Saturday, June 05, 2010

Desolation Poem

Found this while organizing today, a poem I wrote when climbing Desolation mountain in Washington:

Such a sense of relief when I saw my han-shan campground
halaluja and thanks to the world!
Legs and lungs burning the last mile, through the alpine fields, a hint of autumn

Ice tinkles, drops splatter the cover on my pack

Sterno didn't work, warm cocoa and chocolate bar for dinner,
my leg shakes as a crouch in the cold

Nearly 9pm and the ice still comes down
time to rest and meet tomorrow fresh

Bip bop, ting ting, swishhhhhhh

Monday, November 09, 2009

For those of you that don't know, Amber and I now have a beautiful baby boy, Ayrton Michael. I've been posting things about him and our family at I'll post here from time to time as well, but come on over to the Geiger family site and check it out!

From Ayrton Michael Geiger - Newborn photos

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Geiger Family Blog

Amber and I just created a new blog for our new baby! Check it out here:

Geiger Family Blog

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our Honeymoon!!!

Our honeymoon was wonderful! Everyone in the Dominican Republic was very friendly and our resort was amazing! Thanks to Amber's aunt Jill for booking our trip for us. Enjoy the photos!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bachelor Party!!!

I just had my bachelor party; it was a blast! Photos are posted below, enjoy!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Engagement Photos

Amber and I had our engagement photos taken in October. I just had the chance to scan them today. Click the link below to see all of them. Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

A new pilot (taking Sam and Neil flying)

A month or so ago, my friend Neil called me and asked me if we could take his daughter Sam flying. I have taken her flying two times before, the first after she saw the Blue Angels flying over Spirit airport and decided she might like to be a Blue Angel. Few things in this world are as rewarding as showing a new person the world of flight. I have taken many people for their first small airplane flight, and the look on their face when they see the world from above is priceless.

In Sam's case, I first took her flying when she was four. I used a pillow as a booster seat so she could see over the instrument panel. I let her handle the controls and was delighted to see that she has some real inborn flying ability! I told Neil this and asked him to bring her back as long as she stays interested.

Sam is now seven and doesn't need the pillow anymore. I took her and Neil up on a nice fall day, just before a cold front pushed through. As before, I turned Sam loose on the controls. She flew the plane for over 5 minutes without any major assistance from me. I even gave her some headings to roll out on and she was able to do it. After she flew for a bit, I found some clouds to play with and we circled them for a bit, so she could see them up close. After a bit of that, we headed back and landed.

Sam now has three entries in her logbook. She is well on her way to having a lot of fun with Aviation if she stays interested in it. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to introduce her a little bit of my world of flight (thanks Neil)!

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Sun, Rocks, Snow and Scree (walking in Kerouac's footsteps)

I just returned from my hike in the North Cascades. I hiked to Desolation Peak, where Jack Keroauc spent a summer as a lookout in 1956, his expereince detailed in "Desolation Angels". "Desolation Angels" is a hugely inspirational book for me and I always wanted to experience what Kerouac did; the beauty, tranqulity, and absolute truth of the mountain.

I started off by getting my backcountry permit at the ranger station. I was thrilled to discover that I would be the only camper in the entire north half of the park! After getting my permit, I stayed the night at the Skagit River Resort in a wonderful little cabin. I also got to visit with the large rabbit population they have living there; I saw over 50 rabbits!

Sunday morning dawned and I was ready for my hike. I drove up the North Cascades highway to a remote parking lot. From there, I hiked a mile to the edge of Ross Lake, where a boat picked me up and ferried me to my trailhead, ten miles north. At 9am, the boat guy said "good luck" and left. I wouldn't see another human for two days.

The hike from the trailhead to my camp took six hours. The trail was very steep and gained 4000 feet in 4 miles. I should have trained a lot harder for it, but I did make it to the top around 3pm. Once on top, I had a great view of the entire cascades range.

