Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Big Day Out

Poor Co-pilot Egg. She loves her living quarters away off to the east where she's going to college except for one thing: fair week. her little house is right next to the fairgrounds and the noise is bothersome to say the least.  Loud bands, even louder tractor pulls, and don't even get her started on the two nights of demolition derbies.

I can sympathize with her plight after a couple of years of living in a far worse place that was also adjacent to the fairgrounds; in my case, it was the Ohio State Fairgrounds. I remember quite vividly being awakened by someone pounding on my back door at some ridiculous time like 2:30 am. I groggily opened the door to find a large female police officer. 

"Sir, it looks like a carney has broken into your car. Could you please come out and verify that it is, in fact, your car?"

"Uh, sure," I muttered as I began the long walk through the back yard to the alley, where I had had to park because fair traffic had completely parked-up the road in front of the house where I usually parked.

"Sir? SIR!  Could you please put some clothes on first?"

So, yeah. I get what it means to have to live with fair week.

So, I thought it might be nice to use one of my few remaining vacation days to go visit her and walk over to see what the fair was all about.  The Co-owner accepted the invite to go with. We got an early start by having breakfast at Egg's favorite diner, which she is quite proud to have discovered on her own.  

The fairgrounds are very well kept, and I am intrigued by the oddly shaped livestock barn.

They have a neat little gift shop, too.

The midway is the typical collection of flim-flammery.  Toss a ping pong ball, win a soon-to-be-dead goldfish.

In addition to the gold fish disposal game, I also remember this one from back in the day. Air-powered BB machine guns: that's what this country used to be about. I'm more than a little surprised to see that it's still legal.  I remember one other thing about this game: it's might daggone hard to get every single piece of red off of that card!  The only reliable way to do it is to just shoot a line horizontally across the card to cut the bottom part off, but they are fully aware of that tactic and have banned it, as can be seen the rule posted on the far left.

I'm not sure I trusted the mechanical stuff even back in my more credulous days.

Everyone loves fair food, and I particularly like the specialized things like deep-fried cheese curds. There were lines at those places, but the we-do-it-all Walmart-of-Fair-Food place was wide open.

This is what I mean by specialization - I really, REALLY like it when they also have a motif:

I'm always amazed at the tremendous breadth of competitions they have.  Dried beans? Corn on the ear? Potatoes??

They even had a category for the most mutated potatoes!

The peppers provide a colorful display. I remain unclear as to what the judging criteria is, though:

We used to call this Indian Corn. Chances are it is now known as something less incendiary, now that it takes next to nothing to getting agitators worked up into a self-righteous lather:

Egg made another little piece of clutter for her house:

I didn't stop to see what constitutes a 'Hobo Steak," but given the means of your typical Hobo, I had to assume it isn't what we would normally refer to as "steak."  I was, as it turns out, quite wrong.

Ha ha ha, that little lamb wears glasses!

Egg is a huge fan of little pigs, which could have a lot to do with her blatant sigh of disgust when I said that it looked like they were practicing to be bacon:

It's amazing how county fairs bring back childhood memories. We had one of these on the farm when I was a kid. I'm not likely to ever forget the day I drove it off of a 6' bank into the creek. It took a Holmes 750 tow truck to yank it back out of there.

I don't think I've ever seen a cow so enjoying being groomed:

That was it for the fair, and we still had plenty of time to get home before I had to depart to the east for a chore that had cropped up unexpectedly for later in the day. Which was good, because we had passed a place on the way that I wanted to stop in and check out.

The deal with this is that I am starting to think about retirement. It's still pretty far over the horizon, but it's never too early to start trying to decide what to do with the second half of your life. My current thinking is that I want to move out of Ohio, mostly because I value novelty over the same-old same-old. I need a new playground, in other words. This is nothing spur-of-the-moment - we have made a couple of trips out west to see if there's anyplace out there that would work for us. 

