Taylorcraft Daze

The history, diary, thoughts, and opinions of an Iowa Taylocraft pilot. The postings will be heavy in the areas of flying Taylorcraft Aircraft, Formation Flying, Flights throughout the Great United States, and other flying activities.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

TAYLORCRAFT LANDING IN A SPRAY OF SNOW

By: Bowden, Taylorcraft Owner / Pilot
Independence Municipal Airport (IIB)

Joe lands his 1946, BC12-D Taylorcraft in a spray of snow as he sets down to the left side of runway 17 at (IIB) Independence Municipal Airport. He taxied rapidly and directly past the airport lounge window full of friends and on lookers. Joe taxied onto the apron, shut down the 75-horse power Continental Engine, and faced the tail of his aircraft into the cold wind so as to conserve as much engine heat as he could.

Joe is an accomplished pilot with a great deal of experience. His friends always enjoy seeing him come in high to land; and, then at the last minute slipping the plane to land on the threshold end of the runway. However, this was not the day to slip in, as the white snow and sky together make it quite difficult to judge the distance one is above the landing field. When Joe takes off at home, he leaves tracks in the snow that enables him to better judge his distance above the ground. Needless to say, the landing was great and many photos were taken. You just cannot beat fun!

This was by no means Joe’s first flight to IIB as this is a central meeting place for the eight-member group of “The Taylorcraft Formation Group” of flyers. The group meets often at “Pizza Ranch” to discuss their next venture, whether it be going to a flight breakfast, air show, antique fly-in, or a major fun trip like to: “AirVenture” at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, “Sun-‘N-Fun,” at Lakeland, Florida, or another visit to the new “Taylorcraft Factory” at LaGrange, now Brownsvill, Texas in May of 2005. Joe flew on the left-hand wing in formation all the way to Florida and back in April and to Larchwood, Iowa in May of 2002. The group may just fly out to eat where you just have to walk across the road like: The Colony Inn at Amana, the Sandbar at Cassville, WI, The Black Angus at Prairie du Chien, WI or Longley’s at Reedsburg, WI just to name a few.

Joe may not get to go to Texas with his flying friends, as this is the prime time for grain trucking. He trucks grain on day runs so he can be home at night. He reports that they often truck the same grain as many as three or even more times getting it to the ultimate destination. First, the grain is trucked from the field to the elevator, then from the dryer to storage, and finally from storage to the river.

When Joe is not flying, he and his wife Denise often take trips on their beautiful Honda “Goldwing” motorcycle. They have even been know to cycle to a flight breakfast from their home. Joe’s family members have also made many different radio-controlled aircraft that are highly aerobatic doing loops, rolls, and spins with ease. And, yes, wouldn’t you know, there is a fine east / west runway which runs right by the house and hanger. Joe’s brother manufactures hover craft boats for ice fisherman to use on the Great River. Of course, Joe’s runway is a great test area as the boats travel just as easily on land, ice, and water. Joe, however, prefers to go ice fishing with his Taylorcraft on skies just about anywhere on the Mississippi. Joe is also able to “drop in” on friends and neighbors with quiet swiftness on snow skies with the Taylorcraft.

The Taylorcraft Group always enjoys flying into Joe’s Strip as there is always something going on. Joe recently displayed his new pride and joy. He built a KR-2S experimental aircraft, which is very popular. It is a small high-powered, low wing, with side-by-side seating, which flies 135 mph. This is a bit faster than a Taylorcraft at 95 mph. Joe now has his 40 hours of flight time in the KR-2S required by the (FAA) Federal Aviation Administration and is able to fly it on long trips away from his home base. This aircraft is made of Styrofoam and fiberglass construction and therefore very streamlined. It has a 75 horsepower Volkswagen Engine. It burns only 5.5 gallons per hour and has a range of 700 miles. The KR-2S was completed and test flown this past year after six and one half years of construction in Joe and Denise’s home. Joe did an excellent job and can be very proud of it. His KR-2S is based at Platteville (PVB), Wisconsin along with his nephew’s Cessna 150 that Joe needs to fly regularly while his nephew is in the service. As you can see Joe is a busy man.

