Drew's Photos and Blog - drewvics

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So, what's all this?

This is just a place for me to share my thoughts, my travel notes, my pictures and some other stuff with friends. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave a comment or two!

Recent pictures

More Blue Ridge & Foamhenge

FoamHenge - 01.jpg
FoamHenge - 01.jpg
FoamHenge - 01.jpg 2009-07-02

Road Trip to Michigan

2009-02-19

Kalamazoo Air Zoo

The Cloud Way
The Cloud Way
To get into the main floor of the Air Zoo you take this walkway through the clouds. Pretty cool effect, and a great place for a photo op.
Cindy Helps Out
Cindy Helps Out
Cindy tried to give the guys a hand as they launch a hot air ballon, part of the massive mural at the Air Zoo.
Big Plane
Big Plane
Does anyone know what this is? It's a transport of some kind, you can see the interior of the plane in the next picture. Is it a Lockheed transport model? I forgot to check the sign. :(
Old School Butt Kickin'
Old School Butt Kickin'
I think this is a P-51 Mustang, but I can't be sure. There are some dissimilarities between this particular model and some photos I've looked at of actual P-51s, mainly the tail area. Although one P-51 picture I've seen matches this one exactly. Did the body style change on this aircraft during it's manufacturing run? Anyone have any ideas?
Big-Plane-Interior.jpg
Big-Plane-Interior.jpg
Big-Plane-Interior.jpg 2009-01-29
Fighter-Cockpit.jpg
Fighter-Cockpit.jpg
Fighter-Cockpit.jpg 2009-01-29
Bell P-39Q.jpg
Bell P-39Q.jpg
Bell P-39Q taken with a cool mural of what looks like an army medical unit in the background.
Missions_Hangar_4D-Theater.jpg
Missions_Hangar_4D-Theater.jpg
Missions_Hangar_4D-Theater.jpg 2009-01-28
ControlTower
ControlTower
This was pretty much a life sized aircraft carier control tower. Pretty neat display. Behind the control tower, to the right, are the cockpits of the full motion flight simulators. Those were cool.
Vought F-8J
Vought F-8J

Grumman-G73.jpg
Grumman-G73.jpg
Grumman-G73.jpg 2009-01-28
SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird

This is an amazing plane. Quite something to behold in person. It's neat to ponder that this aircraft was based on a design developed in the early 1960s, yet it so closely resembles the stealth aircraft of the late 90's and early 2000s. That's forward thinking. The SR-71 has a top speed of Mach 3.5... about 2,309 MPH at an altitude of say, 60,000 feet. 


Saturn V F1 Rocket Engine
Saturn V F1 Rocket Engine
This is MASSIVE! Cindy and I stood beneath it, dead center and started talking. Your voice is reflected from the interior of the cone right back to your ears. It's an interesting effect. But the size of this engine (one of 5 used on the Saturn V rocket) is stammering. It is over 12 feet in diameter, and 18.5 feet high. Cool.
Mercury Space Capsule
Mercury Space Capsule
This is one of the space center displays. This is part of the Air Zoo but an expanded collection in a different building. Just down the road.

Monksville Reservoir, Hewit, NJ

Reservoir_01.jpg
Reservoir_01.jpg
Reservoir_01.jpg 2008-11-02
Reservoir_04.jpg
Reservoir_04.jpg
Reservoir_04.jpg 2008-11-02
Reservoir_05.jpg
Reservoir_05.jpg
Reservoir_05.jpg 2008-11-02
Reservoir_03.jpg
Reservoir_03.jpg
Reservoir_03.jpg 2008-11-02
Reservoir_06.jpg
Reservoir_06.jpg
Reservoir_06.jpg 2008-11-02

September 2008

Sasha
Sasha
Sasha passed away on October 19, 2008
Silas Condict Park 01
Silas Condict Park 01
Just one of many wonderful views to be found while hiking at Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon, NJ.
Mom at Silas Condict Park
Mom at Silas Condict Park
Mom takes a break and enjoys the view after hiking around Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon, NJ
Silas Condict Park
Silas Condict Park
Mom got up.
Turkeys.jpg
Turkeys.jpg
Turkeys.jpg 2008-09-19
Dusty
Dusty
Dusty is the resident nutcase. Cute cat, but not too bright, unless you consider his ability to learn how to roll over and sit, two behaviors his sisters could not really comprehend.
Dusty 02
Dusty 02
Dusty enjoying the view.

