Welcome!

I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Mavic Fun!


The girls knocked it out of the park (again)! For my birthday I was presented a card with a receipt for a Mavic Pro drone, the latest and greatest foldable transformer-type on the market! I was blown away! I gladly relinquished all rights and considerations to a birthday gift, Christmas gift, meal suggestions for 2 months, 6 goody-points, and the channel-remote for 30 days (more than necessary ... I know ... but I was feeling generous). By the time the drone arrived we were engulfed in the worst weather in recorded history, with snow, rain, wind, hurricaines and tornados and firestorms and ... you get the idea. With tail tucked we bolted for the coast.

Friends Jim and Sheila joined us recently at our rented cabin to escape mother nature's wrath. As usual I felt obligated to take advantage of Jim's fixit skills. I  feverishly searched for a broken item, and in absence of such we felt it necessary to fabricate one. One should always keep a spare broken item on hand for just such an occasion. With a little over-tightening, a plastic nut finally succumbed in the nick of time. The tablet holder for the drone was unserviceable, and a replacement was 3 weeks away, a dire situation to be sure. Upon arrival of our guests the challenge was presented, and accepted. After some preliminary attempts at quick repair, and deep meditative thought on the subject, Jim finally announced his eagerly-awaited solution. "Hose clamp".

Mavic, myself, and Ginger

He was right. How had we not seen it? We bowed to his superior fixing skills, and headed to the hardware store. $1.49 later the holder was fixed, the Mavic prepared for flight, a great day was salvaged!

Above is a video of the flight with Terry, Sheila, and Ginger walking the beach at low tide. The Mavic is very well-behaved, and I'm looking forward to many fun flights with it!









Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Winter Blahs? Not!

Ginger Watching The Shore
Walking The Park
Well here it is, December in Canada eh, the time when us Canadians don the toque and mitts, and make snow angels and snowmen right? Not! Even in this day and age when our Canadian Peso is worth .75USD minus what the banks rip us for the privilege of letting them convert it to real money, it is possible to get away economically. Enter our get-away, Vancouver Island.

We have vacated the -30C prairies for a while and bolted for the good-ol' Left Coast. Accommodations are reasonable, about $50CDN per day for a nice cabin, and weather is about +8C or so, a huge improvement. In these temps beach and trail walks are fine. Our canine companion Ginger absolutely loves the excursions to the beach, as do we!

So here we are, enjoying the sounds of waves crashing on the beach, wind in the trees, sea lions and eagles etc. What great way to get outdoors, I love it! The new Mavic Pro drone is along, just need to adapt joysticks and test fly! Winter in Canada doesn't necessarily mean snowbound boredom!

Ok Murphy, spoil somebody else's day!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Summer 2016

Upper Lakes Kananaskis 2016

Ok, I know, I haven't been doing much writing lately. You're thinking .... "WTF ya been up to?" Well, believe it or not us gimps get busy some times.

As I'm writing this we are getting our 1st dump of snow (ick) and it is only October 9! I'm not ready for this stuff, and might have to use my degree in power-whining to see if that helps. Anyhow, with Radio Margaritaville in the background I'll think happy thoughts and recap some of the fun.

Burning Off Altitude
The spring was great, and started with several awesome flights at the Edmonton Soaring Club ranging between 2 and 3 hours each, and reaching heights of 12,500 feet! It it so amazing to stay aloft for hours using nature instead of an engine ... better not get onto this subject or I'll ramble for hours ... everybody has something that rattles their chain and gliding sure does it for me!


Then there was camping, what a hoot. Early in the summer we camped southern Alberta with friends Joe and Sue. Waterton Lakes area was amazing,so many fantastic mountain and lake views. Terry and Sue are avid photographers and geocachers, Joe and I are really good followers. Since Joe is a Newfie, he had an unfair advantage when it came to happy hour and I took a distant second place ... training will begin sooner next year. The girls and
Waterton Park
their hobbies led us to fantastic scenery, geocaches, hikes, and a tour down Montana's Beartooth Highway - "America's Most Scenic Road". The scenery lived up to the hype and we had a great 2 weeks, ending in our fav Kananaskis Country!

Then there was Fathers' Day. I have been so good (just ask me) that my wife and kids got me a 360 camera. It takes 360 pictures that you can scroll around ... I'd love to post them here, but of course they don't @#$%-en work on my blog ... cheapo me. But you can see what they're like here:
https://theta360.com/s/lavc9BeuW49EwXSS0Tm6eXHvs.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Soaring Week!



Elk Island Park
It's that time of year! Flying season has begun for me! After a flightless winter it has once again been too long with my butt strapped to a wheelchair, time to don the wings and soar! The Edmonton Soaring Club is starting the season this year with several flying weeks in a row, meaning they are going to fly seven days a week as long as there are people and flyable weather! Terryll packed the necessary monumental pile of flying gear into the van, and we headed up to Chipman last Tuesday to get some flying in.
Mundare

Lamont
It was the 30 year anniversary of the car accident that left me a quadriplegic, and what better way to mark it than with a great flight! After that accident it was a long road back to getting a life going, but with the help of my wife, my family, and my friends this adventure has been a blast and keeps getting better!

