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Saturday, September 30, 2000

We'd been warned to get to the Air Show 2000 in Redding early, because of the parking, so we were at the airport at ten, well ahead of the noon start. That gave us plenty of time to walk around and look at the planes, large and small. They had everything from tiny experimental models to massive military transports you could walk through.

walking around at the air showcrowd watching planes

It was hot up here today, and the sun took a lot out of us. We slathered sunblock all over ourselves and each other, put ice down our backs, and drank a lot of the water they were selling for $2.50 a bottle. Thousands of people were there, but it never seemed too crowded. John and David took a lot of pictures with their expensive cameras, and I took a bunch with my digital. When you're aiming at the sky, though, it's hard to know exactly what you're getting.

biplaneFat Albert

The small stunt planes that opened the show put on a spectacular daredevil display of aerobatics, doing loops and stalls that defied belief (and gravity). We're a good audience, and we ate it up. The "ooohs" and "ahhhs" were genuine expressions of awe and respect.

We had a long wait before the main event, the exhibition by the Navy's Blue Angel team. We got a little impatient waiting out in the hot sun, but the show turned out to be worth it. The six pilots, flying in and out of various formations, were truly impressive. Every time you thought you had a minute to relax, one or two (or four) of them would come roaring out of an unexpected direction. The noise itself was incredible; you could feel the power of the engines.

Blue Angel crossoverclose formation

After the long wait, the show ended almost too soon. The people who waited for the parking lots to clear probably enjoyed the huge traffic jam created by those of us who jammed to our cars and inched our way through the maze of roadways to the exit, and then through the streets of Redding to I-5. It took an hour to get out of the lot, but the six of us in the van entertained ourselves well. We were fortunate to have the two little girls with us, because they are a treat in themselves.

By the time we got back to the houseboats, the first order of business was to wash off the muck of the day. Some of us did it by jumping in the lake, while others (me included) hit the showers.

We didn't want to stay in the marina another night, so we untied and cruised to a nearby cove. It was a gorgeous evening, and we were ready for some mellow time, after our day in the sun.

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