Sunday, May 30, 2010

The (Not So) Big Day--May 29, 2010


Woke up at 7:10 A.M.  Grabbed some breakfast, took a shower, headed for the airport.  I stopped by a Subway on the way there to buy my lunch for later.  I have a feeling I'll pretty much be doing this every day.  Went out to the airplane, then headed for the skies.  It was a bit windy on the ground already, with a steady 15 knots coming in from 310.

But the ride itself was absolutely perfect.  It's soooooooo nice to fly when it's smooth!  I'm just quite simply not used to it as of late.  Having spent six weeks on the opposite side of the Rocky Mountains in Denver...well, I learned to hate flying real quick.  But today was a welcome relief.

I climbed up to 10,500 on my 75-mile journey to my flight plan.  I was cruising right at 139 knots.  But I had a heater was not working.  NOT good.  It was -10 degrees at altitude.  And it was a bit drafty down by my feet.  I close all of the vents, and that helped, but even then, a body can't last too long in that type of cold.  And I refuse to fly numb.  I arrived on station and completed my first line.  Perfect!  What a nice day (outside of the cold toes)!  But I was going west-bound...I was eager to see what I would be doing in the turn.  And sure enough, my speed sky-rocketed.  I was doing 180 knots!  Yikes!  So I pulled back the manifold pressure.  Still doing 167.  Hmm.  I trimmed the airplane up, but I still couldn't get below 150.  I was missing picture after picture.  Not good.  I circled around and tried to do a north-south plan.  The south line completed perfectly!  But I made the turn, and it was more of the same.  I just couldn't stay within the speed parameters!!!  Or frankly, get anywhere close to them!  I was constantly 10-15 knots too fast AFTER I was all trimmed up!  <sigh>

And on top of it all, I STILL couldn't get my heater to work.  I tried everything...I checked the breaker, I checked the fuel, I turned it on and off, I primed it...but nothing.  My hands were starting to get cold.  My toes were border-line numb...I just had no where to put them.  This has GOT to be fixed.  Soon.

I could do every west-bound line and every south-bound line.  But that would leave me with a problem the next time I came out.  I debated dropping down to an airport and trying again in a few hours, but that didn't sound too appealing, either.  The airports out here are pretty desolate.  So I begrudgingly pointed the bird back towards Grand Junction.  Today just wasn't going to happen.

Agh, I was disappointed!  I mean, I won't lie, I really had no desire to fly 8-10 hours today.  But I would have at least taken a solid 4-5!!!  Oh well.  Not much I can do about it.  I landed back at Grand Junction where the winds on the ground were 17, gusting to 25.  I had logged just 1.9 hours.

But now I had a whole day on my hands.  I headed back to the hotel and spent most of the rest of the day inside.  Just pootin' around on the internet, not really DOING anything.  I checked out ducks for my backyard...seriously.  They would make for a unique pet, hmm?!  I ate my Subway sandwich in my room around 12:30, then chilled inside until supper.  I then walked downtown and grabbed a sandwich and fed a couple of birds with the bread.  They were so tame!  I came back to the hotel, and outside of an 8 o'clock McDonald's hot-fudge sundae run, I stayed inside.

It was kind of a bad day.  Just one of those where you observe a whole lot but realize you can't do anything about anything.  I thought about the state of the airline industry and how it is pretty much in shambles.  I read articles on flights being taken away.  I talked to another fellow pilot on the road about coming back next year.  It's not really my number one choice, but where else can I go?  There is no movement.  It's a thought I would just rather not think about, frankly.  I want to fly people.  Yet I have no way of doing that.  I've applied at every airline under the sun, yet I've heard NOTHING back.  Not a word.

And it's hard to think about coming back because my other thoughts revolved around this whole lifestyle.  I sat on the hotel balcony for awhile and just watched people coming and going.  Several motorcycles pulled up, and all I wanted to do was go on a motorcycle trip.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.  With friends.  I wanted to have a girl on the back, I wanted to have people I rode with.  I wanted to have friends.  But I just had to watch.

It's loneliness, I reckon.  I don't know anyone, no one knows me.  And there just isn't much to do to change that.  I'm only going to be here for two weeks, and as much as I would like to meet people (I try), I know that it's really a fruitless endeavor.  I'm just ready to be done.  I really am.  I've got 17 more days.  Just two and a half weeks.  Yet today made that seem like forever.  I'm just ready to have a "normal" life where I can know people.  Where people can know me.   And, frankly, I don't even know what that looks like anymore.  I've been on the road in some form or another for nearly three years now.  Everyone in my life is a quickie.  A here today, gone tomorrow.  It's got its perks (not a lot of drama), but it has a huge crater of emptiness with it, too.  I guess I'm just ready to fill that big hole.

17 days.  Just 17 days.  I'm just tryin' to take them one day at a time...

And I know I've said it before with no results (insert today), but I am really feeling good about tomorrow.  The winds are looking superb!  Probably the best since I've been here.  So I'm thinking TOMORROW is going to be a loooooooong day!!!  But as I've seen so many times before, anything can happen.  I mean, if I can't feel my toes after three hours, you better believe I'm coming down to land.

Went to bed at 11:00 P.M.  Alarm is set for 7:10 A.M.

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