John & Anne Wiley

2010/08/26

Merry MariTimes?

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,MeriTimes Adventure,Random — John @ 09:30

Well, tonight we started talking about another trip! It’s remarkable given that we’ve been mostly holed up, haven’t even done any of the short regional or SoCA flights we’d imagined, and haven’t completely unpacked from NxNW. On the other hand, it’s very handy having lots of stuff from the trip still piled together where we can use it as a starting point for a hopefully much lighter load for the next big trip. Will this be it?

When I lived in Canada for a few years everyone seemed to always be talking about The Maritimes. That’s the eastern part of Canada, and having lived only on the west coast for a while it seemed far off, exotic and a bit romantic – especially after adding years of hearing about that region since. I’ve seen a few intriguing articles about it recently, including one in an aviation mag. We also want to visit the two remaining continental states we’ve missed: AR & CO. We’re also itching to spend more time in NYC and DC, and would like a return to FL with lots of other ideas along the way.
Tonight we sketched out a potential vision of mostly “fly-camping,” with the nights numbered and increasingly “flexible” as the list progresses:
1 GRAND CANYON
2 CO (probably through Denver)
3 NB (Omaha) or Iowa
4 & 5 Chicago (hotel?)
Dayton, OH?
6 London, ON
7 Ottawa, ON
8 Montreal  (hotel?)
9 Quebec City
10 New Brunswick
11 & 12 Newfoundland?
13 Prince Edward Island
14 Nova Scotia
~~~
15 & 16 MAINE  Bar Harbor & other areas?
17 & 18 Boston – Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard?
19 New Haven
20-22 NYC (NJ?)
23 Philadelphia
24 & 25 Pittsburg – Dayton?
26-28 DC
…..
WV, KT, TN, MS, AR, AL, GA, FL (incl. Keys & Bahamas)??
Home via??
Help us! As you can see, the flexibility gets really squishy by the time we leave DC. We could be home in a day or two direct, or meander for weeks. Weather, exhaustion, mood, and perhaps most of all money would all be factors. So tonight we begin to dream about it.
Any comments, suggestions, ideas??
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2010/09/09

Endless Spring

Santa Barbarians are a bit grumpy lately. The weather has been cooler than usual, with much more low cloud and fog – especially along the coast. We waited for it to clear Saturday afternoon, and got this sunset shot from just offshore of the airport looking northeast.

1040 Goleta Pier

1040 Goleta Pier

Even on this “good” day it was much cooler than normal, and there was still fog trying to pour over the islands. Today it succeeded and sunset saw clouds surrounding our mountain tops. Even so the clouds offered soft pastel colors to accent an orange tree thick with juicy fruit.

1046 Cloud Cap

1046 Cloud Cap

I’m glad we’ve had our Summer experiences elsewhere this year on our NxNW Adventure. Some of the hot and humid weather on the trip made us appreciate the unusual fog and clouds here, and we’ve flown out from under it a few times to get some hot sun just a few minutes’ ride beyond the mountains. I hope this long stretch of Spring weather patterns doesn’t portend a wet Winter. I wonder how the weather will be when we take off for our MerriTimes Adventure. We’re starting to talk about dates now, and in a few days we’ll look at forecasts and make a plan.

2010/09/15

Sleep & Renewal

We’ve managed to shift our sleep schedule to an easier time-frame. A couple of nights ago we worked until sunrise on an update of the “C4” website. That’s our nickname for the thoughtful group that’s experiencing explosive growth in their grassroots organizing to elect four new candidates to the Santa Barbara City College governing body: the Board of Trustees. The nickname actually comes from the group’s full name Citizens For SBCC (aka Citizens4SBCC.org – the website I mentioned). It’s a wonderful group of people who care deeply about education, fiscal responsibility, transparency and collaboration (see the website for info).

Anyway, our sleep has been totally zonko. Last night we caught up a bit and tonight we’re already sagging at 10pm so maybe tomorrow morning we’ll be back on track. Today we drove out to pamper Tripp a bit and went for a short flight to Santa Paula to stretch her wings and fill her with fuel. Because we were climbing over the hills enroute, we were higher than usual for a harbor tour.

1049 Translucent Harbor

1049 Translucent Harbor

The water, like the air today, was especially magical. The light haze gave it all a soft veiled effect. The extra altitude also provided a slightly different perspective on Our Town nestled between mountains and seas.

1051 Harbor to Mountains

1051 Harbor to Mountains

Such a beautiful place to fly! Needless to say, it rekindled our interest in starting off on our MerriTimes Adventure! So with one more tweak on Tripp (hopefully tomorrow), we’ll be ready to start packing and decide whether to take off tomorrow afternoon or wait until Thursday or later. We haven’t looked at weather yet, but the recent pattern has been good for departure in the afternoon or early evening.

We’ve struggled a bit with each others’ feelings about all this, but it’s so delightful when we slow down to check in with ourselves and our beloved with the tools we’ve learned and developed in the past decade or two. In many ways, we enjoy such disagreements. I can think of two reasons right away: first, the disagreements have energy and help nudge us toward dialog that leads to conscious closeness. Second, it’s such delicious fun to make up! 🙂

