Tag Archives: aviation

Camping at Squaw Lake

I met my Dad in southern Colorado for a week of horseback riding and general goofing off.  My brother-in-law Bill and a friend of his (Derald Glover) joined us for a camping trip to Squaw Lake.  It rained and sleeted as we rode into the wilderness, but the weather cleared and we had a great time.

Oh:  My dad is the one who looks like a cross between ME and a seventy-year-old version of the Marlboro man.  The guy in the Colorado Rockies hat is Ted Dooley, a friend of my Dad’s who owns the outfitter where we got our horses for the ride into the mountains.

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Seattle (and Puyallup)

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We had a fun little reunion in Seattle.  Greg Cook (a friend since second grade or so) was my college roomate all three years.   My last year of college, another good friend, Dondi Cupp, lived with us in an apartment in Norman.  Dondi’s (incessant) claim to fame is that he was the drum major of the Pride of Oklahoma back when Greg and I were in band at OU.  In fairness, he may have been the best ever in that role, but I’d never acknowledge that in his presence.  (And yes, that’s his real Mom-given name.)

Greg and Dondi hadn’t seen each other since Dondi moved to the Seattle area in 1992. I learned recently that Greg’s band, Ricochet (more on them elsewhere) was performing at the Puyallup Fair (which is quite a big event: www.thefair.com ), just outside Seattle.  So Greg and I both converged on Seattle and spent a few days with Dondi and his family.  Within minutes, we were all happily making off-color jokes and insulting each other, just like old times.  Great to catch up.  And of course we went to the Puyallop Fair and Rodeo.

Dondi’s the guy with no hair.  He promptly gave Greg the new nickname “Blackbeard” (thus the weekend was full of pirate jokes) for reasons the pictures will make obvious.  His old nickname was “Fatty,” so…  That’s me in the ridiculously-large black Stetson — feel free to laugh (I did).  The guy in the straw hat is Heath, Greg’s and my childhood Vian buddy who is the lead singer/guitarist for Ricochet.  Heath didn’t join us for most of the festivities — he was travelling instead in an RV with the rodeo clown from the Puyallop Rodeo (I swear I am not making this up).

Seattle was the furthest I’d ever flown myself.  Greg hopped in N3738R and flew back with me.  Icky weather spoiled our plans for an aerial sightseeing tour of the Pacific Northwest, but the silver lining was that it diverted us to an impromptu landing and overnight stay in Reno.

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My nephew — at Second City in Chicago

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If you’ve been around me much in the last 22 years or so, you’ve likely heard of my baby nephew, Tyler.   If you’ve been around me in the last one year or so, you’ve likely heard that little Tyler is about 6’5,” that he was the captain of his collegiate basketball team (OBU), and that his team won the NAIA National Championship in 2010.

After graduation, Tyler headed to Chicago to try his luck at the Second City comedy/improv “institute” there.  Transitioning from the sheltering arms of OBU in Shawnee and moving to the Windy City to take a run at show biz shows a level of bravery and spirit that his uncle never mustered at that age.  Everybody asks, “What’s he gonna do?”, but of course neither he nor I knows the answer to that.  But I’m proud he’s willing to take the adventure.

Last week I flew up to Chicago to hang out with him a bit, and to see him at a short ‘showcase’ at Second City.  It was dark and my pictures are no good, but at least you can recognize him in his debut on a Chicago stage.  Remember this day.

Laughlin, NV with Ricochet

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I got to fly out to Laughlin, NV to spend a week with Ricochet, the country band (of “Her Daddy’s Money” fame) led by two of my Vian, OK childhood buddies, Greg Cook and Heath Wright.  Laughlin is a small casino town an hour outside Vegas in the pointy south tip of Nevada.  They had a six-day gig at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort and Casino, which has apparently stood on that site for 50+ years.  Entering the place is a trip to the 1970s, but it was lots of fun.  We met Don Laughlin himself, and even hung out with his grandson (who works there as a pit boss).

Part of Ricochet’s deal was to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Laughlin River Stampede (rodeo) each day, so I got to see a high-quality PRCA rodeo with VIP I’m-with-the-band access.  One day I took Greg and Heath aboard N3738R for a flying tour over Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Monument Valley.  It was truly great to spend a week with dear “old” friends (let’s just say that Greg is (a) “a little older” than me, and (b) a two-time grandpa).

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