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cathyn: (Johnny!)
[personal profile] cathyn

Last weekend was one of the best I've had in a very long time! My amazing wife got me an AIRPLANE RIDE for X-mas, and not just some dull, flat-land airplane ride, but a ride in an open-cockpit biplane, with AEROBATICS!! So, cool, I'm thinking, when I got the certificate, and then I look at our very busy calendar, and see that we're pretty much booked through April. Oh well, such are the lives of billionaire jet-setting playboys and playgirls (playcouples?). The airport is up in Sonoma, where we've been intending to spend a weekend for a getaway anyway, so I found a place, booked a tent, and boogied on.

Last Saturday dawned bright and lazy, and I made us the usual breakfast in bed. Then we got up, stuffed some clothes into a bag, and bolted out the door to brave the traffic. Turns out it wasn't all that bad, and before noon, we found ourselves at the Sonoma Valley Airport at the front door of Vintage Aircraft Company. Right inside was the pilot, and the BRIGHT RED 1942 Stearman I would later be riding in. Chatted a bunch while he prepped the plane, and then climbed aboard.



Honestly, I was the tiniest bit scared when we took off. I'd only flown in something this small once before, a helicopter in Greenland, and so it was a new-ish sensation, though airplane games are absolutely my favorite thing to play on a computer, and I have flown hundreds of hours of missions in biplanes (Thank you, developers of "Knights of the Sky"!!) so I was prepared. It was even cooler than I'd ever expected, and now I want a WW I fighter plane more than ever! We flew from Sonoma to the coast, puttered around out there for a bit and flew back. It was wonderful! We then headed back, and I realized how spoiled I was by things like maps and GPS devices. Had I been flying, I'd've been lost as all hell. Anyway, not the pilot's first time to the rodeo, and he had us back on time and on mission. We got near the airport, which I could finally identify, and he veered off a bit to a barren grassy swampy looking over which we then did the stunt flying! Two loops. Thumbs up from yours truly! A barrel roll. More with the Thumbs Up! A HAMMERHEAD!! (Look it up!) Because I'd enjoyed the stunts to date so far, he then threw in the Bonus Stunt, a CUBAN 8! So damned cool! Massive fervent thumbs up from the passenger cockpit!!

When we landed, my face was split from ear to ear with a massive smile! [livejournal.com profile] lifeofglamour was rightly very pleased with herself on this one, she picked exactly the right gift, and I couldn't possibly have enjoyed it more!

After that it was off to the fruit stand for some healthy snackage, and then on to our lodging. When looking for a place to stay for this adventure, several ideas were tossed about, and somehow the subject of "glamping" came up. A little bit of Facebook #1 stock in trade, advice, netted us a recommendation that we check out Safari West, which we did. Yet another delight, Safari West offers big tents, on wooden platforms, with indoor plumbing, NO PHONES and NO TVs in the rooms. Talk about a perfect venue for a getaway! Also, cell signal out there is virtually non-existent, unless you have AT&T, so, really, completely, detached from the outside world. So peaceful. We tucked into bed about 7PM, ate much of our delicious picnic, and then read books until we fell asleep. It was utterly delightful!

In the morning we woke up, had a tolerable breakfast with very mediocre coffee, and then WENT ON SAFARI! We hopped aboard these huge jeep things, built on what used to be late 40s Dodge Power Wagons:


Our hilarious tour guide drove us around for about three hours, where we say a couple dozed species of African antelopes, giruunes, rhinos, ostriches, and a ton of other animals. We had a great time riding around, cracking jokes, and learning all sorts of stuff about both our venue, and the animals we were viewing. After returning to the main area, the last hour of the tour commenced, where our guide walked us around the bird and smaller animal exhibit. I've got two words for you to sum up how cool it was "FENNEC FOXES!!" Cutest little guys in EVER!!


After the hours of animal viewing excitement, we took the long slow ride home, filled with glee at how our weekend had gone, and looking forward to skritching our cute little kitties. I well and truly have the best wife ever, considerate, smart, gorgeous, tough as nails and funnier than you'll ever know!
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