Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Air Force One(s)

Guest blogger Philip here again.  My last week in Dayton has finally arrived and I'm looking forward to getting back with Joia and the kids.  The Air Force Museum was closed most of the time they were here due to the government shutdown and the off site Presidential and Experimental galleries have been closed for months due to the sequester.  I was really excited to see that they recently decided to open up these galleries from Thursday to Sunday.

 View of the main museum from on base.

Douglas VC-54C Skymaster - Sacred Cow

This plane was built at the request of the US Army Air Forces 1944 but only carried Franklin D. Roosevelt once, on his trip to meet with the other allied leaders at Yalta in early 1945.  Before this plane came into service, President Roosevelt would need to fly on charted commercial aircraft.  In the picture below you can see the special lift that was lowered from the airplane to life President Roosevelt into the plane while he was till in his wheelchair.

See the lift at the bottom of the picture near the rear of the plane?

 Here is a closeup

Sacred Cow continued in presidential service for the first 27 months of the Truman Administration.  In 1947 President Truman was on Sacred Cow when he signed the law that created the Department of the Air Force as a branch of the National Military Establishment (later changed to Department of Defense) by taking the Army Air Forces out of the Department of War (changed to the Department of the Army by the same law).

Douglas VC-118 - The Independence 

This one became Harry Truman's plane in 1947 and is named after his hometown in Missouri.  The paint job is made to look like an eagle and it was the first presidential plane with a distinctive paint job.

 Lockheed VC-121E Super Constellation - Columbine III

This was Dwight Eisenhower's plane from 1954 to 1961 and was named by his wife after the state flower of Colorado.  This was the first plane to use the call sign "Air Force One" in 1959.  This was in part due to an incident involving President Eisenhower's first presidential plane, Columbine II.  A commercial airliner (Eastern Airlines 8610) with the same tail number as Columbine II (Air Force 8610) confused the air traffic controllers and almost resulted in a mid-air collision.

Boeing VC-137C - a modified 707-320B
Special Air Mission 26000 ("Sam Two Six Thousand")

The first Air Force One to use the paint scheme still in use today

This plane served from 1962 to 1998 (it became the back-up in 1972) and carried all eight presidents from Kennedy to Clinton.  Famous trips include President Kenndy's trip to Berlin and President Nixon's trip to China.  However, it is probably most famous for the events of 1963 when it carried John F. Kennedy to Dallas before he was assassinated.  Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office to become President on-board the same aircraft which later carried President Kennedy's casket back to Washington D.C. and started the tradition of not carrying presidential caskets in the cargo hold.

 Bell UH-13J, the first presidential helicopter carried President Eisenhower in 1957

There was more in the Presidential Gallery but you'll just have to come visit for yourself to see the rest of it...or go on the museum's website where they have a pretty cool virtual tour.  The VC-25s (modified Boeing 747-200) currently in service were ordered during the Reagan administration and first flew as Air Force One for President George H.W. Bush in 1990.  After walking through most of the aircraft that previously served the president, I can confirm that a 747 would have to be a HUGE leap forward.

Now it was time to head next door to the Research and Development Gallery.  There were way too many aircraft on this side to include pictures of more than a tiny fraction.

 North American XB-70 Valkyrie

Originally it was going to be a supersonic long range bomber but it never entered operational service and was instead used for research on very large supersonic aircraft.  Also at the bottom of the picture you can see the Northrop-McDonald Douglas YF-23A (Black Widow II).  It lost a competition with the F-22 (Raptor) to become the first 5th generation fighter.
F-16, modified for testing new features (blue tail on the bottom right)

 North American X-15A-2

This one was carried aloft by a B-52.  When it was released from the B-52 at 45,000 feet its rocket engine would fire and after reaching the edge of space more than 50 miles above the surface (earning the pilot an astronaut rating) it would glide back to earth and land on a dry lake bed.

McDonnell XF-45 Goblin

This one was actually located on the presidential side because they are running out of room on the experimental side while raising money for construction of the fourth wing of the main museum.  They called it a "parasite" fighter because it was designed to be carried in a long range bomber and deployed to defend the bomber if needed.  After flight it could then return to the bomber and be raised back inside.  Seems more like a "symbiotic" fighter to me.  It never entered operational flight because air-to-air refueling was developed and allowed traditional fighters to extend their range and stay with the bomber.

Next stop after the museum...geocaching.

The cache was located a mere 150-200 meter duckwalk into this pipe...seriously, what is with Ohioans?

After killing a giant spider I took this picture, 
too bad I couldn't come at it from above through the manhole cover.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Home and Busy

We've been home now for five (busy) days and no longer feel gray =)

It was good to get back to our friends at house church, C.C. and MOPS this week.   We missed them like crazy!

