New Mexico, Texas, dodging Covid
2020 just keeps on giving... Our Covid lock down in Arizona was better than most people had to deal with. But eventually we had to move. Karen wanted to check in on her mother in East Texas, so we started east. New Mexico was a particular challenge as much of the state was still locked down. Many of the RV Parks we had used in the past were closed or not accepting new people. But we were able to schedule a quick trip to Santa Fe in the same week they opened up (a little). It was the first week they offered inside dining with masks. The old town area was particularly quiet and the BLM protests made it even worse as stores boarded up expecting the worst. Nothing serious ever happened.
But the weather was nice, we had a great RV Park right in town and the airport was very accommodating of the trailer and Kitfox. The F-111 Bomber made room for our circus to unload. We were able to ride bikes all around town and picnic on the river running through it. Nellie had a great time roaming the river area.
Flying out of Santa Fe airport we immediately spotted old western movie sets dotting the landscape. Some were just storefronts while others were full build-outs of a western town.
Los Alamos and Taos
Further northwest was Los Alamos, where the first atomic bombs were created during WWII. The town is nice as they had to entice scientists to live there with families. There is not much in the general vicinity. Flying in was a little tricky as the airspace right next to the airport was restricted. Not sure they would shoot you down, but they would likely not be amused if you strayed over in their space.
Flying in to the Los Alamos airport the government facility is just across the road to the left.
And flying out had to be the same direction with the facility on the right.
A little further East out of Los Alamos was the ski town of Taos. For the pilots out there, the density altitude as we came in and out was 10,500 ft. The fuel injection of the Rotax engine made it easy by compensating automatically. But the Kitfox was clearly taking more time to get going and climb. We were also able to drive to the Taos ski area. Very quiet. But it looks like a lot of fun in the winter.
And then it was off to Texas. We discovered that some small towns are creating fee- optional RV areas for those just passing through. It worked great for us and the circus as all we really need is electricity and a long pull through.
Back to Texas
Our next stop was Longhorn RV Resort outside of San Marcos and South of Austin. Its a great stop for us as it is close to family, friends and many of the necessary dental, optical and medical needs. We had determined that in summers we would always be north in the cooler temperatures. But here we were in the heart of Texas in early July. HOT! I grew up in Houston so it would seem you could get used to it. Nope! Our days typically would stop at 11:AM and then start again at 7:PM when it started to cool off. Nellie had her typical perch, this time overlooking the lake.
As a side note, my brother Eddie is an investor in a new RV Resort that is being build adjacent to Longhorn. Building activity is just above.
Pioneer Flight Museum
During the stay I was able to connect with another Kitfox owner for a visit to the Pioneer Flight Museum in Kingsbury, TX. I have been here before and has a post on it last year. But this is such a unique place I thought it might be fun to feature it again. The owners made us right at home and gave us a great tour. The library is amazing with some unique books and manuals. In the movie "The Aviator" about Howard Hughes, he crashed and almost died testing the XF-11 twin engine fighter. There were only two built. So it was quite a find to see the operators manual for it and many other unique aircraft like the P-61. The collection also contained old telephones from the 20's and 30's. There was also an audio playback device that used coils of wires to record songs. Things have changed considerably now with songs floating in the cloud.
But the focus of the entire effort is on WWI era planes. The owner is a collector of anything related to these planes and know as an expert in building and maintaining them. They fly. And they have a great grass runway to work with. Here is my fellow Kitfox pilot, Leslie Thomas and his wife landing.
There are planes and collected parts for them everywhere in the many hangars. If he does not have the part, it likely does not exist.
And these are aircraft that we just don't see much of anymore. Check out the mud flaps on the first plane, a Curtiss Wright Junior. Pretty basic, but they work. And a Fokker DR-1 Tri-plane like the one that was flown by the Red Baron. In those days, the cylinders actually rotated along with the propeller causing significant torque to the right side. So the pilots would quickly turn right ,but avoid turning left at all costs. And it drank Castor Oil faster than it could be replaced, causing many in-flight engine failures. No flaps, no brakes and minimal instrumentation make these planes a handful in all but calm conditions. The view for takeoff and landing was very poor and the machine gun butts made a poor airbag in a crash. But it was the pinnacle of technology for 1918.
This lizard was completely ignoring us as he contemplated catching his next fly while perched on the aircraft tire.
And there was a fair share of ground based vehicles as well. All are circa WW1 era and they run! The tank is unique, but not much use in battle as it is made almost entirely of plywood!
If you are ever in the San Antonio area, fly or drive to see the Pioneer Air Museum in Kingsbury. It is well worth the effort. Tell em the Kitfox guys sent you.
Videoconferencing in the Covid era
For almost 30 years my career focused on videoconferencing. During that entire time the big question was how to make it go mainstream. Well, that question is now answered. Having worked from my home for almost 17 years working over videoconferencing was like breathing for us. So it is surreal now seeing how quickly videoconferencing and working from home has been adopted. I know many of the people who founded and still work at Zoom and Cisco (WebEx). It must be a very interesting time to be in the industry.
From Central Texas we moved to East Texas and the Longview area to see Karen's mother. We stopped by the church where we were married almost 40 years ago and made a quick trip to Caddo Lake.
Our next destination was Indiana and Southern Michigan for some maintenance work on the coach and the trailer.