23 June, 2008

Relaxation Weekend....

Kind of. I bid Michigan farewell on Friday at noon, and made the quick sprint back to Ohio to start the short week of rest before BC. Asheville's Pisgah queen, Beth Roberts, was flying up to join me for three days of mental centering, eating and drinking well, good friends, and urban Clevo-riding. We met at the Mohican 100, and somewhere between my throwing up with food poisoning all night, and her departure a few days later, I was able to make enough of an impression on her for her to join me for life's adventures. Beats me where that actually happened, but enough war wounds with the stories to back it, coupled with Big Lebowski references and she had me at hello.

Adventure numero uno. My newly ex-euro, but long time friend Jen is back in the states and finishing up one of her pilot's licenses, i think the next one allows her to fly planes with two engines, but for now, a 1965 single engine will do.I had images of some kind of Indiana Jones sized planes, but the Beechcraft Supercub was even smaller than that. Here's our pilot Jen getting into the cockpit. Apparently you don't have to where a uniform when you own the plane.The cabin is loud, so you have to wear headphones to communicate with everyone else in the plane, but ATC is always jumping in with pesky directions to keep our plane from colliding with other planes. Our catching up and chit chatting was mixed with instructions to climb to this altitude or that, and more "niner's" than a conversation with Fuzzy and Deejay. We took off from Cuyahoga County Airport and were in Erie, PA in about 35 minutes, achieving what was apparently a fast ground speed, 130 mph. One of these dials probably says that. I tried to figure the whole thing out, and finally figured out the altimiter, but the dial that displayed our heading was beyond me, as was the complicated CB. All I knew was that as long as the lake was on our left we were heading in the right direction. The flight was a lot smoother than I expected, and clouds are a lot harder than I expected. Jen doesn't actually fly through most clouds, but deviates around them just enough to stay on course and satisfy ATC. But, when one of the cottonlike clouds is too big or stretched out to actually go around, we go through, and get tossed around, fishtailing slightly in each direction, or dropping a few feet suddenly, and come out with a few drops of water on the windshield. Something I still can't get my head around. All in all it was a really clear day, and we got a nice view of the Ohio lakefront countryside all the way to the PA border, including the Perry Nuclear Power plant. Sure beats google earth for planning a century.
We landed in Erie and picked up our VIP passenger, my very bewildered looking Bella. When your friend owns a plane, you use it to do dumb things like go pick up your dog from your family. Heck, Jen uses it to go have lunch in Cincinnati or Ashtabula (Ash-tab-u-la), picking up a Jack Russell is perfectly par for the course. The return trip was a little slower, our ground speed was hovering just above 90mph as we battled a major headwind, and quite a bit of turbulence on the way home. I kept humming La Bamba, just quiet enough that my headset mic didn't click on, didn't wanna scare anyone.The landing was smooth. An amazing feet considering that at 3000 ft, you apparently set the engine to idle, and simply perform a controlled fall from the sky. The cabin goes silent, and you kind of wave back and forth like a leaf falling out of the sky, only you are still moving forward at about 100 mph. Really amazing, my hats off to Jen, who, in case you happen to own a private jet, is available to fly you anywhere you want to go.

What's next. I have one day to pack for BC. I've arranged 7 days of shit on my bed, and am now working to fit it into suitcases. What's making it worse, everyone I talk to seams to have a suggestion for something else I need. Thus far the prize goes to Thad Hoffman, suggesting Gax X.

Hoping to get one more of these rattled off before I leave, but probably won't be writing anything during the race. Expect a big photo dump, blessed with captions at best, when I return.


Beth said...

"Asheville's Pisgah queen" !?... not sure I deserve that, just so the people know.. Princess might work better- (plus it's an alliteration)

Jen was a superstar pilot and I can't wait for her to fly down and lead me up some climbs... Jen if you are out there- email me, you too Tara!

Thanks for the weekend of adventures see you in Pisgah next time.

cornfed said...

Nice glasses there Maverick.

Talk to me Goose.

Your Wingman.