Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Navion Aircraft and Bryce National Park

We spent the morning hanging out at the airport with friendly Navion owners and beautiful Navion airplanes. This group gathers together from all over the country once a year to enjoy their airplanes and see the sights in a selected city.
Today was the speed contest (the FAA objects strenuously to the term "race", so instead this is called a speed contest) and Case and I choose to hang out with those choreographing the event to see what it was all about. The pilots prepared by unloading their planes of all baggage, carrying minimum fuel, and selecting a small and trim individual to ride along as observer and spotter.
There are some lovely planes here. We both admire the more military looking Navions and those pictured here are some of our favorites.
The Navions lined up on the ramp in order of predicted speed (fastest to slowest), and the timers (pictured above) flagged them off one minute apart. A speedy take-off and full-throttle flight takes them to the destination airport, where they are timed again as they cross the field. (Before GPS was around to provide direct line-of-flight between the airports, the contest was much more challenging, as pilots had to navigate, correct for crosswinds, etc.)
Many owners have poured heart and soul (and cash) into their planes, restoring these now-vintage aircraft to pristine condition (or better); they seem to live and breathe Navions. We feel fortunate being able to attend, meet these kind folk, learn from their experience and expertise, and explore southern Utah.
The Canadian owner of this plane and told us stories of flying around Central America and landing in Cuba. To land in Cuba he disguised his plane a bit, covering the US military logos and wording. Another owner told of flying his plane over the North Atlantic to Europe (the usual route goes via Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland).
The "speed contest" took only the morning, so we headed out to see Bryce Canyon National Park in the afternoon.
Here is a sample of what we saw, a mere snapshot, one of many trying to capture the immense vista.
From our seat on the edge of the canyon, the hikers below appeared as virtual ants (to coin the cliche) against the towering spires.
As is so often true Nature, it was more a place to experience than to capture in photos.
I am glad we chose to visit Bryce Canyon at the spur of the moment, as the rock formations and views are different from what I expected after visiting nearby Zion National Park.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shakespear Festival: Southern Utah University

A warm summer evening, to see A Comedy of Errors, on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City.
Even better, we were kindly given free tickets to this event from the front desk at our hotel, as a promotional on the first few nights of the summer festival.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hiking the Narrows: Zion National Park, Utah

Click on pictures to enlarge.
Entering Zion National Park via the bus transit system, the ranger pointed out the sights and named sandstone cliffs around us.
We were interested in taking the bus up into the river-carved canyon to the end of the road. From there a walking path follows the river winding through the narrowing canyon. Eventually the path ends and hikers must take to wading the river. As the canyon narrows, the water varies from ankle to knee deep, and deeper.
In our opinion, this is the only way to spend a 100 degree day -- deep down in a shady canyon, wading in cool water, negotiating the rocky river bottom in Tevas (sandles) and shorts.
On the trail.

Looking high overhead from the depths of the shaded canyon to the sky above.
We stopped for lunch on a rock along the river.
Passing hikers/waders commented on our Subway sandwiches, somewhat soggy but still delicious after having been driven, bussed, hiked, and waded into this spot from far away Cedar City.
Pulling over for a pit stop!
In the river with the sandstone walls towering above us...what a fun unique hike!
Case gets a photo of the waist deep water, the deepest place we waded through. The cool water felt good and our clothes dried fast in the hot and dry climate.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vacation: On our way to Cedar City, Utah

After stopping by to visit and have lunch with mom, dad, and Grandma Bauer in Penryn, CA, we headed east for southern Utah.
We flew east across the Sierra Nevadas just south of Lake Tahoe, California.
At 12,000 feet the tops of the majestic Sierra Neveda Mountains were just a thousand feet or so below us.
After crossing the desert regions of Nevada and Utah we came into Cedar City, Utah. The sun was low in the sky highlighting the red of the surrounding cliffs
We turned south to explore the beautiful cliffs of Zion National Park.
Rugged beauty!
We're looking forward to a closer look tomorrow, but it's so much fun to see it from above first.
The flight back from Zion toward Cedar City took us into the sunset's red hue.
At the airport, Case was excited to see all the Navion airplanes here for the 2009 Navion Convention!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Care Package

Thank you for your thoughtful notes and calls regarding Jack.

Yesterday we received a package delivered to the front door. Noting the address of our vet, tears came to my eyes as I wondered what they may be sending me. Maybe they were returning Jack's blanket we'd left with him at the office. Inside I discovered this sweet plaque, a kind card signed by the veterinarian and staff and card outlining the grief process.

This small token is really appreciated and we'll treasure it in honor of Jack!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Jack now sleeps peacefully, living only in our memories. -- Jolene

Somewhere, in the timelessness Eternity that only God knows, Jack is lying on his back soaking up the warmth of another sun, free from sickness & pain, feeling only the Love that loves all of His creation and creatures far more than we are able. -- Case

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Of Sabbath, Saddness, and Sunset

This Sabbath afternoon, I shared a few more tearful moments with our beloved Jack. We are slowly loosing him
as his little body no longer makes the red blood cells he needs. The vet says it's not a fixable problem. Slowly, as his anemia worsens, he has slowed down, stopped eating, and given up sleeping on the foot of our bed along with most of his other routines. After trying a few other spots, he's selected a space under the bed in our middle bedroom as his own private hospice. He still purrs when we visit him and scratch his cheeks as he quietly sits under the bed, but he is down 3-4 lb. from his usual of 16, and virtually nothing will convince him to move from that spot. Once a week, we take him out on the back patio and enjoy a little time with him in the sun and fresh air. He seems content with this, but only too relieved to get back to his "den". We think that, in his little kitty brain, he needs a quiet, protected place safe from sudden starts or excess stimulation. So far, he doesn't seem to be in pain or distress, but life is visibly ebbing from his beloved form. C.S. Lewis once wrote a book chapter explaining why he thought it reasonable to believe that our pets might go to heaven. We're sticking with that for Jack.We cheer ourselves with a sunset walk down on Pismo Beach, watching airplanes land at the Oceano airport,
playfully snapping sunset pictures,
unaware of the waves rolling in behind us until (just as the shutter clicks) the cold submerges our bare feet!
Now wet, we give in to wading in the cool water while hunting for shells washed up on the beach.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bauer Family, Redding, CA

We took some time to hang out with the Bauer Family in Redding, CA this weekend.
Lauren and Bryce braved the cool water, while Auntie Jolene wimped out and wore a wet suit in the freezing cold 77 degree water!
Misha hangs with the guys soon after taking a swim with the kids in the pool.

Bryce shows me another pet living with the family.
Eva gets away from work for the afternoon.
Bryce worried the airplane would suddenly start while he was in the front seat,
preferring Gregg in the drivers seat,
while he tucked himself comfortably in the back seat with his seat belt cinched tight!
Taxiing out,
and taking to the air. Good times for all!