Monday, March 24, 2014

Strange sights in the skies....

Last Thursday I took my daughter to Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. The park has a nice lake, a fountain, a good playground, a good field for playing, statuary and the like. A truly pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

But while we were walking from the car to the playground an ominous thrumming engine noise started. I looked across the lake expecting to see drag racers or the like. Instead I saw a large prop-driven plane come over the horizon. We were getting buzzed by a B-17! Yikes! Fortunately no bombs were dropped on us.

Shortly before that we had seen a blimp in the sky. But that was understandable, as the NCAA South Regional was in town.

Incidentally, it was a big weekend in Orlando. Besides the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney, complete with overall number one the University of Florida Men's Basketball Team, we also had the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament out at Bay Hill, the Winter Park Art Festival (which is a BIG DEAL here locally), and a visit by the President.

Which meant that shortly after downtown Orlando got buzzed by a blimp and a B-17, Air Force One was landing down at Orlando International Airport.

And this morning my daughter and I capped the whole weekend off with a little more fun. We dropped my wife off at work this morning, and as we were pulling out of the parking lot at her office my daughter (not yet four years old) said, "Daddy, that's the biggest blimp I've ever seen!" I looked back to see what she could possibly be looking at, and she was looking straight up. I opened up the screen over the moon-roof on the car, and about 200 feet straight above me (maybe less) was the gondola for the MetLife blimp! And it was going the direction we were headed!

We got a little in front of it and then parked to watch it go over again. And then I decided to give chase!

Now a car in good working order is much faster than a blimp. But the blimp doesn't have to wait for stop lights, or traffic, nor does it have to follow the road. If anything, the blimp had the advantage. We kept up for a little while, but it started pulling away as we hit traffic on Forest City Road. It started getting well ahead when I took Semoran heading west. The blimp was headed north, and I thought if I could get to 441 (Orange Blossom Trail), I could catch up and keep up for a while. Alas, it took to long to get to OBT, and the blimp was gone. I went north for a little while, and I do think I caught a glimpse of it a couple of times, but it wasn't meant to be.

And then on the way back, we passed the little airport outside of Apopka. And sitting outside one of the hangers was what looked like an old DC-3 painted up as a Pan Am plane. I wasn't expecting that! A plane made by a company that doesn't exist anymore (well, it kind of does, as part of Boeing, but not really), done up for an airline that doesn't exist any more, at an airport that most people that live in Central Florida have never heard of. A strange sight to end the weekend.

UPDATE: And my wife reminds me that Miley Cyrus is performing tonight here in town. Unfortunately, no bombs are likely to be dropped on her.

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