31 July: Although Canon generously lent a camera for the day, non-photographer Ron took no pictures worth keeping. Instead he discovered that Drew's touchscreen laptop uses a touchscreen keypad which requires infuriatingly slow, single "finger," hunt & peck typing. Drew finds AirVenture excitingly kaleidoscopic, but Ron finds it boring after four days ... much too much the same day after day. It will still be fun to borrow another camera tomorrow to record all the interesting pictures possible in a full day ... besides Canon also provides free Klondike bars (the triple chocolate is yummy). Ron's knee is now painfully swollen due to the daily bicycling on a bike that is too short. Hopefully staying off the bike will fix that. Drew insisted that Ron see Harrison Ford introduce the 2nd Indiana Jones movie. After eating two bags of popcorn, Ron left wishing he had picked up only one bag of popcorn.
30 Jul: AirVenture sports lots of vendors of all stripes from glues to paints to nuts & bolts to specialized aircraft & kits. Drew wants to see & talk to ALL of them. Ron is still enjoying sitting on the flight line watching the airplanes take off & land, especially those LOUD military jets. The Dreamlifter departed yesterday after the airshow - impressive only for its size. The patroling FA-18 jets were much more impressive.
The aerobatics pilots & airplanes are simply amazing and incredible. One or two took their planes straight up until they stopped climbing and started descending tail first in a slow, controlled fall. The Harrier and a few of the professionals repeated yesterday's performance. The attendees are uniformly cheerful and positive, a lovely crowd of people, mostly older ..... like us.
29 Jul: Air show professionals yesterday put on an amazing demonstration of flying: Mike Goulian, Patty Wagstaff, Kyle Franklin (as pirate - hi Capt. Jack), Sean Tucker, etc. Wowie Zowie. Harrier flight demo was incredible - huge noise while hovering or even flying backward. Boeing's HUGE Dreamlifter airplane landed. Showing clean this morning felt even better than showers during the AT hike - - imagine that.
27 Jul 2008: Oshkosh, Wisconsin; AirVenture fly in. Drew & Ron enjoyed a nice quiet night's sleep at the Oshkosh airport and are up early sucking down coffee and awaiting the day's activities. AirVenture is an annual event at Oshkosh organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). General Aviation is the term applying to private pilots like Drew (vs Commercial Aviation or Military Aviation). The 8-hour flight to Osh was entertaining and uneventful since Drew's luck at dodging thunderstorms was good. Flying over lakes Huron and Michigan went without a hitch or hiccup (thank God); sightseeing from 1,000 feet above ground was riveting; higher elevations provided far different views and interest; all in all it was a great trip made enjoyable by a quieter cabin and noise-canceling earphones. Now if only the air traffic controllers could speak staticless.
26 Jul: Drew arrived at the Rutland airport at 8am to rescue Ron from the voracious mosquitoes at the Lisa Fall campground. Those mosquitoes were extremely frustrated by his hammock netting, but utilized every opportunity to sample Ron's blood during his frequent night-time necessities.
It has been a good week at the Inn at Long Trail. Oke is one very amusing resident character there. We greatly enjoyed spending the week with Popeye and Lil' Mak who wisely decided to avoid the drenching storms and slick rocks every morning until Friday. Similarly SnakeBait was too much fun. Great to see so many friends: Peppi & Hamburgler; Snake & Whitefish; Castiron (I hope 6-iron is better now); Kat, Lil'Cubit; Jesse, Scooter & HammerDown; JackFrost; PapaBear & the Preacher Boys; Vagabond; Pond Scum; Pine Knot, as well as many new hikers like Grits, Meathook & others whose names I don't remember (sorry).
Best wishes to all. I am healthy and cheerful and am very happy with my decision to quit hiking the through hike. The hike had become NO FUN in New Jersey because of the trail routing straight down steep, rocky descents. My bad knee became aggravated which adversely affected my ability to fall asleep to the tune of three hours or more a night. I enjoyed the people but anxiety and pain made the hike no longer enjoyable.
We hiked in Manchester Center, visited the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln - arrived in Rutland last Friday in time for an afternoon hike. We got caught in a downpour on Saturday's hike - under one poncho... smile.
It rained again Monday morning, so after noon we drove to the Ben and Jerry's factory hoping for a huge sample. Instead they charged $2 for the tour and gave out tiny little cups of Cheesecake Brownie. It was a lovely drive with a delightful dinner on the terrace at Arvad's overlooking downtown Waterbury's main street. The early evening's blue sky and fluffy white clouds looked like the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream container.
We hiked ten miles on Tuesday, first on a blue blazed trail to the top of Mt. Pico and then on the AT towards Killington where she slipped on a slick root, fell without injury, and was startled by Popeye before regaining her "dignity." Lil' Mak's greeting was a started, "What are YOU doing here?" It rained Wednesday giving us the opportunity to shuttle hikers all day. The rain continued on Thursday; we shuttled hikers until lunch time when we picked up 2/3 of the Preacher Boys and took them NE of Woodstock for ice cream.
Some of the hikers we have encountered during our stay in Rutland: Cast Iron, Snake, Pineknot, Pond Scum, Daddy-O, Vagabond, Papa Bear, and others. Ron wishes he had gotten out to hug Pineknot while she was walking in the pouring rain, almost ready to cry. He enjoyed surprising Lil'Mak, "the Queen'" on the phone... and thoroughly enjoyed his time shuttling, visiting with so many of the hikers at breakfast and during the day.
Ron is happy with his decision to leave the trail; looks mighty good; is rested; and is enjoying the hiker camaraderie.
Popeye, Shakedown & Lil'Mak
reunion breakfast at the Inn at Long Trail.
Austin's strawberry ice cream! YUM!
Austin, Kevin and Ron: MMMMMMMMMM
YUM! Ice Cream!
Eating Ice Cream with Grandpa Shakedown at the Cloudland Farm NE of Woodstock, Vermont on 24 July 2008