Flight To Auburn With Angela

This past Saturday was awesome not only because I got to fly, it was awesome because I got to fly with a young woman I love very much! My daughter Angela. When she was younger I took her flying a few times. She went because I was her dad and told her we were going flying. Well, she’s grown up now and I can’t make her fly with me any more. Luckily she has, without any intervention on my part, started to develop an interest in aviation. I never wanted to pressure my family to like my hobby, just accept that aviation is a huge part of who I am. So it came as a wonderful surprise to me that she was developing this interest.

So about 4 months ago we went flying and I let her take the controls and see what it felt like. It was a lot different that what she expected I think. The plane seemed to do whatever I asked but it didn’t seem to want to listen to her. I explained that after some time in the cockpit you develop a feel for the plane and it becomes much easier. We tried again last month but the plane’s engine didn’t sound right so I asked the owner to check it out. I belong to an aero club and don’t own my own aircraft any more.

Well the stars finally aligned this past Saturday and we got in the trusty little Cessna 152 and launched toward Auburn Airport (KAUN). As soon as we had reached our cruising altitude of 3000 feet MSL (mean sea level) I gave her the airplane. When an airplane is trimmed up properly and on course, there really isn’t a whole lot to do. She finally tried some turns with some coaching from me. She was having problems with the nose dropping when she turned the plane. I told her that what I do is pull back slightly on the yoke when turning. For a very gentle turn I told her to just squeeze the yoke, that would cause her to involuntarily pull the yoke back just enough. She tried a few turns and started to get the feel of it. Mostly she was just content to hold the plane on course for Auburn.

Wings Grill and Espresso Bar

Once we got to within 10 miles of Auburn I took the airplane back from her and brought us in for a fairly decent landing. We taxied to the transient parking area and tied the plane down. We walked across the ramp to the Wings Grill & Esspresso Bar. We ordered a couple of fancy coffees and then grabbed a table and watched the airplanes taxi, takeoff, and land. Coffee and a show! It’s always a lot of fun to be able to just sit and talk to my daughter. We don’t always communicate that well, at least I don’t, so it’s always a treat for me to talk to her and find out what kind of woman she’s become. Happily the one thing we do have in common is Jesus!

Watching the show out on the runway

After coffee we walked around the ramp a little at looked at some of the airplanes. She was especially interested in the Russian Antonov AN-2 Colt biplane that was parked there.

Antonov AN-2 Colt at Auburn Airport

It was starting to get hot so we both thought it best to start heading back. I didn’t want her perfect (so far) flight to be marred by a bunch of thermal turbulence on the way home. We got back into the airplane taxied out to the runup area and prepared to depart. I made sure to lean the mixture for best power prior to takeoff, Auburn is at 1500 feet elevation and with a temperature of about 85 degrees that made the density altitude (the altitude the airplane “thinks” it’s at) about 3500 feet. There was no issue during the takeoff run and we cleared all the surrounding hills easily. It’s mostly downhill back into the valley after that.

We cruised back home looking for airplanes, helicopters, or anything else that might want to ruin our perfect day. Angela flew a bit more but I think it was becoming a little fatiguing. Step by step, she’ll get it. I don’t think this means she wants to become a pilot just yet but I’m so happy she’s expressing at least an interest in aviation. But to be on the safe side I bought her a logbook and a set of aircraft headsets. Hey, a dad can dream can’t he?

4 Year Work Anniversary

A little over 4 years ago I got the news that I was about to be laid off. Again. I was working for McClatchy Newspapers and was told that within 3 months we would all be let go. I went into full-blown job search mode. I started sending out resumes, I started researching was I could make money online and go into business for myself.

In the middle of all that I began praying in faith to God. My prayer was, “Father, I know you have my next job already picked out for me. Please just give me the wisdom to recognize the opportunities you present me with.”

