Saturday, October 27, 2007

A week off

I know that I haven't posted much lately and there is a reason. First off, I think I was going at it to hard and as one person told me, I needed to step back a little. So....Judy and I left last Sunday for the good ole Oregon coast and it was a well worth trip.

We have been to the coast every year for the past 21 years at least one time a year. It all started the year that Jake's Restaurant changed to Jake's Diner. I had put in some pretty long hours those first few months so Jake gave me the use of his condo at the Inn of Otter Crest. My young family had a time of their life that weekend and it started the trend. Now, every time I need to get away, that is where I go.

And true to form, we found places and saw things we had not seen before. There always seem to be something new or changing there and the weather was unbelievable for just about any time there. The first two days, the temp was in the 70's.

Tuesday afternoon, we were driving south of Newport and drove by a sign that read "Helicopter rides for $39". We pulled in only to find the building closed up. Because Judy was very excited about the prospect, I called the number and talked to the man. I asked him when the best time to go up would be and he said right now. I told him that it was too bad he was closed. "Heck, I'm not closed, I am just working on my computer.", He explained. I told him we were parked outside and he invited us in to show us around. One very small bubble type copter was all that was parked outside his office. He showed us his list of tours and we decided on the whale watching tour as he promised that we would see a few whales.

I must admit that I was a little nervous starting out. After all, the three of us just barely fit in the small plastic bubble sitting on top of what looked like an old V8 engine. There was a see through bubble type door on our side but nothing on the pilots side (He seemed to be hanging out a little). I let Judy sit on the outside and took the little jump seat in the middle with my head grazing the top of the plastic sphere. My knees seemed to be in the way of the pilots instruments as he switched on switches and pulled levers in readiness of flight. At first try the engine gasps but did not turn over. "A little cold.", he explained. A little cold! It was in the 70's outside! With a bigger draw on the choke, the engine caughed and came to life. The whole machine shook as he revved up the engine and we prepared to lift off.

I held my breath as he gave it the gas and we began to lift off. We just slowly rose and it really wasn't that bad. It was kind of like being suspended in air without any feeling of real movement (other than the shaking) or like being on a tram. We rose from the tarmac and flew out to the beach. He then turned north and past the coastline of Newport showing us the various parts of the Newport coastline. It was seeing something that we had seen many times before but from a totally different perspective. As we flew over the place where it had all started 21 years ago, we noticed something on the beach below Otter Crest that we had never known before. On the rocks below were a huge group of seals. Just north of there we flew over Whale cove and the vacation home of Bill Gates. After finding a few whales and flying all around Depoe Bay, the pilot turned back south and along the coastline from the land side giving us yet another perspective. He landed the shuddering bubble back at the Newport field and waited for the block to cool so that he could shut down the engine. I did not realize that the blocks temperature while we were in flight was above 600 degrees and he needed to get it down to 300 before shutting down.

In all, the flight was around an hour and was so well worth it. It was truly the highlight of a great week . We drove to Otter Crest right after the flight and got an up close with the seals. The week finished just like it started with sunny skies as we left the coast behind till the next time. I am now back to work and rested up, ready to charge into what ever comes up.

And speaking of what is coming up, we are almost into November and getting close to our annual Thanksgiving Senior Outreach. I am still looking for a couple more singers and volunteers so if you are interested, please call me at 419-6021

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