October 20 - 22: Livin' the High Life
Visiting my brother and his wife comes with several certainties: flying, a garden tour and my sister-in-law's culinary delights. We scored on all three! On our first day, Spousal Unit went for the rollercoaster ride of his life -- my brother, along with five of his buddies, went formation flying in experimental aircraft. (The "experimental" designation has been in place for over 5 decades to denote aircraft built by individuals rather than a commercial company such as Cessna. Licensed by the FAA, these aircraft are used for non-commercial, recreational purposes.) Spousal Unit rode with one of the buddies since my brother's plane only accommodates one person. He said he knew he was in for it when the pilot said "At least we won't be doing negative Gs today."
Below is a video of the plane bearing Spousal Unit. You can see how it goes practically straight up. "I was not expecting it. It feels like your stomach flips over your head!" Spousal Unit explained later.
I was pleased (and not surprised) to see that he was still smiling when he returned. (And he didn't have to use the barf bag!)
My brother also flies sailplanes, and that is more my speed, so we went up in the afternoon. In case you are not familiar with this type of aircraft - a sailplane has no engine. It is towed into the air by another aircraft, and once it reaches an appropriate elevation with promising currents, it is released. The pilot then must utilize the thermals to keep the sailplane in the air and, preferably, rising to allow for a long ride and to create more options. On this flight, we ran the ridgeline of the Wasatch Mountains, offering views of Snowbasin Ski Resort and more.
As the passenger, I am sitting in the front of the sailplane, and part of my responsibility is to keep an eye out for other aircraft. The picture below shows another sailplane, below us.
The southern end of the ridgeline was anchored by communications towers, which support the nearby Salt Lake City airport. Don't they look like golf balls?
I regret that I didn't take ANY pictures of the tantalizing food that we ate. Quite frankly, I was enjoying the meals and the company and it just didn't take priority. We did copy a couple of the recipes, which you will see at the end of this post. I am salivating even now as I remember many a tasty morsel!
I did get another sunset photo or two ....
The next morning, before we headed out for a short drive and hike, I climbed the hillside in front of the house - don't they have a marvelous setting?
Below is a video of the sailplane being towed into the air. My sister-in-law and I left after this video to do a little shopping in Ogden. (Little did we know that, when the sailplane reached 2,000 feet, the tow rope broke. This is a designed feature, called a weak link. When there is too much turbulence between the tow plane and the sailplane, it is preferable for the weak link to break than to potentially cause problems with the aircraft. This allows both planes to safely return to the ground.) This is precisely what they did, and tried again, in an area with less turbulence.
Our prime destination was the Shepherd's Bush Fine Needlework store. Back in 2018, when a bunch of my family visited us for the first time in our new home, my sister-in-law gave me this cross-stitch design (among many other goodies). Other projects have taken priority, but now I was ready to "get ready" - I needed fabric! And if it turned out I fell in love with a couple of other designs, how bad could that be?
Two recipes: Zesty Pumpkin Soup and Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Thanks to my SIL for the delicious food!