My current thinking, however, is to move to Tennessee, where we would buy a condo. I'm thinking that somewhere in the Knoxville area would be good.  Athens, TN is a front-runner at this point. From there, we would only be five or six hours from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the Carolina coast, and the Mississippi River region.  And, of course, the Cumberland area and/or the Smokey Mountains.

Perfect travel distance for something like a nice 5th wheel.  The only problem was that I wasn't really very familiar with the quality of life to be had in a travel trailer, and I am somewhat accustomed to my luxuries. And the Co-owner would need to be fully on board with the idea, too. So, I thought, maybe we could pop in to the RV dealer we had drive past and check out what these trailers are like.

It went well, to say the least. As we stepped into our first trailer, the Co-owner could only say, "Wow!"

As to be expected, it didn't take long for a sales guy to come out and talk with us. His name was Jess, and he was the perfect mix of knowledge, willingness to listen to our neophyte questions, and no pressure at all to make an immediate sale. At some point mention was made of my airplane (seriously, I could work it into a conversation with a funeral director) and he asked if I would consider taking him for a ride. Well, sure!  I can't remember ever turning down a request for a ride - gives me an excuse to burn some gas!

The first trailer we looked at was fabulous, but it was also right up at the very top of the cost and weight chart. High weight means more expensive tow vehicle, and high cost means... high cost. Jess led us to a lower-cost (about half!!) trailer that we also liked quite a bit, mostly because of the more open floor plan.  It also had a pair of doors to block off the little living room from the rest of the trailer - togetherness flourishes when there can also be moments of privacy. I grabbed some pictures of this particular trailer from the dealer's web site:

It sure gave us something to think about!

We made it back in time to meet Kyle, Chief Charter Pilot for The Jackson Two, to give me a lift to Cadiz to pick up my plane from the paint shop.  I couldn't have timed a day off of work any better, as it turns out. What luck for the plane to be done on a day I had already scheduled off, and with such amazingly good weather!

I had seen a low-quality picture of the finished paint job, but it was ever so much better in person!

All I had to do was remember how to fly it after two months. It wasn't too bad.  The benign weather helped.

The only problem arose on the way back into Bolton. I called the tower when I was directly over Rickenbacker, which is about 10 miles east-ish from Bolton.

"Report two mile right base for runway four."

Piece of cake!  All I had to do was angle off slightly to the south so I would reach the airport at the base leg, rather than at midfield.

When I was five miles out, a Cessna that was doing touch & goes was turning left base. We would be going nose-to-nose.  I fully expected a call from the tower to ask for an update on my position, and sure enough....

"Four Delta Golf, say your position."

I figured he really just needed the distance since he should already have a pretty good idea of where I was headed, having given me the directions himself, so I just said, "Five miles east."

"Four Delta Golf, enter a midfield right downwind runway four."

Huh?  My mind went blank as I tried to visualize what he wanted me to do.  As I've said before, the flying skills deteriorate a little after a long gap in flying, but the ATC skills plummet.  Meanwhile, he gave the Cessna clearance to land. He came back to me.

"Four Delta Golf, did you hear my request?"

It finally came to me that he wanted me to go back up to the north a little bit, then turn left into a downwind to bring me back down to where I already was. He was trying to make space between me and the Cessna.

I keyed the mike, "Four Delta Golf copies: head north to enter a midfield right downwind, runway four."

He was testy. I had heard him struggling with a student pilot just a few minutes before - his patience was, it would seem, worn pretty thin.

"Four Delta Golf, if you are where you said you are, you would not need to go north for a midfield entry. Are you east, or are you south east?"

Not wanting to get into a discussion of being a mile or so south (or, in other words, being precisely where he instructed me to be) I just told him "I can make midfield easily."

Dripping with disgust: "Well, if you're already southwest, just report a two mile right base."

Fine.  Do what you told me to do in the first place. Got it.  Although what actually went our over the air was "Wilco."

At least the landing was good.

Oh, and this ain't nuthin': I HAVE MY AIRPLANE BACK!!

1 comment:

Steve said...

That's a damn sexy flying machine. Well worth the wait. And glad you got to fly her home on such a gorgeous, CAVU afternoon!

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