Before Joe could fly to IIB he wanted to put on his snow skies and take full advantage of our 8 to 12 inches of new snow. He also had to remove ice from the tops of his wings. He removed the ice by placing blankets on top of the wings and a heater beneath. The system works well, but takes a bit of time. However, Joe had the time as the weather was marginal for VFR flying most of the morning. The trend was for better weather throughout the day and Joe enjoyed a beautiful flight home across the Mighty Mississippi.

But, before the leg back home, Joe and his flight leader had to perform a mission. They had to fly over the Pizza Ranch in “Taylorcraft Formation Flight” for the benefit of the staff. Michelle, Manager of Pizza Ranch, received a ride from Joe. While dining there one day, Joe casually asked Michelle if she would like to go for a ride. Naturally, Michelle said, “Yes.” The rest is history, and that is why the Taylorcraft Formation Group has their photos on the Pizza Ranch wall.

Joe Weber’s Taylorcraft photographs submitted by: John Nickel

"FLYING THE SANTA FE TRAIL"

(IIB, Independence, Iowa Municipal Airport)
By: Lee C. Bowden with his 1945 Vintage Taylorcraft BC12D, N39911, with 65 horsepower, cruising speed 95 mph, date of manufacture November 26, 1945, restored December 24, 1999, and purchased June 6, 1960.

What a high, like 10,500 feet high and above the mountains. What a blast, like landing at Las Vegas with 27 mph winds and 32 mph wind gusts. Lee put 23 hours plus on the Taylorcraft during the flight. The Garmin GPS 195 reported 1,924 miles. Great tailwinds at 9,500 feet all the way home made the one day return flight possible even with the late start at 10:10 Central Daylight Savings Time. At times the tail winds were between 30 & 40 mph.

Our Santa Fe Trail Flyers group consisted of: seven aircraft, three automobiles, and 23 flyers representing the states of: CA, FL, IA, KS, NM, MT, OR, and TX. The aircraft consisted of four-place Cessnas, Pipers, Bonanza, Grumman, and two vintage aircraft a Cessna 195 and the only two-place 1945 Taylorcraft. Most members of the group were retired or semi-retired.

Waypoints along our route included our group starting point at Larned, KS, elevation 2,011 feet, three days; Liberal, KS at 2,883 feet, two days; La Junta, CO at 4,238 feet; Las Vegas, NM, two days at 6,877 feet; and Santa Fe, NM at 6,348 feet our ultimate destination. The flight to Larned included a stop at Brenner, NE for fuel and a relaxing packed lunch at the airport.

The flying, new friends, the food, the vacation, the sites, and the times were all great. It was a very interesting group. Everyone along the "Trail” treated the flyers group very well. At Larned KS the Chamber of Commerce came out to greet the flyers and the group was featured in the local newspaper, “The Tiller & Toiler” several times. Some of the points of interest included: Lost Spring, Durham Ruts (which were very evident from the air even at 4,500 feet), of course, the ground was higher there. At one point the ruts could be easily followed for 150 miles, Other sites included: Ralph's Ruts, Plum Buttes, The Great Bend Airport, Pawnee Rock (both from the air and on the ground). There was much to do at Larned that was the Santa Fe Trail Association's headquarters this year. It moves to a different location along the Trail each year. The group followed the "Wet” or northern route and the "Dry" or southern route. The routes split at the town of Ford a bit southeast of Dodge City, KS. The lower crossing was called the "Cimarron Cutoff."

In the town of Larned a coyote was observed in broad daylight. They come to town to steal the dog food and eat out of the garbage cans. The coyote fencing can be a real status symbol with many types and designs made from the shaggy bark of the juniper trees.

