Month: September 2019

Air Rally – Day Two Continued

So in my last blog, we had just landed in Killarney with the rest of the women pilots.  I missed putting this pic in my last blog, with thirsty planes lined up to fill their tanks:


I mentioned that we were taken to the Killarney Lodge for lunch.  We were greatly anticipating the fish, and we certainly weren’t disappointed:


I think it was the best fish I’ve ever had.  It was super fresh and cooked perfectly.

After our awesome lunch, we continued to discuss the next leg of the flight that day, from Killarney to Wawa.  The weather was not in our favour and it was only getting worse.  Therefore, we made the decision to stay in Killarney for the night.  Not the worst thing in the world – this is the view from our room:


Before the rain picked up too much, we wandered up the above rock and found some chairs nearby.  I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show off my recent pressie (and early birthday gift from my mom).  Her, Mike and I saw them in Zumiez at the Pen Centre.  We thought they would go great with Vyctor.  They had orange laces, but I ordered some sparkly ones from Amazon.  Voila:



It’s always nice to match accessories and clothing to one’s mode of transportation.

I was really hoping to get through the trip a bit more in this blog.  I’ve been going through another rough spot with my MS, and it’s left me pretty useless during the evenings into the night.  Thus, as my body is telling me to stop for the night, I must bid thee all adieu!  I will hopefully be able to continue the saga soon.  Cheers!

Today’s symptoms: The last couple of days have been part of a bad spell, where I’m becoming very weak starting mainly in the evenings.  At that point, the effort to physically do just simple tasks is exhausting and painful.  This has been happening on and off for a few weeks now.  😦

Air Rally – Day Two

Continuing on from my previous blog about the 99’s Gold Cup Air Rally I just participated in.  As I left off, we were staying over in a hotel in Collingwood, prior to starting the rally with all participants the next day.  Unfortunately, the breakfast at the hotel didn’t start until 7:30 and our ride was picking us up at 7:15.  I’m glad we had lot of extra time to get things ready with my plane, and get some coffee.

Everyone arrived around the same time, after a good breakkie at the house they stayed at.  Jan and I were lucky that we had purchased a few Tim Horton’s Smile Cookies, which made for a very yummy, albeit slightly unhealthy breakfast.


I was able to be in the first group to take off and complete a touch-and-go for the spot landing contest.  I’m really upset with myself.  I knew this is the only part of the Rally I could do really well at.  Unfortunately, I have never landed Vyctor so heavy before (full fuel, passenger and luggage).  I was just coming up on the line, but I gently set him down prior to it.  That meant I was disqualified.  I was so bummed – very disappointed in myself.  Oh well, I tried and it was a learning experience.

We flew by the ski slopes on our way west around Georgian Bay:


Some of the other pilots headed around the east shore.  During the flight, I took some shots of other airports we flew by:



Mike and I have flown to Manitoulin Island a couple of times for vacations.  I was looking forward to Jan experiencing the flight over water from Tobermory to Manitoulin.  I knew she would enjoy it as she loves being near (or over) water:


As you can see, the view was amazing.  Around the time we arrived at Manitoulin, we started hearing other members of the Rally entering the area.  We headed East and all were very attentive on the radio at this time, due to the extra traffic.  Once landed, we all got in line for fuel.


Everyone helped each other move planes up the line toward the fuel pumps.  Once our planes’ thirst was quenched, everyone tied down on the apron:


The kind folks from Killarney Mountain Lodge picked us up and drove us to their establishment.  Everyone was looking over their quiz’s that we were to complete on route.  Everyone had at least one, up to three other pilots with them.  My mother is not a pilot but was still able to help out in certain ways.  It didn’t leave me any time to worry about the quiz, as I was flying, navigating, communicating and eating a darn good cookie!

I look forward to writing the next blog for the continuation of this wonderful trip we were on.  Please stay tuned – the saga continues.

Today’s symptoms: I was a bit more weary than “normal” today (my normal, not normal people’s normal!   Hehe!)  Lots of pain and crawly sensations in my legs and feet today.  Not particularity pleasant, but it till hopefully not linger too much longer.

