I stated on Twitter Friday afternoon that the weekend forecast made it look as if the best flying day for the weekend was going to be.... Monday. And it was.
Sunday dawned with low-ish clouds and 12 knot winds. Flyable if I had somewhere to go, but I've found that Co-pilot Rick's extended vacation in Maui has caused a rather sizable hole to form in the flying schedule. Sure, I can fly without him, but I've grown accustomed to the additional ballast he provides to settle Papa down in choppy air. And without Rick, well, just who would fly the bumpy legs? Me?? No, I'd sooner leave Papa in the hangar and fulfill my fatherly duty to pass down my driving skills to Co-pilot Egg in order to ensure that she will follow in my hereditary footsteps. Which is to say, to make sure she's as obnoxious and aggressive on the road as her dear old dad. But, you gotta crawl before you can walk, and you gotta walk before you can run into other people, so we're still working on the basics.
I've mentioned before that it helps to have a destination in mind (and programmed into the GPS) before departing, so we decided on a road trip to Yellow Springs. And by 'we decided,' I mean 'I dictated'. She wanted to go to the mall. Again. I couldn't take the chance of an honest debate not going my way. Daddy's prerogative.
You may never have heard of Yellow Springs, OH, so I will help you visualize it. Have you ever heard of Berkeley, California? Ok, start with that, but remove the incredibly lush scenery and shrink it down to a postage stamp size. But don't shrink the prevalent political viewpoints. There ya go: Yellow Springs. It's where Ohio hippies that can't afford to move to Berkeley live. Me, I'm all about exposing Egg to diverse viewpoints and encouraging her to keep an open mind. Well, an open mind to my explanations about why they're completely wrong about literally everything, of course, but yeah, an open mind.
We took rural country roads on the way there and it was, for the most part, a relatively uneventful drive. By 'relatively' I mean that I only slapped my foot on the illusory passenger-side brake pedal a half dozen times. As opposed to doing that a handful of times while trying to avoid a wreck just getting out of the neighborhood, as I have in recent memory. She's definitely showing progress. Daddy is proud!
As much as learning to drive has been a learning experience for her, it has been for me as well. Seriously, there's not much to do while driving through Central Ohio other than talk. And as we've been going to places, I learn more and more about what she knows that I didn't think she knew. You're probably thinking that I'm talking about the swear words I use when she scares me, and she has surely learned a few of those as we drive, but that's not really what I'm getting at. She already knew all of them (and more!) from school. Here, I'll provide an example of what I mean:
The Import House. Sounds benign, right? Well, I forgot where we were. In we went.
"Hey, Dad, this place is full of bongs!"
You know how a series of thoughts can pass through your mind in the blink of an eye? Well, here's how mine went:
Hey, wait a minute! She knows what a bong is???
How did that happen??
Omagawd, I'm getting soooo old.
She then said, "How is this even legal?"
"Ah, there you go: Daddy's little Republican!"
So, yeah, we didn't spend much time or any money in The Import House.
But you know what she had never actually seen before?
So, off to the Comic Book store, filled with visions of Archie & Jughead, Richie Rich the Poor Little Rich Boy, and maybe a super hero or two.
As I was thinking that it might be time to beat another hasty and ignominious retreat, I heard her talking to The Comic Book Guy:
"Do you have any DeathNote," she asked.
"Whhaaaaatttttt??? I thought. What the heck is Death Note???
Japanese "comic" books. Manga, in the vernacular.
Geez, now she not only knew more than I thought she did, she knew stuff that I didn't!
On the way back to our car, (she will undoubtedly note the use of 'our' instead of 'the' or 'my') I had to stop and read the political tenets on public display on a Toyota:
I really don't think this guy fully understood the intent of this one:
I don't think it is meant to be in favor of robbing Peter, but I can sure see how Paul might think it's a pretty good deal.
We stopped to pick up a couple of racks of BBQ ribs to take home for dinner:
They were phenomenal, and the Meat Is Murder pamphlet that they included made for excellent dinner time reading.
The low lying clouds were long gone by Monday afternoon so I took the opportunity to pop over to MadCo for some 100LL for Papa. It was a nice flight over, albeit a little bumpy (and me without a co-pilot!!), but the air was that kind of see-forever clear that makes the Ohio farmscape look like an extremely detailed HO train setup. A sign of the season was the number of combines out in the fields harvesting crops of soybeans and corn. Scenic, but such a sad foreboding of the winter to come.
Despite the choppy air, the ground winds were nearly dead calm and I made a very nice landing at MadCo. Papa took 21 gallons, but the bite in the wallet was somewhat mitigated by the $3.91 price.
Flying back, the air had calmed down and was providing a smooth and comfortable ride. Just as I was thinking how easy it would be to become complacent in this kind of weather, a Citabria (or Decathlon) went winging past at my altitude and about a half mile away. Surprise! I hadn't heard Bolton clear anyone for takeoff, and the GPS showed that we were both well inside Bolton's class D airspace. After the tower had cleared me to land, I asked if anyone had departed recently.
I told him about the other airplane.
"Never heard of him, never saw him, and he didn't come from here."
Thank goodness for the clear air! And, if nothing else, a great reminder of why we keep looking, no matter where we are.