So shall we start a new Adventure? Would it be best to just get started even if only an hour or two before stopping to tent somewhere? Better to sleep one last night in our cozy home and get an early start once any coastal fog clears? Might we want to create a more detailed plan, or just go with our current general notion and follow the “whethers?” That is, Whether we feel like flying, resting, or exploring on the ground at any point. Whether we’d like to detour off our track and look at something from the air or ground (Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, Monument Valley, etc.). Whether the weather forecast looks best for picking up the pace or pausing in some interesting place, like we did in Greenville, SC on our Big Adventure several lifetimes ago.

Or, maybe we’ll just keep working on our sleep schedule and Fall weather will rewrite our vision of reaching the Maritimes on this trip.

2010/09/16

Lost Day

Sigh…

Well, today was invested in handling several important distractions from our plan of preparing for MT (MerryTimes, my name for our flight to Nova Scotia and the east coast). Anne just squirmed in her seat said, “This has been one papery day!” Now she’s back at her typing on the laptop. I sighed again after typing this.

This morning we had a long and delicious talk about the trip. We discovered that each of us had some sadness about it. I was sad to still be here while weather on our route is turning colder and wetter. She was sad that we hadn’t talked more about her initial desire to just make this a return visit the east coast. I’m so glad we talked! Now we’re “processing” in between our “paper” time, and continue to go deeper into where our feelings are coming from. I just love that we don’t focus on strategies, but instead delve deeply in the realm of who we are and what we want. To me, this is the Meaning of Life. 🙂

So needless to say, we’ve done nothing at all to prepare for departure. One thing I started on yesterday and intended to work on today, is “wind deflectors” for Tripp. When we open her windows in flight, there’s lots of wind noise. I’ve figured out a way to clip an angled plexiglass strip onto the back edge of each window frame in their respective doors, so that wind is deflected back outside rather than buffeting everything in the back seat and making so much noise. Let me know if you’d like a sketch, and I’ll probably post a photo once I actually build and try them.

I’m glad we flew yesterday, and took a break just now to review a few more of the photos. Now I never had a Beanie Baby toy so I don’t know much about them, but apparently they made a guy named Ty Warner quite rich. He’s involved in some high-profile real estate here in Santa Barbara, and one story I find interesting is his place above Butterfly Beach. I’ve heard he bought half a dozen mansions on that prime property from their reluctant owners, dozed them all flat, and built this complex.

1057 Ty Warner's Cottage

1057 Ty Warner's Cottage

I like the open design, and being fascinated by the story (whether true or not) I often glance at and/or snap this place when we fly past offshore. It seems to be mostly complete now, but we watched the construction for what seemed like years. Click on the photo (as with most any photo here) to see the larger version, and imagine the ocean & islands view from the pool and cabana.

Glancing further up to coast we could see what looked like an algae bloom in the water.

1058 Miramar & Summerland

1058 Miramar & Summerland

Above the wide beach near the left edge you can make out the row of cottages and beyond that the rest of what remains from the Miramar Hotel. I think that’s owned by another developer, but possibly Ty is involved too? Sadly, it’s currently languishing and locals miss the restaurant where they used to have meetings, meals or just gather for coffee. Further along to the East above the brown bluffs is internationally known local software company QAD (amazing buildings and view if you’ve never been there). Just past that is Summerland beach and the small seaside town sprawling beyond the freeway. We once played on that beach with friends on a summer evening during an algae bloom, and delighted in the “liquid light” created by every wave. It was fun to splash and swim in, and every time I see an algae bloom from the air I wonder if it’s of the sort that would create those conditions.

Well, back to “paper” and maybe later some tinkering with Tripp’s deflectors.

Course Change

Picture yourself in a boat on a river. The water is serenely moving to your right, and not far on the other side is a small cove with trees dangling down to the quiet water on either side of a grassy bank where your picnic awaits. As you leave shore, without thinking you point the boat slightly to the left of your inviting destination. You’ve made a course correction. Further out into the river, the speed of the placid river subtly increases and again you turn slightly more to the left of your idyllic goal. Another course correction.

