One if by Land, Two if by Sea

(Getting there is half the fun)

A-6 BN JeepNaval Academy SloopSalty's Airplane

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since December 22, 1997.

I seem to have an affection for the vehicles which tend to move me around this crazy world. Not really an obsession (except for the airplanes) but a fascination with traveling. The trips don't have to be to exotic locales, as long as they are relaxed and shared with family or good friends. After all, life is a journey. Why not enjoy the ride.

Jeep at the BeachI purchased my first Jeep (pictured above) in 1992. They are not the most luxurious modes of transportation, but they have an appeal that is unmatched in the realm of sport-utilities. No other 4WD vehicle has the heritage that the jeep does, nor does any other vehicle offer the blend of adventure and utility of a jeep. While there are many off road enthusiasts who like taking their vehicles up sheer cliffs or through lakes of mud, I tend to wander down to the beach when I feel the need to take my Wrangler off the beaten path. My favorite stretches of beach are along Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. There are miles and miles of unspoiled shoreline there that offer a quiet getaway from the everyday grind. The picture above was taken at Oregon Inlet, NC in May '94. My travels are not limited to the sandy shores, however. One of the most relaxing drives I have been on was up the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Roanoke to Lexington, Virginia one fine June afternoon a few years ago. I am also looking forward to, one day, driving all the way from Virginia to Key West with the top off.

Sailing SunsetBut the beach offers more than just the chance to drive on the sand. I have had the opportunity over the years to expand my wanderings out to sea aboard several larger sailboats. During my years at the U.S. Naval Academy, I participated in their off shore sailing program, both as a third class midshipman (aka-Sophomore) participating in the annual summer training period and by serving as an off-shore sailing instructor for 4Salty at the Helm months immediately following graduation. While attending flight school in Pensacola, I served as navigator and winch grinder aboard Lloyd Stagg's 30' sloop SQUAW, out of Pensacola Yacht Club for about 1 1/2 years of weekend regattas. I have cruised and raced, both in and off-shore, earning my Navy Off-Shore Skipper qualification along the way. These sailing experiences have proved both relaxing and challenging. I have enjoyed every moment afloat, even the cold stormy nights off-shore (yeah, right).

Last, but certainly not least, is my love of flying. Call it a curse if you must, but ever since Wright Brothers Day 1965, I have been pursuing the dream of flight. I took my first lessons back in the summer of 1986, finally getting my liscense that December. Went on to go into naval aviation, and while my eyesight prevented me from becoming a pilot, it did allow me to continue to fly as a Naval Flight Officer. I have been flying in the service for about eight years, while still maintaining my currency as a civilian pilot in my spare time. I am currently working on my Commercial liscense, and earlier this year I bought my first airplane, a 1968 Piper Arrow. I have really put the miles on it, too. I have been all up and down the east coast in the last few months, from Lakeland, Fl in April for the Sun-N-Fun Convention over to Pensacola, Fl and as far north as Wilkes-Barre, PA. I wouldn't trade the flying for anything in the world. It's tough to describe, but Stephen Coonts put it well, in his book Flight of the Intruder when the character Jake Grafton said,

"It's like when you were a kid and you pretended you were sick so you could stay home from school. The rest of the world is working, at school, in factories, in offices. But there you are, sitting in your cockpit, feeling like you're getting away with something, flying smoothly along enjoying the sky and the clouds and looking down at the earth. You are free and unfettered and feel priveleged you can fly. But on the ground, a pilot is like a man waiting for a train. He's restless, anxious to get away. A pilot just bides his time until his plane can take him away again, into the air. He feels like a visitor when he's on the ground."

- Jake Grafton, from Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts

Salty's Airplane

Well, now that I have meandered sufficiently through the various planes, trains and automobiles of my daily life. Let me point you to some of my favorite links relating to them all:

Jeep Links

The Official Jeep Homepage The Ultimate Jeep Page Matt's Jeep Wrangler Page

Jeep 4x4 Web Page

Sailing Links

Naval Academy Sailing The Sailing Index SailNet Pensacola Yacht Club

Aviation Links

Av Web Coastal Planes Sun-N-Fun Online Southern Aviator Landings

 


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