Blue Ridge Mountain Trip

Brake Test
Brake Test
Make sure you're in Park, and that your brakes work when you park at the top of Grandfather Mountain. And for Pete's sake DO NOT accidentally put it in DRIVE when you want to back up!
Elevation
Elevation
About 4000 feet up. This was taken during my first hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view reminded me of a trip I made up Giant Mountain in Upstate New York one year with some friends. But the Blue Ridge hike was much easier. Still, the views are quite breathtaking.
Twins
Twins
I couldn't resist this shot. We were heading back to the cabin after a day of hiking and I made my sister turn around and go back so I could take this picture.
Sims Pond Loop
Sims Pond Loop
I snapped this shot just before entering a huge field where I snapped the next shot. The hike is described in the next photo.
Sims Pond Loop
Sims Pond Loop
The hike from Sims Pond first takes you through a forest of tall hemlocks girded below by rhododenron. My mom, dad, sister, niece and nephew, and I, trekked through some mud, over creeks, up hills, through meadows and down through vast fields.

I snapped this shot just before heading back under the hemlock canopy on our way back around to Sims Pond. 

Mr. Eagle
Mr. Eagle
This photo was taken at the Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Preserve. The eagle in this pic had been injured by a gunshot and could not fly. He resides at the GFM preserve where he was nursed back to health after sustaining his injury. Beautiful old bird. I feel bad that he can't fly anymore, he must have really been something soaring aloft.
Mr. Otter
Mr. Otter
This guy was just sitting there waiting for his picture to be taken. Actually, I was sitting there waiting to take it and got lucky with this shot. What a pose. Cute little fella. He and his pals were wrestling around and swimming too. In this shot he decides to take a short break on a rock.
Hanging in There
Hanging in There
My brother-in-law, Mark, and I were having fun pretending to scale a rock cliff. In reality my ass was no more than 5 feet off the ground.
Mark Hanging In
Mark Hanging In
Marks ass was only about 5 feet off the ground too.
Ian and Megan
Ian and Megan
Yes, those are cows. Ian had no issues with the cows, he was game to go strolling right up to them. He wanted to pull a tail. Megan kept her distance.
My Family
My Family
My father, my niece, my sister, my mom, and my nephew. For the first picture I had them all say "mooo." This one looked better. Maybe I'll post the other one for the fun of it. Stop back.
Brother and Sister
Brother and Sister
Ian and Megan standing by a lake we stopped at one day for a picnic lunch. Afterwards Ian was tossing bread bits into the water and watching the fish eat them.
The Squeeze
The Squeeze
This is called a "fat man squeeze." At least that's what it said in the trail guide for the Sims Pond Loop we did. What this does is prevent cattle from getting out of the pasture but it allows people to pass. It's not a gate. It doesn't move. Mind your shins.
Sims Pond Loop View
Sims Pond Loop View
This is yet another shot of an amazing vista we encountered while hiking the Sims Pond Loop. Amazing.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway
We didn't stop, just snapped this with a fast shutter while we were driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock. The views are amazing.
The Road to Nowhere
The Road to Nowhere
This stretch of the Blue Ridge parkway is amazing. You wouldn't believe the views. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys hiking, mountains, and seeing great scenery. Nearby is the Blue Ridge Viaduct. Quite an engineering feat.
Self Portrait
Self Portrait
Look Ma, I'm on top of the world!
Mark and Pop
Mark and Pop
My brother-in-law and father just after arriving at the cabin. They were just getting ready to fire up the grill to make some burgers.
Mr. Bear
Mr. Bear
A Hungry black bear at the Grandfather Mountain wildlife preserve.
Standing at the top
Standing at the top
My nephew, Ian, indicating which way NOT to go. Don't get too close to the edge!
First Order of Business
First Order of Business
After arriving at the cabin, unpacking and getting settled in, I cracked a cold beer and decided to take a picture of it. Not sure why, but here it is. Mmmmmm, beer.
Grandfather Pine
Grandfather Pine
This shot was taken atop Grandfather Mountain. That tree is only 5 feet tall. Hey, you need to conserve when you've got such little air to work with.

