Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Was Good, 2012 Will Be Great!

2011 saw a lot less flying hours shown in my logbook, but we still managed to experience some great adventures.  Total flying time for the year was 60.9 hours, but in 2011 I also managed to pass the 500 hour mark!  Since getting my medical back at the beginning of December, I have logged 13.6 hours and with the trips we have planned in 2012 we should see a lot more hours put on N424RM!

The routes we have flown in 2011
Happy New Year!

Thanks Gary (Gary's Flight Journal) for showing me where to make the map!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flight Home From New Orleans

We got up Monday morning and took our time getting ready.  We had breakfast again at IHOP and after went back to the hotel to check-out.  We were able to get everyone and everything in Papa's car so Papa & Granny took us to the airport to see us off.  I called Flightline First when we were on the way and they had our plane ready for us on the ramp when we arrived.

We were able to drive right up to the plane which made loading really convenient.  The fuel and tie-down fees were very reasonable, especially considering the great service we received and the use of their wonderful facilities.  Asking for the "Airnav" discount got us 50 cents/gal off the full serve price and the tie-down fee was $10 per night.   With the pre-flight complete and everything stowed, we said our goodbyes.  I filed for the reverse route from our trip out and was approved "as filed" at an altitude of 7000 feet.  As usual the headwinds we fought on the way out no longer existed to give us some tailwinds home.  The winds were about 15-20 knots off our right wing.

Shortly after leveling off above an overcast layer, Mary quickly went to sleep and Kristi finally got to relax and play on her iPad for a bit.  Abby played on her DSi and I flew the plane jumping back and forth between various XM radio stations.  The new audio panel works great!  I had to turn the music down a few times since I had the mute function off and I didn't want to miss an ATC call.

The clouds finally cleared and I found a few interesting things to look at below.  The sun was in a perfect spot to see Glory in the clouds every now and then.

Mary had a nice long nap.  When she woke up, Mom was ready with movies and treats.  At least she wore her headset again for a little bit.

Abby and I just discovered Mary got the only chocolate chip cookie in the plane!

NOT FAIR!!!!!!!

At least we weren't in charge of the cleanup!

Before GPS, most IFR cross country flying was done via Airways or "Highways in the Sky" that are mostly connected via radio navigation aids know as VORs.

The Taylor VOR
Finally a nice and smooth descent into Jacksonville.  I was able to keep the speed up nicely which of course earned me a request to slow for spacing.  Ugh!

Here are a few shots of the ships on the St Johns River where I work.  Just before we reached the Dames Point Bridge in the second picture we turned right for a stright in landing on Ruway 14 at KCRG.

We had a great trip. We flew over 1000 miles total. It took about 3h 30m to get to New Orleans and about 3 h 15m to get home.  Not bad at all!  We are truely blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Abby's New Orleans Dance Competition and Our Stay

Saturday morning started early. Kristi and Abby were up early to get ready for her big dance day. Abby had to be up, fed, and dressed and ready for class by 8:00am.  Mary and I decided to sleep in a bit, or should I say she thankfully let me sleep in a bit.  She had no fear standing against our 43rd floor window!  Not me though.  My knees would get weak just standing next to it.  I hate heights, but I liked the view.  The big bed also proved to be enjoyably bouncy!

Kristi's dad and step mother (Papa & Granny) arrived late the night before.  Once everyone was up we got together to have breakfast.  I decided we needed to do something right by New Orleans so we walked into the French Quarter to enjoy a phenomenal Jazz Brunch at The Court of Two Sisters.  The food and presentation was first class.  The Eggs Benedict seemed to be a favourite at our table.

After breakfast we strolled back to the hotel by way of Bourbon Street.  I'll have to come back with Kristi another time so she can have the true experience of Bourbon Street at night!

When we got back to the hotel it was time for Abby to have her lunch break.  She finally got to see Papa & Granny.

After a full day of dance classes it was time to get ready for the night's competition.  It was a team effort to get Abby ready.

Almost time!  Abby was the 8th performance for the night which was great for us, but it made for a long, long wait to find out the results.

Here is Abby's performance:

After her performance we met in the lobby for some posing include a token Toddlers & Tiaras pose!

The results are in.  Abby placed 3rd in her category!  This is the first time she has ever competed her solo and she did awesome.  Since she placed, it earned her a spot to compete her solo at the national finals next summer!  Abby was so excited to get a trophy.

As for Mary..........well this was our favorite spot for her:

I really enjoyed the view from our hotel room.  I kept looking out to this one building pictured below.  The main building was a fairly plain box high rise, but the top was quites something different.

Papa enjoyed the view too.  It was fun to watch all the activity below at night.

On Sunday while Abby was in more dance classes, Mary and I passed the time running around the lobby outside the showroom.

Mary turned 2 at the beginning of the month so she got to enjoy some birthday presents from Papa & Granny!

Once Abby was done Sunday afternoon, we all set out to see a little bit of New Orleans. 

Here is my paparazzi style shot I'm going to submit to People Magazine
The nice face I got when I told Mary she couldn't touch anything at the jewelry store

We have flown over the Mississippi River a few times now, but this is the first time Abby has seen it up close and personal.  It was a bit chilly.

I enjoyed watching the Steamboat Natchez return to her berth.  The Captain made a really nice down-tide landing.

Some MARAD ships waiting for Unc to be reactivated so they can be broken-out for our next national emergency.  Maybe he'll ask me to join him next time!

As much as I wanted to have a bit of a more New Orleans style dinner experience, it was getting late and we needed something that would work with Mary.  Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is located along Decatur Street next to the French Market.  It perfectly fit the bill and the food was good.

After diner we walked back down Decatur Street to have coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde!  Yum, yum good!

Mary always had to be the first one in and out of the elevator.  We had to be very careful when it stopped at floors others than ours!

With stories read and all tucked in, it was time for sleep.  We had a great visit.  We'll definitely have to come back soon so we can really experience all New Orleans has to offer.
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