Air Rally – Collingwood

Soooo…..I decided to do my second Gold Cup Air Rally.  This decision was probably much tougher than it appears.  My main issue is my health.  My average week is a mix of good days and bad.  The thing is, I never know which the next day is going to be.  What happens if I wake up the next morning in another city, having a bad symptom day?  I would initially have no way home or onward other than to fly.  I would just have to stay until I had my next good day and then head home.  There are other factors such as having one of my days where I’m able to function as normal, but “just” feeling very blah the whole day.  Picture the last time you had a really bad flu.  Think of experiencing all of those symptoms but still have the strength and endurance to function normally.  That’s what it’s like for me on those types of bad days.  It’s great that I can function but feeling so lousy doesn’t make anything I do pleasurable.  The worst “bad days” are where I can’t function AND feel like caa-caa.  I’d be stuck if that happens.  Here’s the next huge factor I had to consider – I must have another female with me (all planes must carry two or more women).  If I offer my right seat to someone I hardly or don’t know at all, how horrible am I going to feel if I ended up with one of my bad days and make her miss the rally?  So then I came up with the brilliant idea – I’d invite my little mother!  She’s flown with me plenty of times and obviously knows all about what my MS causes me.

As you have guessed by now, I made the decision to attempt the Rally and my mother accepted my invitation!

GCAR 2019 6.jpg

I must tell you, the last almost two months have been brutal.  Every day, I would flip and flop from “This is going to be awesome!!!” to “What the hell are you thinking, you #*@$!”  At least now, my mother would totally understand my limitations and not be as inconvenienced as someone else would be if I have to quit early.

On Wednesday, Mike took Jan and I to the St. Catharines Airport to load up Vyctor and head into the sort-of sunset in Collingwood.  It was very smooth air, which is perfect for Jan.  While flying through Toronto, the Tower let us know that there was an A380 passing ahead of us.  He mentioned he wasn’t ascending as anticipated, so had us descend a bit.  He said “That must be quite the view!”  It sure was!  I which I grabbed my camera, but only had time to snap a quick one with my iPhone.  This picture does no justice to the double-decker giant:


In a little over an hour, we arrived in Collingwood.  This picture wasn’t taken that day as I was too focused on the landing.  The airport is at the base of the slopes on the left:


We were sure to fuel up before heading into the Terminal Building to meet up with everyone:


In total, I think there were twelve planes and around 25 pilots.  Here are a few of us:


I got Vyctor all ready for his night out with his new buddies:


After meeting up with everyone else who flew in that day, we had a delicious pizza dinner at a nearby hangar:


Jan and I stayed at the Mariner Motor Inn.  Another Rally member, Diane, was kind enough to drive us from the airport to the hotel and back again in the morning.

Needless to say, it was a great day for both my mother and I.  It was wonderful to see so many of the pilots from last year’s Rally.  Stay tuned for more on our adventure!

Today’s symptoms: I’m still recovering from my trip, but things are getting better every day.  I had a bad headache for most of the day and lots of nerve pain on my left side.  Thinking about the last week has helped keep me positive while feeling cruddy.

Another Air Rally!

I can’t believe I decided to attempt this but I’m so glad I did!  Last year, I was copilot in my first Gold Cup Air Rally from Ottawa to Summerside, P.E.I.  This annual event is hosted by the 99’s, which is an international organization of female pilots.  I went up with a friend in her Cessna Cardinal.

This year, the Air Rally started in Collingwood and was to end in Thunder Bay.  Due to my MS, I wasn’t sure if I could actually fly that far in two days.  However, I made the decision to give it a try.  Worst case scenario was I wake up one day during the rally with bad symptoms.  I would just wait it out there until I was able to fly home.  Obviously it would mean I wouldn’t finish the rally, but at least I would have tried.


I’m going to keep this blog short for tonight.  I’ll leave with with posts from the P.E.I. Air Rally last year:

Epic Journey!

P.E.I. Trip – Day 1

P.E.I. Trip – Day 2

P.E.I. Trip – Day 3

P.E.I. Trip – Day 3 Continued

P.E.I. Trip – This and That

Stay tuned!  I will post Day One of my recent trip soon.

Today’s symptoms: I was very fatigued today and spent much of the day in bed.  I hope I’m much spunkier tomorrow!

Epic Snowbirds

A couple of days ago, the amazing Canadian Snowbirds came back to the Niagara District Airport to perform. I was asked to have my plane set up by noon as part of the ground display.


We certainly had a nice view of the DC-3 which flew in from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.


As we got everything set up nicely, the Snowbirds got themselves all ready to rock:


The gates to the general public opened up at 2:00.  Right away, kids started seeing “Dusty” and ran up to take a closer look.  For over an hour and a half, I lifted dozens of kids into my plane.  There were actually line ups!