Basically the same thing happens when you’re flying, except it’s air moving over the ground rather than water moving over a riverbed that you’re reacting to so as to fly a straight line to your destination. Another sort of course correction we’ve made in our flying adventures has to do with changes in our destination. In the river analogy, it could be that you see the picnic being moved to another cove so you change course to go there. Or perhaps a large bit of flotsam or another boat drifts into your path, so you turn right or left to go around it. Maybe someone arrives on the shore you just departed, so you return so they can join the picnic. We’ve made far too many course corrections to count on our various flying adventures. So it is with life, when we set out to do something and end up doing it sooner, later, differently, or not at all.

Well in case you haven’t already guessed, last night we made a major course change for our MerriTimes Adventure. We’re not going this week. That means we’re not going this year, because weather is already getting marginal on the most northeastern part of the route: the leap of faith we contemplated from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. That hop would involve about 20 minutes of flying over open water beyond reach of land in the exceeding rare event of a sudden and total loss of power. Rare as such things are, it’s also rare that I fly anywhere there’s not an open flat field or road within gliding distance to land. To increase the glide distance, I fly higher when good areas are more distant (1,000 feet altitude = 1.5 mile glide). Since the “Newfy” hop is over water my plan was to climb until Tripp lost her lovable eagerness to go higher (probably 16k’ or so), to minimize the “no option but water” portion. Flying that high means I’d want few if any clouds to contend with, which in turn means reaching that part of the Adventure in mid-September. Not happening.

There’s an even bigger factor in this course change though, related to our Inner World. If you’ve read much of this blog, you already know that I often wander off into the realms of psychology and consciousness. In fact, I’ve done that often enough and far enough from the academic interpretation of “Psychology” that I’ve just now renamed that Category on the blog. Everywhere I used that tag in the past, it’s now changed to “Inner World.” I like this better, because for me it evokes an expanded and integrated sense of studying the psyche (psych-ology) to include what some might call spirit, trans-personal, or consciousness.

So this inner course change is a major detour into an exploration of all the things that have been moving us off course for our early September launch into the MerriTimes Adventure. This stuff is very powerful, and very deep. Last night and this morning we’ve already taken an epic inner journey into impressions, thoughts, feelings, needs, and behaviors related to that delayed departure. We’ve touched some beautiful inner shores that reach back to childhood, navigated some scary rapids, paddled flat out, glided lazily downstream, and endured some daunting inner weather. There’s clearly a lot more to come on this journey, and maybe Anne will share some of her experiences along the way too. Meanwhile, we’re flying closer to home for a while in the outer world.

Speaking of which, anyone still reading might enjoy as I just have, a few more memories and pix from our latest short flight: Santa Paula. Maybe you’ve already seen the larger version of this one on my Photo Page, but I had to share it here because it just takes my breath away every time I see it.

1060 Santa Paula Beautiful

1060 Santa Paula Beautiful

I love that there’s something so beautiful and so different from all the other beautiful places within an hours’ flight of SBA. One of these days we’ll need to venture out to that “red barn” farm (bottom-left) from the airport that’s at the base of the mountain on the right just beyond that white horizontal strip (you can probably make out the runway if you click to see the large version). This farm is in what seems to be a red barn area that had a fun looking pumpkin patch in another of my photos, so maybe they always have some diversions for the public. Here’s another angle on it with a closer view of the “color code.”

1063 Color Code

1063 Color Code

What I mean by that is the various-sized patches of bright colors give me the impression of a code. Like those collections of colorful little pins that each signifies something on the chests of generals. Or the carefully arranged symbols of some extraterrestrial race, that our earthly farmers plant as they do without knowing what moved them to choose those plants and arrangements. Is some subliminal code the reason I seem endlessly fascinated with such fields, or is it just that from this relatively intimate height in the air they remind me of a carpet or blanket I drooled on as an infant?

1068 Baby Blanket

1068 Baby Blanket

Climbing out of SZP (the airport) on the short hop back home I saw another reminder of childhood in this rural estate.

1071 Miniature

1071 Miniature

I used to imagine myself alone in a small plane when riding my bike along dirt paths in empty lots. The weeds were trees, and everything else would take on that scale. An empty beer can became a large propane tank, and a finely-crafted doll house like the one above would have invited a “landing.”

Within a couple of minutes we were passing Ventura framed by the Santa Barbara Channel Islands on the horizon. Such an incredibly beautiful place – how could we have imagined leaving this on a MerriTimes Adventure?!

1086 Ventura to Anacapa

1086 Ventura to Anacapa

Say, does anyone else have that old Beatles song running in their head now from reading the first sentence of this post?

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