2012 East Coast Trip in the TBM

In Trips, Journal by Steve Sliwa

We planned and executed our usual East Coast trip in our TBM.  Our normal goal is to visit with family and friends in an intense 1 to 2 week span.  This year we had some ‘bookends’ to our schedule which dictated the start and beginning.  Debbie Brignoli was having a 60th birthday part in Sherrils Ford NC on September 1 and I was scheduled to be colloquium speaker at NASA Langley on Sept 11.

Thursday, Aug 30
We departed KDLS in the morning and arrived at Ft. Collins (KFNL) just before noon.  Brian Parsonnet was tracking us on FlightAware and was waiting for us.  We then proceeded to lunch in Ft. Collins just across from the CSU.  Wanda arrived part way through lunch and then directed us through a brief tour of CSU.  We then toured the area and walked around old town.  Nancy and I really enjoyed the old town section.  We had a nice dinner at the Canyon Chop House, which is in a renovated bank building.

Friday, Aug 31
We departed early morning from KFNL and originally planned to stop at St. Louis.  But the remnants of Hurrican Isaac were smack dap in the way.  So we diverted to Des Moines and then headed toward Indianapolis before heading south and landing at Hickory, NC.  We arrived at George and Sandy Village’s house about 5:30PM via rental car.  We grilled steaks and caught up with them while playing with their golden doodle Zoe.

Saturday, Sept 1
After breakfast we did some shopping and had lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant.  We arrived at Debbie and Andy Brignoli’s house about 4PM for their big party.  They had guests from all over the country including their new grandson.  Originally the party was planned for eating stations throughout the house and porch, but they had the foresight to order a large tent for the front yard.  This was fortunate as we experienced a giant thunderstorm.  What could have put a damper on the party actually cooled it off and made for a pleasant evening.

Sunday, Sept 2
We had brunch at Sandy and George’s new country club near the airport and then depart KHKY for New Bern (KEWN).  Interestingly there were several thunderstorms so we diverted to the south and then as we arrive at KEWN it was surrounded by builds and rain.  Initially they were calling for clear at the airport and were originally directed toward a visual approach.  However, it started to rain and the visibility fell off so we decided to fly the ILS approach.  It was in the mist and rain and when we got to decision height at 200 feet the visibility was still too poor to see the runway, so Nancy executed the missed approach.  However, just as we got over the runway it cleared up.  The tower suggested we could circle to land on another runway, which Nancy masterfully executed.

My sister Chris and Stan picked us up and drove us to their house so we could see their new digs.  They did a nice job building and decorating what is likely to be their retirement home.  It was still raining so it was quite wet everywhere.  We then got a brief tour of the town and had a nice dinner at Morgan’s Bar and Grill in old town section of New Bern.  We stayed at the Doubletree on the marina.

Monday Sept 3
We departed KEWN about 9AM and headed for Springfield MA landing at KBAF.  It was a little tricky leaving the builds around KEWN and we got re-routed 3 times by ATC.  Ultimately Nancy flew the GPS approach into KBAF and we got a rental car and headed toward Lyman Wood’s house.  We were trying to get their in time to say goodbye to Merrie Wood, who was under hospice care and was losing her battle with cancer.  She actually died that morning and when we arrived Lyman actually said the timing was perfect.  He really didn’t want to be alone and we could share the past, get caught up on recent activities, and discuss the future.  Lyman was a great host and prepared dinner.  Afterwards he announced it was his first complete dinner for external (non family) guests.  It was excellent and healthy.

Tuesday, Aug 4
We met Lyman downtown at the Springfield Museums, on which he is on the board.  We wanted a tour of the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. As he was showing us around, the Director came by and she sent the curator of the museum to give us a guided tour of his facility.  This facility is known for its car collection, Indian motorcycle collection, Dr. Zeus display, gun collection, and quite a few artifacts from the surrounding area.  It was nicely done.  Outside the museums had a great collection of Dr. Zeus bronze figures.

After spending more time with Lyman that afternoon we had dinner at an interesting Irish pub and restaurant called McLadden’s Irish Publick House.  We had the restaurant portion nearly to ourselves.  We departed from the hotel and agreed to hook up with Lyman later in the year.

Wed, Sept 5
We flew to KTRI to visit with Nancy’s mom.  Again we were re-routed several times but picked our way through the storms and flew an instrument approach in Tri-Cities Airport.  We got a rental car and arrived in time to pick up Alma and take her to lunch at Red Lobster.  We then spent time at her house getting caught up and doing updates and improvements on her computer.  We decided to eat light that evening.

