76F in FL, Grace at the wheel of a Deuce and a half, grateful


Just to remind people that snow doesn’t have to happen, a few photos from our airpark taken today, January 11th. It was sunny and 76 degrees in Northern Florida. Brothers Jim and Paul, both vets who donate huge amounts of time to our local military museum, drove over in two of their personal vehicles, a 1967 M-35 and a 1963 M-37. We had a bit of fun driving them around the airport.

To our friends in Minnesota, Yes, I am rubbing it in a bit about the weather. Before you know it, the flying season will migrate back up north and we will be into a new year of aviation. Make your plans now.

For us down here, another month or so of this and it will be snake season again. If you are cold right now and need a reminder of why you don’t live in the tropics, click on this link:

Fun with Agkistrodon Piscivorus and Vern’s Aero-Trike

or this one:

Let It Not Rain




Above, Grace behind the wheel of the M-35. In slang terms, this is a “Deuce and a Half” because it is a 2.5 ton truck. (That is the off road rating, it carries twice that on road.) It is 10 wheel drive and sports a “Multi-fuel” straight six turbo diesel made by White. These engines burn any kind of fuel: Diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, even gasoline diluted with old motor oil.



Above, I cut a lap around the airpark in the M-37. Technically it is a “3/4 ton truck” but most people know them as a weapons carrier.



Grace and Scoob E exiting the M-37.



Above, friends hanging out. On the left, Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter, whom many people have met at Corvair Colleges and Oshkosh. Jim’s son, Jim, Paul, and our friend Alex, whom you read about in the story: Sunday, a long day at the airport.



It is fun to live in a place where it is normal for friends to stop by with an M-37.  When Paul drove over, Grace and Scoob E were relaxing at the side yard in a hammock. Grace’s attire should tell you I am not kidding about today’s weather. Down here the leaves come off the trees the first week of December, but the green buds come out by the end of February. Behind Grace is the little creek that runs past our place. To clarify for people up north, this creek is filled with something called water, which is made of a liquid form of ice and snow. -ww.

Note from Grace: “The book pictured above is one I can highly recommend, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL known as the most lethal sniper in American military history. After the military hardware rolled out of our airpark to beat the thunderstorm rolling in, I couldn’t help but think about all the troops they’d carried into godforsaken places to ensure all of us here at home had the freedom to read what we wanted any given day. And how many troops never made it home. Or returned home broken physically or mentally.

A few years ago during my parents’ 50th anniversary cruise around the Caribbean, while my parents took the bus tour I spent the afternoon snorkeling and drinking rum punch with a lovely couple from Michigan. He told me he’d retired from the police force there, but it didn’t take a detective to figure out he was a soldier before that. I asked him where he served, and he said Vietnam. I thanked him for serving our country and he told me I was the only person ever who had thanked him for his service to our country. Then he cried. And I cried. And his wife was dumbstruck for a moment, then held him tight. She had never seen him cry. I apologized on behalf of those Americans either too oblivious, ungrateful, shy or afraid of being corny to express their gratitude. Nothing a little more rum punch couldn’t fix that afternoon, but that’s never a real solution. Too many people from the top of our government down to the lowliest civilians don’t treat veterans returning from the war on terror today much better than they did in the Vietnam era. I don’t know how to fix that other than to continue to thank our military for their service to our country, and encourage all of you to do the same.”

5 Replies to “76F in FL, Grace at the wheel of a Deuce and a half, grateful”

  1. well, here in columbus it was 50 today, thats only 60 degrees warmer than it was here on monday! you do the math

  2. Hi William and Grace,

    I learned a long time ago to deal with the weather here in Newfoundland. I had a couple of excellent flying trips over the Christmas holidays in spite of record cold and snowfall. Upon returning from an hour flight one day I found my bottle of water which was lying on the seat frozen solid. After one snowfall last week I spent 5 hours with the snowblower and shovel knocking down an 8ft. drift in front of the hangar. One of my neighbours commented “You’re nuts-you must really want to fly!!” What some may call nuts I call determination.

    Jeff Moores

  3. Hi William and Grace,
    One deuce and a half memory from USAF/Air Guard days is driving from Tonopah,NE to Salt Lake City hauling a radar unit on a trailer after we had broken down the unit in the snow. Then we caught a flight back to Denver where it was only cold instead of colder.

    Sad to learn of Don Pietenpol’s passing. The Air Camper plans we have were ordered from him. In “modern times” it is good to keep a dream alive and bring an example to see the light of day.


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