A Perfect Birthday Eve

Today is my birthday.

I believe that it is as important to say adieu to the old year in a positive manner as it is to start the new year off on the right foot.

Last year’s birthday eve was an utter disaster. Since I have no interest in reliving it, I’ll let you just click this link and read about it here.

I usually like to reflect on accomplishments and lessons learned during the last year. Honestly, I don’t know what I learned this year other than how to adapt, make do and survive. Changes at work and a major hiccup in my physical well being have dominated these last several months.

I’m tired and I’m tired of feeling like I’m living in a fog while fighting to figure out my new life. The issues that come with hypothyroidism are surprisingly difficult to shake.

It’s not all bad though. My health has improved and things have settled down at work. I’m hopeful that I’m headed in the right direction because survival mode is no place to dwell for too long. Once it becomes a way of life, it’s hard to get back to something better.

But I did get to travel some and explored a good bit in my own area this last year. Sunflower fields, a real life haunted house, fall in Denver, a trip down the river and a whirlwind trip through our nation’s Capitol are among my favorite memories. I even saw Old Glory and the only DaVinci in America during that DC trip. Of course, most of those things occurred before my thyroid diagnosis.

So there was a lot of good amidst the sad, the frustrating and the exhausting. It wasn’t all bad but it was still vital that the last day of my 44th trip around the sun be a good one.

And so I made it that way.

First up, I met a friend for a biplane ride at the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County. My friend Dewey had brought his biplane Ace – a 1929 Travel Air – for some good old fashioned Barnstorming. I never pass up an opportunity to ride with him and it was a bucket list item for my friend too!

I had actually met Dewey at this airport a few years ago. You can also read about that experience – still one of my favorite memories. Learn more about him and his planes at his website.

The airport was hosting a fly-in so there were other aircraft including an incredible B-25 Mitchell Bomber from the Tri State Warbirds Museum.

And this nice Stearman which I believe was a World War II era training plane.

It was a gorgeous day. At eighty degrees, it was much cooler than we’ve seen lately and the sky was a brilliant blue. So after the airport event, I swung by Lake Katherine Nature Preserve for a peaceful hike.

It was wonderful having a moment in the woods to reflect, move and simply breathe. Sometimes you need to just breathe and do nothing else.

All told, this was a perfect day. Planes and nature. What more can a gal want?

Deep Thoughts In Flight

When you ride in a biplane, the pilot sits behind the passengers rather than in front like you might expect. On Saturday, I got to sit alone in the front seat and enjoyed the most magical moment.

It’s noisy up there. Between the roar of a 90 year old plane engine and the wind, you need protection for your ears and eyes so they give you goggles and head sets.

Being in front meant that I couldn’t see another living soul without turning around in my seat. It was just me and the earth below as we soared over farms, small communities and rural roads in western Ohio.

It’s the closest thing to being as free as a bird that I’ve ever experienced.

It was oddly peaceful and calming. It was kind of invigoration. Most of all, studying the world below was an inspiring reminder that problems that seem so large on the ground are pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

For some reason, the experience was also the kick in the pants I needed to start exercising again and to start using some good sense where my own health is concerned.

I’ve been trying to walk at my favorite local park every day (that’s three whole days in a row. Someone throw me a parade!) and to focus on getting more vegetables in my diet. Small changes can be powerful, especially where our health is concerned.

These are things I have long known. Unfortunately, possessing a fact and putting it into practice are two drastically different activities. For months I’ve been struggling to bridge that gap and failing miserably. It is a source of tremendous gratitude that the fresh perspective provided by a ride in an antique aircraft could have such a significant impact on my mindset.

I’ve written about Dewey Davenport’s biplane rides a few times. I’m especially fond of this account of my first biplane experience! You can also click here for information about how his passion as a modern day barnstormer has evolved into a business that brings great joy to many.

Whether it be a cool plane or just a change of scenery with your feet planted firmly on the ground, I am a big fan of fresh perspective. Go find you some and see how it changes your attitude!

Here’s one more photo for today. You wouldn’t guess this was out there if you were just driving by! That’s another reason to seek out fresh perspective- even when we’re confident of what we’ll find. There could be a surprise waiting!

Have a great day, friends!

Barnstorming Carnival

Yesterday was the best adventure day I’ve had in ages. To be clear, it didn’t go as planned. It just worked out well.

I had planned to spend the day at the Barnstorming Carnival organized by my good friend Dewey Davenport. Dewey is the guy I wrote about a couple of years ago when he gave me my first biplane ride.

He organizes this weekend celebration of barnstorming every July. The event features a fly-in, kiddie activities, food trucks, a car show and plane rides. The highlight, of course, is a ride in a biplane with Dewey.

I headed westward yesterday morning but the weather was disappointing as I kept running into grey skies and rain. So I opted to do some other things and wait to visit the carnival. I ended up squeaking into his last flight of the day.

It made my day. Year.

I especially enjoy being in a place where planes are coming and going. I am unabashedly jaded most of the time but badly hope that I never lose my sense of wonder where airplanes are concerned.

One big part of this event is instilling that sense of wonder and excitement in children. Dewey remembers what it was like to be an aviation obsessed kid so he and his volunteers prioritize interactions and activities for kids. It’s really great to see.

This is the 1930 D-25 New Standard that I flew in. It’s part airplane and part time machine.

It was a good day. I really enjoy seeing the world from high above- a strange quirk of mine given how terrified I am of heights.

This is the last day of the 2021 Barnstorming Carnival. If you’re in the Springfield, Ohio area, this event is held at the Springfield Beckley Airport. General admission is free. Click here for more about this event and here to learn about Dewey’s business.

Check back in the coming days to read about other things I did yesterday.

Airplanes and Good Memories

airplanes

That’s the Grimes Flying Laboratory taking off from the Jackson County, Ohio Airport while Dewey Davenport awaits his turn in his 1930 New Standard. The occasion was a 50th anniversary celebration at the airport. I was there for my first ever biplane ride and a Model A ride.

It was a good day. Happy memories like these help to carry me through the winter until new adventures can be had. I’m grateful to have pictures like this one to keep the memories alive!

Santa, a Biplane, and Something To Be Excited About

Little kids like planes so I was pretty excited to hear that my barnstorming friend Dewey was helping with something special for kids in his community this Christmas. You see, he picked up Santa and gave him a lift to the airport in Springfield, Ohio on Sunday.

Santa and his elf spent that afternoon visiting with youngsters and learning their fondest Christmas wishes.

While Santa was tucked away with a line of kids in a warm airport terminal, Dewey was outside visiting with the kiddos and their parents. He fitted them all with aviator caps and goggles before lifting them up into the plane for photos.

Despite the cold, biting wind you only experience in western Ohio’s flat farmland (I’m from the hills where the wind can’t get up that much speed), groups of kids and adults came trooping outside for their turn with his 90 year old open air cockpit biplane.

I swear that many of them were just as excited to see the biplane as they were to meet Santa. The pilot seemed equally thrilled to give people the opportunity and to talk about the lost art of barnstorming.

He’s good with people and you can tell that there’s little he loves more than sharing his passion with others. It was fun to watch and I was happy to play a very small part that day.

A piece of me wishes I had something to be so excited about. I’m enthusiastic about lots of things and interested in almost any topic but there’s never been one thing that captured my enthusiasm so dramatically. Although, if I did something so cool as barnstorming in a fabulous old biplane, I might be singing a different tune.

Here’s a thought for today. If you have kiddos and you see a spark in them, you see that they’re excited about something, try nurturing that spark. Encourage them to learn and grow with that thing they love so much. It could turn into a career or maybe just a lifelong hobby. Either way, I’m guessing they’ll be happier than the rest of us who just bounce around from interest to interest.

And if Santa is coming to an airport near you, friends, go see him. There’s nothing cooler than seeing Santa climb out of an airplane.

Touring In a Model A

f8

I checked off two things from my bucket list on Saturday. One was an open air biplane ride which I wrote about yesterday. This was something I had always wanted to do but required some degree of facing a fear. It was an exhilarating adventure but I did something else Saturday that kept me firmly on the ground and required no bravery at all. It was just a fun thing to do.

I took a ride in a Model A Ford!

While Dewey Davenport was thrilling people with rides in his 1930 D-25 New Standard, there were some other fun things happening on the ground – planes and helicopters, food from some local businesses and a collection of gorgeous Model A cars waiting to take people on rides. 

The owners of these vehicles belong to the Southern A’s Model A Car Club which has Model A owners from three states. They were giving rides in their vehicles for donations so my pal Shelly and I jumped at the opportunity to take a ride.

fffff.jpgThis car club is unique, especially when you consider the age and value of the vehicles they drive. You see, they don’t really do car shows. Their club is about driving and showing off their vehicles in a hands-on way. I love car shows but those events are always a look-but-don’t-touch method of learning about the vehicles. And that’s fine. I get it. The public can be inconsiderate and I wouldn’t want dirty fingerprints (or worse) on my pristine car either.

But the folks in this Model A club want you to experience their cars the way they were meant to be experienced – up close and personal. They are happy to talk freely about the development of the Model A, about their vehicles and what it’s like to drive them.

They’re excited to share their hobby with others.

Shelly and I rode with a gentleman named Chuck who happens to live in the neighborhood so he took us down some peaceful rural backroads and past his own farm, answering our questions and providing delightful narration along the way.

Getting paired up with him was a real treat. He actually purchased this 1930 Model A (the same age as Dewey’s biplane) when he graduated college 51 years ago. Incidentally, he’s been at the same job for that long as well!

He regaled us with tales of the places he’s been with his cars. He owns a few Model A’s and travels with them to events all over the place -Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and all points in between. He likes to find forgotten old cars in barns and then spend a couple of years fixing them up.

He says it keeps him out of his wife’s hair. 

Loved it.

He can tell you all about the original paint colors, about how Henry Ford was the first to provide his factory workers a living wage and will tell you about some of the differences between these cars and modern vehicles. For example, you work a little harder to steer these cars because they have no power steering. There’s no speedometer either so he uses a dash mounted GPS to gauge his speed. He joked that they don’t stop very well and that if you can’t stop, something will stop the car for you!

fgh

Riding in this car was a real treat. It’s a beautiful shade of green and is clearly loved.  But it was Chuck who made the ride a memorable experience. It’s just fun to meet people who are passionate about something and who love what they do. It’s even better when they love something that you like too!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t found my passion yet but I want to see, do and learn about as much as possible. There’s always something interesting around the next bend, someone with a fabulous story to share even though they typically think they aren’t that interesting.

Go take a look. You might be surprised at what you find!