December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Long Beach, CA! Just catching up with things on the days off. One of the great things about my job is that even when we're working, it's still fun. For example this week while I was training, we flew exposure over the Greater Los Angeles area. In between the work of working on procedures, I was able to check out the scenery and take a few pictures to share. The highlights include going by the Hollywood sign, cruising down Hollywood Boulevard, and flying over LAX at 1500 feet through the VFR corridor. Now I just need to jump on the train one of these days off and head up there to check it all out from the ground. Always a new adventure to be had!

December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from warm and sunny San Diego! With the weather so nice outside, it sure doesn't feel like Christmas Eve. As you can see, we don't have a tree but we do have a mast. It reminds me of a Christmas tree every time we raise it. Now with the lights, it really does look like one.

We have the next couple of days off for the holiday with the highlight being our Christmas dinner tomorrow. Since we aren't able to spend the holiday with our friends and families, we get to spend it with the next best thing, our blimp family.
One of the many good things about this job is the camaraderie amongst the crew. It makes being away from home a lot easier especially during this time of year.

Merry Christmas to all and I hope you're staying warm!

December 21, 2007

Rainy Day Transit

We continued our journey down the coast to San Diego today. We left Santa Maria this morning under gloomy skies for our next stop in Long Beach. The transit went pretty much as planned including the anticipated heavy traffic through LA. I was riding in the van again for this transit which isn't nearly as fun as the blimp. However it does give me time to read and catch up on things. Occasionally we even pass by some interesting landmarks. One highlight on the trip today was passing by Goodyear's blimp base located in Carson, CA between Long Beach and LA along Interstate 405. As you can see in the pictures I took, the Spirit of America was at home on the mast today.

December 15, 2007

New Decals

We finished up our week in Santa Rosa on Friday and rolled on back down to Livermore, CA for the Oakland Raider game on Sunday. On our transit down, we were getting plenty of looks from the traffic on the highways as we debuted the new decals on the trucks and trailers. I think they look pretty sharp and definitely draw more attention then the previous graphics did. I have some pictures I took before we left Santa Rosa below so you can judge for yourself.

December 12, 2007

Winery Visit

I took a visit on my day off to the Paradise Ridge Winery which is located within a short walking distance from the hotel. It was pretty much a ghost town there except for the workers, but it does have a nice view. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there.

Paradise Ridge Winery

December 10, 2007

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

We arrived in Santa Rosa, located in the vast wine country of Sonoma County on Saturday and will be spending the week here. It is kind of a coming home for the Snoopy Blimp as Santa Rosa was the home of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. From my understanding, this is the first time Snoopy 2 has made its way up here. On my day off today, I made my way to the Charles M. Schulz Museum to get a better appreciation for the man who created Charlie Brown and friends.

It was a short walk to the museum which is located right next to the ice arena he owned and had breakfast at every morning. Sparky, as he was nicknamed, was an avid hockey player who played every Tuesday night with friends and hosted a yearly tournament of NHL retirees. In the museum, there were a limited amount of areas where they allowed photography, but I still got quite a few pictures. The highlights include the giant mosaic of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football that is made of different Peanuts comic strip tiles and the various statues on the grounds. The studio areas had numerous original comic strips with information about Sparky and how he related his life to his work. In an interview I watched with him in the theater, he said that he is the only person that drew or came up with story ideas for the comic strip in all of its 50 years. According to him, all anyone has to do is read his comics to get to know him. After watching a Charlie Brown special that happened to be on TV tonight, I was really surprised how much I could relate to what I saw today at the museum.

Needless to say, reading comic strips all day is one of the best museum visit experiences I've ever had. Seeing the different strips through all of the years, you can see how truly timeless the Peanuts characters are.

December 5, 2007

Catching up in Livermore, CA

Well we've been keeping busy here in the Bay Area doing exposure and the football game this past Sunday. On Saturday I took the ship off the mast from the left seat for the first time. We did a couple landings before the wind began to pick up a little more then we were comfortable with having me in the seat for. I did it again today too for a couple of landings in more calm conditions which has me feeling more like a real airship pilot. The training is coming along, but I still need a lot more landings to give me the experience I need in different wind and static weight conditions.

On one of my days off earlier this week I went back to downtown San Francisco for the day with a couple of the guys. My pictures from the day walking around by the bay can be found here. Some of the sites I saw this time around were the Chapel at Fisherman's Wharf, Forbes Island (world's only floating island and restaurant) and the ships at Hyde Pier.