Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh my GOD!!

Hi Everyone Let's see, where to begin. The rest of the trip wasn't too bad. The roads opened at 10:00 but were pretty crappy with blowing and drifting snow most of the way to Salt Lake City but by then it was mostly clear sailing. We stopped for a brief visit to see my niece Arleen and then continued to St George Utah. On Thursday it was clear skies, warm temperatures and an uneventful drive to Phoenix. But.....today was the incredible part. Rosi gave me a gift for my 50th that was amazing! I received a four-hour fighter combat experience at Fighter Combat International in Mesa. I showed up at 11:15 and had ground school and a briefing that lasted about 90 minutes. After that I rode with an instructor pilot in a high performance aerobatic plane that's capable of 10G. It's basically one of the best aerobatic planes built and other than speed, is capable of maneuvers only a jet fighter could do. The pilot takes off and lands, and goes through a demo of each maneuver, but after that I was able to actually take the "stick" and fly! I flew three combat missions against another pilot, complete with simulated machine guns and smoke, and I flew several acrobatic maneuvers on my own: a full loop, the Cuban roll and a hammerhead stall. The whole experience was amazing! And more than a little frightening - and yes, at one point I got sick. You try pulling 4.2G inverted in a plane not much bigger than a Honda Civic and tell me you don't get scared - or sick. Anyway, it's now just a great memory - plus a plaque, a ball cap and my own leather call sign off of my flight suit..... Tomorrow we're only driving as far as Nogales and then on Monday we cross into Mexico for the last few days of the trip. Adios Mi Amigos!
video

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....NOT!

Hi everyone
Just a short note to let friends and family know we're alive and well in Burley ID. There were a few "pucker" moments on the drive due to the weather but overall it went fairly smoothly. We're now firmly ensconced in a warm friendly hotel and I'm SOOOO glad I had reservations. The blizzard has closed the Interstate between here and the Utah border and from what we can tell, much of Utah itself, and there was no room at the Inn for those without firm reservations. We just got back from dinner at a truck stop cafe next door and there were people in there that are worried they'll have to sleep in their cars if they can't find something.

We've got our fingers crossed that the road will open in the morning and we can make our way further south but we won't take any unneccessary risks.......more to follow tomorrow
Cheers

Monday, November 22, 2010

Notes from the road

Hola Mi Familia Y Amigos
Nothing new or exciting to report. It was a fairly uneventful drive down, albeit with a few wrinkles at the border because we didn't realize we couldn't bring dog food across. We had clear skies for the first half and then some fairly heavy blowing snow for a few hours but nowhere near as bad as a bad day on the Coquihalla. It was pretty slow going for a while - not because of us but because the truckers down here exercise MUCH more caution than at home - but we arrived here in Pendleton OR right around 5:00.
All is well
Cheers
Dale

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finally, We're Snow Birds!!

Hi All
Nothing too wild and/or exciting to report other than we're finally joining the ranks of all the other Canadian snow birds that head south for the winter.

Rosi and I have always said we'd eventually like to buy a second home in Mexico and we're finally at a stage in our lives where we can maybe act on it. There's an old adage though, never buy a home in a place you've only visited in February, so we're driving down to rent a house for a couple of months to see how much we really like it. The irony is we've gone to Mexico for four-five weeks every year for the last 20 years but we've never stayed in one place for longer than 10 days. The real test will see if we like sitting still for that length of time.

There's also the factor of the time and expense to drive down and not even mentioning an ongoing drug war between the government and different warring drug cartels. So this will be a real test - on several different levels.

We're leaving first thing Monday morning and taking our time driving to Phoenix. It's normally a 2 1/2 - 3 day drive but we're taking four days because we'll have Dexter with us and we want to give him lots of opportunity to stretch his legs. We took him in to get an international health certificate from our vet this week and she mentioned for the first time the inevitability of his old age. It was a bit of a shock to hear her articulate what we've been thinking for a while. His eyes are getting dim these days and he's pretty much lost most of his hearing but he still gets around OK, albeit a lot slower than last year, and he goes for a short walk twice a day. We're at a real cross-roads. He's now too old to leave in a kennel - which we would never do for two months anyway - but a trip of this length will be hard on him. All we can hope is the Mexican sun will warm his old bones when we get there. And if looking out for him means an extra night in a hotel to keep the driving days short he's more than earned it. He's given us unconditional love and companionship for 12 years and it's our turn to give back a little.

But.....not to get too melancholy......lets not forget why we're stopping in Phoenix. (Yes, it's to see my dad but....) Fighter Combat International Baby!!! WooHoo!!! By this time next week I'll be flying an hour-long combat mission in the sunny skies of Phoenix!!

We'll post a few quick updates from the road to let family know we're safe and sound but for the most part - Mexican banditos aside - we don't expect anything too exciting for the next week or so or at least until we arrive in Mexico.

So until I can post from our first stop in Pendleton OR,
Adios, Mi Amigos!