And then? And then we were home. Almost seemed anticlimactic – Rich and I loaded ‘6JA up with our bags in the morning, plugged in the flight plan and off we went. Prescott, Needles, Barstow – towns I only knew from Peanuts comic strips or Bill Morrissey songs – passed beneath our wings, checked off as miles on the GPS and minutes from Palo Alto. They will remain mysteries to me, maybe for another day, maybe always.
I wish there was more to say of the morning, more poetry I was able to lift from the desert floor, but a wind was blowing from the west and we were smelling the hay – home was calling. We turned the corner at Palmdale – no one ever seems to get cleared north through the airspace at Edwards – and headed up across the Tehachapis. Stopped for fuel in Shafter, crossed the Diablo range at Hollister, dialed in Norcal Approach and dropped ourselves onto the numbers (okay, probably 200-300’ beyond the numbers) at Palo Alto. Switched to ground frequency and then – “6JA off 31, taxi hangars via parallel and Kilo” – we were home.
Pulling off the taxiway, Rich and I mused how nice it would have been if Chris, our third partner had been able to meet us here and actually see the plane for the first time. But of course, he’s got a job and…maybe that was Chris watching us from the dike on short final? It was. He was waiting at the hangar when we turned the corner, camera in hand. Devon and Denise (Rich’s wife) arrived a few minutes later, and we had a little communal swoon fest over Julie’s arrival – the boys poking under the cowling talking about ducting and manifolds while the girls chatted in “the family room” about all the places they wanted to go.
Anyhow, chalk up one more adventure for the Roadtrip Blog. There’ll be a lot of little, unexciting work to do over the coming weeks, fixing squawks that cropped up during the trip and getting our heads around the procedural details of our new ride (the weight and balance calculations are just a little more elaborate than those of the Deb). But of course you know I’ll keep you posted the next time I sally out into the unknown. Until then…