Howie's Visit May 2001

Castle Air Force Base Museum

Page 1 of 3

Page 1      Page 2      Page 3

First stop of the Open Cockpit day at Castle Air Force Base is the famed SR-71 Blackbird.   The most incredible looking reconnaissance plane and the fastest in the world.  We were told that the temperatures of the cockpit windows and sides would reach 600 degrees F at top speed.  Shane, Howie and I even got to meet a pilot that had flown in this exact plane.

Had to get a photo of our own plane!!! Howie and Laurie at the end of our Open Cockpit Day.  So many bombers, fighters and reconnaissance planes - so little time.

The Story

In a much anticipated visit, Howie flew down on the Memorial Day long weekend in the US to see, among other things,  the Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Force Base.  Howie arrived on Thursday evening (May 24th).  On Friday we drove up the coast to San Francisco taking in the scenic coastal drive up through to Half Moon Bay.  We took in a quick Alcatraz Island tour and then saw a few sights in San Fran like driving down Lombard street (the crookedest street in the world) and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.  We also enjoyed a fabulous lunch a Bubba Gumps right on Pier 41.  Our seats were awesome; right by the window watching all the action in the San Fran Harbour.  Of course I brought Howie to see the barking sea lions as well and we spent a bit of time watching those huge creatures basking in the sun or flopping on top of each other.

 Saturday we were treated to an early morning of Monterey Bay fishing by BT (a friend of Shane's from work).  Shane, Laurie and Howie all met BT down by the yacht harbour at 5:30am.  Too early for some people!!!  But it was well worth it for the two city folk - Howie and Laurie.  We were treated to close up sightings of a sea lion (following the boat to snag our fish), a sea otter, many whales breaching (that was an amazing sight!), an 18-pound Salmon and a 6 foot shark launching itself out of the water to break free of our hook that snagged it - then followed our boat for a few minutes.   Howie and Shane flew our plane over to South County Airport on Saturday evening to ensure an early morning flight from inland instead of waiting for the fog to lift at the coast.

Sunday morning the three of us were again up early and out the door by 7am.  We drove over to South County Airport, but there was fog in the inland valley as well, so all of us waited until the outlet malls opened and made some quick purchases to tide us over until the fog lifted.  We managed to get out of the valley in good time and fly over to Castle Air Force Base where we walked around 40 planes (about 20 were open to the public to view).  There was also a model airplane event going on and we watched these smaller planes being flown.  After our day at the Base, we flew down to Harris Ranch for a delicious steak dinner.  All in all a lot of flying!!!

Monday Howie and Laurie went down to 17-mile Drive and Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Howie enjoyed seeing all of the lookout points on 17-mile Drive.  The Aquarium was equally exciting for Howie as he carried on the Nason tradition of petting the Bat Rays.  Although there wasn't a lot of time for R&R while Howie was here, we did manage to pack in a lot of 'sight-seeing'.  Our last evening was spent walking along the beach and enjoying another yummy dinner.