Sunday, January 29, 2012

San Francisco & Treasure Island 1-28-12

We've been home-bodies a lot lately and the cabin fever was getting to be a bit much. The upside of a lost wager & the unfortunate demise of the Forty-Niners in the recent NFC Championship game was that it gave us the excuse we needed to make a trip into The City to arrange payment of my debt. I was really looking forward to those Connecticut Bluepoint Oysters, but instead, my friend Scott Hokunson, of Blue Heron Landscapes will be feasting on fresh San Francisco Dungeness Crab for his Superbowl party. It was such a gorgeous January day, I thought I'd share a few pics with you all.

Yes, it really was this nice out. Even in January.
Coit Tower, one of San Francisco's Iconic Landmarks.
Amanda & Joni walking on the pier by the Ferry Building.
Not your typical street musician. This guy is playing an Erhu, a one-string Chinese violin.
Inside the Ferry Building Market. There is also a large outdoor Farmer's Market going on & the place was packed!
Interesting twist on a Living Wall. This was inside "The Plant", the organic cafe where we had lunch.
Next stop was the Treasure Island Flea. This is a great new market with a fun mix of vendors, food & beverages.

Vendors outside as well as inside the historic "Building One", built in the late 1930s for the 1939-1940 World's Fair.
Just a small piece of the huge panoramic mural inside Building One.
The Treasure Island Flea was a very pleasant surprise. I'd heard about it just recently & figured this would be a good time to check it out. This just happened to be their first time setting up inside Building One, the last of the original structures built for the 1939-1940 World's Fair. Lots of vendors selling vintage clothing & jewelry, art, collectibles of all sorts, antiques, etc... They also had a great bunch of food trucks providing lots of food & beverage options. Treasure Island has also become a bit of a haven for the Urban Winery movement, with at least three wineries and another tasting room that I saw. If you are anywhere near San Francisco on a weekend, I highly recommend you make some time for a visit to Treasure Island.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Frazier Lake Airpark, Jan. 7, 2012

My good friend Monty Groves, who I originally met through our local Sportster motorcycle group, has been after me for the past couple years to come to the monthly Open House @ Frazier Lake Airpark, just North of Hollister. Well, I finally made it! we've been having incredibly nice weather lately, so this was a great chance to get some two-wheeled therapy & airplane therapy all in one shot.

This is me, blocking your view of Monty's beautiful 1955 Cessna 180.

Frazier Lake is an interesting place. It's a public use, private airport, with one grass runway & one water runway. The hangars are stuffed with all sorts of vintage flyers, kit planes & a few "spam cans". I really blew it by not taking more pics of the aircraft in their hangars, as there are many great classic birds to see. I guess I'll just have to go back next month ;-)

Instead, I focused on visitor aircraft, a few locals that had been pushed out to the grass & the flying that was going on.

Not many training wheels to be found around here, mostly classic stick & rudder tail-draggers in the crowd. Closest is a great example of the Stinson 108.

Here's a good example of the mix of classic & kit-built airplanes that frequent or live at Frazier Lake.

This fully polished C-170A was gorgeous. Sure looks like a lot of work went into that shine.

In the kit-built group, this Sportsman was outstanding! The wing is polished, top & bottom and all the rivets are flush. This is one very slick little airplane & a lot of care & craftsmanship went into making it this nice.

The pilot of this Stinson demonstrates a perfect crosswind landing. There was a very stiff breeze blowing directly across the runway all day, making for some challenging landings, but the folks around here are pretty used to it.

One of the more unusual visitors was this very clean Bell Model 47. I had to look around for Klinger & Hawkeye.

Time for a few more of the action shots...

And a couple slightly less polluted picks of Monty's 180.

And for my horticulture friends; we did discuss potential maintenance practices for the grass runway. I know, I'm not usually a big fan of big expansive lawns, but this is different. This isn't somebody's wanna-be golf course front yard, this is a haven for grass-roots flying. Vintage aircraft, flying off of grass runways can really take you back in time. This is the kind of flying my folks were doing in the 40s & 50s.

For my flying friends; if you haven't made this trip yet you should. And for my fellow aviation junkie friends; Frazier Lake holds an Open House the 1st Saturday of every month. Come hang out & drool on airplanes with me sometime.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Where did 2011 Go?