At Pawnee Rock, KS, an outcropping of rock in the middle of the vast flat prairie represents the mid-point on the Santa Fe Trail. Here young Kit Carson, standing guard one night in 1826, is said to have shot his own mule, mistaking it for a Pawnee. Perhaps it was his unkind companions who named Pawnee Rock to commemorate the young man’s blunder.

At Liberal, KS the flyers visited The Mid-America Air Museum, with 101 aircraft, making it the fifth largest air museum in the nation. Yes, the museum did have a military version of the Taylorcraft suspended overhead as if on a mission. Pizza Hut catered our meal here and while we were eating we got lots of wind and rain. Fortunately, I had put my Taylorcraft in the hanger.

While flying west from Liberal, KS to La Junta, CO an hour was gained crossing from Central to Mountain Time.

My favorite place was "Bent's Old Fort" at La Junta, CO. This was the center of trade and culture (if any) in the early West. It was a blend of: Whites, Indians, Spanish, and Mexicans. We had an excellent guide of the National Park Service, which made the fort really come alive.

At Las Animas the flyers visited the Kit Carson Museum and Boggsville the last home of Kit Carson in Bent County, CO. This is also the home of “Festus” U. S. Deputy Marshal in “Gunsmoke.”

After crossing the barren plains of CO, it was good to see the Perry Stokes airfield at 5,762 feet elevation and the town of Trinidad on the Purgatoire River with a few scattered ranches below. Fisher's Peak in Southern CO was a neat site to fly by with its peak at 9,627 feet extending into the cloud base. Raton Pass on the CO / NM border was not a problem with room to turn around in it as The Sangre De Cristo Mountain range passed by on the west The Taylorcraft passed through the pass at 9,000 feet with the cloud ceiling a bit higher. The pass elevation is 7,834. It was a bit gusty here as the flight progressed over the airfields at Raton, elevation 6,352 feet and Springer at 5,891 feet.

It was enjoyable flying over some neat green flat top mesas with tops at 7,625 feet. The air was whooshing down on the lee side as I approached and I was losing altitude a bit as I approached; but, gained it back again as I passed over the up wind side. Some of the mesa tops looked like they would be great landing fields, but I did not check them out.

Several photos of "Wagon Mound" were taken which was rather special. It looks like a wagon (duh) with a double team of mules pulling it across the prairie. Wagon Mound is located east of the Historic Fort Union National Monument ruins. Many more wagon ruts are located in the Mora river valley and east of the Turkey Mountains.

The Fort Union National Monument Ruins were circled for photos and again one could see ruts from the wagons very well. Next, came Las Vegas and the Plaza Hotel where many movies have been made since the time of "Tom Mix" (who's that?) The hotel is visited by a ghost, which is partial to women. Rick Hannen, trail leader, was assigned to room # 310, which is often visited by the ghost. Rick reported seeing a red spot. However, this turned out to be a spot of rust in the bathtub.

The flyers school bussed into "Santa Fe", the oldest state capitol city in the U.S., and toured the Art Capital of the Southwest on Canyon Street. A fine dinner was enjoyed at the La Fonda Hotel on Santa Fe Street and the group saw the oldest church in the USA, the San Miguel Church. This old mission was built by the Spanish about 1636. It was rebuilt in 1710 and has been in use since that time. Rick Hannen, flight leader for the trip, and Lee Bowden visited the State Capital Building, which is round and looks like the emblem on the New Mexico State Flag or the Sun. New Mexico was admitted to the union in 1912, as the 47th state. The Spaniard Cabeza de Vaca was the first white man to visit the area. He crossed the present state from Texas to reach the Spanish settlements in Mexico in 1536. The end of the trail destination was reached in downtown Santa Fe that was founded in 1610. The trail, which was traveled from 1822 – 1879 passed through the states of: MO, KS, OK, CO, and NM. The flyers were fortunate to have Phyllis Morgan from Albuquerque, NM, a researcher along to narrate many interesting stories about the Santa Fe area. One of my favorite stories was the Civil War battle won by Union forces at La Glorieta Pass, referred to as the Gettysburg of the West. Phyllis has walked the entire length of the “Santa Fe Trail” over a period of years. “The Old Santa Fe Trail: by Colonel Henry Inman, © 1897, is an excellent read.