I also saw a storm system moving in from the west, so I quickly setup camp and got inside my tent. It started sleeting/snowing around 4pm and didn't let up until around 8pm. I cooked some quick dinner and then got back in the tent and the comfort of my sleeping bag. I wrote and read until about 9:30pm. By then I was really beat, so I went to sleep.

I woke the next morning at 7am, cooked breakfast, and started up the trail to the summit, another mile and 1000 feet up. It had snowed heavily overnight and the trail was very wet but still visible. At 5500 feet, I got my first and only view of Hozomeen mountain and the lookout shack on the peak. I stopped, removed my pack, and spent a quiet few minutes enjoying the same view Keroauc first saw in 1956.

Another monster storm was quickly moving in on the top of the mountain, so I enjoyed the view and then headed back down. The snow that fell would have covered the trail completely, making getting back down difficult.

Once back at camp, I packed up all of my gear, said a quick thank-you to the mountain for treating me well, and then started the long trek down the mountain. The trail was so steep that it quickly turned my knees and legs into burning jelly. The scree on the trail that made climbing up so easy made coming back down very slippery. I cursed the scree continually but settled into a steady pace, letting my feet fall where they chose and letting gravity do the work. I stopped for lunch in the beautiful but very steep alpine meadow.

It took 4.5 hours, but I finally made it to the bottom. Once I got to the trailhead, I removed my pack, found a nice big rock to lay on, and enjoyed the sun and view while drying off.

Abount an hour later, my boat taxi showed up. As I sat in the back of the boat and looked back at Desolation Peak, I still couldn't believe that I had actually climbed it! I was also delighted with the fact that the weather had really been quite bad, but it didn't dampen my enjoyment at all. In fact, being up there with all the elements made the trip much more rewarding.

The boat taxi dropped me off at the trail to the car. I still had to hike one more mile to the car, which was really tough. I finally made it up there around 5:30pm. I collapsed, let out a huge woop, and then took a photo before I got in the car, to remember the feeling.

This experience was a big one for me. I finally got to see the mountain that inspired Kerouac's writing, which inspired me as well. I also got to spend two days in absolute peace and tranquilty. It was a refreshing break from the busyness of the city. I plan to go back next year in early September; this time I will make it to the summit and see the entire Cascade range from that little lookout shack at 6000 feet. It truly was a trip I will remember forever.

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"Desolation in October"

Desolation Peak
ice and snow on my tent-
so hard to come down

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Flying the 737

Last weekend, I went to Houston with a bunch of my flying buddies (Jim, Dave, Dad, Donn, and Norm) to attend the ATOP course at Continental. ATOP (Airline Training Orientation Program) was created by Wayne Phillips to give pilots an intro to what it's like to train for and fly an airliner. This was the third time Dad and I have attended, the second for Jim and Dave, and the first for Donn and Norm. Our steed for the weekend was the 737-300.

We met Wayne for breakfast/orientation around 9am and started ground school about 10am. Ask any airline pilot about training and they'll say the same thing: "It's like drinking from a fire hose." We were in the classroom from 10am to 5pm with several short breaks. We learned electrics, pneumatics, hydraulics, pressurization, and startup flows (steps to start the engines). To give you an idea of what we covered, a common question might be, “what items are affected by a loss of A hydraulic system pressure?” Incredibly boring for most, but strangely fun for 737 fans! By the end of class, our brains were turning to jelly but we had learned a lot. After class, we still had to hit the computer lab for more training and then the CPT (cockpit procedures trainer) to practice for the next day’s flight. Here’s us in the classroom and CPT trying to stay awake:

After CPT time, we headed to the hotel bar and had some dinner. Our sim time was 6am the next morning.

