Staying on the ground is all-Wright with me!

Sunday dawned bright and early and we slowly got moving to the Wright Brothers Memorial which was a short distance from our hotel. We got there in time for a talk from one of the park rangers and what I got to hear was really interesting. I unfortunately had to chase down the children so my dad who has a background in mechanical engineering stayed to hear all of it. I will have him take over to fill you in on what he learned.

  • The Wright Brothers were bicycle shop mechanics from Dayton, OH.
  • They used their success from the bicycle shop to fund their aviation dreams.
  • They started by building gliders and invented a system to warp the wings that allowed them to roll left or right.
  • They wrote to the national weather service to find the windiest cities and chose Kitty Hawk for it’s privacy.
  • They began testing their gliders by flying them like a massive kite.
  • They progressed to manning the gliders and in 1901 flew a 22 foot glider for 389 feet.
  • They built a wind tunnel to test different wing shapes.
  • They built a new 32 foot glider based on the results from the wind tunnel and were able to fly 622 feet lasting 26 seconds.
  • Charlie Taylor, their best bicycle machinist, designed and built an engine for their “flying machine.”
  • The Engine included a propeller, weighed 200 pounds, and produced 12 horsepower.
  • On December 17, 1903 Orville won a coin toss that allowed him to fly first and he flew 120 feet lasting 12 seconds.
  • On the same day Wilbur flew 852 feet for 59 seconds.
  • John T. Daniels took a photo of the first flight using a camera that Orville had positioned. John had never seen a camera before and he was so excited that he almost forgot to take the picture.

Here’s a re-creation of where they lived– it looked pretty cozy, I wanted to curl up and take a pup nap. You can see the marker showing where they started to try to fly in the distance (a big rock I tried to mark but my parents wouldn’t let me for some reason).

It was a brisk day– in the 40s and boy was it windy!! It made it a little easier to imagine what it must have been like for the Wright Brothers that cold day in December. I am a dog who loves the cold so I was happy to be there, but my mom shivers to think of those guys out there in just suits and not bundled up. We had a wonderful time running from the start marker (big rock below, again, tried to leave my mark but was thwarted) to the first attempt, 2nd attempt, and 3rd attempt marker.

Here’s the final marker- phew, made it! Still loving that brisk weather.

Following our races we made our way towards the monument (shown in the first picture of giant obelisk). Originally the dune upon which the monument was erected was 400 feet closer to where the first flight was. Being that it is a dune and easily moved by wind, it shifted and the National Park Service decided to plant it with vegetation to keep it in place.  Otherwise I imagine the area would have looked a lot more like Jockey’s Ridge than it does now. It is always mind boggling to imagine what things looked like over a hundred years ago. Here’s the view we saw from the monument.

It is a gradual incline to 90 feet but whew it was work getting to the top!  The monument itself is simple yet beautiful; it was dedicated in 1932 with Orville Wright present for the ceremony. Just showing you the picture again since I feel I look rather stoic and handsome in this particular photo.

Here I am hanging out at the base of that giant monument. I am the king of the castle. I may be smiling because I have gotten lots of treats already today. I love treats.

My parents wanted pictures along the way to document our adventure at Kitty Hawk. You know the old saying about old dogs and new tricks and I was already 8 as we embarked on our photographic journey documenting our travels together. My mom gets sad when she thinks about me getting older but I quite like the wisdom that goes along with my age and I haven’t slowed down that much.

My parents have always taken pictures of me along the way, but never to the extent they do now, and I think they have figured out that I am too smart for them. Just at the moment we are going to take a picture I do the opposite of what they need me to do (even if I was just doing what they needed me to do right before the camera was ready). It is kind of a fun little game I like to play with them. So being the good dog parents they are, they resorted to the old standby- bribery- to get good photos of me. This arrangement suits me quite well. They have found the Zukes Mini Naturals Dog Treats to be the ticket. Mom likes their smaller size so she’s not as worried about me having more than one and filling up on treats.

When researching what treats to buy, my parents liked the Zuke’s because they don’t have any fillers, by-products, artificial colors or flavors in addition to not containing corn, soy, or wheat. Mom also finds it comforting to know that they are crafted in the USA, and that the company’s quality and safety control standards exceed AAFCO guidelines. And the fact that they come in a resealable pouch is nice for keeping them fresh and tasty.

Full disclosure here– the treats weren’t perfect for getting me to pose; I enjoy my new game too much. I think if they were to wave a spoonful of peanut butter (my favorite), I probably still wouldn’t pose either. I have a good thing going here and I’m just too smart for them. But for a start they worked really well! Plus I really enjoyed the flavor – I have a discerning palate and won’t eat just anything. Well, maybe that’s not true….when it comes to actual food products I won’t eat just anything. They purchased the Chicken Recipe, but I’d like to try the duck and salmon as well.

After taking a few pictures to document our hike to the top, we moseyed back down to the other side of the monument where there’s a newer monument they’ve erected of a replica of the plane, with statues of the men standing around. It was really neat to see and gave us a perspective of the scale and a little bit of what they experienced. I think the kids enjoyed getting to run around and were quite confused by the life like statues of the people – Mom had to explain to my youngest human that the statues weren’t real and were made of metal. Yet again I wasn’t allowed to pee on the statues. What kind of a park is this? Mom still can’t get over the way Orville was suspended in the plane as they made the first flight. She would have been terrified– she doesn’t even like flying today. I can’t say I’d enjoy flying like that either, I’ve never been in an airplane and I’m okay with that. When I have the zoomies that’s as close as I get to flying and that’s just fine with me.