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RF Generation Message Board | Other | Idle Chatter | The Summer of RFGeneration (and Disneyland) 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Summer of RFGeneration (and Disneyland)  (Read 493 times)
techwizard
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« on: September 02, 2017, 10:57:59 PM »

Some of you already know, but earlier this summer my girlfriend flew us both up to Prince George, BC to visit Crabmaster2000, and check out Game Quest. We're both relatively inexperienced pilots and wanted to try a long distance flight in our rental Cessna 172S before our bigger trip to California in August. It was awesome! The weather was perfect, and the scenery is gorgeous flying up there. Around 3 hours to fly there, and about 3.5 to fly home with a headwind. Crabby was nice enough to pick us up from the airport and give us a tour of Prince George.

We grabbed lunch at a nice little restaurant, checked out a local book store, then went over to see his store. He's got a very nice setup with the arcades and tables for tabletop gaming, and a good selection of games. His prices are better than anything in Victoria too! I'm used to the local stores charging towards the upper end of ebay prices, but most of his prices were near the low end of those or better. And then he goes and knocks a chunk off the price when we pay, too!

Then we headed over to his place to see his personal collection, and wow! I don't know if I've seen so many games in one place before, even in some of the stores I've been in. Certainly not so many unique titles. He has a great TV and console unit that lets him hook up most of his systems at once, and I was given the chance to hold a copy of Stadium Events in my hand for the first time! We were trying to decide what to actually play in the short time we had (it was only a day trip, we were flying back that night), and when I mentioned that I've never played an NES Megaman game before he was shocked (rightly so). We popped in Megaman 3 and I couldn't beat any levels  laugh but it was really awesome and I'll have to get a copy for myself one day, if I can ever find one CIB for less than an arm and a leg.

After that we went back to the airport to get ready to leave, and showed him, his wife, and his daughter the plane. We took off around 7:00 PM and arrived after dark. We had hoped to be home early enough to see the fireworks that my small town does the night before Canada Day, but we were too late for that. Then as we were crossing the Strait of Georgia towards CYYJ, ATC told us that if we looked ahead we should see fireworks! We got to see them after all, from a really cool angle. They go off almost in the path of the main runway for the airport so ATC had been directing traffic to the other runways, but the fireworks finished a few minutes before we had to land and we were allowed to fly straight in. Really awesome way to end the trip.


Here's a link to the photos from that trip, even with no facebook account they should be viewable. Unfortunately we didn't take very many of his collection or Prince George, so it's mostly the flight but still nice to see.
https://www.facebook.com/...p;type=1&l=560ff9ce30

Now for the big trip!

Since February we had been planning a crazy trip to fly ourselves in the 172 down to Anaheim for Disneyland. It evolved to include a night at Nupoile's house on the way down, 5 days at Disneyland, 1 day game shopping, 1 day at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and a night in Sacramento to see another friend I've known online for years but never met. Nupoile's wife's uncle owns a lot of farmland, one section of which has an airstrip on it which was less than a mile from Nupoile's place!

So I planned the whole trip, most days down to the minute, and then the smoke from wildfires in BC went crazy. we had clear skies all of June and July, then the 2 weeks leading up to our planned departure date of August 12th were completely smoked in. The flying club wouldn't allow anyone to take their planes in it without an instructor until it cleared up at least a little. It was a stressful last week, unsure if we should cancel hotels and trying to think of alternate options to make this happen. Then on the 11th we decided to pack and go to the club in case it cleared up, as the forecasts were for the wind to start pushing the smoke out Friday afternoon, with it mostly gone by Sunday. We had multiple instructors and pilots tell us that it was improving and that we should go, so we took the chance while we still could.


