Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cross Country! December 9, 2009

Woke up at 7:30.  I had to force myself to get up.  I was DEEP in the middle of a dream.  I was bewildered when the alarm went off.  But I forced myself into the shower.  I HAD to stay out of the bed.

Grabbed some breakfast, checked out, returned the car to Enterprise (where the woman honored the rate...the woman that gave us the car even!), drove out to the airport, and started packing in the bitterly cold weather.  Bitterly cold.  The woman told me it was 19 earlier that morning.  Bleh.

Mom and I packed everything in...and we were cramped!!!  It was pretty comical to watch her try to swing her legs in...then get buckled!  I even had a hard time getting in myself!  We had so much luggage in there!  But we finally managed to get in.  We weren't going anywhere!  She wondered how we could ever get cold being that bunched together!  She had a point.

I started the engine, then taxied over to Runway 35.  I had to wait a solid 5 minutes just waiting for the oil temp to come up.  It was so cold.  I had on a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and my thick winter jacket.  I felt great!  We finally took off...the 172 was noticeably different in handling.  She didn't move very quickly when I put in full throttle!  C'mon, girl!  And we only climbed out at 600 fpm, not the 1200 I can usually get!

But we were off.  We had 1100 miles to get behind us today.  We lifted off at 9:30, a bit later than anticipated, but we were at least airborne.  I climbed up to 3500 feet, where it was a freezing 20 degrees.  I was doing 128 knots.  About a half hour into the flight, the controller recommended I try 5500 feet for winds.  He told me at my current altitude, the winds were out of the north...but higher up the winds were out of the west.  I was much obliged.  At 5500 feet, we were doing 145 knots.  Thank you, kind sir!

I put it on auto-pilot, then sat back and enjoyed the scenery.  Mom pulled out a book and started reading.  ha!  I couldn't believe it!  Different people have different tastes, though.  I can look out the window the entire time.  Obvious others aren't bred the same way.

We flew all the way to Gulf Shores, Mississippi, for our first fuel stop.  Kenton arrived an hour ahead of us from Cleburne, but he waited on us.  We checked the weather, realized we weren't going to be able to get around a line of thunderstorms, so we took our time.  We grabbed the courtesy van, then headed to High Cotton Cafe.  No joke.

We came back to the FBO.  A hangar still had the remnants of Hurricane Katrina visible...a roof was torn apart.  It could easily hold 8 jets.  I wonder why someone doesn't change that!!!  Hmm.  We hopped back in the planes, then headed as far east as we could go...Pensacola.  We landed and checked the hotels and weather.  We had no ride to the hotels here, they were way over $100, and the storm had moved east a bit more.  We continued on.

This time it was dark.  But we only had 40 miles to go.  Destination:  Destin, Florida.  Where I had stayed a month earlier.  A beautiful flight over.  So smooth.  That ocean is full of nothing, though.  It's so black over there.  Creepy.

Did the approach to 32 over the water, over the resorts, then on the pavement.  I love that approach.

The line guys came out and gave us blue carpet treatment.  haha.  That's the color it was.  One of the nicest FBO's I've visited, though.  They are simply top-notch.  I love when we are treated the same, whether 172 or Citation X.  It's nice.  I guess people feel that way, too.  Plain-jane or model.  Hmm.

Went to the hotel, then out to eat, tried to walk to the ocean with mom (but private rich-people gates prevented us), then did some laundry.  Last night is catching up with me, though.  So tired.  So very, very tired.  Went to bed at 10:30.  I have 500 more miles to do tomorrow!  But that thunderstorm is still in between me and Fort Lauderdale.  I'm not sure it's going to be possible.

We'll see how far we can get.

Mom's happy, though.  It's 65 here.  Dad said it was 9 back in Illinois.  No thanks.  I just don't miss it.

Another long day tomorrow.

So tired.

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