Monday, April 11

On the Road Again

As on all the other mornings, we gather at the special DC-3 check in area and get TSA clearance passes. Zane has does some negotiating and arranged for our bags to be checked. And so we get through TSA process without a hassle. Anil Kumar is there, as he has been everyday, to escort us to the plane. He is sick and has been on duty for 13 straight days so once he gets us in the air, he plans to go home. Meanwhile, he is as pleasant and helpful as ever.

The engines are running now, about 10AM, so I guess I am about to lose signal. The destination immediately is Chino to an air museum, then somewhere near Tucson for overnight. As soon as we are airborne, everyone is again into the snacks and thankful especially for the bagels Patti provided.

The flight to Chino is about three hours and en route we pass more snow covered mountains than we did on the flight out. It seems even colder in the cabin than ever and the passengers are huddled under layers of coats and blankets. Most of them are asleep and Zane jokes that sleep is what comes just before you freeze to death. Captain Buffington flies this leg and makes a wonderful landing. Steve Jacobson is co-pilot.

At Chino, the air is cool and pleasant. The first thing we see is a neat row of very attractive, large hangers in front of the plane. We ask for bathroom facilities and are directed to a porta-potty quite a distance away. Young Jacob takes off at a run, followed at a much slower pace by Sheryl and Peggy. Along the way, they ask more passers-by for more suitable facilities to no avail. The stench of the potty is pretty bad, but Peggy bravely heads in. Too late to save her, a golf cart magically appears and a nice man offers Sheryl a ride to a "real potty." He takes her and Steve to Les Whittlesey's hangar where there is the most pristine and shiny Lockheed 10 one has ever seen. He says that they had parked next to our plane at Sun and Fun two years ago and so knew who we were when we landed. He and another man then ferry the group to the Planes of Fame Museum.

The museum is very well done, covers a lot of ground and a good number of their planes can and do fly. It is a toss up with the Pima in quality. There are many, many planes and hangers and a real nice gift shop. They are in the process of restoring a B-26 bomber.

At 3PM Sheryl's phone rings and summons her group of four back to the plane where the others await. WHAT? No lunch?? Thank you again, Patti, for the snacks.... 'cause that is what saved us from starvation as no one had taken time for breakfast. While we were here, the temperature has warmed considerably and the interior of the plane is hot. It takes awhile, but at some point, everyone is bundled again. Jacob stretches out in the aisle and sleeps the whole next leg with the other passengers stepping over and around him.

Just at sundown we land in Tucson. The Executive FBO there has the best service of any we have encountered on our trip and we tell them so. They are immediately at our side with a large van to load our luggage and take us to our hotel. We opt for the hotel restaurant where the server not only remembers us, but remembers that Zane drinks diet soda.

Well, folks the question from an earlier post is answered. Pilots either do run out of flying stories, or they run out of steam, because not a single one is told. This group of warriors are road weary. The core group has been together and on the road for 26 days. About half are one day from the barn, but the other half have "more miles to go before they rest."

No comments:

Post a Comment