It was definitely a smokey flight down, with about a minute in the center of the Juan De Fuca Strait where we couldn't see anything in front or behind (though we could still see some islands off to our side). We landed at Boeing Field (KBFI) in Seattle to clear customs. Now when we deal with customs as pilots, we have to file an arrival report through the CBP website, then phone the customs officer to confirm that we're cleared to come in at the time we had planned to. They told us that they were about to leave to work at a different location for an hour or so, and if we could be there before 5PM, or after 6:15 PM, that it would work. The rules are that you have a grace period of 5 minutes before the scheduled time, or 15 minutes after, but outside that window you could get in trouble. Our online paperwork said we would be there at 5:30, so we confirmed that showing up before 5 would be ok, and the officer said yes, you've talked to him now so the paperwork doesn't matter as long as he knows what's going on. Well when we get there, the officer who came out didn't sound happy as he asked where we came from, then tells us "Ok, out of the plane, we're going inside". Normally they just have us sit in the plane while they check our passports and/or scan the plane for radiation, then send us on our way. We apologized profusely, explaining about the change in time, but he said "well whoever you talked to, it wasn't me." After thinking we're about to be arrested he tells us "Relax, we'll sort it all out", scans our passports and sends us on our way! He didn't ask any questions about what we were doing or if we had anything to declare! We didn't question it and it never caused any problems on the trip, but I'm glad we didn't get arrested laugh

The rest of the flight was relatively uneventful, just a bunch of smoke but it slowly got better as we got farther away from BC. It still continued all the way into Oregon though, well past where we were headed. We're so lucky Nupoile gave such good descriptions on how to find the airstrip, because picking out one specific field in Oregon farmland would have been a disaster if we didn't know what to look for. Besides a bird that caused us to overshoot and go around once, we landed without any trouble and Nupoile was waiting for us as we parked the plane. Another RFG member off my checklist! Him and his wife Arwen took us to a Texas Steakhouse in Eugene that night, the food was great and the peanut shells on the floor were weird, but it felt like a very American thing to experience.

The next day was nice because we had an extra day than planned, so they took us into Eugene again to see Level Up Arcade and some game stores. Lots of Pinball machines, a really cool modern Space Invaders laser gun game, and 4 player Mario Kart. We had a blast there for a while, and grabbed lunch at a Five Guys Diner, as well as stopped at a couple local game stores. I was worried about spending too much of our USD cash, so I only bought a couple games, but it's always fun to check out a new game store. Then we went all over the place to try finding a few aviation charts we wanted as backup for the california portion of the trip. My girlfriend uses Foreflight, an aviation app on her iPad, but it's nice to have the physical back-ups just in case. We checked 2 airports and a Barnes & Noble but no luck, so we decided to risk it with the iPad alone. It turned out that we didn't need the charts anyway. We also got a chance to ride on a Combine, a tractor plowing a field, and then Nupoile gave us a tour of the farm warehouses! Those were really cool experiences.




Early the next morning we got out to the plane to start our flight to California, but the weather was a little sketchy. We checked the reports and it looked good enough at the 2 closest airports, so we tried it but it ended up being worse than the reports said so we were forced to turn back and land at the airstrip again. In the time that we checked the weather and got in the plane, the report had updated to say it was way worse than before! We talked to a weather briefer over the phone to get more information and he said he wouldn't recommend flying VFR (visual flight rules) today and maybe not the next day either. There were also fires between Oregon and California that had doubled in the last day or so, there weren't very many when we left Victoria but there were 12 along our route that were big enough to have restricted airspace put over them. Those were wildcards that couldn't be predicted. We considered alternate routes but there wasn't really anywhere with weather good enough for that day, and only a very long detour to the east would get us around the fires.

So we decided to book a commercial flight out of Eugene (KEUG) with American Airlines to LAX, and a shuttle from there to the hotel. The rental Cessna would be left in Oregon, waiting for us when we returned. We cancelled the plans for six flags, game shopping, and sacramento, and got full refunds for those hotels so that helped ease the pain of booking a flight 18 hours before it departs. Disneyland was the original purpose of the trip, so if we could do that we were happy. The flight was booked for the next morning, but besides playing some games and showing photos of previous flights we didn't do a whole lot on this day.

The flight went relatively smooth, except some weird issue with our seats that marked us as "no go status", but the airline staff sorted it out in the last minute and we made it on. This was my first commercial flight, yes I know it's crazy that I got my pilot's license before ever taking a commercial flight. I don't drive either! Watching the weather out the window on the way, I was sure we made the right call. We landed at 8:30AM, caught a shuttle (Karmel Shuttle was really good if anyone ever needs a shuttle to Disneyland from LAX), and checked into our hotel all before 10AM. We didn't do a whole lot this day. There was a restaurant that a co-worker recommended so we tried that for lunch, then we went to a mall nearby to check out a Gamestop (it was the closest game store we could find). Grabbed some groceries for the week as the hotel has no complimentary breakfast, not that it bothered us very much. I spent the rest of the night updating our touring plans for Disney, as we were starting a day later than planned so it affected some timing and what shows/parades we saw on what days.

