Weekend Update

Talked to the Boy over the weekend and he loved the introductory flight.  They flew one of OSU’s Cessna 152 airplanes.  It sounded like they took off and went out west of Stillwater.  The instructor gave the Boy the controls and had him fly along the turnpike and then turn and head over to campus.  He said that they flew over the stadium and then made a figure eight over the campus area and then back in for a landing at Stillwater Municipal Airport.


When I spoke with him he was still very excited about the program and it sounded like the instructor showed him around the airport facilities associated with OSU.  I’m still trying to get him to talk to some other pilots that I know so that he has a full picture, but it sounds like he is really trying to think it through and not get caught up in the moment.  What ever he decides, he’ll have our support.


I know that he was somewhat disappointed after talking with my uncle; however, he heard all the good and bad in one session.  I guess after 30+ years of flying commercially you’ve got some of both to talk about.  While I think that he took everything that was said and is letting it soak in… he still feels like there is some opportunity there to pursue.   The girl has been listening to several of these conversations and now wants to know how old you need to be to get your pilots license.  My fear with her…. Is that if she set’s her mind to it she would be motivated enough to do it on her own at 16.


At any rate, it’s all talk at the moment.  We’ll see how this week goes with the Boy.  He is back out talking to the Aviation advisor on Monday.


On the cooking front, I went back and re-tried the Clam Chowder recipe that I had using flour instead of corn meal.  It turned out much better this time.  I also added some scallops for good measure to the pot to give it some different textures.  It turned out really well all things considered.   I got interrupted about half-way through with some issues at work; our phone system was having issues.  So I had to leave it on the stove for about three hours on low heat.  Since I had not added the cream yet, I was not too concerned about it on the stove.  When I got back home around 11:45, I had enough time to add the flour and cream and stir it up and then I moved it to the oven on low.  I had to run out to the High School for Anna’s concert.  I did not get back to it until about 3:45 that afternoon.  But was hot goodness on a cool and rainy spring evening.


What a difference a year makes!

WOW… I’m continually blown away.  “The boy” (a.k.a. Mason) has gone from an Undecided Major, to Marketing, to Aviation.  He decided to change college majors to Aviation.  It sounds like he’s been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and is now ready to make a commitment to it.   I’m excited for him yet truly concerned that he has not fully thought this through yet.  I got a call from him that he is contemplating this change seriously and he had just completed his first interview with the Aviation advisor at Oklahoma State.


He is currently set up for an evaluation flight with an instructor next week and has his second interview to set out his course work and costs next week as well.  My fear is that he thinks that he is going to walk out of college with a high paying job flying commercially.   I’m really trying to get him grounded (no pun intended) in terms of how much work this is really going to be.   When he comes out, he will be competing with pilots that have thousands of hours of multi-engine jet time from the military.  You can’t just buy that kind of time in that time in that type of aircraft for the average Joe on the street.


Having had several family members in the industry, I know that it does not always work out where you get the dream job flying large jets and making a comfortable salary… and it’s very satisfying if you have the “love” for flying.  With that love of flight, it really does not matter what you get paid (as long as you can eat) as long as you’re able to fly.  I’ve had one uncle that was a Captain for United and another that was an Air Ambulance Pilot (Medivac Helicopters). 


Roy had every conceivable fixed wing, rotor wing, and instructor certificate that you could get… but he was never going to fly commercially due to his eyesight.  But he loved to fly.  He literally saw the world through the windshield of some kind of ship right up to his death in 1997.  His life was tragically cut short flying a short hop in the gulf coast when he was struck from behind by another helicopter at 700 ft.  Paul on the other hand had flown several aircraft types but focused on the 727 and flew it for years as a professional choice and has done very well with it retiring 5 years ago from the business.  As far as I know, he’s not been back in the cockpit since retiring from United.  (As a side note, he hates flying as a passenger)


So, I’ve asked the boy to tap into some of his available resources and get some more information about this career choice so he understands what he’s getting into.  As long as he’s getting in for the right reasons… I’ll back him 100%.

Pine Grove Furnace Recap

Talk about a great trip (except that it was much too short).  We had near perfect weather for this trip.  We left the house around 9:30 AM and arrived at the camp site around 11:30.  We took our time getting there.  I laid out a back road track on the GPS (Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 w/ GPS) and headed off. 


We took off and traveled the back roads though Seven Valleys, East Berlin, York Springs, and Goodyear over to the park.   (See Route Below)


This was really a nice trip and it was great to just drive and have the computer tell you where to turn.  You actually get that warning that you need to turn before you get to the turn 😉 .  Friday was a relatively nice day with pleasant temperatures and just that hint of a threat of rain.  We drove over to the outlet mall in Gettysburg and spent a couple of hours shopping.  The girls got some cloths… I got a really cool knife set for the kitchen and a couple of baking pans for the camper.  I was pretty happy on the whole.  We had a “fire ban” in effect for the county; however, there was no ban in the park.  Most of the campers had small campfires going and the rangers had come through several times without saying anything before we decided to set up a cooking fire.


