Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Break!!! January 7, 2010

Gladly slept in until 9:25 A.M.  Went downstairs and grabbed a quick breakfast before it closed at 9:30.  The door was shut behind me.

Outside was a "lovely" 600-foot overcast sky.  The parking lot was soaked...rain had passed through overnight.

So we took the day slow!!!  Reaaaaaal slow!!!

I talked to my brother for a little bit online...trying to get him set up to start investing.  I'm pretty excited about that.  We had high ambitions of eating around 12:30...but that didn't happen, either!  We finally left the hotel at 2:00-ish.  yikes!  My coat still hasn't come in yet...but I wish it would.  It is unbelievably frigid here.  Very unpleasant.  I think we had 25 degrees today.

We drove around looking for a nice "mom and pop" diner, but we didn't find much.  We stopped at a gas-station-converted-into-a-lounge, and I was quickly suffocated by the heavy smoke.  It was full of old skinny people drinking and smoking.  At 2:00 in the afternoon.  Hmm.  This town is crazy.  We drove around lookin' for other places, but we found nothing.  So we headed towards the airport.  We stopped at a resaurant on the way out...but they closed at 2:00...25 minutes earlier.  I asked what they recommended...the pointed me towards a restaurant 10 miles down the road.  So I pointed the car out of town...into the abyss.  And after 10 miles, I came to the, too, was closed.  Didn't open until 5:00 P.M.  I took a ride towards a small town...and I found myself in the middle of the woods.  Dense forest.  <sigh>

Then I received a phone call from John.  More on him later.  He said to get back in town...that there was absolutely NOTHING out this way.  Crap.  I drove the 12 miles back into town...and we stopped at a lil' cozy restaurant.  Open less than a year.  Grabbed a sandwich and some gumbo.  Very good.  I do love the southern cajun food.  That is about the only thing they have going for them.  No, I'm not kidding.  Even the locals say this town is worthless.  The owner told us about the businesses that have left town in the past couple of decades...and weeks.  It's not pretty.

From there we went to the airport for our "scouting" flight.  Frankly, we knew we couldn't take pictures, but our parent company loves when we at least make an effort.  Gladly.  The clouds were at 600 feet still, but we didn't care.  We were hoppin' over to an airport just 4.5 miles away.  An Army helicopter had landed on the ramp...overheard what we were plannin'...and said "good luck."  We couldn't even get up to 1000 feet, he said.  They had a hard time staying at 400.  ha!

So we talked it over...planned some more...and then made a call to the Tower to even see if we could get a special VFR out of there for three airplanes.  He said we could!  ha!  Perfect.  We headed out for our planes.  And, oh, what a FAST pre-flight you do when it is this cold outside!!!!!  I HATE cold!!!  And the wind was painful!  Not even fun.  I jumped into the plane as fast as I could.

I was the first to get airborne, and a few hundred feet up, I had one of the biggest "drops" in my seat I've ever had!  Quite abrupt and painful!  My airspeed dropped 20 knots in the blink of an eye, and I felt my bowels trying to come out from places they shouldn't!  ouch!  And just like that, it was over.  <sigh>  Stinkin' gusts.  So this is how it's goin' to be, huh?

Well, I made the quick jump over to Pineville and lined myself up for Runway 36.  It was a pretty uneventful landing, though it was fun to have a crosswind to deal with.  I think we had 330 at 11 gusting to 20.  Not terrible, but certainly different than the calm you can grow accustomed to.  I landed and went inside.  Jeff came over and did a touch-and-go and was off again.  He simply loves flying...can't get enough of it.  Matt came in behind him.

We chilled over at Pineville for about a half hour...then came on back.  Of course, I did a touch-and-go before I came back, which was enjoyable.  We had all three of us in the pattern...Jeff, me, then Matt.  I landed with 20 degrees of flaps, then quickly pulled back 10 degrees, and gave it full throttle!  3000 feet of runway.  And these Cessna's don't even need half of it.  Pretty fun.

Landed back to Alexandria.  I had logged 0.7.  ha!

But I had a date!!!  Well, kind of.  I had found a couch-surfing host here in town, and they had invited me over for supper.  So I quickly took Matt and Jeff back to the hotel, found the address, then took them back to the airport, then headed for couples' house.  It was out in the middle of nowhere!!!

But what a fun night it was.  John and Diane greeted me with a glass of wine, then we just started talking.  It was definitely a get-to-know-you type deal!  Which was fine by me!  He is a lawyer in town...used to be an electrical engineer, but changed his mind...started a new career at age 30.  They love to travel and just returned from 3 weeks in Australia.  I'm the third couch-surfer they've hosted, and they said each experience has been grand!

We talked about everything.  John has some aviation in him, and he was asking me questions about my flying that even I was impressed with.  He definitely knew the aviation lingo pretty well.  He had spent 7 years in the service, and he had told me about the old method of taking pictures on one continous reel.  It's crazy how much we've progressed...and yet not much at all.

We watched the Rose Bowl a bit, although that was in the background.  We really, really just enjoyed talking.  They had a beautiful double-wide wrapped up in a log cabin.  It was kind of crazy!!!  They offered me a bed, but I had to refuse.  At one point in the conversation, John said he had one piece of advice for me..."Save your money."  As simple as that.  If I could save 10% of my income, then do it.  If 20, fantastic.  I interjected and asked about 75%!  ha!  I let him know that I am madly in love with investing...with saving...with working with money.  I just love it.

The night was just enjoyable.  We all had a great time together.  It certainly was enjoyable to get a home-cooked meal (pork chops, potatoes with cheese, and corn...2 servings!) and wonderful to sit down in a living room.  I know they appreciated the conversation, too.  We just had a great time.  I left around 9:45.

I headed back to the airport, picked the guys up from where they had been playing Xbox...but not before I watched the last six minutes of the Rose Bowl.  Great game...was going to come down to the wire until the fumble.  Another game in the books.

Came back to the hotel, ended up going to bed at midnight.  Set my alarm for 7:30 A.M.  I have a long flight tomorrow in order to get to my flight plans...

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