There's not too much to say about Disneyland, other than it was awesome! We were in line an hour before opening, and staying until closing every night except the last night. We managed to ride every ride we wanted at least once (California Screamin' and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters 6 times each, Space mountain 5 times). We hit every parade, every show, and the fireworks. A very busy 5 days but totally worth it.


The flight back to Oregon was uneventful, with a couple hours stopover in Phoenix Arizona. Nupoile picked us up from the airport and we headed back to his place for one last night before heading home. Endless gratitude for how accomodating he and his family were, when we planned to be there only 1 night but ended up staying 4 nights in total. He even drove us to the Eugene airport at 4 in the morning the day we left for Disneyland!

The upside to our change in plans was that we arrived in Oregon the night before the eclipse, and Nupoile is right in the path of totality! The next day we stayed around to see that, 1 minute and 52 seconds of totality! It was amazing, and we were probably the only people out of millions who were there by accident. They even gave us special "American Eclipse" glasses for it laugh.


It begins.


Totality!

After that we waited a couple hours before getting to our plane and leaving, as we had heard of crazy amounts of small planes in the area for the eclipse, not a time we wanted to be flying. By the time we left, traffic in the air was pretty much back to normal. Our first stop (a mere 7 minute flight, the shortest either of us have flown between 2 airports) was for fuel, as the airstrip has no fuel pump. This was our first experience fueling the plane ourselves, normally everywhere we go has been full serve. It went smoothly until we checked the receipt and it had someone else's tail number, credit card, and fuel amount on it! We didn't know what happened so we checked with the office staff and they sent out a manager to check. Turns out the last pilot had left his receipt in the slot and ours was right under it, oops. The manager was nice about it though and we chatted a bit before heading on our way.

The rest of the flight was perfect, we laughed about hearing another Victoria Flying Club aircraft on the radio near Portland. We stopped at KBFI again to fill out paperwork for the border crossing, and made it home exactly on time. Once on the ground we filled out the log books and were looking to call a cab, when the pilot of the plane we heard near Portland came in with his family. Turns out they had been in Albany for the eclipse too! We talked for a while and they offered us a ride. Turns out he's an Air Canada 777 pilot, who was blown away with the idea that I had finished my pilot's license without ever taking a commercial flight.

For the rest of the Oregon/California trip photos, check out the album on facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/...p;type=1&l=a94e0411f5

And that's all! This has probably been one long TL;DR for people by this point, but these were my first major trips ever and I was excited to share. To anyone who has yet to meet an RFGeneration member in person, I highly recommend it. Nothing but good people here from my experience, and I'm sure others would agree.
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bombatomba
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 11:40:18 AM »

Thank you for sharing, and also for all the pics!  Kind of nuts how weird customs is (I wonder if it is the same across the border), but I am glad it worked out in the end.  Always nice to hear about (and see) RFG peeps hanging out.

While at Disney, did you two get to see the acid trip that is the Main Street Electrical Parade?  I saw it at Disney World last year and heard it was traveling to Disney Land for most of 2017.
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techwizard
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 01:39:29 PM »

Thank you for sharing, and also for all the pics!  Kind of nuts how weird customs is (I wonder if it is the same across the border), but I am glad it worked out in the end.  Always nice to hear about (and see) RFG peeps hanging out.

While at Disney, did you two get to see the acid trip that is the Main Street Electrical Parade?  I saw it at Disney World last year and heard it was traveling to Disney Land for most of 2017.

Customs for small aircraft isn't really comparable to the customs people deal with on commercial flights or boats, they definitely give us special treatment. they never check our bags or ask more than 1 or 2 questions, and like i said this time they asked us nothing. that's for coming into the US, but going back into Canada it's even crazier, we don't see a real person, we're only required to phone the border agents and talk with them that way. Of course maybe it's different if you're not a Canadian citizen, i haven't brought any non-canadians over the border yet so that could have different procedures.

