Friday, July 25, 2014
I put on a motion sickness patch, that Uncle Stacy had prescribed, behind my ear before getting in bed. Sleepiness is a side effect, but I kept waking up a lot. I did sleep a lot in the plane later in day, but that may have been because we didn’t sleep very long that night. Aunt Marisol made us quite the breakfast, and then we loaded up everything and drove to Leesburg Airport. We swapped the car for the Piper Cherokee in the hangar, fueled up, and then were on our way. We were a little concerned about the little Cherokee being able to take off with the three of us, our bags, and a full fuel load on a super hot day, but it rotated like a champ.
Uncle Stacy and Berck take turns with one person flying and the other working the radio and navigating. I sit in the back, and if I’m behind Berck’s seat, I can put my legs down in front of me … kinda. If I’m behind Uncle Stacy, I have to curl them up in the seat next to me. The Cherokee supposedly has 4 seats, but you can probably only fit four very small, skinny people and no luggage and still be under gross weight.
The original plan had been to do a fuel stop in Montgomery, but the weather there was bad. So we decided to stop at LaGrange instead. We had to fly dodging clouds and finding holes to descend down to the airport. Atlanta Center had been complaining that our transponder wasn’t showing our correct altitude, so we asked at the FBO if the shop there could take a look at it, because we weren’t going to be able to fly into the relatively busy Nashville airport without it. The mechanics told us they didn’t have the correct equipment to test the transponder, and we couldn’t fly to Atlanta to get it fixed because we couldn’t fly into Atlanta airspace without it. “But,” one of the mechanics said, “There’s a guy in Columbus, which is only 30 miles away, who should be able to.” He called up the guy and told him we were coming. “Go to Stark Aviation.”
So we got back in the plane and flew a few minutes in the wrong direction and landed at Columbus. An advantage of being in Columbus was that we could stay with friends of mine (that’s where I grew up) if the fix was going to take too long. The guy at Stark dropped everything and got right to work on our plane. We went into the air conditioned lobby to wait. Suddenly, Berck said, “I think this is the guy on the RV forums who’s always giving people really helpful advice… I bet it’s him!” He went back out to the hangar. Sure enough. This guy is possibly the best avionics mechanic in the country, and we had just stumbled into his shop! Berck watched him do his thing. Apparently, the transponder’s pins had bent, so he just bent them all back into the correct orientation, and it worked great! He showed Berck everything, which is nice, because Berck is going to be mounting avionics into the plane we’re building before long. And he only charged us $95.
As nice as it would have been to see some friends in Columbus, if we’d gotten stuck there, The plan was to have dinner with Sydney in Nashville.
By now it was mid afternoon, though, and the thunderstorms were building. We took off from Columbus just before it started raining, and then with the help of Columbus tower who called us to tell us we were heading straight into a cell, dodged thunderstorms in a roundabout route to Nashville. We also got a warning call from Center saying we were on a path to bust some restricted airspace containing “live firing and fighter jets.”
We flew really high to try to get cooler, all the way to 10,000 feet. It was nice and cool up there. I read my book and fell asleep again. It was also a really smooth flight, no turbulence, and I had my ginger ale and ginger snaps and didn’t feel any nausea whatsoever.
When we left Columbus, the weather over Nashville was bad, but by the time we got there it was fine. The FBO gave us a ride off the ramp in a golf cart and told us they’d fill our tanks in the morning so we’d get the weekend fuel rate, a whole dollar a gallon off the regular price. We called Sydney to come pick us up. We dropped our stuff off at her house and then her boyfriend Shawn drove us, even though we could have walked, to Two Ten Jack (I requested it because of the mosquitos, and it was dusk). Somehow, even though there was a line, we got seated immediately. We shared all the sushi, yakatori, dumplings, etc., Everything was very good. Then Berck wanted to stop by Bolton’s Hot Chicken, but unfortunately, the person in front of him had just placed an enormous order. The hot chicken was still as delicious and spicy as ever. Uncle Stacy had a strip, which he regretted the next day. Then he went to bed while Sydney tried to teach us how to play Dominion (a beardless board game), while we drank beer and tried to get our lips to stop burning.
Here are pictures of Sydney’s pets:
And even Jorge