Monday, October 31, 2005

So ... Where's the "New Photo Every Day?"

I guess you didn't read "the fine print," which said, "not every day."
It's been pretty hectic, here at the (newly named) R J Ranch, this last week. Not the least of which has been the installation of satellite internet. So far, it's taken about two months to get the equipment, then it's taken about a week to get it installed. This is no piddley system, as you can see from the photo. The dish is almost FIVE FEET across.

The tech has been here for three days, so far, and still hasn't got it all up and running. He "says" tomorrow he'll get it on-line. I hope he's right!

The word for the day is: RAIN. Lot's of rain. Good for the crops ... and not really all the bad for the farmers. We kinda like it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


It's that time of the year to plant the crocuses and the hyacinths.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pictures Without Comment

October 22, 2005

Don't ask!

FLIGHT LOG: N723RC Colusa, CA, to Pullman (R J Ranch)

Thursday, October 20, 2005
I left Colusa around 8am and flew about an hour to Redding, CA, where I chowed down in the flight terminal with a nice breakfast of toast, eggs and bacon. It really hit the spot!

I refueled and departed for Klamath Falls, OR. This was rugged mountain territory, but the flight was smooth. I passed over Crater Lake and sailed past Mt. Shasta. It's quite a different view than you get from a car on Interstate 5.

I landed at Klamath Falls about 1-hour and 30-min. later. The Oregon Air National Guard bases their F-15's there (right next to where I parked the helicopter) and it so happened that they were having a big combat exercise involving several other countries. It was quite fun to watch all the take-off's, in full afterburner, and dream of the years ago that I did all that fun stuff. (I'm sure I'd have traded my little Robinson R22, straight across, for an opportunity to fly one of their F-15's that day. Easy to say - I know - because it ain't gonna happen!)

The next stop was to be The Dalles, OR, but due to "less than ideal weather," 1/4 mile visibility with fog and mist, I decided to make a flight plan change and fly to Madera, OR, refuel and go directly home to the R J Ranch*. It was a little longer flight leg, with about 2 1/2 hours of flying, proceeding almost a straight line from Madera to Pendleton, OR, to Walla Walla, WA and home. Official sunset was 6:00pm and I landed at 5:45pm, to a beautiful late Pullman afternoon.

After making my landing approach over the house, I landed on the concrete pad next to our barn (hereafter referred to as "The Hanger."). I was expecting to see Jacquie rush out in excited anticipation of my arrival - but, it didn't happen. After sitting for about five minutes, cooling down the engine, I deplaned and walked to the house. I opened the back door and a surprised Jacquie said, "Where did you come from? Where is the helicopter?" So that just proves that I'm not the only one that doesn't hear well! (Just kidding, Jacquie ... I know the house is well sound insulated.)

All in all, other than having to beat on the battery relay with a screwdriver, it was a great flight back. There were a lot of very interesting sights that you miss, traveling by car:

I saw at least four "cornfield mazes." Some were very professional and elaborate and others were pretty simple. They must be popular because there were plenty of cars parked at each one.

Flying between Colusa and Red Bluff, I flew over a huge wildlife refuge area. For almost as far as you could see in every direction there were marshes and swamps that reminded me of the delta area in South Vietnam. Something else also reminded me of Vietnam: There were literally millions of bird flocks both sitting in the water and also flying. All of a sudden it seemed like there were flocks of birds (BIG one's) passing over me, under me ... and luckily not through me. I quickly realized that if one of those flocks of birds (BIG one's!) ever got mixed up with the helicopter rotor it would be very bad news for the birds ... and ME! The way they were all over and with the swampy marshes, it was easy to be transported, mentally, to Vietnam and imagine all the birds shooting at me - with the same undesirable consequences. There wasn't much I could do about the situation, at this point, except hope the birds had a keen sense of survival ... which they did. (When I was a young Air Force pilot going through flight school, my instructor once told me not to try to dodge birds. He said thay could hear you coming and would instinctively move quickly out of the flight path. He was right!) If a large flock, of say, fifty birds, were headed my way at my altitude, they simply either folded their wings back and quickly dropped down or they split-off left or right and away. It was quite a sight to see, albeit a bit scary.