Yes we did see the electrical parade! that was a lot of fun, saw it just before watching the fireworks (we had a decent spot to see both without moving). Apparently it was only doing a limited run before ending forever i think. Its last day was 1 day after we left Disneyland, August 20th.
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nupoile
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 03:51:40 PM »

I had a great time while they were here! Really glad they could make it to see us. The weather and smoke was a real bummer but it made it so we could all hang out more which was great.

Being here for the eclipse....it was pretty funny they were here by accident. Some people in the area were paying huge prices to stay at campgrounds and hotels. More than one person we knew was able to rent out their house for something more than $2000 a night. Everyone was warned about bad traffic and high gas prices. Oregon's population went up by a huge amount for a few days, and here techwizard and gf end up staying by complete surprise! The eclipse was really neat and most pictures I see don't do it justice at all. The path was really narrow to see it in totality too, were we live it was supposed to only be 49 seconds but just driving a few miles north put us at 1 minute 52 seconds.

If any of you are worried there is no pinball in the arcade pictures, don't worry, we played that too! That arcade is fun, wife and I don't make it down there as much as I'd like but we always enjoy it.


Here is another pic of them flying:





And one I took of the eclipse:






Though it looked more like this in real life:


http://www.post-gazette.c...8,1484,1165/ECLIPSE-4.jpg
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techwizard
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 03:55:36 PM »

i managed to snag some pinball photos too but they didn't make the cut when i was trimming the album down for a facebook upload Wink started with around 550 photos, got it down to 143 for facebook. still kept all the others on my laptop though.
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Crabmaster2000
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 04:22:49 AM »

Thanks for making the trek up to see me! It's always a pleasure to meet my internet friends! Had a great time visiting with you guys and having someone to talk collecting with that could relate to the conversation.

Glad to the trip to Disneyland went well. I know how excited you guys were for it. Must have been nerve racking thinking all your planning was almost worthless due to some lousy smoke. The smoke got REALLY bad up here while you were down south living it up Wink
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techwizard
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2017, 01:53:04 PM »

Thanks for making the trek up to see me! It's always a pleasure to meet my internet friends! Had a great time visiting with you guys and having someone to talk collecting with that could relate to the conversation.

Glad to the trip to Disneyland went well. I know how excited you guys were for it. Must have been nerve racking thinking all your planning was almost worthless due to some lousy smoke. The smoke got REALLY bad up here while you were down south living it up Wink

We really lucked out on our timing up to your place!
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RobotWillie
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2017, 06:28:33 AM »

I'm in Spokane,WA and the smoke is the worst its been all summer right now. Gave my brother a headache the brief time he was in it, can't even go onto our back porch without breathing it in.

Anyways cool to hear you had a great trip and its cool your gf knows how to fly. I have flown thousands of hours in flight sims myself and know a lot about aviation but I could never afford to fly, i may be too chicken anyway (you know I don't even drive by choice so...... yeah I doubt I'd ever fly).

My dad knows all about Price George lol. He was a truck driver for like 15 years and I remember him saying he went their a lot. He went to Trail, BC a lot and he bought me a keychain I still have from a ferry he had to take, the Kootenay Lake Ferry, once in his truck. But hes seen all 48 connected states and all most of Canada, even got lost in Montreal once in an area where there was no signs in English.
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techwizard
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2017, 03:57:30 PM »

I'm in Spokane,WA and the smoke is the worst its been all summer right now. Gave my brother a headache the brief time he was in it, can't even go onto our back porch without breathing it in.

Anyways cool to hear you had a great trip and its cool your gf knows how to fly. I have flown thousands of hours in flight sims myself and know a lot about aviation but I could never afford to fly, i may be too chicken anyway (you know I don't even drive by choice so...... yeah I doubt I'd ever fly).

My dad knows all about Price George lol. He was a truck driver for like 15 years and I remember him saying he went their a lot. He went to Trail, BC a lot and he bought me a keychain I still have from a ferry he had to take, the Kootenay Lake Ferry, once in his truck. But hes seen all 48 connected states and all most of Canada, even got lost in Montreal once in an area where there was no signs in English.

the smoke just came back today in BC where i am too, in Victoria! hopefully rain comes soon, these fires just won't let up.

