John & Anne Wiley

2014/10/24

Castles & Sand

“And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually.”

There’s something so lyrical about Hearst Castle. Every time we fly past it catches the eye and the heart, dancing somewhere between Rosebud about “damaged childhood” and Castles Made of Sand about “the temporary nature of existence, of time slipping away, how nothing can be taken for granted – love, loyalty, family bonds, [and] friendship.”

Tonight as we begin to assimilate and recover from easily our most unusual flying Adventure, today’s unusually high flight past the Castle evokes some unclear theme.

7004 High Hearst

7004 High Hearst

I decided to stay high so that ATC could follow us on radar, so it gave a detached overview different from the more intimate glimpses we’ve enjoyed on past flights. This added to a contemplative air we were breathing from this trip that touched so many castles. The homes of people we love, each so different in setting and construction.

Each of us lives in a Home that is our Castle, and within these walls we build a culture that can define us and keep out the variety of life out there. We have been enriched and stretched by this Castle tour. While we cherish the warm welcome bestowed upon us in each of these realms we’ve just traversed, there’s no place like Home back here in our castle. :)

2014/10/21

Colorful Stop

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,People,PNW Adventure,Random — John @ 05:53

As we make hops toward home during breaks in Pacific Northwest weather, we’ve stopped for visits with relatives and friends. Today we’re in Grant’s Pass, where Fall colors are striking.

124201 Color Break

124201 Color Break

Though still raining along our route, the clouds parted for a while this afternoon so we enjoyed a walk in the colors. After more rain there was another clearing period before sunset that added a rainbow to the forest colors touched by the last rays of sun.

173204 Color Caress

173204 Color Caress

2014/10/11

Constant

The old saying goes something like, “The only constant is Change.” We just had some lessons in that. We decided to fly Tripp up to visit a dear sister in Seattle who was in a terrible freak vehicle accident. Our hope is to help out where we can, and add some fun and cheer to her days. So we started to plan for next week.

Then we realized Edmonton is relatively close, and we could visit our daughter and family. Starting to look at flying weather, I found that we could actually fly direct to see them first and enjoy a Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday. So suddenly our first plan changed and we had less time to prepare.

Then the weather forecasts began to include extreme wind warnings for Edmonton for our planned arrival tomorrow (Saturday). So we instantly went into emergency packing mode, and were able to leave SBA just before the last holes in the low clouds closed offshore. To break up the flying tomorrow we decided to fly about halfway, to Boise, ID. Because our plans were now in tatters and we got out of SBA at 9pm, and we had headwinds, we ended up flying nearly all night and arriving at 5am long after our hotel plan was out the window. Being dark except for the waning moon, we didn’t see much and took not a single photo (perhaps a first for us on a long flight over interesting terrain).

2303 Terminal Plan

2303 Terminal Problem

So we slept in recliner chairs in the “crew” room at the airport for three hours, then started making last minute plans for the border crossing. That’s when the plan met its End. Terminal error, as it were. In our haste, we’d left our passports at home. Even in our sleepy state it was instantly clear that this was a terminal problem. We had but a few hours before weather closed in everywhere, the authorities require lots of money, time and rare documents to issue a new passport, and nothing short of a friend with supersonic jet could get our passports to us in time for today’s flight.

Change is Constant.

So we changed plan to head for Seattle just before the forecast storms here.

2304 Over Boise

2304 Over Boise

At last we were flying in daylight, so there are some pix to share. Like this one of the first leaves turning in a small town along our route.

6438 Fall Color

6438 Fall Color

Much of the flight was over vast barren dry terrain, where vehicles on dirt roads stand out from the flat.

6453 Vehicle ID

6453 Vehicle ID

Or scenes like this, where the cars of a freight train trace a thin thread of colors.

2309 Colored Thread

2309 Colored Thread

Where there’s irrigated farming, lush green circles dot the land and scattered burning adds smoke signals.

2338 Fields & Fires

2338 Fields & Fires

On the aviation frequencies we heard some pilots around Boise reporting fires to ATC, but being near towns they were already known to fire agencies. So when I spotted what looked like a new wildfire in a remote non-agricultural area near Mt. Aix, I called it in and they seemed to take it quite seriously.

6473 Into Rainy Days

6473 Into Rainy Days

The storms actually arrived a little early. In fact we even flew through some scattered light snow flurries that were falling thru the clear air between cloud layers.  Happily we could see that Renton (Seattle) was still clear but by the time we landed we were very tired. We were also feeling great disappointment, sadness and frustration at not going for such a precious time with daughter and family. Yet we were happy, healthy, and glad to see Anne’s sweet sister.

Then we went to bed early (for us: 11pm) on our comfy high-end air mattress in sweet sister’s guest room. An hour later we woke on the floor. Being so totally sleep deprived by now, we just found the least uncomfortable position and slept another two hours. When we woke again aching in our bones from basically sleeping on the floor, I pumped it up again hoping for at least an hour. It went flat immediately. So we slept a few more minutes on the floor and got up to make coffee and figure out where we’ll buy a new air matt.

So begins our PNW Adventure. What other Change lies ahead on this journey?

2014/10/09

UC Moon

Sometimes when you fly at night, you see moon. The night after full moon (and eclipse), we flew around the airport and thrilled to scenes like this we’ve not enjoyed since our last full moon flight.

6412 Moon Over UCSB

6412 Moon Over UCSB

The stadium lights blaring at the left contrast with gentle shimmers on the water and twinkling lights of many colors. Passing offshore of UCSB, the campus so familiar in daylight seemed mysterious though everyone familiar can find landmarks like Storke Tower and figure out where they are.

6417 UCSB Moonlight Magic

6417 UCSB Moonlight Magic

From a different angle we looked past Goleta to the lights of distant Santa Barbara adding a pleasant glow to the haze and fog forming there.

6395 Distant Glow

6395 Distant Glow

Sometimes flying at night U.C. Moon.

2014/10/05

Water Colors

I’m fascinated by light. Especially the way light changes depending on the angle of view. For example, here’s the same water off East Beach viewed from different angles.

6360 Oil Barge

6360 Oil Barge

The lobster boat at the top is tending to the traps as seals on the large white buoy watch contemplating the catch. When we first moved here someone told us that blue barge is a fish farm, but recent visitors told us it’s for oil spill response and that looks much more likely. But right now I’m noticing the blue color of the water, compared with this same scene a few seconds later looking NW rather than NE.

6366 Lobster Boat

6366 Lobster Boat

The lobster boat has left the buoy at the top and circled back toward the oil barge off to the left, perhaps headed for another trap or back to the harbor. The same area of water now appears green because we’re looking at a different angle in relation to the sun. Nearby a “live aboard” sailboat in the (risky in stormy weather) anchorage bobs in a different shade as we look SE.

6376 Home Afloat

6376 Home Afloat

Years ago I lived briefly on an old wooden 33′ fishing boat, and all those romantic memories come flooding back when I glance at a scene like this. We even considered a floating home moving here where housing is so expensive, but managed to find something we can afford on land. It’s still fun to stroll Stearn’s Wharf, and huddle under the umbrellas at Moby’s watching boats, fishing, birds, and the occasional seal or dolphin.

6359 Huddled Red

6359 Huddled Red

Water colors can be pleasing to the eye up here, just as the sounds soothe the soul down there.

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