Friday, November 29, 2013

My School Has An F-104N Starfighter...

...does your school have an F-104N Starfighter?

In the month or so since I began my cool new job at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott Campus, I've encountered sights didn't quite expect.  I posed in front of the school's F-104N Starfighter NASA chase plane (N811NA) on static display.  I've seen a solid fuel liquid oxygen hybrid rocket come apart during a test at the school's rocket motor test stand.  I attended a public lecture on the history of the U2 spy plane presented by a former U2 pilot and retired ERAU professor.   I've been on three observation flights, complimentary ride-alongs with student pilots and their instructors offered to staff and faculty.  Two were in Cessna 172 aircraft.  One evening earlier this week I got to take a IFR flight in a Diamond 42.  Quite the ride!  Quite the school!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Monument Valley or The Monument Valley?

There is only one and I visited it Sunday, October 20, 2013: Day Four...

After visiting Arches National Park I drove through Moab, which suddenly seemed crowded and noisy.  I drove south on U.S. Route 191 until I arrived at Monticello, UT.  I passed the night at a roadside motel operated by a Hindu family.  Sunday morning I continued south.  As I crossed into Arizona I chose to not pass up the chance to visit Monument Valley like I had Arches 28 years ago.  It's quite the rugged and time consuming thing to drive into the valley in your own vehicle so I didn't see all of the sights.  But I snapped a few pics before returning to the pavement.  As the hours passed and I closed in on my goal I drove through Flagstaff, Sedona, and Jerome.  Yes, once again I chose the scenic route, this time State Route 89A.  Scenic?  Yeah, mountain goat scenic...

Purple Mountain Majesties

Leaving the fruited plain behind, October 19, 2013: Day Three...

Up before the sun I drove south on Interstate 25 to Denver, where I had breakfast with two friends of my younger days, both named Steve.  Steve Jacksteit was a peer at Signetics in the days before 811 E. Arques, Sunnyvale, California, became the parking lot of a Home Depot.  Steve Belecky was my tenacious investigator during my stint at Silicon Graphics Inc in the days when it still made the go to UNIX box for 3D graphics and other computationally intensive applications.  We enjoyed breakfast and coffee and the retelling of our best and favorite stories.  Then I was back on the road this time headed west on Interstate 70 over the Rockies (and through the Eisenhower Tunnel) to Grand Junction.  There the helpful fellas at the Chamber of Commerce suggested I take an alternate route to the goal of my day's excursion.  In 1985, when I drove from Minnesota to California, I passed the sign marking the turn to Arches National Park, telling myself I'd be back some day.  Well, 28 years later is some day I guess, so this time I made up my mind to visit the park.  The scenic drive the volunteers at the visitor center recommended was Utah State Route 128 and boy, is it scenic!  The nondescript two lane road crosses over land for a time before descending into a deep, winding canyon cut by the Colorado River.  This route through weathered red sandstone treats the sightseer to steep turns, steep cliffs, and blind corners without shoulders.  Scenic indeed, especially if you like watching white knuckles on the steering wheel.  It let me out in Moab, Utah, a few miles south of Arches.  The sun was approaching the horizon as I entered the park so I did not have time to visit the entire place.  Still, I encountered some arches.  I am in the desert now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Arizona or Bust

Friday, October 18, 2013: Day Two...

There were still cattle carcasses in the fields along the interstate due to a recent early blizzard so my plans to travel south through the Badlands National Park via secondary and tertiary roads were quashed by several concerned locals.  Since I'd be sticking to the interstate that meant I could visit the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, just a few minutes west of Kadoka.  The Visitor Center and the above ground portion of the Launch Facility Delta-01 were open, but the Missile Silo Delta-09 was closed due to the recent storm.  Sobering stuff for those of us who lived through those days...  My version of Blast From The Past completed I drove almost to Rapid City, South Dakota before turning south and then west on a route that took me into Wyoming.  A couple more hours...and then a couple more...put me in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I reconnected with my college room mate, Tim Clouse, whom I had not seen since 1997.  The local dining was tasty and his sofa was quite comfortable.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Drive to Arizona

Thursday, October 17, 2013: Day One...

The drive from Bloomington, Minnesota to Kadoka, South Dakota took me southwest along U. S. Highway 169 until I linked up with Interstate 90 westbound.  I stopped for mug of dark roast at River Rock Coffee in Saint Peter, where Cassandra attended school at Gustavus Adolphus College.  While doing so I passed Treat Site History Center that Cassie and I promised ourselves we'd visit some day while she was attending school.  We have yet to do so...  But for the marketing efforts of Wall Drug and various other tourist traps along the way there would be precious little to look at other than 380 miles of rolling prairie.  The picture above is of a rise covered with a variety of iron sculptures.  Uh...thanks.  I called it day when I reached Kodoka.  We stayed there in July of 1999 while I rode with my brother Steve for two days of his American Lung Association Big Ride from Seattle, Washington to Washington, DC.  It has not changed much.  By the way, if the picture on the Kadoka website reminds you of scenes from Paul Verhoeven's 1997 classic Starship Troopers, that's because the movie was filmed in the area.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where in the World is Eclectic Breakfast?

Waldo is right here...

At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Prescott, Arizona, USA.

Michael Brady, MA, CPP

Director of Campus Safety & Security
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
3700 Willow Creek Road
Prescott, AZ 86301
928-777-3333 dispatch
928-777-3738 desk
928-442-6867 cell 

How I got here and what I saw on the road between Minneapolis and Prescott will be detailed in a series of future posts.  In the mean time I still have unpacking to do...