Flying Like A Bird

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It isn’t every day that you have a chance to check something off your bucket list. So when the opportunity presents itself, you have to do it. Even if it’s something that scares you a little. Actually, especially if it’s something that scares you.

b3It has long been my goal to take a ride in a biplane. There’s just something  romantic about these open air planes and the barnstorming that has been done with them since the years following World War I.

I can’t describe it but my heart takes flight a little every time I see one in the air. 

There was an opportunity to take a ride a couple of weeks ago at a hot air balloon festival but I found every excuse in the book to not do it. So when I learned there would be rides given at an airport in a neighboring community, I simply had to go.

Incidentally, the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County was celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with a big shindig – cool aircraft on display, some RC flyers, a Model A Club and rides with Dewey Davenport of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides of the Xenia area. 

This was a really fun blue sky day of celebration but it was a big day for me too. You see, part of the reason that excuses were made to not take a biplane ride is that I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I don’t do roller coasters and cringe at the thought of a glass elevator. But I’ve been up in aircraft before – commercial flights, small planes at my local airport and even a helicopter (sans door as I was taking pictures for a newspaper that day) and it’s ok.

But to glide through the air with the wind in your face and nothing between you and the sky? In a 1930 D-25 New Standard that looks like it belongs in a museum?

Never before.

And guys. Wow. It’s fabulous. 

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It probably helps that I had an experienced pilot who is so enthusiastic about his work that I had no choice but to trust him. He’s fantastic. Really. Dewey Davenport is his name and if you see that he’s coming to an event near you, go take a ride. You won’t regret it.  That’s him pictured with me above. And if you’re wondering what’s up with the sign, click here to read about the origins.   Long story short – I have a smart mouth and warped sense of humor.

But this story isn’t really about the plane ride, funny sign or pilot. Sure, the experience was amazing. But it’s really about you and whatever is holding you back.

There has to be something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even something that scares you. Please don’t let fear prevent you from doing something that you want to do.

Friends, life is worth living. Go do it. Have an adventure. Go far away. Stay close to home. Do what scares you. Embrace the thing you love most. Whatever it is, do something that will make you smile at the end of this day and every day.

Life IS worth living. Make it what you want. 

This is an area I’m still working on. Truth is, I don’t know what I want my life to look like so I’m just exploring the world as much as possible and doing the things that make me happy as well as the ones that scare me because they often are the same. We’ve discussed this topic here a couple of times before but we all could use a periodic refresher.

I imagine myself to be a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, Sheriff Maude Collins and other strong women from history. However, I’m probably a little more closely related to Snoopy versus the Red Barron and maybe Deputy Barney Fyffe! Regardless, I faced a fear and had such a fabulous time doing it that I’m already plotting to take another ride with Dewey someday.

And if you wonder what makes me an authority on this topic, just scroll up and look at that smile. It really was the best day. But this story is going to be a two parter! I checked something else off my bucket list but you’ll have to wait till Monday to read about it!

Want to know more about Dewey and biplanes? Check out his website and his YouTube vlog by searching his name.

Checking Off The Bucket List!

Most of us have a bucket list.

Mine should more or less read “go everywhere and do everything.”

That’s a slight exaggeration as skydiving and swimming with sharks aren’t on the list but it has become important to me that I try as many different things as possible.

One item on my list is to take a ride in an old fashioned biplane like the barnstormers use. You know the kind – it’s open air?

This is sort of an interesting goal for a gal who’s afraid of heights but I’m determined to not allow my fears to hold me back. That’s been the theme of the last year and a half and it has served me well in all areas of life but one.

I had the opportunity to take a ride earlier this month but chickened out and have regretted it ever since. So when I learned that biplane rides are being offered at a nearby airport this weekend, it became clear that it’s time to face the fear and check this item off my bucket list.

I’m wavering somewhere between excitement and terror but am trying hard to embrace the pure joy of anticipation.

I’m sort of an old soul and have a deep appreciation for old cars, trains, trucks and planes. There’s something romantic about these old biplanes and the tradition of barnstorming.