Thurs Sept 6
The next morning we came over and the girls went shopping.  When they came back, we decided to get Alma a new cell phone (iPhone).  It was a bit frustrating as the new iPhone 5 is due out in a couple of weeks, but probably Alma doesn’t need the new features.  We also upgraded our account and got our iPads on it so that we could finally manage them properly through our cell phone accounts rather than through their own individual accounts.  This was a real problem while we were traveling.

That evening we went to Bonefish Grill and then spent the evening getting her iPhone and computers synced and then I spent a couple of hours training Alma how to use her phone and how to text her grandkids.  We also got her a support plan for technical support so that hopefully she can effectively use her phone.

Fri Sept 7
We delayed our departure a bit from KTRI to accommodate the early morning fog.  We were re-routed a couple of times again but this time we got a visual approach into in Easton (KESN) landing about 11:20AM.  Dave Hazen came and picked us up and we had lunch with Mary Ann, Tom, and Dave Hazen at their place on the water in Oxford.  That afternoon we went to Art and Roselee Roberts house in St. Michaels.  Turns out they used the same architect as we did for one of our renovations, their son-in-law.  We all then went to a nice dinner at 208 Talbot hosted by the Roberts.  Art was our lobbyist at ERAU and Roselee used to work for McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing.

Sat Sept 8
I did my normal morning run/jog/walk to Deepwater Point and back (4 miles), had breakfast, and then joined the girls on a trip to the Easton farmer’s market.  We met Dave and Tom at the Easton Country Club for lunch and then came back to take a tour of the area via his electric launch (boat) affectionately called the Fannie.  We got it back just in time before a huge storm hit (hope our plane is OK).  We enjoyed our usual conversation and wine and then Mary Ann prepared one of her patented meals for us.

Sun Sept 9
We did an early morning departure from Easton and headed to Cullman, Alabama to meet up with Jeff and Lynn Kimpan.  Jeff picked us up at the airport. When he was waiting they asked him what plane his friends would be flying. He said a TBM. The person indicated, that’s no plane, that’s a hot rod.

They have a new Rottweiler pup, Rufus, who was fun especially given that we were missing Pixie and Angle.  Jeff and Lynn retired a couple of years before us and are doing well in their new home.  They wanted to be more secluded from civilization in a beautiful lake setting and they accomplished their goals. They also introduced us to hot stone cooking with Roks.  Each person gets a pre-heated hot rock at the table to grill steak, lobster, scallops, et al.  It was quite nice.

Mon Sep 10
We got an early morning departure executed and landed so I could join an Ice Energy Technology LLC board meeting call.  Then we had lunch with friends Marna and Leaonard Mayo.  Afterwards we spent the afternoon with Dana Dunham and then had dinner with Doug and Kelli Arbuckle at Second St in Williamsburg.  All of them attended our wedding 26+ years ago and are great friends.  Doug and Kelli are a little younger and it was great to hear of their plans they hope to implement once they get their youngest off to college.

Tues Sep 11
We spent Tuesday working with NASA.  I was scheduled to be the colloquium speaker which was of interest since Nancy and I both started our careers at NASA Langley and I enjoyed seeing the colloquium speakers who were former staff members at NASA.  It was my turn to return the favor and be such a speaker.  I gave a talk covering Insitu History, Insitu Anecdotes, some reflections on Moore’s Law, and then some management hints.  During the day we also got briefings from the Center Director, the Director of Aeronautics, and my old Controls division.  We got see many friends from the “old days” at NASA including: Tom (and Nancy) Moul, Dave Hinton, Carey Buttrill, Ken Goodrich, Dave Raney, Duncan McIver, Norm Crabill, Frauke & Wolf Elber, Ray (& Eugenia) Montgomery, Gene Morelli, Roy Harris, Jarek Sobieski, Marty Wazak, Mike & Sue Palmer, Wallace Harrison, and Charlie Blakenship, among others.

That evening I repeated the presentation at the Virginia Air & Space Museum.  It was quite enjoyable to make a presentation among landmark aircraft and spacecraft.

Wed Sept 12
We departed Newport News airport at about 8:20AM and landed about 1PM in Boulder CO (with a stop at Downtown St. Louis airport for fuel).  Brian met us with Nancy’s favorite drink from Starbucks (Venti Soy Chai – No Foam).  So Brian scored good points.  We toured Broomfield, University of Colorado, and Boulder.  We had drinks at Oak at Fourteenth,  did a flight of Sake with some edamame at Hapa, dinner with Brian, Wanda, and Nick Parsonnet at Salt the Bistro and had dessert at Crepes a la Cart.

Thurs Sep 13
We made it all the way home in one leg with light headwinds.  We departed Rocky Mountain (Metro) at 8:20 and landed about 10:30 at The Dalles.  It was a nice leg and ended in great fashion.  We had 30+ hours of flight time, did 4 approaches, including one to minimums with a miss.  It was a great experience.

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