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Old 08-29-2017, 07:25 AM
Location: Idaho
1,451 posts, read 1,153,086 times
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As I get older and especially in retirement, I have discovered new activities, developed new interests and enjoyed more things in life.

I have always loved nature but now I have more time to explore and to learn about nature in depth. I joined a birding club last winter and through the club, we have discovered many new hiking trails, new events, new avenues to learn about nature (birds, trees, plants, mushrooms, butterflies etc.) I have ordered so many new nature guide books in the last several months.

One thing leads to the others. Our latest tool, a spotting scope, arrived yesterday. My husband used it to look at the moon last night. I was completely blown away by the incredible and super sharp image of the moon. Now I have a new interest in astronomy!

I sympathize with the folks who could no longer do things due to health issues. We are trying very hard to stay fit and healthy so that we could continue doing the things that we love to do. My husband hurt his back then knee in 2014 then again last winter. He could not fly for 6 months the first time and 4 months the second time. I love plane camping. We typically do it at fly-in events where we meet with other pilots/plane owners at a scenic airport for aviation talks, picnics or dinners following with camping under the wings. The last time we joined such a fly-in was 5 years ago!

Last week, we got a surprise invitation from a pilot friend who built the same type of plane as ours, a Glasair Sportsman. He invited us to join him and another Sportsman owner for a mini fly in to the Berkshires to watch a movie at an airport then to camp under the wings. I was surprised and overjoyed when my husband agreed to do it. He thought his back and leg have strengthened quite a bit in the last several months with all the hiking and physical activities we do in fixing up the house. To make sure that my husband would be comfortable sleeping in a tent, we squeezed a double size memory foam mattress to fit it in the plane baggage compartment with other camping equipment. There was no rooms left for two folding bikes. I could have brought mine but it would be no fun to ride by myself.

We had a blast flying over mountains/hills to the airport nestled among mountain ridges. We had to adjust our altitudes several times to be high enough for smooth air, avoiding mountain tops and matching cloud levels. To get to the airport safely, we flew IRF - I Followed Road ;-). It was fun following the winding road along the river in the valley then just a short hop over the hills to land safely on the runway.

We arrived early enough to pitch our tent then took a cab to Mass MoCA. This incredible art museum has now grown to 10 buildings with 250,000 sq. ft. We only had time to see some of the major exhibitions before a nice dinner and short stroll around the town. We will have to fly back to North Adams to see the museum again.


I enjoyed watching the comedy movie "The Russians are coming" outdoor (projected on a huge hangar door) with several hundreds people. My husband had watched it before and thought it was hammy but he enjoyed sipping wine, huddling with me under a blanket and watching the moon/stars above! After the movie, we joined a group of pilots and their camping families around a big bonfire exchanging flying stories or just chatting to learn about each other's life, travel experience etc. One of the appeals of a fly-in is the opportunity to meet new people. We are both introverts but enjoy meeting and knowing interesting people.

The temperatures dropped to the 40's at night but we were well equipped with down sleeping bags and several blankets. We slept quite well but woke up at my 'routine' rowing-readiness time at 4:30am. The FBO building was open so we did not need to use our camp stove to make coffee. The early morning hours are always magical and more so at a scenic airport. We watched the fog started to form along the ridges, thickened and rose high above tree lines. before slowly dissolved by the warm sun rays. We took our binoculars and did a morning bird walk. It was a pleasant surprise coming back to see that the event organizer had provided Dunkin donuts/hot coffee and built another bonfire. Another opportunity to get to know our fellow flyers/campers and their families.

I hope that my husband and I can stay healthy to enjoy similar activities for many years to come. To me, life is like a banquet with so many offerings. There are so many things to see, to do, to partake and to enjoy. I think I will just swallow a pill when I lose all of my life interests ;-)

Last edited by BellaDL; 08-29-2017 at 07:34 AM..
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