Do you know why they use pivot irrigation systems in the Great South West? Think! Think! It is so the farmers and ranchers can better rotate their crops.

The hay bales are wrapped in plastic and also stored in sheds. The reason is because the sun's ultra violet rays eat up the plastic wrap in the clear air. It seems that most of the cattle are being raised in huge stockyards throughout the west. A huge yard was observed west of Liberal, KS and others in the area of Texline, TX. Water continues to be a major problem in the southwest. The annual rainfall in New Mexico is 7.5 inches per year. In Santa Fe many signs were observed reminding people to conserve water. In some restaurants you were not served water unless it was requested. In Santa Fe it is possible to walk the Santa Fe riverbed and not get your shoes wet. The Ranchers have attempted to hold water by the use of dams on their ranches.

I have this problem for you to solve. I am flying along looking into the distance and see this giant power station with three huge tall smoke stacks each 606 feet tall. I am flying at 4,500 feet. The tops of the stacks appear to be about one half of their height above the horizon. Now I am confused. I recheck my map. I recheck my altimeter. I recheck my thinking. However, as I grow much more near the station the stacks appear to shrink in size and the tops are now even with the horizon, and as I get even closer or at about five to ten miles the top of the stacks appear to be much below the horizon where they are supposed to be. Please explain this to me. Have fun!

On the return flight from Las Vegas, NM, I picked out Mt. Dora, elevation at 6.290,on the horizon in the distance as a landmark to navigate to. The skies are crystal clear and you are able to see forever. It was over an hour or 100 miles plus before I reached this landmark as I had a very good tailwind. Capulin Volcano National Monument passed by in the distance on the left. Upon leaving NM and flying into TX I lost an hour going from Mountain to Central Time. It is certainly easy to navigate with all the excellent references such as mountain peaks. The rivers, when evident, like the Arkansas, Canadian, and the Cimarron show up so very well.

Two stops were made to refuel on the way home from Las Vegas, NM with wheels off at 10:10 A.M. Central Time. The first stop was at Dodge City, KS for 46 minutes and the second was at Shenandoah, IA for only 11 minutes. I circled the house in Independence to let Linda know I was home and landed shortly after seven o’clock, 7:08 P.M. wheels on, just before darkness set in at about eight hours actual flight time.

I was able to fly over eight States on my flight: IA, MO, NE, KS, CO, NM, TX, and OK. I did pick up two new States, CO and NM. This brings my total to 22 States I have landed in with the Taylorcraft. The highest airport that I have landed at is Las Vegas, NM at 6,877 feet. The lowest airport I have landed at is Crystal River, FL at 9 feet. The highest airport in the U.S. is at Leadville, CO at 9,930 feet. I have flown the Taylorcraft to 14,000 feet plus many years ago. The Taylorcraft would go higher, but the air was getting thin. The lowest airport is in Death Valley, Furnace Creek, CA in Death Valley National Park at -210 feet. My greatest ground speed to date was 151 mph while descending from 9,500 feet to Independence, IA at the end of the Santa Fe Trail trip. I am very thankful that we have the “freedom” to fly as individuals in our personal aircraft to so many beautiful places in this vast country. New Mexico is certainly aptly named the “Land of Enchantment.”

Keep your speed up and your wings level. Wishing you CAVU or ceiling and visibility unlimited

"BECAUSE I FLY"

Because I Fly
I Laugh More Than Other Men.
I Look Up.
And See More Than They.

I Know How Clouds Feel.
What It’s Like to Have Blue In My Lap.
To Look Down On Birds
To Feel Freedom In A Thing Called The Stick

Who But I
Can Slice Between GOD’S Billow-Legs
And Feel Them Laugh and Crash With His Step?

