Monday, September 26, 2011

Hello from Prescott, IA

Hello from Prescott, IA.

Monday Morning September 26, 2011 (first travelogue of this trip).

We have been in Iowa for several days, but I am just now finding the time to write this blog. We left Evergreen on Thursday (9/15) and spent the night at our old standby: Wal Mart in North Platte, NE. We arrived here on Friday. Pat's brother, Jeff and his wife Julie arrived on Friday as well. We are staying at Pat's cousin Jeanne and her husband Bill's house in the bus.

We love to visit Iowa any time, but especially this time of the year. The heat of the summer and the cold of the winter are forgotten for a while and the great seasons (spring and fall) are fantastic. The photo below is the view we see out of the bus windshield. The photo does not begin to do justice to the amazing landscape.

View out the front of our bus

It has been very hectic since we arrived. Saturday and Sunday we did quite a bit of visiting with relatives. Sunday we celebrated Pat's aunt Jaris' birthday at the nursing home. We got to visit with a large number of friends and relatives. Jaris had a ball.

On Monday we took a great tour of the area including visiting some of the bridges of Madison County (see photo). This is scenery was wonderful and it was a great day.

One of the Bridges of Madison County

The weather here has been very cool. Indeed, it is generally cooler than Evergreen. Most of the nights have gotten into the lower 40s and it has been as low as 37 one evening. We even put an extra cover on the bed to stay warm. That said, the days have been comfortable most of the time.

Pat has been working on Genealogy with Jeanne. We have visited several cemeteries to find grave stones of some of her ancestors. We again visited the house where her dad was born. The people who live there are very welcoming and they both have fabulous collections of all kinds of things. The house has been extensively remodeled, but part of the original house is still evident.

I have had to spend some time getting parts shipped in to fill a nice order. I have made a change to my system and had to have some brackets made here in IA. Fortunately, there is a great manufacturing company in Corning (where Pat was born and about 10 miles from here). I have had them do some work for me in the past, but they outdid themselves this time. The brackets are very nice looking and they did them the same day.

Bill and I have done some project work here at the farm (I love to help in any way I can) and I have been able to get a few things done on the bus and service truck that did not get done before we left.

That is all for now.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flying in a Gooney Bird

Flying in a Gooney Bird.

My family arranged for me to take a flight is a C-47 military aircraft as a birthday present. It was a very special event, as I have always been very impressed by the design and product life of this aircraft. My flight took place on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011.

The C-47 (aka Gooney Bird) was developed based on the DC-3 civilian airplane. Here is a bit of background on the two versions of the plane:

The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. Many DC-3s are still used in all parts of the world. Translated, that is over 75 years of flying and the clock continues to tick.

The Douglas C-47 is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. The first flight was Dec. 1941. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.

During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded. The US Naval designation was R4D. Over 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s from March 1943 until August 1945. The 10K units was in addition to the over 16,000 civilian planes.

While I am not a strong student of aircraft, the DC-3 has always fascinated me. Many years ago, I arranged a business trip so that I could fly on a commercial airline that was still flying the DC-3. I was so thrilled to fly on an aircraft with so much history.

Can you imagine how thrilled I was to be able to fly on the military version? The flight was out of the Colorado Springs Airport. The pilots flew us north so that we could fly over The Garden of the Gods. All in all, a very impressive and fun adventure.

Here are some photos (not the best quality as they were taken with my cell phone).

The C-47 is a classic "tail dragger"

Looking out the window with an opening
that was used to permit firing rifles during the war.

Taking pictures out the window.  
They let us get out of our seats for most of the flight.
Note that you can see the structure of the fuselage
and the seats are very primitive.

Flying over The Garden of the Gods

Looking into the cockpit during the flight.
The right side seems to be original, while the pilot
has a modern display.