I don't drive either but i have my pilot's license. I find flying less scary than driving, because the requirements to drive are so low and the other cars are so close to you. in the air it's busy if there's 5 or more planes near you, at least at my airport. and "near" is within a few miles. if you can afford to fly one day you should try it! i find it's actually a lot easier than the simulators, i'm not sure exactly what it is about it, maybe that you get better feedback from the movement of the plane in real life.
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RobotWillie
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 07:41:19 PM »

I am still sort of into aviation but I also haven't done FS for about 6-7 years. Those thousands of hours were all in my teens lol! Mostly 2004 and 2002. Maybe a few hundred in X. And hundreds of dollars of third party add on planes like the PMDG 747 my fav. And PSX 777.

One thing about FS is I am also very into geography so it ties into going places to learn and see the world which FS taught me a lot of geography as well. I have helped a guy work on a Sim game where you run an airline called The Airline Project, a free game, for a few years. Adding airlines,planes,airports,etc. I have spent hundreds, thousands hours on that too.

I tried doing a force feedback joystick for awhile and didn't really like that even though it did make it seem more real. Also had an addon that made the weather more real than the already built in engine which read weather reports. I remember I like flying in China and I was using REX as its called in a 737 to the city of Sanya on China's largest islands, Hainan, in the very tropical western China climate, and the visibility was so poor and the wind was awful, I had arrived in Sanya during a moonsoon I believe. I think I remember the flight computer still was able to sort out the autoland frequencies and was able to get me to the runway. But I have flew to most of the world in Flight Sim. Pretty sure I remember going to Victoria for sure, I think I did Price Rupert once, Kelowna, Nelson, and a lot of Vancouver Intl. I did Alaska a bit like Kodiak Island,Fairbanks.................... and also places as exotic as Mauritania and Tajikistan. So yes it fueled my geography hobby as well as my aviation interest.

Its cool to hear you don't drive, (I know sounds odd). Its just not too common so its interesting to hear other people who don't, and you even fly on top of that! I don't think I could ever afford it, but I think I'd try if I could. You have inspired me a bit.

I don't think my dad ever went to Victoria, never had to take that ferry.

Edit: Also I like to listen to the ATC a lot on liveatc. Spokane was recently added in the last year, maybe I should listen in to see how the smoke is messing with them. One of my cousins actually works at Spokane International for Horizon. Since its a subsidiary of Alaskan he gets to fly on both airlines for free whenever there is an empty seat. His parents also get this perk, so they have been about to catch an empty seat to Hawaii from Bellingham before on Alaska, lucky so lucky. Not to mention the flights from Spokane to Seattle and Seattle to Bellingham were free also. And they have flown to California alot as well where the mom has family. Free flying from your sons work. But they also have to sit around more often waiting for those seats. But it seems to never be too long. My dad is a bus driver for Spokane Transit Authority and only the spouse gets the ride the bus for free, not me the son. Yes its more of a government operation but still. My cousin also went to Amman,Jordan last year and got most of the way there free due to codesharing on flights Alaska has agreements with to Europe/Middle East. So his job has many perks. He works at the ticket desk and has been part of the cleaning crew before and has been the parking guy, helping planes park. He has helped 757's park and stuff even because Alaska also has an agreement with Delta to share ground crew sometimes and Delta flies the 757 here from Minneapolis a lot.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 07:53:54 PM by RobotWillie » Logged

techwizard
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2017, 08:49:19 PM »

that's really cool, i never put that much effort into flight sim. i only played a little of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, with a Saitek Cyborg X52. the flying club i rent from has a full motion flight simulator that runs with some version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X i think, it looked very similar to what i knew at home. here's more info about it and a video if you're interested: http://www.flyvfc.com/redbird-fmx-simulator

Also Victoria is on Live ATC as well, though i find the voice quality is no where near as good as the real radio. I think you can listen to inner and outer tower, and ground.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 08:52:21 PM by techwizard » Logged
singlebanana
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 02:27:52 PM »

Enjoyed the read and glad you had a great trip!
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