX. Later that night, my holiday break was over and it was time for me to head back to the airport for Idaho. One of the hardest things to do is leave Hugo, the family Cocker Spaniel. I may be a tad biased, but he holds the title for the world’s cutest and most well behaved dog. Upon returning to Idaho I did not have long to wait before I would be on the go again. One of my favorite aspects of my job is airplane deliveries. Flying solo, in a low stress environment, is a beautiful thing; especially getting to fly over the Rocky Mountains on a blue bird day! Unfortunately, the nice weather ran out as I approached Bismarck, North Dakota. I would have to overnight in Bismarck due to icing conditions all along the Midwest. The following morning, the nice weather caught back up to me and after warming up the plane, I was on my way to North Carolina. (The temperature that morning at 17,000 ft. was -45ᵒC… yikes!) During my time in North Dakota, a snow storm moved through the Midwest and laid a blanket of fresh white snow over everything. The allure of the pristine blue above and the unadulterated white below was astounding. For lunch, I stopped in Joliet, Illinois to see my close friend Chris. He brought me to Portillo’s, a famous Chicago hot dog restaurant. I was not too keen on it at first, but after tasting their famous Chicago style hot dog, I was sold! My last leg to North Carolina was one of those flights I’ll remember for a long time. The weather briefing I received before departing didn’t seem promising. It looked like the majority of my flight would be IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions – I.e. - in the clouds). I did end up spending a good deal of time in the clouds, but right over Indianapolis and Cincinnati, the clouds opened up and the sun went down. Unfortunately, all I had was my iPhone, but thankfully I had some type of camera because the cityscapes capped in the warm glow of the setting sun was a thing of beauty. Once again, proving, being a pilot is the best job in the world. After I completed my delivery the next morning, I had some time to kill before I had to be at the airport to fly back to Idaho. My good friend, Jeff, had gone to Duke University and he recommended I go check out the chapel on campus. It turned out to be a great recommendation. It is breathtaking, inside and out. It is one of the few churches in the U.S.A. that, I believe, could hold its own in Europe. In all reality, the whole campus is amazing and definitely worth visiting when in the “Research Triangle.”
(The Research Triangle, commonly referred to as simply "The Triangle", is a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina in the United States, anchored by North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the towns of Cary and Chapel Hill. {Wiki Source})
After returning to Idaho, Ashley had a few days free and flew to Idaho to help me celebrate my 26th birthday (12/12). Once back in Idaho, I had an unusual Saturday free and we ended up spending the whole day with our friends, Tyler and Brie. Tyler, Brie, Ashley, and I spent the day at Schweitzer Mountain, hiking and contemplating where all the snow was. For some reason, probably due to El Nino, the Northern Rockies have had an unseasonably dry start to the winter. None-the-less, we cherished the scenery and had fun passing time with old friends. The downtime would not last long; it was time for my next adventure….
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