Amsterdam, day one and two

The flight over wasn’t awful. I can’t think of any highlights from flying nine hours with an almost one year old, but we survived and we’re here.

Ava checks out the boarding passengers

We had a failed plan (proposed by me) where I would sleep 3-4 hours on Unisom, then take over and Leah would sleep 3-4 hours. I took my pill, then attempted to sleep for a couple of hours while Leah dealt with an often-screaming Ava. She hadn’t taken her morning nap, so she was already a wreck by the time we were on the plane. Not much sleep for me. Then, later, Leah took half of a pill, got an hour and change of downtime while Ava napped in the Ergo, and then had to groggily help me take care of Ava. But, on a positive note, we all slept roughly an hour at the very end of the flight.

Yesterday, we landed at about 9 am, then took the train to our accommodations. It’s a lovely flat in the Jordaan district we found on Airbnb. The owner is the Dutch ambassador to Sudan, and their place is filled with trinkets and pictures of their travels — the perfect place for us.

Leah and Ava look out the window


After a quick two and a half hour nap, we took off for a walk, some lunch, and grocery shopping.

Bob stroller is the best thing ever


Our lunch was at Pane & Olio, a welcome departure from all of the tourist cafes nearby. Ava had quiche, Leah a prosciutto sandwich, and I a slice of salami pizza. The lunch special, some sort of macaroni dish, looked quite good.

For dinner, I cooked up chicken with sweet potatoes, onions and brussel sprouts. What I love most about Airbnb is that travel accommodation can easily become a home away from home. For us, home-cooked meals are a key ingredient.

Last night wasn’t too bad. We all woke up for a couple of hours around midnight. Ava got to sleep in our bed because we didn’t want her crying to wake up the neighbors. Ava and I woke up around 6:30 am, and Leah slept in until 8 or so.

Leah’s time for the laptop!

Today we: walked to the Van Gogh museum in the morning, came home for naps (me one hour, Leah an hour and a half, and Ava two hours), and went on a canal tour in the afternoon. Dinner was SushiMe — not quite as good as Ichiban ?

Classic Amsterdam homes

Goofing off on the boat

180 degrees south

It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the smog of every day busyness. Constant emails and things to do can point you in a direction you simply assume is progress.

Project shipped — on to the next one. Always working towards more, better, faster. Busy, busy Baxton.

In some senses, I think connectedness makes us a surrogate for the goals of the network. We lose our individuality. I have always been a wanderer, and even I have been subsumed.

Tonight, I’m flying down to Peru to meet up with Leah and do some good old fashioned trekking. She’s been in-country since last week, working up a storm. I hear Belen Hospital may even soon have a website on We’ll meet in Lima and take a bus to Huaraz.

Huaraz is known as one of the best launch points in South America for outdoor adventure. It sits at 10,000 feet in a valley nestled between two of the tallest mountain ranges in the world. We’ll spend a day or so getting our gear together and adjusting to the altitude. Once we’re ready, a three or four day trek on the Santa Cruz trail awaits.

For reading material, I have William Hertling’s AI Apocalypse (sequel to the epic Avogadro Corp.), Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games, and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. To occupy the hours of walking and dinners made over a camp stove, I have the best traveling companion in the world.

The unexamined life may not be worth living, but I find it harder and harder every day to put aside time to examine it. Fortunately, there are still many adventures to be had. In those adventures I can find the opportunity to wander.

¡Hasta luego! See you all on the 29th.

Solo cross-country to Sunriver

Took advantage of the good weather and VIP’s semi-flexible tools rotation to do my final required cross-country work before my checkride. Departed Twin Oaks for Sunriver via Salem. The flight over the Cascades was a little bumpy so I climbed up to 9,500 ft. Total time to Sunriver was 1.6 hours.

For the return, I flew north from Sunriver to the Dalles and then cut down the Gorge. One of the neatest things about this trip was having what’s called flight following. This is where either Portland or Seattle has you on radar the entire time. They’ll then give you traffic advisories if your flight path is crossing another plane’s. It’s also a nice amonut of banter to keep you company as you spend a few hours solo in the cockpit. The flight back took 2.1 hours.

These photos and videos are a bit of what I saw along the way (gradually improving my aerial photography).

Continue reading “Solo cross-country to Sunriver”

Today’s flight along the coast

Today’s flight along the coast was my first solo cross-country. Originating from Twin Oaks Airpark, I flew a Cessna 150, N66589, towards McMinnville and then onward to the coast. It took me to 1.1 hours to get to Newport where I landed, hung out for a little bit, filed a new flight plan, and then returned home in 1.0 hours.

Like I mentioned on Twitter earlier, there’s a really sweet app for the iPad called ForeFlight that allows me to plan my route, look up weather along the way, and file my flight plan. Here’s what it looked like for the flight down there.

7S3 to ONP

Without an iPad, producing the flight plan takes about 10x longer than with. Such is the real-world value of technology. Of course, I have to do it the pen and paper way first because I’m “learning.”

Totally awesome…

Solo flight




Yesterday wasn’t my first solo, but it was my first time going through the whole process on my own: preflighting the plane, fueling, determining my flight plan, flying, etc. I took off towards McMinnville, did three touch-n-goes there, and then flew around some clouds to get back to Twin Oaks.

It was awesome, to say the least. I’m at a neat point in my training now too — I have endorsements to land at Twin Oaks, Aurora, or McMinnville, and am free to fly whenever I’d like (and the weather is good enough). Going forward, I need to complete some cross country work with my instructor, practice maneuvers for my checkride, and pass my written.

Plus, some video: