Sandy Hook and Sea Bright

Today we decided to spend some time in New Jersey.  Our first stop was to visit a relative in Tom’s River.  It was fun to catch up on what’s been going on with all the X cousins Y removed.  We stopped for lunch at the Dougie’s in Deal:

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When we visit a Dougie’s (there are half a dozen or so throughout the NYC metro area), the kids love drawing on the paper tablecloth.  Zayde designed a time machine or warp drive or something:

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Next we visited the Sandy Hook unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.  At the northern end of the hook is the Sandy Hook Light.  Built in 1764, it’s the oldest operating lighthouse in the US:

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We toured the small exhibit space in the visitor center adjacent to the lighthouse, though I’m not sure how much the kids got out of it:

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Sandy hook was the home of Fort Hancock, and ruins of coastal fortifications still litter the area:

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We walked out to the observation platform on the northern end of the hook:

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Looking north, we could see Lower Manhattan across the bay:

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The kids received their Junior Ranger badges:

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Our next stop was the beach at Sea Bright.  I prepared to launch my PPG:

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M is practicing his sunbathing.  I don’t have the “lay around” gene, so I don’t know where he got it:

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Launch of flight #109:

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I landed to talk to another local PPG pilot farther up the beach:

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I launched my second flight:

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Flying by the family pavilion:

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I practiced my foot drags:

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I landed with the power on and just stood there, the wind holding up the wing:

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It was a long but great day!

One If By Sea, Two If By Air

This morning we participated in a public canoe program on Iona Island.  I managed to secure all but two spots for our friends:

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M and his friends load up:

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I was with Trish and Mrs. L:

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We rafted up and one of our guides talked about the marsh:

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Along the bank, Marsh Mallow was blooming.  This plant’s starchy root was the original ingredient used to make marshmallows:

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We explored some side passages in the marsh:

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In this alcove, our guides told us about the invasive Phragmites grass that has taken over the marsh.  Everything from RoundUp to goats have been used to try to control this non-native species:

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In another portion of the marsh, the Phragmites has been eliminated.  In its place, Cattails grow in the background while Dogbane lines the shore:

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Looking north, we can see the Bear Mountain Bridge and the abandoned Naval munitions buildings on Iona Island:

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Back on shore, I photographed the marsh from Iona Island:

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In the afternoon, I drove down to Sea Bright, the northernmost town on the Jersey Shore, to fly with a few locals.  I kited the wing to check the lines:

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The wind was blowing at about 12 MPH, so getting the wing set up was a little tough, but after a reverse launch I was airborne for flight 108:

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Flying south.  To the left is the Atlantic Ocean:

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Flying north:

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One of my fellow pilots:

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The wind was blowing so hard that my ground speed into the wind was about 5 MPH, so my landing was extremely slow.  I landed on one foot just for fun:

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Great flight!

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The north end of the beach was almost empty:

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What a great day!

Flying Randall Airport

This morning I got up before dawn and drove up to Randall Airport near Middletown, New York.  As I arrived, two hot air balloons were taking off.  I set up my wing and prepared to launch:

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Liftoff of flight #107:

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I circled to gain altitude before crossing the runway:

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And away:

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My destination for today was this ancient lake bed known as the Black Dirt Region:

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Winds at 1200 feet above the ground were smooth and blowing at 9 to 11 MPH from the west, but as I got down lower, shearing and perhaps rotor made for bumpy flying so I didn’t get lower than 200 feet above the ground:

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On the way back I flew over this harness racing track.  A horse and cart are visible on the leftmost edge of the track’s grey “lane”:

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Returning to the airport:

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Circling around for final approach:

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Once I landed, I took a closer look at fellow PPG pilot Paul’s Emergency Response Studio, parked here at the airport:

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I love the translucent wall section and the geodesic homage to Buckminster Fuller:

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This bumper garden and trellis is fantastic:

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