Thursday, October 11, 2018

Updates: House for sale, hangar house project is on.

Look up the word neglect in most any dictionary in most any language and it wouldn't surprise me if you were given a link to this page. So, for a quick update on things. . .

Book projects:

Writing continues on Oaths & Liars as well as the first installment in an idea that will be a series called The Pride. I teased a little of both in the past twelve months on Facebook. O&L is on its--get this--it's THIRD RE-WRITE as I love the plot and the characters (most of the base characters from AR  and FG are back), but I can't get the initial flow and rhythm to my liking. Frustrating.

It's a kick ass plot and will combine the action style of Above Reproach with several sub plots--plus a few new characters.

The incessant delays and procrastination in getting further is due to the fact that we're selling our house and preparing to begin building our retirement home in our airplane hangar. Three things have to happen, though:

1. We have to sell our house.
2. We'll have to find a rental house near our airport.
3. We'll then begin the interior building process. Exterior is done, new main water line installed and a few other exterior items on the hangar are finished.

The living quarters will be built on a second level. I'm having a welder and steel crew install channel beams ten feet above the ground floor so as to give clearance for the vertical stabilizer (tail) of the airplanes. The steel guys are also putting in a 160 square foot covered deck on the second level facing the west. We do a lot of grilling and smoking for our meals and the deck will make it easier to step outside the kitchen, grill and come back inside rather than walking up and down the stairs to the ground level.

At present, the Cessna and the Taylorcraft are occupying the space along with my pickup, occasionally. Once the welding and the building in earnest begins, everything will have to find a temporary home.

A few pics for you--

Front of the hangar. Lots of room to work with.

Back side (west) of the hangar. No neighbors to the west.

Had a couple of people renting space and keeping their airplanes in here until we got everything ready and prepared for selling our house and starting this thing. Probably the last time it will ever look this empty.

We're in a private airport and we have our own well. But the original main water line wasn't in the best of shape, so a new line, new protective concrete meter box and some new concrete went in.

Our living quarters will be built on a second level above the airplanes. Our design is for a bit over 1700 square feet that will include two bedrooms, a large office for writing, two full bathrooms, living room, kitchen, one large master closet, and one large combination laundry room and pantry where we'll have an additional fridge and a stand-up freezer. Downstairs, as the picture shows, will still have room for a couple of airplanes plus our two cars. I'll build my new reloading room on the back wall and extend it into the (already built) full bathroom/shower on the right rear corner.

This is one of my neighbors a couple of taxiways over, north of the on-field café. This is the same style and type of deck we're building on the back side of our hangar. I'll probably end up parking my pickup under it in decent weather. For bad weather, it'll go in the hangar.

So that is pretty much the update for us at the moment. Have not flown much this year or shot (or got very much writing done). Everything has been pushed to the back burner to get our house sold and the new one started. Major undertaking.

Will keep  you posted.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's here! Tales from the Dogs' Side now in print and e-book.

This was an "on again/off again" project of mine for quite a few years, but now it's done and on the e-retail shelves. Unlike Above Reproach and False Gods, Tales from the Dogs' Side is an Amazon exclusive. The e-book version (Kindle) is $1.99 and the print edition is $7.99. As always, I have print editions available for personalized signing.

In the forward of Tales, I explain the story behind the collection of tales found within the book. In short, I was a homesick advertising copywriter living in Kansas City with my wife, our two dogs and a cat. I dearly loved Kansas City and still do--but the winters are stone-cold killers for a warm-weather seventh generation Texan like myself. 

Thus, thanks to the new world wide web, now known as the internet, I was able to find various discussion forums on a variety of topics near to my heart--dogs being at the top of that list. Through those forums, relationships were formed and stories were shared. As a Texan and a creative writer for Madison Avenue, I felt compelled to carry on that Texas tradition of telling "tall tales" in regards to our dogs and our relationship and adventures with them.

As the tales grew in popularity, I accepted a job offer in Dallas and my dogs were overjoyed, and more tall tales were born. 

Along the way, my dogs and wife and I learned a few lessons, endured several tragedies and continued to find our way in the world. What we found was that if we could laugh more than we chose to cry, we'd be all the better for it. And so Tales from the Dogs' Side is a collection of life's vignettes, both good and bad, happy and sad, but always looking forward.