This here's my Journal

Update - July 2009

Well, there's a lot of crap, but a lot of good stuff too. Life is like that sometimes. Still waiting to get out from under the current load of BS and move on, but I need to keep my chin up and look ahead at the wonderful possibilities.

This weekend I'll be heading up to Watkins Glen, NY for a couple days of camping and checking out the local area. I'm planning on taking some good shots around the gorge and Seneca Lake, so I'll post those at some point in the future. For now, check out my new photo sets including Foamhenge and a recent trip back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, NC. Can't get enough of that place.

Arcadia Brewery - Battle Creek, Michigan (1/30)

On Friday we headed for Battle Creek for lunch at the Arcadia Brewery and Restaurant. Nice atmosphere, great food and outstanding beer! Lunch included a sampler of 8 Arcadia brews, and a couple of appetisers: a delicious Bruchetta platter and Quesedillas. Now, on top of the quesedillas was a nice little stack of sliced jalepeño peppers, one of which I tossed down my gullet without a thought. It's something I've done before, with no ill effects. This time was different. It must have been an especially hot variety, or maybe the seeds and juice did me in. My esophagus burned like crazy, I gulped some water to help, then realized that was the wrong thing to do!

Cindy suggested a piece of bread or quesedilla dipped in the sour cream, that worked, but not before the heat made it to my gut. I thought I was in some serious trouble, and imagined myself ralphing all over the table or something. I waited — in alert desperation, breaking out in a cold sweat — for any sign from my stomach that I should high-tail it to the men's room, for which I had no directions.

And then... I hiccoughed. Once. A quick swig of a Starboard Stout, and another quesedilla slathered in sour cream and I was good as new.

After lunch it was time for our private brewery tour. The brew master was not available so our server, Melissa, found someone who was able to walk us through the brewery and give us the run down on their brewing, bottling and kegging processes.

I will be posting a full review of some of Arcadia's beer selections and their brewery on my website, Cryptobrewology.com, so check that out in a week or so. That's all on the Arcadia brewery for this journal entry.

The Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, and BEYOND!

It has been "snow city" since I arrived in Michigan Thursday morning. Cindy picked me up in Grand Rapids at 9:30, we stopped quick at Starbucks so I could combat my drowsiness. That perked me up enough for a few hours and we enjoyed a long visit to the Air Zoo, quite an attraction. The Air Zoo is home to many aircraft replicas, from early bi-planes to a full-scale XR-71 Blackbird, monsterous.

While at the Air Zoo Cindy and I enjoyed a simulated Space Shuttle flight which included a trip to the International Space Station and a rumbling re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, complete with real synchronized bumps, tips and rolls compliments of a computer controlled hydraulic system.

That was a fun ride, but our Shuttle flight did not come close to matching the experience of flying our own jet fighter simulator which could perform real, complete barrel rolls, loops and other maneuvers all at the touch of a joystick controlled by your's truly. The physical orientation was further enhanced by full screen imagery of landscapes, sea and sky. We only crashed once. The ride was over in 3 minutes but we quickly got back on line for another mission and had better results. Before getting on the ride we had to take off jackets and empty our pockets so things didn't fall out while we were upside down. Cindy lefter her scarf on and every time I performed a barrel roll the scarf would fly around into my face.