We arrived at the training center ready to fly at 6am. Our first job was to go from a “cold” airplane to engines started in the FBS (fixed-base simulator). We also all did our high-altitude signoff, in case we ever get the chance to fly something pressurized. Getting the airplane started is half the fun; we all did a good job and had fun. Here’s us in the FBS:

After FBS sessions were done, Wayne gave us good/bad news. Our sim (the 737-300) had broken, so our sim time had been moved to 4am tomorrow. Yes that’s right, 4am! We grumbled until he told us we would get to fly the 737-800! The -800 is one of the newest airplanes Continental flies and has an all-glass cockpit. This made the 4am sim session worth it. Wayne turned us loose for the day and told us to meet him at the training center at 3:50am tomorrow. We then got some lunch and visited NASA (see post below). Most of us hit the sack early (9pm for me) but some were out late with a Continental crew coming off duty for the week (you know who you are).

The alarm went off at 3am and we were up and going, although somewhat slowly. We arrived at the training center on-time and went to the sim bay. Dave and I had chosen to go first and I would fly as Captain first. No pressure!

We strapped into our seats, got takeoff clearance and took off. Having flown the sim before, I didn’t have much trouble keeping everything where it should be. Wayne knew that so he gave me continuous turbulence which made things more challenging. While I flew he threw several systems failures at Dave; Dave handling everything great. I was now setup on my first approach. On short final, I lowered the nose a bit much, but got things together and got a good landing and touch-and-go (you can do things like touch-and-gos in the sim!). For my second approach, Wayne set the weather low (400 feet ceiling and 1 mile visibility). I flew a good approach and made another good landing. The 737 is an easy airplane the fly and I really felt at home in it. Dave and I even managed to work some good jokes in as well. If the flight attendant ever asks for someone to fly the plane since the crew had the fish, I’ll be ready!

After I flew, Dad and Jim flew, then Dave flew as Captain and I flew as his First Officer. While FO, Wayne threw 5-6 different failures at me, which Dave and I figured out and fixed. The biggest was total hydraulic failure, which left us with cables to move the flight controls. It was doable, but like lifting weights just to turn! Dave did a great job flying and flew some nice approaches. Lastly, Dad and Jim flew again. They both did very well, as did Donn and Norm in the other session.

After our sim session ended at 6am, we thanked Wayne and went to get breakfast. After that, we checked out of the hotel and flew back to STL. I got home around 2pm and slept until 6pm and went to bed at 9pm. Our ATOP weekend was very tiring but very rewarding. We all had a great time together, learned a lot, and told more flying stories than I can count!

ATOP allows pilots to experience the airline pilot life for a weekend and see if it fits them. I love flying the 737 but hate staying in hotels and making virtually no money for five years. Right now, I am much happier working my day job and instructing on the weekends. It’s very rewarding and lets me enjoy flying as a serious hobby instead of a job. Maybe someday, that will change and I’ll make the move to jets and “the show”. Until then, I’ll keep practicing my Captain’s cabin announcement and drink for the fire hose every few years.

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The grandest nerdery of them all...NASA!

While in Houston, our ATOP group was fortunate to receive a special private tour of NASA Mission Control. Dave's sister-in-law Beth and her husband made it all possible.

We first visited the Shuttle Control Center. Since the shuttle is on the ground at the moment, the room was empty, allowing us to roam around.

Next, we visited the observation room for the ISS control room. The astronauts were sleeping at the time, but there was still cool stuff to see, such as the live track of the ISS (It was over South America when we were watching).

Our final stop in the building was the old mission control room, where Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were handled. It was amazing to stand and sit where so many historic missions were controlled! Here's the flight control desk (you saw Gene sitting here in Apollo 13):

Once we left the building, we also stopped by the rocket display. The Saturn V rocket was being restored, but we did get a good "Right Stuff" shot in front of the F-1 engine (1,500,000 lbs of thrust!):

Our tour of NASA was an amazing experience! A big thanks to Beth, Hai, Delene and Lark for making it happen!

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Football Season is Over..

Rolling Stone has published a story containing Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note and the details of his wake. The key detail is that his ashes were shot from a 153-foot-tall cannon with the Gonzo symbol at the top. Read, enjoy, and remember Hunter as he was, a blade of truth in a world of deception.

Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mold-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of "the rat race" is not yet final.
-- HUNTER S. THOMPSON, 1937-2005

"Football Season is Over"