An Official Goof Off Day…

We decided to make today an official Goof-Off day.

We went out for breakfast about 9:30 am at the Astronomical Pancake & Waffle House.  And when they say ‘Astronomical’ they mean it.

Jan got an order of pancakes that consisted of two pancakes more than a foot in diameter, with blueberries the size of small marbles.  They hung way over the side of the plate.

On the way back to the coach we stopped and got gas.  And that was it for the day.

The rest of the time we worked on stuff around here.  Jan hemmed some new pants for me and then did some other sewing chores.  I worked on several small things around the coach that needed fixing.

For supper we heated up the El Pollo Loco takeout we bought home with us while we were in Virginia Beach.  Delicious as always!

Later…

Williamsburg and Jamestown…

Today we moved about 100 miles northwest to Williamsburg, VA  for a few days.

We want to visit Colonial WilliamsburgJamestown Settlement, and Yorktown Battlefield.

We’re at an RV park called Anvil Campground.  It’s only about 5 miles from Colonial Williamsburg,  but it’s not near as nice as our last park on the lake in NC.

Anvil Campground

Anvil Campground Site

Anvil Campground View

Anvil Campground View

It’s OK,  but I guess we got spoiled at the last few parks.  Our coach backs up to the highway with no fence separating us,  so we have to keep a close eye on Mister when he’s out,  and although we have no neighbors right now, the sites are close together.

And there is a railroad track about 200 yards through the trees out in front of us.  We can’t really see the trains, or hear them, but strangely enough, we can feel them.  The whole coach vibrates as the ground rumbles.

After getting set up and goofing off for a while, we headed out to a local Hooters for our hot wing fix.  This was the first time we’ve been back to Hooters since we left Gulf Shores in March so we were starting to go into wing withdrawal.

In the latest news from the RV repair front, both my recent problems, the leaky water heater and the leveler jacks that wouldn’t go down, have mysteriously fixed themselves.

The water heater T&P valve stopped leaking the day before we left NC, and after not working when we got to the park in NC, the levelers worked fine here with no problems. Who knows.

More Tomorrow…

Mustangs and Tomahawks…

Today we drove back over to Virginia Beach to visit the Military Aviation Museum that we had scouted out yesterday.

I was surprised to find out the Museum is privately owned by Gerald Yeagan who also owns a company called The Fighter Factory that specializes in restoring and maintaining old military planes.  He owns over 20 restored military planes with a number of others under restoration.

The complex consists of a museum area flanked by large hangers on each side, with an operating airfield out front.

Military Aviation Museum

Military Aviation Museum

Even the red checkered water tower is of WWII vintage.

The Museum had several interesting displays.  Two planes caught my eye.

A replica 1911 Wright Flyer and a 1918 Sopwith Pup fighter were on display.  These were remarkable due to the fact that we had just visited the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hill and had seen the 1903 Flyer.

The amazing thing was the quick progression of the planes.

The 1903 Flyer was very primitive, with the pilot lying prone on the wing next to the engine, steering by swinging his hips back and forth.  The elevator is in the front of the plane and the engine is almost toy-like.

1903 Wright Flyer from the right rear

1903 Wright Flyer from the right rear

The 1911 Flyer was a big jump.  The pilot sat in a chair, steered the plane with a control stick, and the elevator was in the front, all just like today’s planes.

1911 Wright Flyer

1911 Wright Flyer

Note the 1911 Flyer has a much bigger engine and also landed on wheels, rather than skids like the 1903 version.

This 1911 Flyer was also used to make an intercontinental flight from New York to California to the win a $50,000 prize put up by William Randolph Hearst.  This means that only 8 years after the first flight, man is now flying from one side of the country to the other.

But the real jump is this next plane, the 1918 Sopwith Pup.

1918 Sopwith Pup

1918 Sopwith Pup

In just 7 more years, we now have plane with a fully enclosed cockpit, engine, and fuselage, and, of course, machine guns, that can fly hundreds of miles in one flight.

