WednesdayHours of flight planning have come to an end and it's now time to begin the journey. Mary and I decided on leaving one day early so we could enjoy the festivities and get some added beach time together. Day one flight plans will take us south, along the east coast route with a planned stop south of Raleigh NC, KTTA and a second top off stop in Perry GA, KPXE then into Gulf Shores AL, KJKA.
|Looking down the Delaware river|
We were moving along, on time, now ready to get the engine started. As soon as I got 08Romeo started I had to chug and plug today's flight plan in for the first leg. The key is to "save" the plan in case of a problem so you can recall it. With the electronics set and checked we picked up our clearance to KTTA, Raleigh Exec Jetport At Sanford-Lee County. The first leg was a good flight with many hand off's to various approach controllers to keep me busy. Final hand off was to Raleigh Approach and I was cleared for our arrival, a visual approach runway two one. First Leg was 3.5 Hours.
|short final TTA|
With a quick gas and go we were headed back out to the plane. I did a sump for the fuel and a quick walk around. With everything in order we launched for KPXE, Perry Ga. This was the strangest clearance I have received to date. Instead of the typical cleared to destination airport and my planned route (SDZ V155 IRQ V56 MCN KPXE), on this leg I was given "cleared direct LEECO". Who? Where is that? I was wondering what was up. I had my iPad up and running just in case I got something different or a last minute change and quickly found this new fix. Hmmm...I'm cleared a total of five miles. OK, we'll give it a go.
I announced on CTAF and coordinated with a Cirrus pilot inbound for a practice ILS approach, inbound opposite direction. The cirrus was going to do the procedure turn at LEECO at around 1,500' I was climbing out to 3000 feet. I had comm two set up so we could communicate our positions while I had Approach on comm 1. Everything worked out and as I approached LEECO I was cleared as filed for the remainder of my routing. I also passed along a thanks to cirrus pilot as I made contact with him opposite direction passing my ten to five o' clock low.
|Short final one-eight at PXE|
This leg was as smooth as the first, hands in my lap, looking out at the scenery and adding an occasional tap of the rudder to remain on course. Nothing beats a smooth flight and today's flights, so far, have been perfect. KPXE was the last planned fuel top off before turning towards Gulf Shores. Mary and I were having fun listening to the tunes and taking in the beautiful views. We decided to grab a bite to eat enroute and opened up the sandwiches we picked up this morning. It was fun, cruising along at six thousand feet having a better meal than the spam can airliners sharing the skies around us.
|On the ramp next to us at PXE|
|The start of the build up's|
|Gulf Shores Coastline|
|Short Final KJKA runway 9|
I have to add this, although Mary will give me the NCIS DiNozzo head slap. When the line guy asked how was your flight in Mary responded that "I'm not sure but I think I left my Arse in Georgia" Yes, all those hours in the saddle made for numb butts.
Wednesday night we had all went out to Bubba's for dinner, it only gets an "ok" rating from Mary and I. Sure, there was plenty of atmosphere and the service was very good but we were not impressed with the food, I think everything was fried; I had the shrimp po boy and Mary had the oyster po boy, we give the food just two stars.
Mary and I are up pretty early and headed down to the hotel cafe' for breakfast. Good service and good food. Both of us had two eggs over medium, grits with cheese (yummy!)bacon and raisin toast. With full tummy's we tossed aside the old wives tale about waiting thirty minutes before swimming, heck we were care free and on vacation, lets be dangerous.
We rented to lounges with an umbrella and parked it on the beach. I can't explain how soft the white sands were, maybe like baby powder since each grain was so small. The sand actually squeaked when you walked across it, very bizarre. The sun was hot, the crashing waves were perfect and I had the perfect company, my Bride.
|We need a few Corona's|
Another early start for me since I am going to attend the retract seminar back at the airport. Mary slept in for a short while then headed to the pool. Marty did a great job explaining the retract details of what to look for and maintenance issues. I know I'm happy with my fixed gear but it was nice to get a look at the Sundowners sister, the Sierra.
The group was headed to the Pensacaola National Naval Aviation Museum, I took a pass. Mary and I decided that we would see the museum in our future Florida trips, besides I wanted more beach time. I headed back to the hotel and caught up with my Bride. Mary was pool side chatting with a couple of ladies she met. The sisters were on vacation and frequent the Island house, they say it's the best on the beach. We decided on lunch at the hotel cafe' and then more swimming. Mary and Bo had chicken salad on a croissant and I had a tuna salad. The croissants were fresh and tasty!
We called it a day at the pool then headed up to get ready for the BAC reception tonight. We made a quick run out to the Pottery place we saw on the way to Lambert's last night. We were disappointed, it was more of a Christmas tree shop than a pottery place. No worries, Mary brought something home, a gift for Mom and a brightly colored rooster for our kitchen, yes you read that right, a rooster, sigh.
We made our way back to the hotel and spotted two places we were interested in for dinner tonight. LuLu's, Jimmy Buffet's sisters place and Steamers, we'll see what the other BACers want to do for chow. The head count tonight at the reception was 66. As a side note the 19th baby beech also arrived at KJKA. As Brad put it best, "Gulf Shores is rockin with BACers!"
Today we got up and after a late night assessing wx I confirmed my decision to bug out a day early. Sadly we will miss the banquet dinner this evening but safety is my first concern, not the cost of tickets.
We were out early and pulling into the local Waffle House for breakfast at 6:30. I wanted to be wheels up by 7:30 and Gulf Air was going to have the Sundowner pulled up out front waiting. I enjoyed my pecan waffle and an order of scattered smothered and covered. Mary had sausage gravy over biscuits and grits w/cheese.
|Goodbye Gulf Coast.....|
|Short final at KCRW|
|LOVE tail winds!|
|Home at Sunset|
Flight Time - 18.7 hours
Miles Flown - 2010
New Airports - 5 (KTTA,KPXE,KJKA,KMQY,KCRW)
New States - 1 (Georgia)
IMC - .3 hours