This is the third book of mine published this decade, and work on Oaths & Lies continues with good progress. In 2018, I will begin a series called The Pride. These will be shorter novels of the 80,000 to 100,0000 word count range and my goal is to publish two of them per year.

In the meanwhile, all else goes well on the Kinman home front. I've got plenty of wood for the smoker, lots of reloads to send downrange at the various shooting ranges with my wife and girls, and wide-open skies to continue exploring via small airplane.

Stay tuned for updates as they come.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Saddle up, we're going to Maine.

This past summer, mid-August to be exact, we saddled up the Cessna and set out for a vacation in my wife's home state, Maine.

The first day, we stopped for fuel and food in Fayetteville (AR), Cairo (IL), Cynthiana (KY) and Pittsburgh (PA) where we spent the night. The next morning we took off from the Allegheny County Executive Airport and landed at Finger Lakes Regional Airport in Seneca, NY for fuel and then flew non-stop to Waterville, Maine.

Two weeks later, our return trip took us from Lewiston/Auburn (ME) to West Hudson (NY) to Westminster (MD) to Greensboro (NC) where we stayed for the night. The weather system that flooded Baton Rouge was a massive, stationery system that reached from south Louisiana to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Timing was everything, and we didn't time it right--after taking off from Greensboro, we made it to Jefferson County Airport just north of Atlanta then cut west to Mississippi where the weather forced us to land and spend a night in Tupelo (MS). The next morning, we timed our departure to get ahead of the rapidly building storm clouds and made it to Crossett, Arkansas for fuel, then dodged our way through the storms and weather to Sulphur Springs (TX) and back to the home airpatch.

Here is a screen shot from ForeFlight of our route--lot of country we flew over.

And here is the weather we dealt with on the way back home. Not fun by any means.

Our first fuel stop at 0745 at KFYV Fayetteville, Arkansas. Normally in mid-August, things are pretty dry and brown. Thanks to the rains we had all spring and summer long, we had lots of lush greenery the entire trip.

Cairo, Illinois is located at the southern-most tip of Illinois where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge. Here we've refueled and just taken off from KCIR on runway 20. We actually had a nice tailwind pushing us for most of the eastbound trip.

A coal-powered power plant on the shores of the Ohio River in eastern Ohio as we were approaching Pennsylvania.

When you come in to land at KAGC Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh, they are prepared for unprepared pilots--there is a cemetery on the west side of the field, just off the taxiway and near Voyager Aviation. After a long day of flying, we preferred to stay at the accommodations we'd reserved at the Springfield Suites rather than the graveyard, so all due care and attention was given to the final approach and landing.

The folks at Voyager Aviation are top-shelf for general aviation. They took care of us and our plane with equal zeal and hospitality.

The next morning, it was a typical summer muggy, foggy morning. But not long after we took off and climbed above the gloom, the sun broke out and we got some nice views of western Pennsylvania farms.

Much to our surprise, there are wind farms popping up in western New York state. I hadn't seen these on previous trips. The turbines are not as plentiful as the ones you see on wind farms in Texas and the southwest, but they are there and rotating.

This is a great little airport to stop and top off your tanks. I love this area of upstate New York anyhow--so different from the congested metro madness you find in the southern part of the state.

We topped off the tanks right up to the tabs because the next stop was the final one in Waterville, Maine.

The Finger Lakes never cease to amaze and fascinate me. It's hard to appreciate them from the ground because you don't see the full enormity of these glacial lakes.

The terrain of western Vermont comes on you quite suddenly. On this trip, it looked like a rugged rolling carpet of emerald.

On this leg, we stayed above both the clouds as well as the mountains.

Once in Maine, we headed to Moosehead Lake where we spent several nights at the Blair Hill Inn. This was the view from our window.

And another view.

I caught this picture as an afternoon thundershower was moving across the mountains.

This picture is taken up near Kokadjo where my wife's family had their camp for decades.

Lily Bay State Park is a ten-minute drive from the Blair Hill Inn, so we paid it a visit and spent some time enjoying the beauty.

One of many, many coves hidden away on Moosehead Lake. This one is in Lily Bay State Park.

