Saturday, 11 June 2011

Leaving Florida...

Saturday June 11, 2011

Early bird gets the fresh Bagel!

Something I am not going to miss for the next little while. How about some good Canadian Breakfast? Eggs, Bacon, Toast or even better some Pancakes slathered in butter and maple syrup. At this point just different sounds good.
With the Rental car returned to Tampa yesterday, followed by an outstanding Dinner at "Benetto's" in the Land of Lakes, Russell does the final honors and gives us a ride to the Hangar. A few photos, couple of folks to see us off, and we are finally starting the engine for the trip home. Spot Tracking is on, GPS up and running, no leaks, no sqeeuks, and communication a 5/5 minus a minor headset or intercom glitch. Did we get all those switches right. Is one on ISO? Hmmm? I wish all intercoms were "3S" intercom's, simple, solid and the same!
Looks like Hans can't hear me, and he has a hard time triggering the mic on his side. But at this point let's just get going. Enough fixing in KZPH, we can deal with that one along the way.
A last window polish, and with the run up done to the active 04 northbound it is. We are waddling along the taxiway like an overweight duck looking for a pond, more so than to take flight. We kept our luggage to a minimum, but it is funny how things always get bigger over time. The heat must have swelled our packs, I am sure. Blame it on the heat, after all the heat don't care, and seems everyone is complaining about the heat already as it is. Tampa Bay Tribune front page this morning 8 x 92 = HOT. Boy did we pick a time to do this!
Easing forward on the throttle, last check on the gauges, getting a little extra roll going before a slight back pressure lifts us in the air. I can only describe the rotation of a 701 as aggressive, being followed by what compares to translation in a helicopter, wondering if we going to settle back down or actually climb out. No worries, the moment is brief and the little Rotax is pulling us skyward at a steady pace. "Zephyrhills Traffic, Zero, Zero, Mike Echo is off zero four and departing northbound". I've been waiting to make this call for about a week now, to bad Hans can't hear it. He is just giving me an inquiring glance seeing if I am talking to him, patiently waiting for the "You have control" and getting some stick time in his nice new toy. First leg on the GPS is for KCGC and than up the coast for a little and on to Perry-Foley, 40J for fuel. It is a busy day in the air today. Passing Crystal River we a get call from an RV wishing us a great trip north. One of our visitors to the hangar from last week. Flying low level, combined with the bubble doors makes for some of the best Florida sightseeing yet. Easy to miss things when you never have mountain to take a good look around. But be forewarned they do have nearly 2000' high towers near the Georgia border...
The seat is not well padded and an hour in, my rear-end is already complaining bitterly, sending little pain messages down my legs. Missing the dual density seats from the Beaver and the accompanying leg room too... They build an 801 too, now that would be more my size!

2.3 hours later we roll up to the pumps in Perry Foley. Quick run to the air-conditioned pilot lounge, bathroom, internet, close one flight plan and shortly there after open the next. On the way back to the Pumps we notice we got company. A somewhat familiar, and very mint looking Carbon Cub from Cubcrafters in Yakima. I know this plane, I have seen this paint job, it is being pushed back from the Pumps to make room for us. N711..? help me out here; "are you the fellow that wrote the article in Kitplanes about the trip from Yakima to Florida?" a big grin rolls up on his face, both arms go up in the air and a smiling ..."that would be me!"
Small world! Just before we left, I've tried feverishly to find this article to look at their route through the Rockies for reference. Anyhow they, yes the better half's a pilot too, are off to Yakima once again. He hands me his AOPA flight plan... tempted, but we'll go a bit further north first, before we head west. But Moab does sound good! Next Time!
Off on our next leg to 70J Cairo - Grady, as a reference only to avoid the Tallahassee Airspace and than over KEUF, Eufaula, Alabama. Repeat after me, Euphelia, NO, Eufaula as in "u folla" me? That's closer! U'AWL get it in TEEEIIIME! OKAY, we have entered the deep South.
The air is a getting a bit choppy as the day goes on and we see the OAT flicker up to 43c and this thing is placed well hidden from sunshine and air-cooled.
Hans watches in dismay as I change the GPS from 70J to KEUF and it offers another 1:57 minutes over an 106 mile course. No one ever said a 701 is a speed demon. About 20 minutes short of our planned destination Hans has had enough and is ready to just land.
Ah, let's just carry on and end up as planned! KEUF, "U FOLLA" with air-conditioned pilot lounge, bathroom, town, internet is just so much more appealing than spending the afternoon heat in the afternoon heat on some unknown tarmac. I am wearing a bit thin by now too and really look forward to a break. Just short of 5 hrs of flying with the last 1.5 being a bit of a climatic challenge. Arriving at KEUF, Hans is about 23 minutes of rough air past, and a few smiles short of a good time ...and I am not lagging much behind!

Looks like Aviation Lesson 102.1 has just made it's mark on us; "It a'int always as glorious as you think!"

"But Hey" ...blame it on the heat! Seems like everything else is being blamed on it these days! And while you are at it, might as well include the looming thunderstorms to the NW blocking our way. As we look over the radar maps on Foreflight we simply decide to call it day. Just as well! 4.9 hrs on the first day is being off to a pretty good start!

Eric the Airport Manager here at KEUF looks over our shoulders onto the displayed radar map, and promptly offers us a slot in the hangar to keep the plane out of the potential rain and/or hail. His wife Ruta, fluent in German, compliments the hangar offer with some fresh homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. To top things off, Mark from Murray Aviation Services drops us at the near by hotel. Talk about getting spoiled!

                                                   N500ME put away for the night!

Or maybe simply put; "Southern Hospitality at its finest"!

Let us extend our sincerest gratitude, as for on this Journey it is really you, the good people we have met and keep meeting along the way, that make this Journey!

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