Within a month of praying that prayer I saw job posting at a county hospital. They were looking for someone with my exact qualifications. So, on the last day the posting was open, I applied and didn’t think anything more about it. A few weeks later a followup questionnaire was emailed to me. I filled that out and sent it back and then didn’t think anything more about it. A few weeks later I was called in for a panel interview. I interviewed with them but didn’t think it went particularly good. And then didn’t think anything more about it.

Then on a Friday afternoon I was called in for a second interview with the CIO and a few other people. One woman just kept staring at me like I was crazy. I answered all their questions. I had been doing at my last job exactly what they were looking for for this job. That afternoon there was an email in my personal email box from the CIO stating “I should’t tell you this but you got the job!”

God had provided for me… YET AGAIN! My family would be taken care of by GOD! So this is more than just a job. More than just a work anniversary for me. It is the anniversary of date that God provided for my family. I had prayed in faith, and God had responded to my faith. I’ve certainly done nothing to deserve it. But I feel the need to witness what God has done for me.

So Happy Anniversary to me and thank you God!

COVID-19 Pandemic

I thought I should write a blog post about this so that in the future, I can remember what we went through.  As of today, the statistics are:

Coronavirus Cases:

272,804
(world wide)

Deaths:

11,311

Recovered:

90,620
As of today the situation in California is that Governor Newsom has asked all residents of the state to self-quarantine.  All non-essential businesses are closed.  Restaurants serve takeout only.  Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.  Churches have been ordered closed, however, they are streaming their services.
I am incredibly blessed to be working at hospital which is the quintessential essential business.  We will not be closing any time soon.   God has provide us with shelter, health (so far) and I am working, unlike a lot of my neighbors.  It’s a little eery not hearing traffic noise.  The slowdowns on the freeways are gone.
I have taken today off as it was scheduled far in advance.  I expect this to be the last day off I will get until this pandemic is over.  We booked the weekend at an RV resort about 3 hours away from where we live.  It’s beautiful and peaceful here.  We can use it.
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I’m incredibly grateful to God for all He has done for me.  We are praying for the world daily.  Remember to stay safe:
Wear gloves when possible
Wash your hands frequently
Clean all surfaces periodically
Clean your computer keyboard and mouse
Clean your cell phone
God’s grace and peace to you.

Leap Day 2020

We get a bonus day this year.  Today, February 29th if you’re using the Gregorian calendar.  A day that only comes every 4 years.  Which if you don’t know is due to the orbit of the earth taking 364.25 days to orbit the earth so every 4 years we have to have a makeup day to make our calendar work right.  Anywho, it got me thinking about what my life situation was like on the last leap day.

For starters I had just come up with the notion of living full time in an RV.  To further that end I had just sold my airplane and took up flying powered-paragliders.  Cristy and I were looking at RV and had decided on the Solitude 384GK.  I had also changed the look of my blog to what you see today.  What I didn’t know yet was that in a few short months I was going to be told I was being laid off.  Again.

Then a whole lot of life happened and brought us to today.  It’s amazing how many things actually happened between last leap day and today.  Some are too depressing to go into.  Some are too private.  One thing that has stayed the same is our faith in a loving, gracious God.  I hinted at that faith in the “I was being laid off” link above.  We had so many questions but we knew God would take care of us.  And He did.

With all the life that happened between then and now it makes me wonder what’s going to happen in the next four years.  A few predictions:

  • Angela moves out.
  • Angela becomes engaged.
  • My boss gets a promotion.
  • I get a promotion.
  • Cristy has to deal with the loss of her mother.
  • We begin fixing up our home in preparation to sell it.
  • I have a new truck.

Those are just a few.  I wonder how wrong I’ll be?  It doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong, we’ll still have God in charge of our destiny and that suits me just fine.

So how did we celebrate Leap day?  Just enjoyed the beautiful valley that we live by going out for a walk in the near by town of Ripon.  Now get out and enjoy the day the Lord has made!

