Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Highway 63

I've been to this airport before. I remember that you can't buy fuel on Sundays, but today is Saturday, and it turns out we've landed at the same time as another pilot who has a key to the pump, so she can fuel any time she likes. When she has filled the tiny tanks on her Cessna single, we stretch the hose out to our tanks and put in fifteen times as much fuel. (The fueller who filled us beside at the FBO next to the solar-powered coke bottles said we had set a record for the amount of avgas she had ever put in one plane. But we were really empty then. I'd gone a couple of minutes into our reserves, because we were working overhead the airport, and there was another one just down the valley, in case of emergency). We go in and pay, and call a cab, which arrives eventually, in the manner of small town cabs on the weekend.

It's an okay hotel, but it's on the edge of town, and the town is spread out enough that it would take about forty-five minutes to walk to a restaurant. And probably as long to get that cab back again, so we order pizza. We try to avoid eating pizza on the road, because eventually we'll be forced to, and we want it to be a treat. We eat the pizza together in my room, while watching a show called "Naked and Alone." It's kind of like Survivor except without the odd psychological games and the uncanny ability of the women to maintain an absence of bodily hair through the whole ordeal. There are actually two people, and they do start out naked, but have made themselves television-acceptable clothing by the time I tune in. They are really miserable: diarrhea from eating too much fruit, driven crazy from insect bites, and one of them doesn't like seafood, but the other one makes him eat it. At the end they get scores out of ten for their survival skills.

In the morning we come down to breakfast, standard motel breakfast of wrapped muffins, fruit, and make-your-own waffles. We ask the clerk if she can call us a cab. There are no cabs here until 9 am. The airport is not actually very far away from the hotel, but we'll be behind schedule if we throw in a half hour walk with our baggage. Back to the breakfast room to chat with the guys in reflective outwear and work boots. They have trucks. I ask them where they work.

"We work on highway 63."

They didn't even know there was an airport around here, but agree to make a small detour to drop us off. I've hitched rides before with a friend of the hotel receptionist, a medevac pilot, someone who just came to drop off her friend at the airport, and the guy who came out to sell us the fuel. It's become just part of the adventure.


Christopher Thompson said...

I really enjoy your blog. I especially enjoy reading about you interacting with the locals. You have such a good-natured pragmatic view on the world and I am fascinated by your knowledge and perspective on aviation.

I do find that I am a little misty-eyes to return from California to the northern parts of Canada after reading.

Travel safely. Thank you for always making my day a little more enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

An adventure it is!! Weather dependent scanning or pictures, no-name airports and hotels, what sure sounds like an antique airplane and often having to beg for fuel. An adventure for certain. That company credit card is probably, physically worn out and long before its x-date. Mistress of the Norther Bush is a understatement of your skills and experience. At the end of the month I hope it is still fun. Gawd, yo must spend 50% of your time on paperwork. Fly happy and always fly safe...-C.

Sarah said...

Highway 63 revisited... Funny. I look at TV when I'm in a hotel somewhere too.

A couple weeks ago the channel scan turned up a show, and I'm not making this up, "Fat Guys in the Woods". Which was exactly what the title said it was. I watched a shivering fat guy try to light a fire with soggy matches for a couple minutes and decided a book was far more entertaining.