Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018

High Flying History

This past Friday, The Colonel and I saw an old airplane flying over our house. We had not seen this one before. That same day I saw an article in the local paper about said airplane. For a fee of $75 the public could take a ride in the old airplane. The rides would continue through Sunday. Of course, we had to have a ride.

We called My-Favorite-In-Laws and asked if they would like to join us the next day...but of course!

The Colonel and I went to the airport to see about signing up for a ride. There was no signing up. We would have to come back Saturday morning and stand in line to get a ride. The gate would be open at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday morning arrived. The Colonel and I awoke earlier than normal for a quick breakfast and some Fox and Friends before we headed over to The Colonel's parent's house. We wanted to leave their house by 8 a.m. so that we could get to the airport, park and get in line by 8:30 a.m. I love my small town...just about everything is ten to fifteen minutes away (unless you have to cross the bridge over the Peace River and/or it is snowbird season).

We got in line at 8:30 a.m., paid our $75 each, and signed all essential paperwork. Now it was time to wait. We waited inside the building of the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). This building is the only original building left from the time when the local airport was an Army Airfield during WWII.

We were finally given tickets and then lead to a small building next to the EAA building for a safety briefing before we were to board the old airplane.

It was now time to board...but before we do, let me tell you about the historical airplane.

It is a Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT and it was the first all-metal ( it!) multi-engine commercial airliner. The cost to buy this airplane straight from the factory was $55,000. All models of this airplane (199 total) were built from 1926-1933. This particular model was the eighth one built in 1928 and began service on December 1, 1928.

The manufacturing of these models led to the construction of the first airline terminal for passengers and was the first regularly scheduled passenger airliner to operate for Transcontinental Air Transport. Its construction also led to the first hotel , the Dearborn Inn, designed and built for air travelers. The first paved runway was also built because of this airplane.

After the Tri-Motor was replaced as a passenger airliner it was used for quite some time to carry heavy-freight to mining operations in jungles and mountains. The Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT was the first aircraft manufactured to mandate crew training for its airline passengers.

I had read these facts on the back of my ticket as I waited for the flight...with these new-found facts swimming in my cranium, I was more excited about flying in the Ford Tri-Motor.

It was finally time to board...

Every seat was a window seat and there were only ten (plus for a fee of $125 someone could sit in the right seat of the cockpit). The Colonel and his dad took seats towards the front and his mom and I sat in the back. The airplane was beautiful inside. The ten seats were cushioned in green leather. The walls were paneled and the windows were dressed in tasseled, golden curtains.

The Pilot and Right-Seater were the last ones to board the plane. The Pilot fired up the left engine, the nose engine and finally the right engine (I was sitting on the right side of the plane and a puff of smoke erupted from the right engine upon ignition).

When all three engines were rumbling the plane was vibrating too much for me to take any photos. I had to wait until we were airborne. I looked out of my window and watched the wheel lift off of the 9:30 a.m. we were flying!

We were about 1200 feet in the air as we flew above our town and along the Peace River. They were beautiful from this vantage point. We were amazed again at just how much water surrounds our area.

My-Favorite-In-Laws were enjoying the flight too.

I passed the camera up to The Colonel so that he could take some photos from his perspective. He took one of the two in the cockpit and took one of his mom and I.

Our awesome flight lasted for an amazing fifteen minutes. Everyone on board wished it could have lasted longer. The touchdown was as smooth as peanut butter; the tires butterfly-kissed the runway.

The Colonel stayed back inside the plane as everyone else exited. He wanted to take a couple more pictures before the next group of passengers boarded.

Taking a flight in a rare, 90-year old airplane was certainly a unique experience. The beautiful, "Golden-Age of Aviation" interior was a pleasant surprise but the bigger surprise, upon boarding, was the incline of the seats and aisle due to the fact that the airplane is a tail-dragger. Once the airplane was in the air, the tail came up and there was no more incline.

The Old and the New...

I am glad that air travel is quicker these days but the silhouettes and interiors of current passenger planes have lost much of their charm in the evolution.