Who Else Has Seen The Unclimbed Peaks?
The Real Reason Birds Sing?
Because I FlyI Envy No Man On Earth.

(Certainly applies to Taylorcraft Pilots)

"LORD, GUARD AND GUIDE THE MEN WHO FLY"

#1 Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
through the great spaces of the sky.
Be with them traversing the air in
darkening storms or sunshine fair.

#2 You who sport with grandeur might
the balanced birds in all their
flight, lord of the temperate winds,
be near, that, have you, they
know no fear.

#3 Control their minds with instinct
fit when – e’er, adventuring,
they quit the firm security of land;
grant steadfast, and skillful hand.

#4 Aloft in solitudes of space,
upholding them with your
saving grace. Oh God, protect the
men who fly through lonely ways
beneath the sky.

Amen.

Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs
Hymnal, page #192, Colorado Tripp – 1976

"THE CHRISTMAS PATROL" BY HELEN BRENNAN, TAYLORCRAFT PILOT AND MEMBER OF THE TAYLORCRAFT FORMATION FLYING GROUP

‘Twas the night before Christmas
The planes quiet and still.
Their hangar was cozy
With no space to fill.

They dreamed as they slept
Of warm breezes, blue skies.
These five little Taylorcraft
So gentle and wise.

Then suddenly the door
To the hangar swung wide.
And in strode Santa Claus
Nine reindeer at his side.

“I’m in trouble, little planes.
I’m not finished with my work!
A satellite TV dish
Tore the sleigh with a jerk!”

“My reindeer are tired
And the sleigh needs repaired.
If I’m late getting home,
Mrs. Claus will be scared!”

So Red called a huddle.
He’s the leader all right.
With the other four planes,
Green, Brown, Blue and White.

We’ll help you, Santa!
Fix your sleigh here inside!
We’ll load up your presents
And finish your ride!”

The reindeer picked a corner
Of the hangar to sleep
While the packages were transferred.
There’s a schedule to keep!

One by one Santa propped them,
The five brave little planes.
“Watch out for those TFRs!
They’ve been giving me pains!”

“60 indicated should do it.
V-formation would be best.
Pretend it’s a test-run
For a pumpkin-drop contest!”

So with Red in the lead
They took off into the night.
And soon they formed up,
Green, Brown, Blue and White.

They flew well, and flew safe
With a gentle bank, turn and roll.
Delivering presents with love
It was the Christmas Patrol!

Soon their mission was done
Just reserves in their tanks.
Red called “Let’s go home!”
And White whispered “Thanks!”

They peeled off single file
For their landings in the grass
Seeing Santa on the ramp
As they each filed past.

“You’ve done a great job
And I’m ready to go!
If anyone should ask,
I’ll sure let them know.”

“How five little planes
One cold Christmas Eve
Gave up their warm berth
So Santa could leave.”

A fond tap on the spinner
As he wished each plane goodnight
Except for the White one
“Remember . . . keep it tight!”

Then Santa was gone
With a whoosh and a scurry.
His flight plan was filed
He was in a big hurry.

“Merry Christmas little Taylorcraft!”
Echoed back through the night.
“Merry Christmas, Santa Claus,
And have a safe flight!”

“NEVER FEEL SORRY FOR A MAN THAT OWNS AN AIRPLANE”

QUOTE: FROM THE MOTION PICTURE, “THE EDGE” WITH: ANTHONY HOPKINS, ALEC BALDWIN, AND ELLE MAC PHERSON, 1997, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, 120 MINUTES.

A PILOT’S CREED

I BELIEVE in flying, man’s noble inheritance from the Supreme Being that enables me to view the wonders of the Universe from a high vantage point, exceeded only by infinity. Through this experience I learn humility in the knowledge that I am but one of insignificance among many who are truly great.

I KNOW that the upper trade winds, as they blow, may slow my progress through the sky while they enhance the ground speed of another on the opposite heading, but that I may benefit on the return flight.

