Monday, April 30, 2012

4/29/12 Pacific Coast Dream Machines

Today we all went to Pacific Coast Dream Machines, an annual charity event held at the Half Moon Bay airport, showcasing all sorts of vehicles -- cars, motorcycles, stationary engines, and of course, aircraft. Somehow I've never made it to this event, and I was tempted to skip it and spend the day alone at home. A day alone! Now that's a dream! But I'd spend it working, and burnout is licking flames on my rear end, so I insisted to myself that I join the family for a day out.

And thank goodness I did, what a great day!!

So much happened I can't possibly document it all here, so I might as well try to be brief. Knowing all events and rides would get very crowded, we went straight to do things that would likely have lines built up later in the day.

First, a monster truck ride!

I'd never heard of this, but some outfit was actually giving rides on a monster truck, on a flat muddy lot. For $5 each, how could we could pass it up?

The monster-truck owners recommended kids sit closer to the cab so they don't get scared. No one was scared at all! Julian sat up front with the driver, the little sneak (I wanted to do that). Of course no monster truck ride could scare Gabriel, but Katrina? No, she had a great time!

Katrina laughing her head off on the monster truck.

What can top that?

Well, how about a helicopter?! All three experienced their first helicopter ride today!

Julian rode with me and another man, while Gabriel and Katrina and Dave rode in another helicopter.

We were only up for about 7 minutes, but the views were spectacular. Things look very different from a helicopter, at least on these tours they fly low enough you can see the ground pretty well and really see things. Our pilot said he'd spotted a bobcat that morning, and that they do whale-watching tours too -- that sounds way better than from a boat!


On to the aviation section! A B-26 Marauder (WWII bomber, of course)

A C-47. This is what dropped paratroopers in WWII, and this plane in particular saw action in Normandy about 2 weeks after D-Day. Cool!

Katrina next to a "paratrooper." They'd clear out the plane of about 20 paratroopers in about 35 seconds, the host of this plane told us lots of guys just got shoved out.

We had lunch at an airport cafe, and were joined by a NASA test pilot. A delightful fellow who could identify any aircraft and who I thoroughly enjoyed talking to. Two days ago, I saw the strangest airplanes -- or helicopters? -- landing at Moffett Field, and from Googling I figured they were probably these bizarre "tiltrotor" V-22 Osprey helicopters. Turns out this man is a test pilot specializing in tiltrotors, so I really hit the jackpot! He confirmed that two Ospreys landed at Moffett last week, in fact. Plus he just was a great guy.

Kids being kids, they were very focused on souvenirs. Each got to pick a toy plane. Someday I'll miss that.

There was plenty else to see, such as this 1912 steamroller.

And a very interesting cold-war era missile. Actually, the guys' description of its purpose as a deterrent against the USA being bombed by the Soviets during the Cold War was really interesting, but the boys were thrilled to see a real missile.

And lots of interesting cars and motorcycles of course too. I hijacked this trip a little by spending so much time in the aviation area, but I think we all got a lot out of it. A totally worthwhile day, perfect to shake off the burnout!


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