Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 4th and the Blue Angels

Navy Blue Angels in Eau Claire.
After a busy week of being in Boston, fishing for Stripers, and coming back to a desk full of work I decided that the 4th of July weekend is one to get caught up on a few things around the house and if I had a chance, maybe get out and do a little fishing.  With Friday the 3rd being our official work holiday it was time to get the lawn mowed and the garden hoe'd. Saturday my wife Lyn and I were invited to her cousin's house for a 4th of July picnic with the benefit of having a front row seats to the Chippewa Valley Airshow at the Eau Claire Airport featuring the Navy's precision flying team, the Blue Angels. I love big machines and because my dad was in the Air Force, I love airplanes.  Our hosts Mindy and John live in her father's old house right on the corner of the Eau Claire Airport so we had as good of seats for free as could be!  I would have loved to pay the $30 to go inside but we were at a family event and that probably would not have been too smart, never the less our sight lines for the airshow part of it were  fabulous.  First to perform was an acrobatic biplane and these guys are crazy.  I can only imagine how difficult this is being in an open cockpit high powered single engine plane. The next plane to fly by was a F-16 jet doing some low altitude fly bys.  It was quite interesting as the jets flew by the noise was earthshaking yet if they were coming toward you, because of the speed you would not hear anything until the jet was almost on top of you and of course when they passed was amazing.  The team with the F-16 also had a WW2 class long range fighter/bomber plane, a P-51 which is usually regarded as the fastest propeller plane made.  It was almost impossible to get pictures because of the
An Official Photo
speed and angles however both planes came flying by, the P-51 in top and the F-16 on the bottom flying upside down, belly to belly. They were at the same speed and I can only imagine how difficult this was.  Of course the stars of the show were the Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron which put on a 30 minutes, precision flying demonstration that quite honestly, if it didn't make you feel like a 10 year old kid again, you probably don't have much of a sense for excitement. It also stirs that Patriotic emotion which rise to the top and in my case it's impossible not to be proud to be a citizen of the United States of America!(Ok, enough flag waving!) As stated, it's difficult to get real pictures of the jets as they flew by but I did manage one that gives some idea of the closeness they fly.  One interesting aspect of the sky conditions that still exist into this week is the haze generated by forest fires in northern Canada.  The wind continues to blow smoke into our area to the point where on Tuesday the air quality in Minneapolis was the same as in Beijing China. Personally I doubt it but it was pretty bad! Anyway the show was fabulous, the food was great, and I did enjoy spending time with the boys, John, Greg, and Bob...I guess you would call them cousin-in-laws!

Knee high plus by the 4th
With almost perfect growing conditions with adequate rainfall each week has giving me a break from watering the lawn and garden, with the exception of my onions, and they are looking fabulous these days. Actually the garden looks really good this year with the corn pushing over 4 feet and starting to tassel, so far for knee high by the 4th.  The potatoes are starting to lay down and the tomatoes love the hot and wet weather we are having. My first crop of raspberries are doing well, just about everything is looking great.  The only issue is having to mow so often so I cut down on the fertilizers this year hoping to extend the need to cut the lawn by a day or two.  A few phone calls and finally my RX4 x 20P prop arrived at Frankie's, the third prop I will have tried.  With a peak horsepower rating at 5800 RPM's my first 22P prop only spun at 5400 RPM. The second was the 3 bladed 21P that turned at 5800 RPM but the handling was different and frankly not acceptable. With a little research and calculating, this 4 bladed 20P should turn close to 5900 RPM and really improve the hole shot and handling, we'll find out this weekend.  I will probably go to Lake Osakis on Sunday to try everything out before heading to Lake Oahe next Wednesday.  Because of my schedule the postings for the next couple of weeks might be a little out of wack but I have big expectations there will be some nice fish pictures.  As a follow up to last weeks post on the striper's, I put some on the grill and they are as good as any fish I have prepared and ate.

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