Every time we heard those three throaty engines above us, we turned our eyes skyward to watch the Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT lumber by and we'd smile because we knew what it was like to "slip the surly bonds of earth" from within her belly.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Much Needed Face Lift

A few weeks before Hurricane Irma arrived (September 10, 2017), The Colonel and I noticed that the upper deck of our back porch was in need of repair.

The Colonel tied the loose pieces of decking down before Irma hit and his quick fix rode out the storm. Hurricane season ended on the last day of November 2017 and we are now in our dry season. So, The Colonel and I decided it was now time to fix the upper deck.

We called John, our builder friend. He built Darling-Sister-In-Law's house (which is now Yam's) and my Favorite-In-Law's house. He came out to look over the job and give us a quote. We liked his quote and told him he could start whenever he was ready.

On January 22nd, John and Doug (the carpenter) started on the porch fix. In addition to fixing the upper decking we also had John and Doug re-wrap the posts on the entire house (the little cottage porch did not need fixing). The eleven-year-old wood that wrapped the posts was rotting in areas.

John and Doug arrived each morning around 7:30 and began the day's work. They stripped off the rotted wood.

Once the old wood was removed, they replaced it with new material and then began working on the upper decking. Our old decking material was brown and we decided we wanted to go with a gray color this time so that it would more closely match the gray painted on the lower porches. We had met John at The Home Depot before the job started to pick out the new decking.

The railing was removed and some of the old decking was pulled up to see how many of the wood stringers would have to be replaced.

John initially thought that he could just replace the rotten parts, but decided he would completely replace every stringer.

The Colonel and I helped John and Doug pass down the railing so that they could begin to tear up the old decking and old stringers. The Colonel and I cleaned the railing once it was in the yard.

John and Doug worked for four days on the house then took the weekend off. Remember when I said that we are in the dry season? Well, it poured buckets of rain that Sunday night and it was too wet for John and Doug to do any work. They returned the following Tuesday to finish the upper decking.

Doug passed the 20-foot pieces of decking up to John...

...then they measured, cut and pieced it all together. They said it was a bit tricky getting the spacing of the boards perfect...but they sure got it perfect.

Once the decking was down, it was time to reattach the now spotless railing. John and Doug finished the job on February 4th.


Now that the upper porch is brand-spanking new, I told The Colonel that I would like to have it screened in (actually I had been wanting it screened in for a couple of years...glad we waited). The Colonel said he would like it screened in too and get new furniture for it...bonus! We ordered some Adirondack chairs from Polywood, a company that is in Syracuse, Indiana. Got to give some business to our Hoosier peeps. 

Of course, posts and photos to come as the furniture arrives and the screening is complete. But, before we can get the screening done, we have a painter coming to caulk and paint the newly wrapped posts. I am so looking forward to using my upper porch again. I can hardly wait!

The new furniture arrived!! Love the red with the gray. The Colonel made the table from some of the leftover pieces of decking. I could not find an outdoor lamp I liked (or one that was not too expensive) so I bought this one that has a nautical bent to it. I cannot leave it outside, so I will have to bring it out when we want to use the porch in the evenings.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ode to 2017

Ode to 2017

Posts this year were slim within my blog,
Life got in the way and of my time was a hog (or maybe I was just lazy, 
who knows, it's all kind of  hazy).

I wished to share more, with pictures to boot,
To lament this now is a point that is moot.

I did share some things and some things were missed,
The following lines name just a partial list.

I told some of my tale with the aid of Story Corps,
A calendar girl and parade member, in colonial garb I wore.

I had lunch with George and Martha Washington,
Visited real and imagined Calusa villages, what fun!

Sawfish DNA for science The Colonel and I did share,
A visit to the Bell Witch's cave gave us a little scare.

A trip to Charleston, discovering real pimento cheese, so filling,
With DAR friends I learned the old art of Quilling.

Funding and writing local markers historical,
Braving historical Hurricane Irma without becoming hysterical.

A family trip with a purpose to Key West,
To bury Darling-Sister-In-Law, she was the best.

My hopes for my writing in 2018 are to be more prolific,
And my wish to all is that the New Year be happy, healthy and terrific!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017