I BELIEVE, that man was destined to fly and I have wings. May these wings chart the course toward an unclouded horizon and the betterment of generations yet to come.

"High Flight"

By Pilot-Officer John Giliespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling
mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared
and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy
Grace

Where never lark, or eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

UP TO A COOL 14,000 FEET IN THE TAYLORCRAFT IN 1960

Years ago when I was young and bullet proof, I decided one fine day to fly my relatively new to me Taylorcraft, N39911, aloft to my personal limits. This would have been in the early 1960’s as I purchased my Taylorcraft on June 6, 1960. I remember circling and climbing over my hometown, the Lamont area, for a good twenty minutes. I was alone, and I am sure that I had only one tank with fuel in it so we were climbing lightweight. The Taylorcraft climbed steadily marching upward at 500 feet per minute for the first several minutes. However, as we gained altitude this rate of climb steadily diminished.

Also, it continued to get much colder as we made our way toward the heavens. For each 1,000 feet of gain in altitude you loose about three degrees in temperature. As I was going about 13,000 feet above the surface, I would loose about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. (13 X 3 = 39) It was a great view as the sky was dry and clear with the visibility unlimited. It was one of those days you could see forever. It was in the early morning when I decided upon this adventure and you could easily see the entire eastern border of the State of Iowa from North to South as a layer of fog and haze still remained over the Great Mississippi River Valley.

I knew that a person could pass out due to lack of oxygen and that is why I discontinued the assent even though my craft would have eagerly climbed higher though at a much reduced climb rate. The Taylorcraft has been known to climb as high as 17,000 feet. At the final stages of my climb we were probably only climbing at the rate of 200 feet-per-minute or less. I could no longer see the town of Lamont beneath me even when I banked the Taylorcraft steeply in the turns. I did check my fingernails by pressing on the ends of them to see if they turned blue. However, if I was going to pass out, I am sure this would not have given me a clue in time.

Well, I felt I had climbed as far as I dared. I was getting cold with just a light “Tee” shirt. The mission was accomplished, and it would take a while to descend so I started back down. Now a Taylorcraft is noted for its long wings that produce a great amount of lift. Therefore, the Taylorcraft was in no real hurry to get back to its cow pasture hanger where my father farmed. For every mile you are high you have about seven miles of gliding distance. So take 14,000 feet less the surface ground elevation of about 1,000 feet makes 13,000 feet. Then, divide the 13,000 feet by 5,280 feet in a mile and you get about 2.46 miles or about 2.5 miles high. My gliding distance therefore was seven times 2.5 miles high or a good 17 miles. As the crow flies, that would take me to either the Oelwein Municipal Airport or the Independence Municipal Airport even without an engine. However, I needed to keep my engine warm, as it is not good for them to get too cool on a long descent. So you see getting back down required a bit of time to do also. Coming down was even more fun as the speed was much greater and the view out the windshield was absolutely spectacular to me. Very gradually, I began to warm up again and felt very good about the whole mission.
I also did not use nearly as much fuel on the glide back down to the pasture landing field full of Holstein milk cows. They were so used to my flying over them that they were in no hurry to move down the field and out of the way. What could I do but enjoy more flying time before once again touching down on a 40 rod strip of good runway with another not as good 40 rods of overrun. As I flew by the tall cottonwood tree at the North end of the runway on final I thought once again, “You just cannot beat fun!”

Friday, December 30, 2005

MOTHER WILL BE 90 YEARS OLD ON AUGUST 28, 2006

At least once per week and usually toward the end of the week, I try to pay my mother a visit. She has been a resident at the Care Center for nearly six years now. She is doing quite well and is able to get around on her own with the aide of a walker. She has many friends who call, and write which is a blessing. Her younger sister and her six children are very good to call, visit, have her out to dinner, and provide transportation. She keeps up with her medical appointments on a regular basis. She enjoys the music programs, playing bingo, and attending the church services at the Care Center. We often take her to activities at our church. My younger brother and his wife are very good to help mother with shopping and dining out. They are especially good at Christmas. The family Christmas is held in their home complete with: songs, programs of the Christmas Story, Santa Claus visits, gift exchanges, and of course, an abundant cornucopia of food and goodies.