And all this only 15 years after the first flight of 120 feet. 

Quite a jump, indeed!

They sure have a lot of great planes here, and what’s really amazing is that they’re all in flyable condition, or being restored to flyable condition.

Here’s some of the best.

P-40 Tomahawk

P-40 Tomahawk

P-40 Tomahawk

P-51 Mustang

P-51 Mustang

P-51 Mustang

Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire

Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane

F4U Corsair of “Bah, Bah, Black Sheep” fame

F4U Corsair of "Bah, Bah, Black Sheep" fame

F4U Corsair of "Bah, Bah, Black Sheep" fame

PBY Catalina Flying Boat

PBY Catalina Flying Boat

PBY Catalina Flying Boat

TBM Avenger Bomber – George H. W. Bush flew one like this.

TBM Avenger Bomber - George H. W. Bush flew one like this.

TBM Avenger Bomber - George H. W. Bush flew one like this.

T-35 Mentor trainer – I had flight training in one of these.

T-35 Mentor trainer - I had flight training in one of these.

T-34 Mentor trainer - I had flight training in one of these.

But the real treat was getting to see the P-40 Tomahawk fly!  These big engines make a roar that is unmistakable.

Taxiing Out

Taxiing Out

Taxiing Out

Taxiing Out

Take Off

Take Off

Downwind Turn

Downwind Turn

Approach

Approach

Roll Out

Roll Out

Finally, I’ve shown you pictures of area mascot animals, like pelicans in Seabrook, TX,  moose in Coeur d’ Alene, IA,  and mermaids in Beaufort, SC.

Here in Virginia Beach they have a porpoise mascot, and the Museum did theirs up in a plane motif.

Plane Porpoise

Plane Porpoise

We had a great time at the Museum.  And I’m really lucky to have married an Airforce brat who likes old planes and airshows.

After leaving the Museum, we stopped off at Supercuts to get our hair cut and then ate a late lunch at El Pollo Loco before heading home.

Later in the evening after it had cooled off, we sat out in the shade of the coach, looking out over the lake, drinking Sangria,  and watching Mister do his “Catch and Release” program with the many blue dragonflies.

Campground View

Campground View

Or rather, it was ‘Catch, and then I yell at him until he reluctantly raises his paw and lets the dragonfly go – Release program.  He never seemed to hurt them, but just held them down for a while. 

What was really amazing is how fast a 22 pound cat can move.

Today is our last day here in NC.   Tomorrow we move north to Williamsburg, VA.

More then…

Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill…

Today we drove the toad about 50 miles south to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill, NC to see the Wright Brothers Monument celebrating the first powered flight on December 17, 1903.

Here is the the picture of Kill Devil Hill where the Wright Brothers first tested their gliders starting in 1900. 

Kill Devil Hill

Kill Devil Hill

Here is a pic of the 1900 glider that they flew from this hill.

1900 Glider

1900 Glider

Here is a couple of pictures of the 1903 Flyer that the Orville Wright used to first achieved powered flight.

1903 Wright Flyer from the left rear

1903 Wright Flyer from the left rear

1903 Wright Flyer from the right rear

1903 Wright Flyer from the right rear

They made 4 flights that first day before a gust of wind overturned the craft while the brothers were discussing the 5th flight, ending their flying for that year.

The first flight traveled 120 feet,  the second traveled 175 feet,  the third traveled for 200 feet, and the last flight traveled for an amazing 852 feet and lasted for 59 seconds.

You can see the relative distances in these two pics.

First Flight Distances 1, 2, 3

First Flight Distances 1, 2, 3

First Flight Distances 2, 3, 4

First Flight Distances 2, 3, 4

I had to spread them across two different pics to get them all in.

It was really amazing to contemplate while looking at the Wright Flyer, that less than 66 years later,  we landed on the moon.

After leaving the monument area we drove around the area doing some sightseeing.

Later we headed up north to Virginia Beach, VA to eat at El Pollo Loco and stop off at a Sam’s Club for ‘stuff’.