The plane pictured above is the one I’ll be riding in. It’s a 1929! How cool is that? This is the sort of bird you would normally see in a museum and I’ll be flying high above the earth in it in a few days!

What do you think? Would you take this ride? What’s on your bucket list?

The National Road-Zane Grey Museum

If you’ve been reading here for a while you most likely have noticed my mild obsession with the National Road.  For many people, it’s just a line on a map but I think there’s a sense of romance found along this road. Some might call it roadside kitsch but a drive along some sections is like a journey back in time to days before fast food and hotels could be found along interstate exits.

It’s a fun search for remnants of a bygone era when enterprising farmers and businessmen alike worked to accommodate the cross country traveler. You’ll see old diner signs, faded murals on brick buildings, abandoned motels and the occasional neon sign as well as farms, quaint small towns and modern amenities to make your adventure fun.

I adore the towns where you find mom and pop establishments like the Oasis Diner in Plainfield, Indiana or the fabulous Lynn’s Pharmacy and Soda Fountain just a few miles down the road. There are a host of antique stores and cute shops along this route as well as friendly people, eager to know where you’re from and to hear about your rambling trip through their neck of the woods. 

It’s fun. It’s slow travel as the road cuts through small cities and villages, forcing you to reduce your speed and enjoy the journey. In fact, when I travel the National Road, I like to think that the journey is the destination. 

In case you don’t know, the National Road was the first major highway built by the federal government. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811 and today it ends in St. Louis. In it’s early days, it was a thoroughfare for conestoga wagons and people on horseback while it was later used for bicycles and then automobiles.

The origins of the National Road are skillfully told at the National Road-Zane Grey Museum near Zanesville. The museum also covers the local ceramics industry and the life of prolific writer Zane Grey. For today, we’ll just talk about the National Road portion of the museum and we’ll discuss the other topics another day.

I brought my parents here on a little birthday adventure last week and was thrilled to learn the museum lived up to its reputation.

There are several things to see here but the most notable may be well over one hundred feet of display case featuring vignettes that depict the road over time. Professionally done and meticulously created works of art, these scenes feature houses, businesses, people, animals, trains, boats, bicycles and necessary scenery to depict the creation and evolution of the road. From the cutting of virgin forests through the advent of the automobile, you’ll find everything in between.

But there are a host of other things – lifelike mannequins look like they could speak to you as they depict work in a blacksmith’s shop as well as a tavern scene that portrays how needed services became available as the road gained in popularity.

There are some fabulous old cars and bicycles as well as a conestoga wagon that was once used for transporting cargo. This piece in particular is fascinating. It exists because someone had tucked it away in a barn to use for storing hay. It remained sheltered this way for many decades before coming into the possession of the Ohio Historical Society and later finding a home here in this museum.

If you look closely, some of the original nineteenth century paint remains – red on the wheel spokes and a sort of slate gray on the body of the wagon.

It’s incredible to realize that this piece, which should have been lost to weather and time, is in such fine condition and accessible to museum visitors in the year 2019.

The museum is operated by Ohio History Connection (the rebranded name of the Ohio Historical Society). One of the museum’s ambassadors is a gent named Jerry who seems to know his history on all three topics – the National Road, Zane Grey and ceramics – both forward and backward. He has an engaging way of telling a story and a fantastic sense of humor, helping guests feel like they’re just here for a visit with an old friend rather than for an educational experience.

My mother will tell you that she doesn’t like history but even she had fun and learned a lot here.

This was a great experience and well worth the few dollars they ask for admission. Interested?  Click here to get hours, admission and other details!

Jerry also recommended a stop at Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl but we (sadly) had to skip it as we were running low on time and ate too much lunch anyway. So I’ll go back another day and check out the ice cream – or you can go on my behalf and let me know how silly we were to not stop!

A Sneak Peak

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Here’s a sneak peak at a story you can read here later this week. It’s from the National Road and Zane Grey Museum in Zanesville. Visiting here has been on my bucket list for a while and I got to visit with my folks to celebrate my birthday last week.

It’s a great museum, packed with lots of information and stories are told in a fun, engaging way. Well worth a visit so stay tuned!