COFFEE OUT PROVIDES FOR A BREAK IN A BUSY RETIREMENT SCHEDULE

Quite often on Friday the retired and semi-retired "movers and shakers" show up at the local coffee cafe for some "R & R." When most are in attendance, there are about 14 of us. There is usually a lively discussion on topics ranging from: World, State, and Local issues with many problems being solved. Both the coffee and camaraderie is great. The cafe staff is a great deal of fun as well. Who pays for coffee is a ritual determined by quessing two digits chosen by someone, like myself, within the serial numbers on a two dollar bill. The guesses get narrowed down fast by the high and low numbers called out. It is a good idea to decide how many rounds will be played before the contest begins. A few of the fellows even tolerate conversations regarding aviation. One is a part owner of a Cessna 182. One has owned aircraft projects. One took lessons years ago, but never completed the process for a private ticket. Several have flown with me in the Taylorcraft. And, I do believe that a few more may going flying in the Taylorcraft some fine day. I appreciate all who help with my mission to introduce people to the wonderful "Realm of Flight."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

SNOWSHOEING IN THE GREAT WHITE IS LOTS OF FUN AND GOOD EXERCISE.

Before all the quality snow melts, I wanted to try out my new Alaskan Outfitter Snowshoes. This afternoon I took a 1:30 hike on the 2.6 mile Liberty Nature Trail. I am glad that I purchased the 10" X 36" size rated at 200 pounds plus as gliding on the snow was easy. Things were going so well that I decided to cut through the wooded area along the stream. After a bit of practice avoiding brush was not difficult to do. The grips on the bottom of the boot bindings provided great traction and support. I was able to observe a great deal of Whitetail Deer sign including: tracks, scat, beds, rubs, and scrapes. The snow had a hard crust and I was making lots of noise so I failed to come upon any deer unawares. The temperature was 33 degrees and the sky was overcast. I was lightly dressed which was a good thing. Snowshoeing seems to add half again the time to your normal walking speed. However, I believe that with practice and conditioning that time could be reduced.

LHS 50TH CLASS REUNION IN 2006

Recently, several fellow high school classmates and I have been making plans for our 50th Lamont High School (LHS) class reunion to be held during Lamont Day's this year. There were 32 in our graduating class with 22 boys and 10 girls. Not a bad ratio for the girls. All of our classmates reside in Iowa with the exception of six in the following states: WI (2), CA, MS, MI, & CO. Eleven are still living in the area surrounding Lamont. Eight or so are still engaged in Farming. Four have passed away.

TAYLORCRAFT FLYING ON CHRISTMAS DAY

Over the Christmas season I have been flying on four occasions: Twice as an observer with instrument pilots renewing their currency instrument flight requirements in a Cessna Skyhawk II, Once with a commercial pilot and flight instructor in his Cessna 182. He took me on a tour of the Cessna Citation II he is currently flying, and on Christmas Day my oldest son flew the Taylorcraft again so he is current with ten beautiful landings to his credit.

TAKING TIME TO READ SOME EXCELLENT BOOKS

I have been reading some excellent books: "Turbulence" and "Fire Flight" by John J. Nance, "Eastwood" by Robert Tanitch, "I Remember Papa Bear" by Dick Lattimer. I have also been reading novels and history about the "Chisholm Trail" we will be flying with many friends in September of 2006. Of course, over the holidays I enjoy reading "Cabela's" and "Sporty's Pilot" catalogs. These are my two favorite wish books. Then there is always time to read a Louis L'Amour Western. I have all but ten of the 124 Louis L'Amour Westerns in my collection.

Hello, world! Initiated Thursday, 12-29-2005 by Bowden and Hansen.