Social Media Retreat

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Facebook for quite some time now.  But this latest round of disclosures that Facebook has been sharing user private data with advertisers has really chafed my hide.  I’ve deactivated my Facebook account and will leave it that way indefinitely.  I’d like to delete it altogether and may some time in the future.  I HAVE deleted my Tumblr, Twitter, Gab.ai, and Pinterest accounts.   I’m not sure what all other accounts I have out there but as I find them I’ll deactivate them.  If Facebook is selling my data, I’m sure the rest of them are too.

The one social media account I will be keeping is my YouTube account.  I do like to share videos of my exploits from time to time.

That all being said if you really want to know what I’m up to just check back right here!

Back In The Saddle

Related imageWell after 4 years away from fixed-wing aircraft flying both my powered-paraglider and my powered-parachute, I am now flying a Cessna 152 owned by a local flying club.  Why did I get away from parachute-type aircraft?  I was starting to miss flying longer distances and missed the speed and utility of fixed wing aircraft.  But ultimately I believe it was a God thing.  It goes like this…

About a month ago I got a letter from the United States Ultralight Association which is an advocacy organization for ultralight type aircraft of which both my parachutes were.  The letter was informing members that their insurance carrier had decided to stop insuring ultralight aircraft and that at that point there was no other insurance carrier willing to insure their members.  So starting at the end of May 2019 I would no longer be insured.

Two weeks later I got a call out of the blue from someone asking if my powered parachute was still for sale.  It wasn’t but really, everything is always for sale.  I told him that it was.  He asked for my “bottom line” price to sell it.  I quote him a reasonable price for both the powered parachute and the trailer.  After some back and forth on when and how he could see it he showed up the Saturday following that phone call, gave my my price in cash, and drove it back home to Arizona.

The events and their timing made it pretty obvious to me that God’s hand was moving in my life.  For whatever reason I was being steered back to fixed wing aviation.  So to that end I joined the Oakdale Aero Club and this morning got my biennial flight review and club checkout done at the same time.  So as of now I am once again a fixed wing pilot.  It will be nice to be able to fly to other airports again.  Especially with my buddy Jordan.  We’ll probably do some flying together in order to save costs.  Stay tuned for more flying adventures!

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Life Is Short

I was reminded this week how short life really is.  If you have a brother or sister, hug them because they may not always be there for you to hug.  Same goes for your mom or dad or friends or dogs or anyone special in your life.  And like life, this post will be short.

Twisted Oak Winery

Well, after a week of doctor appointments for both ourselves and our conserved son Cristy and I felt a need to get away for a few days to relax and unwind.  We took this opportunity to get our Lance 1995 out of storage for the weekend and take it up to Twisted Oak Winery  which is in the heart of Gold Rush Country near Angels Camp, California.

Twisted Oak Winery participates in Harvest Hosts which allows members to stay for a night or two for free at participating wineries, farms, museums, and golf courses.  Twisted Oak even takes the extra step of offering one free wine tasting for their Harvest Hosts guests.  The hope is that you will like what you taste and make a purchase.

I called the week before and was told that they didn’t have anything happening the weekend that I wanted to stay but I should probably call back the day before to be sure.  I did and they didn’t… have anything happening that is so everything was all set.  We hitched up the Lance the night before and loaded it up with our clothes and groceries for the weekend.  The next day, after seeing Avenger’s Endgame, we hopped into my trusty (if not gutless) RAM 1500 and hauled our little wagon up to Twisted Oak.

When I had spoken to them they said there were two entrances to the winery.  The first one I would come to goes up a dirt road and is a little, um, twisty.  They recommend that people with RVs take the second entrance which is paved.  We took that entrance and pulled into the parking lot.  We saw one Airstream trailer parked at the far side of the lot.  I went in to ask where we could park and was told I could park anywhere along the edges of the parking lot, on any side as long as I didn’t block a driveway or their gravel “party area”.

Looking at the Airstream I could see that they were parked in full sun, and had one of their wheels on blocks because the parking lot wasn’t level over there.  That’s not good because I’m lazy.  I elected to park on the west side of the parking lot, in the shade of the trees, where it was level.  It was a really good spot not only because it was level but also a stand of bushes and lavender blocked our view of the Airstream trailer across the parking lot.  We couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see us.  Wonderful!