Here are a few happenings from this week:

 Stylish head gear

 Fun jack-o-lantern pizza from Papa Murphy's

 I'm not sure you're a reliable source, but thank you, Dove =)

These are random.   We made place cards at MOPs to have on our tables every meeting.  This is mine:

 Two sided

I took the kids to Eglin's "Trunk or Treat" event tonight (never again!  It was Insane!)  They didn't want to wear the same costumes they already planned for Halloween, so we came up with these last night:

 Oliver Twist

 Little Red Riding Hood

 Does this look familiar? =)

 He was totally into it!

Me and my three cuties

Every car/truck had a theme... our favorite one was this one - "What Does the Fox Say??" =)
(If you haven't seen this video, you are missing out... right Mark?)

 Looove it!

We have an exciting weekend ahead!   I have a race in the morning (costume involved!) and then we have Canadian company coming into town!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Gray.  That's how we all felt this morning when we left Dayton.   It was cloudy and raining.   We were leaving Philip behind for another two weeks.   It was like going back to school after Christmas break.   Blah.

 Not super excited to be hitting the road

We only drove for five hours today and the kids did REALLY well!

We hit the pool as soon as we got to the hotel.   It was a little cold for me, but I got in anyway and the kids loved it.

 Three monkeys

 Canon ball!

 I love Moriah's mid air pose!

 Just chillin' poolside

 For some reason I like taking funny pictures of the kids and I in hotel room mirrors =)
We had dinner at Cracker Barrel - one of the kid's favorites

We skyped with Philip when we got back to the room.   Here's hoping for great sleep for all four of us tonight and an awesome drive home tomorrow!  We've been gone a long time!

Dayton Wrap Up

Well... my good streak of vacation blogging kind of fizzled there at the end, didn't it?

I think my camera may have just been a little weary... =)

Here are a few pictures I took over the last couple days of our trip:

This was just one of the gorgeous spots along our favorite running route - boy will I miss this path!!

 How gorgeous is that??  I love that the buildings in the background even look a little old fashioned =)

 Yes, I have a thing for silhouette shots =)

 This one kind of looks cold and icy to me for some reason

 A shot straight along the falls

 I like this one of Keenan.   I think I probably have the fewest pictures of him because he is the most busy!  I actually snapped this one while he was in time out.

 Philip and I

It has been so awesome spending time with the Ramages during our visit here!   They even bumped Reagan's birthday party to last night so we could be there!

 Fun Hello Kitty party


 Singing time!


Tiff has become quite the whiz at cake decorating!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Birthday and then... A Barn Full of Animals

Taylor's 21st birthday was on Monday, so on Sunday evening, a bunch of us drove to East Lansing to surprise her at her apartment and take her out for a birthday dinner. It was a blast!

Taylor (left) with one of her room mates, Alex

Moriah and Bridget

Uncle Ty (Michigan State fan) not a fan of Philip's Michigan sweatshirt touching him =)

Us with Aunt Mary and Davis

Caleb being sweet with Taylor

All of us after dinner

Davis rode home with us and Caleb wanted to hold his hand =)

Monday morning we packed up and headed back to Ohio...

One more picture at Aunt Mary's

Gorgeous leaves!!

Since yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving... this girl wanted some Turkey!    We had lunch at Bob Evans...

The kid's extendable straws were the longest I've ever seen! =)

The slow roasted turkey meal and pumpkin pie were Amazing!!

We stopped to visit Charlie and Trisha on the way home and got to see lots of fun animals at Trinity Acres!

Moriah admiring some baby chicks and their Mama

So cute!

...and a Mama duck (who is not Nearly as good looking as her babies!)

Chatting with some Chickens

Think this is cute?

Check out the backstage view!  Love it!!

Which one does not belong?

A gorgeous Flemish Giant 

Miniature Horses!

They were soo sweet



Love this

They were so funny!

"Hey, Caleb"



This guy was feisty!

I loved this backdrop in the barn

Sweet shot of Caleb and Charlie

Fun with some old cars in the garage...

Love these!

Then we got to make some apple cider!

The apples are ready,

The antique cider mill is ready,

... so let's throw in some apples!

Love this view

The apples all ground up in the bottom

Then they take the bucket over to the press...

... screw down the lid...

...and crank the cider out!


Somebody got chilly =)

Trisha and Kiah

Caleb had a great time moving apples from one place to another

These two hit it off (and kind of look alike)

I love Llamas!

This was as social as they got all evening (Charlie says they're kind of stuck up, like cats)

Fun John Deere shot

Philip's hand next to a huge Praying Mantis!

Then it was time to ride on stuff!

Moriah and Caleb with Charlie on the golf cart

Then Philip got on and they went out to the woods

Caleb helping steer

Keenan's first four wheeler ride!

Totally stoked!

Off they go!

So pretty!

That's a big helmet for a little girl!

She looked so small on the four wheeler!

I got on the golf cart and Philip let Keenan help steer

Micah and Riah behind us in the woods

All of us before we headed out

What a fun time!!   Now we're back "home" in our townhouse in Dayton for a few more days...