Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One more shot

I just had to make one more post with this nice view of the Animas River as seen from our glider. (you can click on this photo to see it in full grandeur!)


Soaring in Durango

Next stop after Mesa Verde was a visit to my cousin's place in downtown Durango. First cousin Judy and I decided to take a glider ride. What an experience.....very different from piston powered flight that I'm very familar with. Below is a shot of Judy getting belted in.

The Pawnee tow plane gets ready to do its job (below).

(below) A view from behind the tow plane as we climb to 3000 AGL which is about 9500 MSL.

The really exciting part of the flight is the takeoff and landing. The sense of speed during the landing is high (although it's only at ~52 KIAS) because your butt is about 6" off the ground. Sort of like tearing out across the pasture in a go-kart! Click here to see a video of the takeoff and landing.

(below) Pilot 'Ty' in the back seat. Ty was the PIC on this flight.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grand Canyon Train Ride

We drove from Socorro...through PIE TOWN and on to Williams, Arizona. Do checkout Pie Town if you're out that way. Great sandwiches and pies in the middle of nowhere!

We also stopped on an original portion of classic Route 66. Here's a shot from the WigWam Hotel.

We rode the Grand Canyon Railroad up from Williams about 60 miles to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. The train burns fuel oil instead of coal but is otherwise a classic steam engine.

Woudn't ya know it? It rained while we were on the south rim. Here's fairly decent shot of the incredibly majestic view.



Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4th.....Hey Hey Hey it's the VLA!

Sarah and I drove out from Socorro, past Magdelena, to the VLA on the Plains of San Augustin. We also saw prarie dogs and jackrabbits at the VLA. The antennas are cooled to 15 degrees kelvin using helium. I'm guessing the noise temperature is slightly higher but I could not find any of the operators who knew much about the receiver specifications. We saw a cool image of Saturn that was imaged using the VLA. To my surprise the rings of Saturn are radio emitters!

On the way back from the VLA we stopped at the Owl Bar. This famous old joint is just northwest of White Sands missile range and was a favorite hangout for the nuclear physicists and and other personnel associated with the testing and detonation of the first US atomic bomb. So it's an historical place. Here's a couple of shots.
I can just imagine the super scientists that sat at this bar and discussed the day's work (discretely) as they drank a beer and pondered the genie about to be unleashed from the nuclear bottle. There's another secret at the Owl Bar regarding money tacked to the wall.....but you'll have to come visit and eat one of their famous Green Chile Cheeseburgers to find out about the money wall mystery.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

July Western Vacation - Sarah and Charlie Phase 1

Sarah and Charlie left on July 1st for our western vacation trip. We will intercept Terri and Hannah in Socorro. On Day 1 Sarah and Charlie drove to Ft. Stockton, TX and spent the night. Before turning in for the evening we toured the Ft. Stockton airport KFST. We met a guy who does logistics for a US fire fighting group. We saw at least four *turbo* ag-wagons each capable of delivering 800 pounds of fire retardant. Nice little place and very close to hotels and restaurants.

On July 2nd we continued our trip travelling through Carlsbad, Lincoln, and Carizozo, New Mexico on across the northern edge of White Sands Missile Range and just north of the Trinity Site where the first US atomic bomb was tested. We stopped and Sarah took my picture with Smokey the Bear. (click to enlarge photos) I hope to fly this route in the Grumman Tiger some day soon. More in my next blog post!