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The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Happy New Year 2020!

Wow, 2020.  Seems so futuristic.

Sealab 2020 (1972)

When I was a kid in the 1970’s 2020 seemed so far away with it’s underwater cities and moon bases.  Here it is and we don’t live underwater or on the moon.  Instead we’ve expanded to living in tents on sidewalks or under freeway overpasses.

But I’m not going to turn this into social commentary.  I am, however, going to take a look at the past 10 years and how much things have changed for my family.  Way back in 2010 I was building my second airplane with the help of my kids.  I did the majority of the work but they did help on many components.

We were attending church at Central Valley Presbyterian where I was a deacon.  Also, Cristy had to make an emergency trip back home to the Philippines because her father passed away. That’s how the decade began.

In 2011 I sold our pop-up tent trailer in which I had taken the family on several camping trips.  The most memorable of which was Zion Canyon National Park.  I also flew the Rans S6 to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Airventure.  My oldest graduated high school.

In 2012 we took a family trip to Maui.  Yep, all of us, mother-in-law included.  However, my daughter had broken her ankle just prior to the trip… and then came down with a cold!  She didn’t get to have much fun in Hawaii, poor thing.  But she made up for that later.

In 2013 life was pretty much on auto-pilot.  Going to work, going home.  Home-schooling our daughter was coming to an as we put her in a private school so she could get some socialization and a real-live high school diploma.  Two kittens named Jovie and Truffles showed up in my son’s pockets one day when he came home.  Truffles still lives with us.  Jovie moved on shortly after he came to live with us.  Cristy and I also took a trip to Oregon to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

   

In 2014 I was beginning to explore full-time RV living.  I started coming up with a plan to travel from property to property for my employer to do network work.  However 2015 would put an end to those dreams, temporarily.

2015 was a harbinger of change for our lives.  Our daughter graduated from high school and we changed churches.

2015 was also when I had an accident in my airplane.  I landed up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and took the landing gear off.  Hey, it could happen to anybody!  Unfortunately, it happened to me.  We got a big insurance settlement and everything was good.  I was putting the airplane up for sale anyway.  It was at this point Cristy and I were seriously looking at RV’s so I was looking for a more portable form of aviation.  I found it in the form of powered paragliding.

2016 was a gut punch.  I was told that my entire department would be laid off that year.  Also my son was going through some extreme behaviors.  It seemed like my life was about to hit rock bottom.  SEEMED.  We started putting my son in group homes which he kept getting kicked out of due to his behaviors.  But 2016 was the year God truly moved in our lives.  He found a home that was able to really work with my son.  And He found me a job.  This is when I started working at San Joaquin General Hospital.  To celebrate my getting a job we took a family road trip to SoCal.  I also got a Ham radio license so I could legally use a Ham radio on my powered-paraglider.

 

In 2017 life started getting somewhat better for us.  My son was living in a home only 5 miles from where I worked.  My daughter was getting very involved in church and starting college.  Cristy and I also celebrated our 30th anniversary in Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Angela finished the Spartan Race

By 2017 I had sold my powered paraglider and had bought my powered parachute.  Cristy and I had also started walking more, trying to get in shape.

2018 was another year that brought a lot of change.  Mostly in me.  Through walking and intermittent fasting I was able to lose about 50 lbs.

This is me just prior to losing weight…

And this is what I looked like post weight loss…

2019 was a sad year.  We lost my sister Sheila to cancer.  We lost my wife’s cousin Jaime to kidney disease.  I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.

2019 was a happy year because we became part of a small group at our new church.  We received a lot of support from them and they came along side us in prayer many times.  The doctors were able to remove all of the melanoma.  I also sold my powered parachute and began flying rental airplanes.  I got back into regular airplanes after a young man from my old church took me for a ride to pay me back for all those times I took him for rides when he was learning to fly.  Now we fly together whenever we can.