Reading all the "Year in Review" posts has been quite inspirational. I looked back at all two posts I wrote in 2011and figure it is just one more symptom of the ailments that I dealt with all year. Yes, I did start the year with a nasty round of sciatica and Damn, did that hurt, but that was just the beginning. I managed to shut myself off from a lot of people this year under the guise of being "busy". No need to go down that whole road, that part of the year is why I'm excited to move on into 2012. So, since I didn't post much in 2011 this is more of a condensed version of all the posts I should've done and a chance for me to reflect on the year & what changes I need to make for 2012.

There were plenty of interesting times in 2011. Mostly good, some not so much.

We started the year by taking in a very cool Bowl Game @ AT&T Park to watch Nevada whoop on Boston College. Was a great time with family & friends & thanks to my friends who work @ the park, we were able to go down on the field after the game, congratulate the players & just hang in the dugout for awhile. That was a really cool time!

I managed a ride up Mt. Hamilton on Feb. 5th to take in the views & a great sunset.

And peeked into the Redneck Garden just enough to see how bad the neglect was showing.

We braved some snow...
So we could see my awesome son & granddaughters & their awesome mom who took the pic!

I had a work trip to Orlando, but the best pics were actually from the flight there.

The highlight of March was the SFGS & spending time with cool folks like Jenny here.

In April I finally got around to cleaning up the Redneck Garden a bit & found out that a faily small pepper plant can actually have quite a bit of root mass.

April also brought the 1st ever food truck fest in San Jose, so my brother & I & a few thousand others just had to check out San Jose Eats.

May brought signs of life & renewal to the Redneck Garden.

May 28th found me & some friends in Hollister for their 2nd annual air show.

And then the unthinkable happened. We lost Lorrie, my youngest sister at the age of 56, just days before her daughter's high school graduation. Being the youngest of the clan, Lorrie was often my adopted mother. This was extremely tough for my whole family. We're going to miss her immensely.

We did manage to have a pretty good shin-dig for niece Kat's graduation. 

In June you saw the Redneck Garden again.

And Ivette Soler @ Annie's Annuals.

July 2nd made for a toasty ride to Hollister to the Corbin factory for their motorcycle show to see my buddy Fred's custom retro board-tracker, the PsyClone parked next to the actual Burt Munroe Indian.
 I had a great ride to the Nevada County Airfest.

July closed with the Travis Air Expo.

By August, the Redneck garden was cruising along making corn, tomatoes, peppers & more...

August 21st I took a ride to Santa Rosa for the Wings Over Wine Country Airshow. One of the high points was an F-15 recently donated to the Pacific Coast Air Museum by the USAF. This particular F-15 was the 1st aircraft over NYC on 9/11. They are building a special exhibit just for this historic airplane. Lots of familiar faces & aircraft on the ramp at this show.

Got to spend a weekend with friends & family at Lake Tahoe helping to celebrate brother Pat & Birdy's wedding. Gotta love Tahoe.

Followed by Watsonville on Labor Day weekend...

Mid-September means the annual pilgrimage to Reno for the National Championship Air Races. Lots of amazing & historic aircraft & people attend this event every year & 2011 was no exception. We were honored to see some extremely rare & historic aircraft & the weather for race week was excellent.

And again, the unthinkable & unimaginable happened. Most of you saw the news unfold on your TV screen while many of us watched it happen. Jimmy Leward, veteran race & movie pilot lost control of his aircraft, the historic, highly modified P-51 racer, Galloping Ghost, impacting into the box seats, killing 10 spectators & himself and injuring scores more. The verdict is still out & we may never know what really happened, but the weight of this tragedy will be felt by everyone affected and the whole air racing family for many years to come.

The air show season continued on, with the next stop in Salinas.
And yes, that's wifey with the Viper West Demo Team!

Then came the Gathering of Mustangs at the Nut tree airport in Vacaville.

And an abbreviated Fleet Week show thanks to a fog bank that just couldn't stay away long enough for the Blue Angels to get their show in.

We finished out the year by hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 32 friends & family. What a blast we had! Wifey & I got to get away to Monterey for a work related Christmas party & then got to spend a nice morning kicking around the wharf.
Wishing you all the best for 2012.