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Bensalem, Philadelphia, Chincoteague

Flying the Edge of America

Tuesday, August 19, 2008: Bensalem, Pennsylvania

We had to bid New York City farewell this morning as we drove back to Islip and then flew to Bensalem in Pennsylvania. The town, which was founded in 1692, is almost as old as the state of Pennsylvania itself, which was founded in 1682. Today it is all strip malls and if you want to by a bottle of wine forget it, as we could not find wine no matter how hard we tried only beer.

It is interesting watching how the countryside has changed from mostly green uninhabited forests to suburbs rolling off to the horizon in all directions.

The weather was clear but a bit hazy and the flight went without incident. The only problem I had was copying down my flight clearance from the traffic controller at Islip as his accent was so thick it took me three attempts before I could figure out what he was saying. It sure was fun flying over JFK airport and watching the big birds taxi about.

Our plan is to head into Philadelphia tomorrow to tour the sights.

Flight to Bensalem

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Julia cracking up over the cracked bell.

We drove into Philadelphia this morning and soon arrived at the Independence Visitors Center. We visited the Liberty Bell, which was a British made bell that signified liberty and then America's independence from Britain and got cracked along the way. We took the tour of Independence Hall, where all the top documents of independence were discussed and signed. Wandered around the First Bank of the USA, where many original portraits of the founding fathers, and mothers, hang.

We ate yummy food and drank delicious wine at the City Tavern, which is a reconstruction of a tavern that John Adams used to hang out at. Then we experienced the fabulous audio visual presentation at the National Constitutional Center.

Barry looking very prominent.

It was inspiring to be surrounded by so much history and the ghosts of the founding fathers, and mothers. Then we came across the bronze statue of Barry; and this of course made our day. Barry, the unsung hero of the revolution, was one of the more prominent members of this band of nation builders. After seeing the statue of Barry we felt we could return to our hotel renewed in our faith of this great nation's history. Only one question remained, who was this Barry guy?

Thursday, August 21, 2008: Chincoteague, Virginia

Not looking too happy about the very bad lunch we had.

We blasted off for Ocean City, Maryland this morning and once on the ground we drove to Chincoteague and Assateague, Virginia to hike the Island and National Seashore. The flight was in bright sunshine and smooth air. It was good to leave cities behind us for awhile, to surround ourselves with corn fields once more.

When we arrived on the island I took two steps out of our car and was ravaged by mosquitoes. It was so odd that I had survived so many other attacks but was completely blindsided by these little buggers. I must have recieved 20 bites in the space of 5 minutes from the bloodthirsty creatures.

Ocean City Flight Video

Friday, August 22, 2008

A rocket that packs a Wallops.

We did our hike of Chincoteague Island and its National Seashore today with full anti-mosquitoes gear in place. But we got bitten anyway as the mosquitoes here have amour piercing capabilities. The good news was there was not much to hike just a short loop so our exposure was limited. We had to give our last remaining mosquito spray to two poor tourists that had taken their bikes on the trail wearing only shorts and tank tops; they were being eaten alive so we could do nothing else but take pity on then by giving them our spray.

After the hike we made our way to a NASA facility we had passed by on our way to the island. It turns out that the NASA Wallops facility is located next to Chincoteague. Wallops, is NASA's oldest space test facility and is still launching rockets to this very day. Formed after world war two Wallops is still performing pilotless aircraft, scientific balloons, sounding rockets, and Earth sciences research. In fact Julia and I both heard a bang early this morning. We did not pay much mind to it when we found a bottle of water we put in the refrigerator had frozen and exploded. However, it turned out the noise we had heard was a rocket launch which had occurred at five in the morning and had to be aborted because of a systems failure not our water bottle exploding as we had thought.

We are off to Washington DC tomorrow and I am stealing myself for our flight through the most secure airspace in the USA.

Trip stats

Obama: 16

McCain: 3

Undecided: 2

Miles Hiked: 144

Miles Flown: 5,872

States Visited: 20

Towns Visited: 32


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