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After setting up the trailer and unhitching we decided that the first item on the agenda was a nap.  Cristy read for a while but I guess my napping called to her because she soon laid down on the bed with me and we were both snoozing away.  After our naps we went into the tasting room and that was when we found out that Harvest Host guests get a complimentary tasting.  We tasted a few of their wines but honestly, we’re not wine drinkers, I don’t drink alcoholic drinks at all.  I’m sure their wines are very good but I’m not the best judge.  We thanked them and then headed back outside.

They are very family friendly here with games and toys for the kids outside.  Plenty for both adults and kids to do while there.  They have picnic tables so you can make an afternoon of it and have lunch.  And the views are wonderful!

It was getting late so we decided to drive up to Murphys to find some dinner.  We ended up at El Jardin.  It’s a local Mexican restaurant chain that we’ve eaten at before but this was our first time in their Murphys restaurant.  It’s smaller than most but they have a great outside patio to dine at.  A small creek runs right past the tables.  Dinner was great as usual and the staff were very friendly as you would expect in a small town like Murphys.  After dinner we headed back to Twisted Oak, enjoyed the sunset, watch a movie I had saved on my iPad and then went to sleep.

The next morning after a sniffley, sneezey night we awoke to a beautiful, peaceful morning.  After breakfast we took a walk down to the vineyards.  It was a warm Spring weekend and the air temperature was perfect at 65 degrees.  Since I didn’t buy any wine I paid them back by putting the chickens back up in the trees in their Rubber Chicken National Forest.  We enjoyed the quiet of the vineyard and grounds since they hadn’t opened yet.

Once back to the trailer I had to succumb to taking some Benadryl.  After about an hour it hit me and I had to take a quick nap.  Cristy took some soon afterwards and was conked out next to me on the bed.  After we woke up we decided to head back in to Murphys for lunch and some shopping.  That’s Cristy’s favorite form of relaxation! We had lunch at Alchemy Cafe.  Always delicious and then walked the main street poking our noses into the shops and boutiques.  Cristy bought some of her favorite spices at The Spice Tin and then we decided to head back to our trailer to nurse our allergies some more.  Back at the trailer we watched another movie, took another nap, and then watched the sun set.  It was probably the most awesome day we’ve had in a while. 🙂

I need to insert something here about the roads leading to Twisted Oak.  The first entrance is a twisting dirt road that takes you up to the winery, the second is a shorter paved road that also takes you to the winery.  If at all possible take the dirt road, the first driveway.  It’s easily passable by any car, just don’t try it if you’re towing a trailer.  You’ll be rewarded with some of the most entertaining signs you’ll ever see.

The next morning we hung out, had some breakfast, and after watching our church service on our smartphone we hitched up the trailer and headed back down the hill to home.

Even though it was such a short outing, and we were sneezing almost the whole time (we went through 3 boxes of Kleenex) we still felt really relaxed and refreshed.  I’m already trying to plan our next outing and more than likely, it will involve Harvest Hosts.

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Circle Of Life

So waaaaay back in 2005 my family started attending a new church.  At that church I met a young man named Jordan who was interested in aviation.  His dream was to be a pilot one day.  Like any good pilot I wanted to encourage that dream and so I took him for a ride in my RV-4.  This logbook entry records the occasion.

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Fast forward to this past Wednesday.  I met Jordan out at Oakdale Airport (O27) after work.  Jordan had rented a plane and was ready to give me my airplane ride.  It truly was one of those circle of life moments for me.  Here’s a guy I’d been encouraging for years in his desire to learn to fly, and he actually went and did it.  It was a long journey for him with stops and starts but he saw it through and I have to say I’m quite proud of him!

I’m going to join the same flying club out in Oakdale that he’s a member of and if all goes well with insurance and my biennial flight review, we’ll be flying together a lot more.  It will be a great way for us both to save some money and enjoy flying fellowship with another Christian pilot.

Can a man fly AND love Jesus?  You’d better believe it!

Jordan definitely agrees!

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Jordan

Red Hills Ranch Easter Picnic 2019

I have know Jack and Myrna Moyle for over 20 years.  They have treated me like family from the moment I met them.  Every year they have an Easter Picnic for their family and friends.  The picnic happens on the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Day (Easter) and about 150-300 people usually show up.  This past year we’ve had a lot of rainfall and the wildflowers were on spectacular display.  Please enjoy a few of the photos I took at the picnic!

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The big Easter egg hunt!

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Thanks again Jack and Myrna for making this such a wonderful year!