Friday night we had beef noodles (1 lbs ground beef, sautéed onion and green pepper (1 each).  1 10.5 oz can of Cream of Mushroom and 1 10.5 oz can of Tomato Soup and a 16 oz bag of egg noodles (cooked separately) all mixed together.  This was really quick and simple to put together and everyone seemed to enjoy this meal.

Friday night we had a really strange thunderstorm roll though about 10:30 – 11 PM.  We kept seeing flashes thought the tent end like someone across the road was taking pictures (no thunder).  These flashes were bright and there was no indication of an approaching storm. Then there was this “down pour” that hit the camper.  You could kind of hear it (the rain) traveling up the road just before it hit the camper.  There was a brief clap of thunder or two while it was raining and then just as quick as it came it stopped (like someone turned the faucet off).  It was quite for about 15 min and then we got another burst of brief rain.  It almost sounded like there were some small pellets of hail that hit the rod on the tent end of the trailer.   After the second bout of rain, we had a peaceful nights sleep. 


Saturday arrived as a clear and cool morning.   We had bacon and eggs and ate out on the picnic table and enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun.  We drove out to Laurel Lake on the East end of the park for a hike up to the top of Pole Steeple.   I did not think that we were going to make it to the trail head.  The first day of Trout Season is a pretty big deal in PA… the road was unbelievably crowed with cars.  I had to fold the mirrors in on the Suburban just to be able to navigate the road.


About the Pole Steeple Trail… WOW what a view.  It’s a steep assent; however, there are benches for you to rest on periodically.  If you take your time, this is a very pleasant walk, but you will get a work out.  When you get near the top, there is a split in the trail… the alternate path has a switch back that cuts some of the grade out and this is also a pleasant walk.  The view from the top is a reward in itself.  We sat on top for about 35 min and just enjoyed the view of Laurel Lake and the surrounding area.    There were a couple of groups on top that were repelling off of the cliff faces and we enjoyed a brief visit with them and watching them rappel.  We came down the regular trail and you need to watch your footing with the leaves and gravel.   I’ve attached a couple of snap shots from the top.


We also enjoyed the trail between Fuller Lake and Laurel Lake (hike and bike trail).  This is the section of the AT that follows Mountain Creek between the two lakes.  This is an old railroad bed so the grade is like 2 or 3% at most.  We made the round trip on the bikes once and ran a couple of one ways during the day.  Saturday night we had Shepard Pie (1 lbs ground beef, 1 lbs bacon, and 1 can green beans, and covered with mashed potatoes).  You cook the bacon, and brown the meat in the Dutch Oven then add the green beans and mix them together.  Cover with mash potatoes and bake for 20 min in the oven (until the potatoes start to brown).  Sprinkle with some of your favorite cheese and you have a hearty meal!  I also made some crescent rolls in my Coleman stove oven.


Sunday was another gorgeous day… a cool start, but it warmed up nicely.  I really wanted to find the sign for the half-way point on the AT.  I know it’s in the park, but I was unable to locate it.  I thought that would make a great picture.  We did hike around Fuller Lake… This is another “post card” type view.  The water is this deep emerald green color from a distance.  When you get up close, you can see about 10’ down into the water… it’s remarkably clear.  They have a sand swimming beach (not open in April), but very nice.  Since this is an old quarry, I’m assuming that the deep green is from the rock in the water.  This is the kind of place where you could truly sit all day and just enjoy being outside.


My only compliant about the whole park is that they camp ground only had “pit toilets”. While you could get electric for the trailer;  you needed to use your camper trailer for a shower or run up to the youth hostel for a shower ($4 cost).  Not that I really care much; however, my wife and daughter rather enjoy real pluming.  They find that the trailer shower is too confining for them.  At an extra $8 for the shower, this still is not a bad deal considering that the weekend only cost me $28 and in most parks you would pay close to that on a per day basis. 

Mulch and More

Good week this past week… 


The scouts moved about 4,000 bags of mulch for our fund raiser.  It was a “long weekend”, but it really helps defray the costs of our trips.  We got several folks service hours on Monday night… we had an 80 year old couple approach us about helping spread their mulch.  Apparently, he had a stroke and she just had some kind of major surgery so they were not going to be able to do the work themselves.  We showed up with about eight people and had it all knocked out in about 30 min.  I think that’s just pretty awesome.  We had two new girls join the crew on Monday and they both participated in the project.


I’m looking forward to doing some family camping over Easter weekend.  We are going to Pine Grove Furnace  for some camping fun.  I’ve already had a recommendation to try the Pole Steeple Trail.  I was told that there is an excellent view overlooking the lakes from the top.  So maybe I’ll have some pictures to post next week.



Talking about Panther Primitives – The Best Historical Tents – Historical Reproduction Tents



Panther Primitives – The Best Historical Tents – Historical Reproduction Tents


This place looks like it has some interesting items.


Thoughts of gray fade to color.

Winter has passed into spring.

Color arrives through the cool fog of misty mornings and warm afternoons.

Gentle spring breezes drift across your skin keeping the perfect balance of warm and cool.

The hint of fresh fragrances bring the promise of summer to each new day.

Surivor Patch

I ordered the "Suivor Patch" today for the Cub Scouts that went on the Scout Skills Weekend.  I think that this will be very cool when we present it to them at their pack meeting next month.