In all, our visit to the Air Zoo was quite entertaining and I took a bunch of pictures. We also met Larry, a retired WW2 veteran who couldn't hear too well anymore but had no problem talking to us about all the Air Zoo had to offer. He gave us a brief overview of what we could expect to see, and with such enthusiasm that we couldn't wait to begin exploring the place. Larry is quite a character. If you ever get to the Air Zoo ask about him and see if he's there. he might be the old-timer greating you after you pass through "the clouds."

On to more adventures in Kalamazoo...

Things are Looking UP!

As many of you know the past year has been a rather trying time for me, and I'm still not completely out of the dark. But some of you are aware of the fresh light that has been shining into my life recently, and in spite of what's been passing behind, there are many wonderful things to look forward to.

One sad thing that happened recently is the passing of my cat Sasha on October 19. I noticed her acting a little differently, but she seemed okay for the most part. Then she took a turn for the worse and her condition deteriorated rapidly. Sasha was examined by the vet who determined that she either needed serious monitoring and care, with no guarantees for her survival (and great expense), or we should put her to sleep. I hate to put a dollar sign on things, especially the life of a beloved pet, but I also considered Sasha's happiness if we subjected her to a period of testing at some facility unfamiliar to her and around strangers. I think she prefered to be in her comfortable home with people she knew.

We didn't have time to make any decision, because Sasha passed away on her own on October 19, 2008. She will be missed.

It's been a tough year...

I've been going up and down emotionally lately. You see, my wife and I are getting a divorce and she's relocating to St. Kitts. She's had this dream of living a life there for a long time. I could never make that switch, I'm just not an island guy. Don't get me wrong, St. Kitts is a beautiful place and I plan on vacationing there, but I just can't live there. I'm more of a New England guy, and I love Fall and Winter.

So Krista, my soon to be former wife (hate saying ex-), has made the move and is living on the island. Her parents and I brought her to the airport early in the morning on Monday, 7/28. She's officially an IslandGirl (that's a great song by Elton John, by the way). I really think that was one of the worst days of my life. Watching her walk toward the gate was the toughest thing, knowing I won't be seeing her for a while. I was a wreck most of that day, but little by little it's getting better.

The reason I'm coping with this so well is because Krista and I remain friends and we have been supporting each other through this entire ordeal. Not many people understand this. It's like there's some unwritten rule that you have to hate your former spouse and bad mouth them. I can't do that. I think weak people react like that. Maybe the only way they can cope with the sadness is to lay blame and be angry. Krista and I are truly stronger people because of this experience.

So that's the scoop there. I wish her well in her new life, and will continue to support her in whatever she decides to do. Krista is one of the most amazing people I know, and I'm proud to consider her a friend. I'm looking forward to my first visit to the island, though I'm not quite sure when that will be.

I promise my next journal entry will not be so depressing. :)

Latest news, thoughts and ponderings.
I'll try to keep the philosophical crap to a mininum, and opt to shoot straight, with a dose of light humor to keep it interesting.

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Drew V

Comments

11/30/2008 1:34:49 PM - 002043505528
I love the pictures of Monksville Reservoir. The sunset is spectacular, especially when a well-versed photographer knows how to adjust the lighting to capture the absolute best shot!

Favorite links

Shark-Lounge.com
This is my online art gallery. It contains galleries of my paintings, portraits, murals and photography. If you're interested in seeing my handiwork stop by.
DrewVics.com
This is my "Official" music website featuring my debut CD release No More Waiting, and my studio blog. I'm actually working on new material, drop by there to learn the latest!
Cryptobrewology.com
If you're a beer lover, or home brewer, check out Cryptobrewology.com for some beer reviews, recipes, homebrew suppliers, an online home brewing supply store, beer related articles and more.
My Best Friend's Site
Website of Roger Kahn, my friend and fellow homebrewer. Roger has a bunch of stuff on his site, including some 3D stuff, artwork, and a sound effects CD he created called Everyday Noize. Check it out!

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4/25/2014 12:43:12 AM