It was a lot of fun and it felt great to see so many smiles.  I was very impressed that most of the parents were very good about making sure their kid(s) didn’t touch anything they shouldn’t.  My best friend came by with her parents and they sat under Vyctor’s wing and watched the stream of kids pass through.  I got to wave at her now and then but didn’t have much of a chance to sit and and chat.

Starting around 3:30, the Geronimo Skydiving Team were the first to perform.  I never get sick of seeing our flag:



Once the jumpers were down, the Snowbirds started up and the sound was magnificent.  I took a slightly higher view up on Vyctor’s step to watch them start up:


Just like their show here in 2017, they were amazing….it’s unreal how close they fly to each other and stay in such perfect formation:



It was amazing to watch and we are certainly hopeful they come back here within the next couple of years.

Once everyone had headed out, we pushed Vyctor back to the hangar for the night.  I’m going to have to go to the airport this weekend to wash all of the little kid shoe prints off of Vyctor’s door.  Hehe!

Today’s symptoms: I did really well over the last two days.  Today I woke up with a bad headache and quite a few aches and pains.  I’m fairly fatigued today too.  I’ll hopefully get a good sleep tonight and wake up all bright-eyed and bushy haired tomorrow!

First Virtual Reality Gaming Experience

Mike and I played our first virtual reality game.  We went to VR Wonderland at the Pen Centre in St. Catharines.  Since we’re both into zombie fighting games, we picked Zombyte.  The staff were very bubbly and motivating, which made the experience even better.  They explained everything and hooked us up.  We played for ten minutes and it was a blast!  They also have a room with a different VR gaming system that has over 70 other games.  We had a great time and I strongly recommend the experience.

Back to my other experiences I started mentioning in my previous blog.  I recently had Vyctor’s annual inspection done.  I flew him into Welland and my mother met up with me.  We went for a coffee and then wandered around the Seaway Mall for a bit.  Unfortunately, Vyctor needed a bit more work this time so he had to be kept overnight.  I was able to pick him up the next day, at which time, I introduced Donkay’s reincarnation (or at least one of them) to her first flight.  Introducing Squiggy:


I got her probably 20 years ago.  I have no idea why I bought her but I did.  She was just a “plane” (tee hee) starfish, so I pilotized her with goggles, a hat and scarf and now she’s ready to hit the runway!  She was all smiles before taxiing out onto the runway in Welland:


Is was a nice ten minute flight back home, and my new copilot (or at least one of them) was born:


I may have another one to join Squiggy coming soon.  Stay tuned!

Today’s symptoms: I actually felt decent for most of the weekend.  I had a really bad couple days on Thursday and especially Friday.  I had a dentist appointment and wasn’t even well enough to drive there.  My little mother had to pick me up and take me over.  I’m glad the bad days didn’t last too long.  

So Much Has Happened!

Since my last blog, which was forever ago (my bad), I have had the following great experiences.  I’m only going to share a couple tonight and will continue the saga soon:

I had my youngest passenger ever!  She was only seven!  My previous youngest was eight.  And she did aerobatics!  And she flew the plane!  I was so impressed.  She wanted to fly more than anything.  I couldn’t believe how forceful she was with the controls.  She had us doing steep turns!  I’m glad I made sure her seat wasn’t far enough forward so that she could adjust pitch too!  What a great experience it was for both of us.


Within a week I had another aerobatic victim……errrrrr……passenger.  His spouse was the winner of one of my flight gift certificates I donated to a local charity.  After circling around Niagara Falls, we came back to Niagara District Airport to do some aerobatics.  We did a bunch of maneuvers, with his wife watching from the Flying Club.  We all had a nice chat before they left and it certainly sounds like it’s a flight she would like to try.  She said that she had to psych herself up first.  I mentioned that usually when people try to psych themselves up for something, they end up psyching themselves out of it instead.  She seems like she would be fun to fly with so I hope she goes for it.

On a sad note, as you may have seen through FaceBook, little Donkay has gone missing.  I stupidly brought him into the Seaway Mall in Welland, and he must have come out of my pocket.  I’m so mad at myself for this.  I tried calling most of the stores we were in and no one had seen him.  My mother even went to a few of the places we were today, but no joy.  Here he is enjoying his last meal with me at the Fonthill Tim Hortons, within an hour before going missing:


Hooves crossed we get him back!

More to come soon regarding my good month (minus Donkay!)

Today’s symptoms: I did not have the greatest night, but actually felt pretty decent today.  My energy has been all over the place, as usual, but my lows haven’t been quite as low lately.  I certainly hope this continues!