Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sept. 14 - 28

One of our goals on this trip is to try to avoid major highways (and freeways) to get to our destination. Leaving Myrtle Beach we wanted to go to Kitty Hawk, NC to see the site of the Wright Brothers first flight. Looking at the map, we could get there via the Outer Banks of N.C which would include taking a ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke (2 1/2 hr ferry ride), so we headed that way. We road the ferry and then had to ride another one (1/2 hr) to get from Ocracoke to Hatteras. If you ever get the chance to take that trip - take it. It is great.

We made it a 2 day trip to get to Kitty Hawk camping right along side the Atlantic Ocean. We have now been parked right next to the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Atlantic coast line (at least from South Carolina to North Carolina) is nothing but sandy beach. Unlike the rocks and cliffs of the Pacific is it just flat sand with some roads no more than 6 feet above the top of the water. No wonder they flood so bad in storms.

Kitty Hawk is something to see. To think that in all this time of people on this earth, just 104 years ago man, under his own power, took to the air for the first time. Then within 60 years we flew to the moon.

What was really interesting was the fact that the Brothers not only build the first airplane, but they built every part. Obviously they could not go to the store to "buy airplane parts." In fact, they could not find an engine for their plane, so they built that too. They did not go with the traditional view of a propeller (for a boat) being an "air screw." Instead they saw it as a rotary wing and hand carved those also.

Their first flight --- 12 seconds and 120 feet (Bob Newhart had a great joke about flying coast to coast with the Wright Brothers but was concerned that it would be a long flight if they had to take off and land every 120 feet). They flew 3 more flights that day with the longest being 59 seconds and 852 feet (that would shorten that coast to coast flight).

While some people had made gliders (including the Brothers) no one made a "machine" that under its own power could take off and fly - they made it happen and WOW look what happened as a result.

Form Kitty Hawk we went to an "out of the way" resort in Jackson Springs North Carolina and will be here for a week. No driving, just relaxing. Next week we head for Nashville, Tennessee and the Grand Ole Opry -- So long Y'all

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept. 6 - 16

Everyone has been to the zoo. You stand there looking at the animals and think to yourself "gee, it would really be something to be able to pick that little tiger cub up." Well think no more. As you can see by the photos to the right (and the ones under the map below) today you can hold many of these animals if you just travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and visit my niece, Kheria, (my sister Pat's daughter) at her Tigers Preserve. You can take a 3 hr guided tour and see some of the most exotic animals on this earth. You will get to sit in an area in which the trainers bring out Lion, Tiger, Lynx and Ligar (cross between a lion and a tiger) cubs and let them just walk around and all over you. It is really something. You can hold them, feed them and just play with them. Some just want to sit on your lap and relax.

If that weren't enough, then you move on to another area and play with a chimpanzee and a gibbon (Mary is holding Mia and I am holding Yogi in the first photo to the right). How about sitting pool side while tigers go swimming with their trainers. These cats just loved playing in that water. So much for "cats hate water."

When was the last time you held an Owl? Petted a wolf? Had a falcon fly so close his wings brushed across your chest? Watched a lion sprint past you? Had your picture taken with a Ligar (they have one that stands 10 feet tall - see big photo below).

They video tape your whole tour and take hundreds of photos delivered to you on a CD at the end of your tour. This is no petting zoo with a goat - this is the real deal - wild animals. Protected and raised to help prevent extinction. If you ever plan to head to SC this is a must see.

Prior to arriving in SC we went to Cumming, Georgia. Jerry spoke again at another ISS convention in Atlanta and we stayed with our long time friends Donna and Stu. Stu took us out on his pontoon boat to a nice place for Sunday brunch. Our dog Chanti met their dog, Nikki (that Donna bought after seeing our dog). We had a great visit with them.

We leave Myrtle Beach on Monday and have a few "free days" that are not planned until next weekend. We will throw the dart on the map tomorrow morning and see what it hits.