*R J Ranch (Roger & Jacquie's Ranch)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

FLIGHT LOG: N723RC Fullerton to Colusa, CA

Parked at the Colusa, CA airport, at dusk.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I arrived in Long Beach, CA, on Alaska Airlines, at 11:00am. Larry Otto, an old - long lost - friend from my school days in Spokane, picked me up at the airport. We had lunch at a great Thai restaurant, then he drove me to the Fullerton airport to pick up my Robinson R22 Mariner helicopter. (It's called a "Mariner" because it has detachable floats. When installed, we can land on lakes and rivers. I can hardly wait!)

After checking it over carefully, I departed Fullerton and flew the 10-minute flight to the Long Beach airport.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
In the morning, I took a training flight with my instructor, Justin, from Rotors Aviation, Long Beach. We flew about and hour and practiced landing and autorotation landings. (An autorotation is what you do if the engine quits! It's a good thing to know.)

After a slight mechanical snag (I had to "tap" the battery relay with a screwdriver to get the electrical power to shut-off after the training flight.), I departed for Fresno. The flight took me through the busiest part of the LA flight region. From there it was up the "grapevine" (Actually Interstate 5) and over the pass and down into the San Joaquin valley. The weather was quite nice for this portion of the trip. I had been worried about bad weather or high winds through the pass, (there was a big storm in LA the night before) but it turned out to be "no sweat." My ground speed averaged about 90 mph. Flight time was about 2-hours.

I refueled in Fresno and departed for Colusa, CA. The flight to Colusa was about 1-hour, 45-minutes. Colusa is a very small town, located about 75-miles north of Sacramento, just about 10-miles east of I-5. It's a town of about 2500 people. I arrived about dusk and was greeted by several of the local pilots who were having a "tailgate party" at one of the hangers. They said as soon as I got refueled, come on over and have a hamburger and a beer ... Which I did. (What a way to travel!) As I had no transportation into town, about 3-miles away, the Riverside Inn motel owner drove out to pick me up. Very nice. Interesting town ... Great people.

** The flight continues tomorrow **

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Eagle Has Landed

5:45 PM, October 20, 2005
(Detailed log, later)

Saturday, October 15, 2005



It was a great game on a beautiful day. Unfortunately, UCLA won ... in overtime play.

WSU had UCLA on the ropes in the first half of the game ... it looked, for all intents and purposes, like a rout! WSU had a 21 point lead, at one point. But, by the end of the game it was:

WSU 38 - UCLA 38

This produced a play-off situation and WSU fell on their sword! (Or was it the goal post?)

As I said: It was a great game to watch.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Building An Art Studio

Today Jacquie and I unloaded a couple of thousand pounds of art studio furniture, equipment and supplies to her new art studio at the Gladish Center, in Pullman.

Next week, while I'm bringing my "toy" from the LA region to our home, she will be painting and setting up her studio. Her studio is actually a prior classroom in the past Pullman Elementary school. After the school district build a new school, a community team took over the very lovely school and turned it into a cultural center. Jacquie is very lucky to have her studio in such a busy and desirable location. (Pictures later.)

Beginning in January, Jacquie will be offering classes in her studio, sponsored by the Pullman Department of Parks and Recreaction. She is also being considered for a teaching position through the Pullman branch of the Spokane Community College. (If I don't watch out, I'll be a stay-at-home-Dad ... doing all the upkeep on the ranch!)

Ps: Tomorrow, October 15th, we'll be sitting in the stands rooting WSU over UCLA. (Any bets?)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Back home again from California ... and greeted with another beautiful sunrise.

Fall Planting time

Today, the winter wheat was planted. It is planted about this time of the year because the wheat needs the cold winter temperatures to germinate and thrive next year.

I asked the farmer what would happen if you planted in the spring. His answer was, "You'll have a nice crop of grass!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

PHOTO OF THE DAY 10.5.2005

The California Life: Fire!
Driving back up to Arrowhead, this evening, we saw the flames near Devore, CA.
(It was almost dark and a long camera exposure was needed, hence, the jiggly picture. But, on the other hand, it does make for an interesting picture.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

PHOTO OF THE DAY 10.3.2005

Road To Lake Arrowhead (CA)
The road from the Orange County basin is a very steep and windy road, rising from about 500' to over 6000'. All along the road, which is sometimes cantilever over the rocky cliffs, are spectacular views of the valley below. This picture was taken late in the evening, as we drove to our condo.

PHOTO OF THE DAY 10.4.2005

On the shoreline of Lake Arrowhead.

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