Meeting Charlie, and a grand tour!
Apr 3, 2009
|What a fine day we had today!
Some time back, one of our readers, a fine gentleman named, Charlie Waller, sent an e-mail explaining that he had been reading this journal for some time, enjoyed it, and saw that we were going to be in Brackettville, Texas. He reads Kit & Jerry's blog too!
Charlie extended an invitation to come visit Uvalde, where he would show us around. He explained that in Uvalde, there is a nice aviation museum at the local airport.
He could also arrange a tour of some fine war birds in a separate hangar.
In addition to that, he would arrange for a tour of Sierra Industries, which offers many different performance enhancing modifications on the Cessna Citation aircraft. Because I flew and taught Citations for more than 27 years, I was interested in all of those activities.
One more thing was that the First State Bank of Uvalde has a tremendous art collection and we might like to see that.
I called Charlie yesterday and we firmed up plans for our get-together, arranging to meet at 10:00 AM this morning.
Kit & Jerry, Marilyn and I, all jumped into the car at 8:15 and headed east toward Uvalde, forty miles away on Hwy 90.
We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast, coffee and conversation, before driving out to the airport.
The timing was pretty good. As we drove up to the Aviation Museum hangar, we noticed a gentleman with a cowboy hat getting out of a white pickup. We assumed that this was Charlie and the big smile on his face when he saw us, assured us that we were correct.
He knew us from the many pictures on our journals.
We shook hands and Charlie gave the gals a big hug as we all introduced ourselves.
Charlie began his tour by showing us his beautiful 1959 Cessna 172, which is in showroom condition. The awesome “King Ranch” version of leather interior is immaculate! I have a couple of pictures for you airplane lovers. Charlie does have his airplane for sale but I didn’t ask the price. Now I wish I had asked.
Next, Charlie introduced us to a gentleman named Herb, who has been restoring a 1943 PT-19, for the past 21 years. It is better than new, and he plans to fly it to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in July. I have pictures of that plane also.
We looked over an old Singer manufactured, Link trainer, called a GAT-1. (Guess what! Another picture!)
We took the time to explore the museum and look at the many displays. I could easily have spent hours there!
From the museum, we walked across the ramp area to another hangar, where we saw a P-51 painted just like Chuck Yeager’s, called “Glamorous Glenn”. Chuck Yeager had autographed the aircraft just under the canopy.
We walked around in this immaculately clean hangar, admiring the T-6, the T-28 and several other aircraft, all shiny and bright as new.
We spent quite a bit of time here, before driving around the airport to Sierra Industries.
This tour was led by a friend of Charlie, a nice guy named Joe.
We saw many aircraft in various stages of modification and repair. The performance of the “stock” Citations of older vintage is greatly enhanced in a variety of ways, but the primary change is the Williams FJ-44 engines in place of the older P-W engines, increasing speed and climb capability to the aircraft.
I was impressed!
Once we left the airport, we followed Charlie to the First State Bank of Uvalde, to see the amazing collection of art and antiques. This is like no other bank in the country. The art collection included at least two original Rembrandts.
We were allowed to take pictures wherever we went all day, so I have pictures to show you.
Charles is not only a fine tour guide, but a very interesting person and we were all enjoying his company, so I offered to buy his lunch if he would lead us to a good place to have a late lunch.
That was the least we could do, after he went to all of the trouble for us. What a pleasure it is to meet the good folks who read our journal and take the time to correspond with us.
Charlie led us to a fine BBQ place called simply “Evett’s BBQ”, if I remember correctly.
We enjoyed some mighty fine Texas BBQ while Charlie entertained us with colorful stories of local people, places and history.
By the time we said goodbye to this fine man, we knew for sure that we had been treated to a very pleasant day!
Charlie, we thank you very much! It is a pleasure to count you among our friends, and I hope we meet again.
Please extend our thanks to Joe and the other gentlemen who helped to make this a special day for us.
We talked about how much we enjoyed the day, for most of the ride back to Fort Clark.
Jerry made a stop at John & Libby’s place so that we could see the Casita they have built. It is really quite nice! We also met their cat, named “RV”.
Back at our own little home on wheels, we kicked back to relax. Marilyn has decided that she will pop some popcorn and we can watch a movie this evening. We have about a dozen DVD’s that we have not yet watched so we’ll find something.
Now I need to get this posted, along with a bunch of pictures, for you loyal readers.
Tonight we’ll relax, and then we’ll see what adventures tomorrow has in store…..