2019 ended with my son being removed from a bad living situation in the group home he was in.  He now lives back in town with us, which, he has been asking for quite some time.  My daughter also bought a poodle this year.

It’s been a tumultuous decade.  We’ve covered a lot of territory in the last 10 years.  Who knows where we’ll be 10 years from now.  Not sure but I sure like where we are now.  I wouldn’t trade a second of the last 10 years for anything.  I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and Providence countless times.  I see God’s love in those around me every day.  I don’t expect that to change much.  I’ll keep doing what I can to reflect God’s love to those around me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to Hardin – Day 3

Travel Day

We began our travel day late, around 10am.  Cristy made her shake for breakfast, I usually skip breakfast but had a pea protein shake to make sure I had a clear head for the day’s drive (and little did I know I would need it).  We took a walk around the small RV park, and then made preparations to leave.  I dumped our tanks, filled the fresh tank just a little to make sure we had enough water to run the toilet and wash our hands while traveling that day.

I was in our space a little crooked and it’s not a good idea to hook up our Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch when crooked.  Ideally the trailer and tow vehicle should be completely lined up.  So I hitched up to the trailer but didn’t attach the weight distribution chains.  We pulled out to the front of the RV park and made sure the truck and trailer were straight.  I took this opportunity to show Cristy how the chains were connected.  These aren’t the safety chains you see with all trailer hitches.  The weight distribution chains pull on the bottom of the hitch while the trailer tongue pushes on the top of the hitch thus transferring some of the hitch weight from the rear wheels of the truck to the front.

Image result for andersen weight distribution hitch

We got the chains connected and properly tensioned and then hit the road.  It was a nice easy travel day.  In the distance I notice some towering cumulus clouds.  I remarked to Cristy, “Hey look, weather!”  But didn’t think any more about it.  We stopped at a rest stop about half way through our 4 hour travel day.  I made a PB&J sandwich while Cristy made her protein style lettuce-wrapped turkey sandwich.

We hit the highway again and enjoyed a very nice drive.  There was no wind and a lot of the trip was level or downhill so my gas mileage was great!  As we started getting closer to our destination I noticed the clouds had not moved and were getting bigger.  Finally as we were coming down the last grade into Needles, CA, I could see that Mohave Valley, our intended destination was right on the edge of a DARK column of rain.  Hmmm…..

I told Cristy we might be setting up in the rain but we continued on.  We followed the GPS to the road that would take us over the river and to the RV park.  As I was getting reading to turn on the road a fire engine pulled in and blocked the road.  Just beyond I could see a torrent of water washing over the road.  Okay.  Can’t go that way.  I pulled into a gas station and tanked up and checked my GPS.  There was another route so we tried to take that.

It was a small two-lane twisty road where I had to drive across a small muddy stream of water.  Hmmm…  We kept going.  I finally turned onto the road that would take us to the RV park.  A small black Hyundai passed us and then just over the hill had come to a complete stop.  Luckily I was going slow.  He had stopped in front of another stream of water washing over the road.  His wife had gotten out and taken her shoes off and was walking across the stream to see how deep it was.  It got just past her ankles but she said the mud on the road beneath her feet was really slippery.  Two other cars had stopped, one on this side and another on the far side.

Well great.  In my mind this was strike two.  I didn’t want to go for strike three.  YER OUT!  With lightning striking in the distance followed by thunder after a count of three, I had Cristy walk back up the hill and watch for cars.  I backed the trailer up the hill about 70 yards or so and then onto a hard sandy shoulder.  I got the trailer as close as I could to the bushes on the right side and pulled a tight U-turn.  The right wheels came off the road surface onto the shoulder slightly but I was able to make the turn.  Cristy jumped into the truck and we headed back down the way we came.  Sorry I don’t have any pictures of this but we were a little busy.