10,500ft

Thermalling
Guy Blood volunteered to take the back seat behind me in the glider. He would handle the tow to altitude since my lack of arm strength makes that difficult, and rudder and spoiler. My wife, having a black-belt in gimp-transfer procedures, put the sling on me and directed Guy who was driving the the lift-equipped Kubota into position, turns out he's multi-talented and can run that too! With the Kubota, Guy and Terryll lifted me out of my chair and placed me perfectly into the Perkoz' front seat, pilot-installation-procedure complete! The Perkoz is a high-performance glider with a glide ratio of approximately 40 to 1, meaning that for every foot of altitude you lose it will travel 40 feet forward.

Burning off height for landing with spoilers out
Master-Thermal-Finder Bob Hagan flew the Scout and pulled us up to 3000 feet above ground. He dropped us right in the middle of a boomer of a thermal. We connected right away and climbed as high as we could, only limited by clouds that kept us at about 9500 feet. We toured around for two hours, exploring towns and a nearby river, finally returning when a student needed Guy's expertise. To our chagrin our multi-talented back-seat photographer got faulty information from yours-truly during his camera-checkout, and we ended up with no pictures or video. Guess we gotta come back tomorrow :)

The next day my buddy Dave Loshny and I headed back up to Chipman. Guy and I went up and once again Thermal-Master-Bob had us hooked up to lift right away. This time the thermal took us at 1000 ft./m to a height of 10,500 feet! We decided to head East towards Mundare and Vegreville. Being a quadriplegic, an outlanding would be a major inconvenience, and I don't think Guy could pack me far. Thus it is important to keep enough altitude in one's pocket to assure a safe return home. I got a little nervous near Vegreville since lift was eluding me, so we turned homeward and hooked up to Old Faithful, a thermal that always seems to hang out just West of Chipman. This time the camera was working, and we brought a spare for insurance ... take THAT Murphy! We toured Lamont, Mundare, and Elk Island, enjoying the view from a mile high. It was so amazing to take photos and video from that height, and great to be back in the air after a long winter off! Here are some pictures and a video of the landing, what a day once again! Thanks so much to my wife Terryll, Dave, Guy, Bob, and the whole Edmonton Soaring Club for making these adventures a possibility!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dual Drones


My friend Paul received a fantastic Christmas present from his nice wife, a little too nice for him I might add. His new toy, a quadcopter, had been laying in the corner for a couple of months, silently tormenting him until the warm spring days return. A week or so ago they made the trip to our place and packed the new Phantom 3 along in case the weather allowed a flight or two.

Mother nature cooperated, winds were moderate and temps were mild for February. Paul and Michelle arrived on time, we had a nice visit ... with Michelle :) Ah ... it's fun to tease Paul ... does the soul good you know.

Anyhow, back to the story. The first flight with a drone is nerve-racking. These things are pricey, and I don't know about you but in my radio-control airplane and helicopter days, I've converted a fair  bit of hard-earned money to landfill. Fortunately, by the time Paul was ready to try his Phantom 3 I'd had about 100 successful flights on my Phantom 2, so I was confident there'd be no problem.

"You fly it first," says Paul.

"Nope," says I.

"Bleepety-bleep-bleep (censored x 3)," says Paul.

"You'll do fine, you old %%$$@@##," says I, "Just be real gentle on the controls."

We download the DJI app, update the firmware and are soon ready for the maiden flight!

"I'm nervous," admits Paul. Heck, my first flight was terrifying, but after that all was well.

"Just start the props, keep your hands off the right stick, and advance the throttle slowly," I suggest.

The Phantom 3 gently rose about 10 feet and hovered.

"I'm hooked, this is neat sh--," laughs Paul.

He flew great, in a few minutes he was zooming around, ascending and descending, all under perfect control. He brought it back when the battery warning showed, and made a picture-perfect landing right in front of himself! We charged his battery and on his second flight we decided to fly the two drones together, what a blast! Above is a video shot from both copters and a handheld camera, it's going to be a great summer!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Alberta February Fly-Fishing


“So Wright … ya wanna fish or What?” says Dale Baden over the phone.

Let’s see, it’s mid-February in Alberta Canada. Normally this is the time of year that I’d be inside with the heat cranked up, looking out the window at sub-zero temps with my bottom lip hanging out, dreaming of summer fun. What am I really doing? I’m sitting on the deck enjoying a coffee, sun-tanning, and playing hooky from the bookwork that is patiently waiting.

“Get you’re a—out here,” I reply.

“You’re sure … I don’t want to pressure you …,” comes the reply … a bit over-the-top with sarcasm methinks.

Soon we’re on the dock, fly-rod in hand, casting into a hole-in-the-ice 20 feet across.

“I have one already, I guess they survived the winter!” always a concern.

Spring isn’t far off now, we’ll make it!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Push The Walls Back

Quadcopter Shot




Okay, it's about three degrees above absolute-zero with eight feet of ice on the lakes, 100mph winds and everywhere is uphill both ways ... you get the idea. Nah, it's not that bad ... but to a cold-blooded gimp it is a tad disheartening to look at spending 6 months indoors, longingly gazing at the lawnmower, drone, gliding cuff, rifles, fly-rod etc etc etc, and dreaming about spring.

Every so often this happens. We do the same thing over and over, frequent the same places, think the same things, even start to believe ourselves. It is worse in a Canadian winter  when we're more tempted to stay inside. The walls close in, we get stale, our creativity and zest for life go for crap. When it happens we need to make a break for it, mix it up and push the walls back. If you start to become afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone ... there's your sign ... you need to step out of your comfort zone. No use whining, do something about it! We hence have decided to make a run for the coast.

So here we are, enjoying green grass and ocean, meeting new people, listening to new ideas, I love it! We even brought the drone, it sure feels good to push the walls back when they creep in!