Due to running out of time, we decided to visit the Military Aviation Museum tomorrow.

Later…

Cousins and Kitty Hawk…

We left my cousin’s house in Graham, NC this morning about 10:45 am.  We had a great time and wish we could have stayed a little longer, but we’re fast running out of days before meeting the kids in New York on July 18th.

Before we left this morning, I noticed one new problem and now that we’re parked here in Shiloh, NC, I have two problems.

This morning I noticed water was leaking out from behind the door where the water heater resides.  Opening the door showed that the T&P valve was leaking slightly.

So far, I’m not sure if the valve itself is leaking, or the thermostat is letting the heater run too hot.  I’ll start looking at it tomorrow.

And then after we got here, I tried to lower the hydraulic levelers, but they won’t…lower or level, that is.

It’s not giving me any warning messages or error lights.  It just won’t work.

More fun!

After a 5 1/4 hour trip that included a 1/2 hour delay in Raleigh for a traffic accident,  we pulled into our site at North River Campground here in Shiloh, NC.

It’s a very nice park with wide, long sites and nice scenery.

It’s kind of hard to see from this picture but Mister is already camped out under the picnic table.

North River Campground

North River Campground

And here’s the view out our front window.

Campground View

Campground View

Tomorrow we plan to head over to the Outer Banks to visit Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill where the Wright Brothers first flew.

After that we’ll head north to Virginia Beach, VA to visit the Military Aviation Museum.  Next comes a stopover at a local Sam’s Club for new ‘stuff’ and then dinner at El Pollo Loco, a favorite of ours from California last year.

More tomorrow…

Flamingos, and Kitties, and Moose, Oh My!

Tomorrow we’re going to head another 235 miles east to Shiloh, NC.  This will put us about half way between Kill Devil Hills to the south, where the Wright brothers first flew,  and Virginia Beach, where we want to visit the Military Aviation Museum.

I did have a chance while we’re here to put out most of our yard animal collection.

Yard Animals 1

Yard Animals 1

Yard Animals 2

Yard Animals 2

Jan thinks this is all of them, but I think we have one or two more stuck away somewhere.  I’ll have to keep looking.

Runaway trucks and The Biltmore, one last time…

We left Asheville about 10 am this morning heading about 210 miles east to Graham, NC to visit my cousin and her family.

Jan started panicking early because this was the same route we had take to Grandfather Mountain and she was worried about a fairly steep grade that we had to go down, or at least, fairly steep for around here.

It was a 6% grade and had 3 runaway truck ramps along the downgrade, but I kept it slow and used the exhaust brake to keep our speed under 45 mph.

We had done 10% grades in Canada so I knew we wouldn’t have any problems here. 

But Jan has to have something to worry about.  If she doesn’t have anything to worry about, she worries about that.

We got into Graham about 2 pm and park the coach at a local WalMart, so we could unhook the toad and drive it out to my cousin’s house.

They wanted us to park at their house and I wanted to check it out the driveway first.  I’m glad I did it that way because I found out I didn’t know where her house was.

I had the address, but I found out later that there had been some street name changes and her place was now hard to find.  Even UPS had problems.

But some cell phone directions got us there, and after checking out the driveway and talking for a while,  Jan and I went back to get the coach, which was about 6 miles away.

We weren’t going to hook the toad back up. Jan would just follow me in it.

I had a little problem getting into the driveway because a guy was trying to pass me on the left as I was trying to swing wide left to turn right into the driveway.

I dropped the outside right dual rear wheel into the ditch which made the coach lean over, but I powered it on thru with no problems.

Jan, of course, just knew the coach was going to turn over when she saw it happen.  But then, that gave her something new to worry about for a few minutes, so it all worked out.

We’re plugged into their garage for power and using our internal tanks for drinking water and waste water.  So we’re doing just fine.

I finally got around to scanning the picture we had take at the Biltmore, so here it is.

Jan And Greg At The Biltmore

Jan And Greg At The Biltmore

More tomorrow…