I pulled into a gravel lot and checked my phone for nearby RV parks.   We saw one not to far off the freeway called Desert View RV Park and headed for it.  It was just starting to sprinkle as we pulled into the park.  I paid and we were directed to our spot.  I was so grateful to be anywhere.  Our 4 hour travel day had turned into a 6 hour travel day but we were “home” safe.  And the park was a much better one than I had reserved.  Praise God for His traveling mercies and His providence!

Mission Flying Update #1

 

I received an email from my brother in the faith, Daniel Jones, who is a missionary in Mexico.  Here is his email:

Hello brother Scott,

Well, I finally broke the ice and made the trips this week to the Sierras to do the Bible studies, in your Rans! It behaved very well and I am super pleased with it. I only had one problem yesterday when it stopped charging but I think that it’s just a loose wire someplace that we will try and track down tomorrow.
So, it’s now taken me to 5 different communities that I can only get to by plane. (Unless I want to spend an average of 17 hours to 1..which I don’t)
Here is a video that I just posted.
God bless you and thanks for the prayers and a great plane!
Daniel

And this is the video Daniel sent:

 

I can’t tell you what good it does my heart to see my airplane being the hands, feet, and WINGS of Christ in the mission field  I have no doubt that Daniel will put it to good use.  If I can boast in anything it’s in helping further the work of Jesus Christ.

Click here to learn more about Rancho Maranatha and their mission.

Missionary Aviation

So if you’ve read this blog for very long… all three of you… you know that I’m an avid pilot, builder, and lover of all things aviation.  You’ll also know that I love Christ above all.  That’s why I was thrilled to receive an email from my brother in Christ, Daniel Jones, who is with a missionary organization in Mexico called Rancho Maranatha.  He wrote to tell me that my plane had finally arrived at it’s new home!  Here is a link to their newsletter:  https://mailchi.mp/8e66f1a95d42/the-new-plane-is-here

Here is a video of my (their new) plane arriving!

 

 

Take Nothing For Granted

I went to my sisters memorial service yesterday. I learned a couple of things.  First is life is fleetingly short.  We can look back at all that we’ve accomplished, all we have yet to do and there is just never enough time.  The second thing is that we tend to take our loved ones for granted.  I always just figured that my sisters would always be out there… somewhere.  Living and enjoying their life.  But I took them all for granted and their lives moved on and in some cases, ended.  No one calls me, I call no one, we all just go through life with tunnel vision, interested in our own little happenings.  We have no clue what’s going on in our extended family…

I’m breaking that cycle.

Malignant No More!

Got the good news today that the report came back from my melanoma surgery and they got it all!  I can’t tell you what a relief this is.  Well, yes I can.  I literally cried when I read the results.  Then I praised God for carrying me through this.  Then I finally cried and was able to truly mourn losing my sister to cancer.

It takes me a while to process things.  My brains seems to work on things at a subconscious level.  When I have problems at work that I can’t figure out.  I go do something else for a while and stop thinking about it.  Later, the solution suddenly comes to me.  My emotions seem to work the same way.   When something happens that would normally cause deep emotions, mine just turn off.  I can completely ignore them for days, weeks, or even months.  I can continue to function in the most dire of circumstances.

But then one day…  It all comes back to me and just releases.  Today was one of those days.  God has complete lifted these emotional burdens from me.  I can think and feel again.  I can look at God’s gifts in this moment and be grateful.  And in just one day I have these things to be grateful to God for:

  • Another year of life.
  • The wonderful brownie my daughter baked me and the amazingly sweet birthday card she gave me.  Her talent, and just plain ol’ her!  I love her.
  • Being able to have a quiet lunch with my wife.
  • My wife.  A woman who helps me, supports me, prays for me, and selflessly loves me.  I love her.
  • My son.  Just because I love him.
  • A job that, even though it didn’t go the way I wanted it to today, still supports me and my family, coworkers that care and support me, and a boss that largely stays out of my hair. 🙂
  • Another chance tomorrow!

Life is wonderful but God is wonderfuller!