Every evening we'd retreat back to the Inn and take an adult beverage out to the porch to catch the sunset. Life moves a lot slower up in rural Maine--not nearly as fast and hectic as it does here in Dallas. I could get used to that relaxed pace.

Sunset over Moosehead Lake as seen from the porch at Blair Hill Inn.

If you blink more than a few times, the sun is gone and the moon is now up above you.

Did some sporting clays and skeet shooting at an incredible club north of Bangor--the Hermon Skeet Club. Only downside was that it ended up being the hottest day on record for Bangor--and with incredibly high humidity. I had to check my GPS to make sure I wasn't in Houston.

Shade was a nice place to be when you weren't shooting.

This is Mill Pond, a five minute walk from my sister and brother-in-law's house in Windham. The water is cold, clear and clean. Great place to cool down on a hot summer day and the neighbors are known to try out their new kayaks and canoes. In winter, it can freeze up solid enough to ice skate on. This is where our two nephews grew up. What an incredible place to grow up in.

This is the pond looking to the east.

No trip to Maine is ever complete without a trip to the coast. Here is Pine Point Beach in Scarborough on an overcast, windy day--a precursor to the weather we'd be departing in the very next day.

This guy gave me an idea for summer employment if we ever decide to split more time between Texas and Maine.

We capped our stay in Maine with a traditional lobster dinner at The Clam Bake in Scarborough. Lobster simply does not get any better than when it was swimming just a day before.

No pictures were taken on the first day of traveling back to Texas. Between negotiating weather and the Boston and New York Center airspace, all our attention was inside the cockpit. But on the second day, we got a break here and there and managed some interesting pictures. This is a small portion of lake Norman in southwestern North Carolina.

Near Spartanburg-Greensville in South Carolina, we spotted this very large rock quarry.

Further south in South Carolina, a huge lake shares the border with Georgia. Lake Hartwell is just as spectacular from the ground as it is from the air.

Lake Hartwell in the southernmost portion of South Carolina. That's Interstate 95 just north of the Georgia state line crossing over the lake.

After negotiating both more weather and the edges of Atlanta's Class B airspace, we pointed the nose west towards Texas. Soon after crossing over into Alabama, we saw this interesting body of water perched atop a big Alabama hill. We found out later that it is an auxiliary water supply station.

The country band of the early 80's, Alabama, often sang about the might Tennessee River. Here it is. It's huge and actually more like a lake in a lot of places.

Directly overhead a wide spot in the Tennessee River in Alabama.

As we were nearing the western edge of Alabama, we spied this incredibly long valley. This is looking to the south. It is equally as long looking out the starboard side of the plane to the north.

This is where bacon begins--a genuine pig farm. Even at 8,000' msl it can make your mouth water.

Once again, by middle of the afternoon, that stationary frontal system was producing hellacious weather. It stopped us about twenty miles east of Oxford, Mississippi and given that we heard Memphis Center re-routing FedEx, airline and military flights, we figured our Cessna was no match for Mother Nature. Tupelo was nearby so we diverted, landed and grabbed a room at the Holiday Inn Express for the evening.

The next day flying across western Mississippi, Arkansas and eastern Texas would prove to be the most challenging in negotiating the weather. As you can see by our route, we made lots of deviations for weather.

The last picture of this adventure I'm posting is of our Stratus unit. It picks up, among other things, weather information and displays it on your iPad via an app called ForeFlight. It's not real-time and there is a several-minute delay. But it is invaluable for helping you plan weather deviations.

We landed back at the home airpatch around 3:00 (1500 CST) after an 0900 departure from KTUP in Tupelo, Mississippi. That included a fuel stop in Crossett, Arkansas and a landing in the rain at KSLR in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Just west of Sulphur Springs, the weather broke long enough for us to make a straight shot back into the northwest Fort Worth area for an uneventful, but blessedly welcome, landing home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A bit of history preserved.

I collect headlines from events that newspapers deem newsworthy enough to give a lot of space to on the front page. Important events that you know instantly become a big part of history the moment they happen.

Here, in no particular chronological order, are a few pictures of various headlines I've collected over the past few decades.

Enjoy the trip down memory lane.