The Flying Indian Girl

Wilber Wright Circling the Statue of Liberty in 1909, Dean Mosher, 2013

Yesterday, was a day of rest. We unpacked our bags, did some laundry, and paid the bills that had been waiting for our return. This morning, our house is wrapped in fog, an outside fog that matches my interior mental fog that hopefully enough coffee will dispel. There are more things to do today, as we pick up the pieces of our homelife. This day we will do some chores, make some phone calls, and then dive headfirst into the onrushing Christmas season, but first let us revel a little bit here in our recently concluded journeys.

This painting, in the newly reopened Air and Space Museum commemorates Wilbur Wright’s 1909 flight in NYC. Celebrating the achievements of Henry Hudson and Robert Fulton, Wright had agreed that he would make a flight. In exchange, the city would pay him $15K. What worried Wilbur was that his flights would be over water. On the morning of the flight, he had made a modification to the Flyer: Beneath the lower wing, he had slung a bright red canoe, a top-of-the-line Indian Girl canoe made by the Rushton Canoe Company, it featured a sturdy 16′ frame made of northern white cedar, which Rushton claimed was nearly a third lighter than other cedars. In essence, the canoe turned the Flyer into the world’s first floatplane.

Taking off, he arose and flew east. A man in the crowd exclaimed, “I believe he’s off for Philadelphia!” Charlie Taylor, Wright’s crew chief, corrected him: “No, he will round the Statue of Liberty.” And so, he did. Crossing between Ellis and Liberty islands, Wilbur steadily gained altitude, then began a turn to the left, closing the distance to Lady Liberty. At an altitude of 200′, he passed in front of the statue, his wingtips only a few hundred feet from her waist. He then flew back to Governors Island and landed, completing a flight of 20 miles.

Back Home in the USA

Lower Falls, Hocking Hills

Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
We touched down again back home after being away
After driving around it’s good to be back home, from all over the USA
New York, Washington DC, oh, how I learned from you
Ann Arbor, Rochester, Cleveland, and Malden too
Let alone just to be at my home back in old St. Lou
Did I see the skyscrapers, did I see the long freeways?
From the coasts of the Great Lakes to the shores of Boston Bay
You can bet your life I did, when touring the USA
Looking hard for a drive-in, searching for a corner cafe
Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
Yeah, and a jukebox jumping with records like from the 60’s in the USA
Well, I am so glad I’m living in the USA
Yes, I am so glad I’m living in the USA
Anything you want, we got right here in the USA
— With Apologies to Chuck Berry

This morning, we hiked the second half of the Old Man Trail. Anne is seen above posing with her souvenir old man ($9.99 at the gift shop). After leaving the park, we headed west and eventually arrived home, safe and sound. After three weeks on the road, it will be good to sleep in our own bed tonight.