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Home Page This Page Last Updated 1/02/07        
The Rest of the Story
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Welcome back folks - it's been busy, so let's dive in. 2006 saw our return to the trail, albeit on the Left Coast. We hiked the northern half of the John Muir Trail, starting in Yosemite NP and hiking south over 125 miles of the high Sierra's (ending east of Fresno). It's by far our favorite hike yet, and the scenery exceeded all expectations. We've made a sterling slide show of it all - you'll need high-speed internet and about 19:26 of spare time, but it's well worth it. Be sure to select Full Screen with the right mouse menu, and by all means, have the sound cranked. Click here.

In other travel, we recently returned from Thanksgiving week at Coleen's familial farm in Kansas. We greatly enjoyed leaving the rat race behind, and were able to bring my mother down to join us for a few days as well. It was great to spend some time with Leland's family too, as the holiday throngs at home often make it tough to share quality time.

Now Coleen's got a bit of the wanderlust herself, so when sister Crystal summoned her up to Alaska to babysit for the latest arrival in the brood (Randall Grant, on February 28), she was all too happy to oblige. Having done a few of these before, she knows that there's always time for sleigh rides, rapelling, snowmobiling; and in this case even a visit to the start of the Iditerod Race. And she found time to make the trek up to fairbanks to visit sister Cheryl and kin, managing a fun trip to Chena Hot Springs during that visit. In spite of the February date, the cold weather and long nights didn't daunt her spirits in the least, and she's ready to return at a moment's notice.

The one friend I haven't spent enough time with is the 1942 T-6 "Texan" I own in partnership with three other pilots at the local airport. I'm vascillating between painting on "Hangar Queen" or "Money Pit" as its new name. And yes, I'm all too familiar with the old joke about the two favorite days in a boat / plane owner's life (the day he buys it, and the day he sells it). Seems like we've replaced everything of importance on it, so hopefully 2007 we'll focus a bit more on flying and less on maintaining.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention work - my station remains that of MD-11 Captain (the aircraft pictured below to the right is one of our MD-11's). It's been a turbulent year at World, the company having bought the troubled North American Airways with smaller planes and cheaper crews in hopes of eviscerating our pilot's working contract (which was up for renewal). After a short and surgical pilot's strike we finally got our new contract, but we're definitely not feeling the love from management, and our NAA counterparts seem to bleed money almost as fast as we can make it.

Luckily though, there's always troops to be moved somewhere (take a wild guess where), and our burgeoning cargo business to the Orient keeps every available cargo plane busy (and would support more, if we had them). I just spent my December flying between Anchorage, Taipei, and Shanghai - an entertaining change from the Atlantic flying that comprises the bulk of my schedule.

Well, that's the news that hits the mind right now. I'll make one last shameless plug for our JMT slideshow (link in the opening paragraph of this page) before wishing everyone the merriest of holidays, and a double share of God's manifold blessings.

Bob & Coleen


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