It had finally stopped raining and I was finally feeling better, With my head and chest congestion along with hacking cough that made me sound like an escapee performer from sea world I was happy to once again have taste and smell senses back in action.
Mary and I wanted to make a breakfast run, I was thinking Williamsburg Jamestown (KJGG) but Charleys doesn't open until eleven or twelve on Sundays. Instead we decided to knock out a stop on our annual pre- memorial day mission of cleaning up the cemetery for our parents. Since I was only back up to speed for a day or two we would keep this first hop limited to the Wilmington stop for Mary's folks. This run will also prep us for the typical heading north mission for future family outings and visits.
My FBO selection is Aero Ways, I had purchased most of my fuel through them when I was based there and their service was always top notch. I called Saturday night to have a rental car available if there was no crew car. Since Ziva was going with us, we decided to rent.
I had 08Romeo plugged in so the oil and cylinders were nice and toasty, I wish I was after pulling her out of the hangar. The winds were picking up but the forecast was good, besides ILG is wide enough to almost land across the darn runway, keeping in mind I haven't had air time since March 8th.
I went through my checklist in the typical fashion pulling out the card to review my steps. I felt rusty, it didn't feel like muscle memory, I had to think through my flying. I did monitor Dover approach for traffic but it was slow today, just a few Piedmont Dash-8 flights overhead. I used the mnemonic WIRE, weather-instruments-radio-elevation for my review before contacting Wilmington.
I was cleared straight in runway one, report three mile final. I set up the Garmin 530 for the ILS and followed the needles when I could steal a glance inside. I made a nice landing with a quick exit on Delta then flipped to ground. I parked out front at Aeroways and secured 08Romeo.
Ziva was a big hit, the line guys fell in love with her and she just soaked it all in. I think she shot me a few looks when I made her heal as we walked in the building like I was cramping her style. We loaded up in the rental Ford SUV and headed south to the Veterans Cemetery.
After cleaning up the bronze plaque and making sure Pop had a good flag Mary and I decided to head out for brunch. We didn't get to far when we remembered the Glass Kitchen, just a few miles and on the way back to ILG. We each ordered breakfast, the food and service was very good. We even saved Ziva a side order of bacon for being such a good girl.
08Romeo was fueled as directed so we squared away that fee. The rental was returned and after Ziva got to say hello to all the line guys again we could head out to the plane. The sun was out and the winds had calmed down so I did my preflight in a sweatshirt. This is not of any value until you read through this. Everyone secure, oil warmed, we are ready to call for our taxi clearance. I was directed to taxi to runway one via Alpha, contact tower when run up is complete. I acknowledged and off we went.
This is my moment of being complacent. I flew out of here for years, I didn't bother to print the taxi diagram, I didn't use the taxi diagram on the 496, I assumed I was headed to the end of the runway. One two three strikes your out!. As I taxied from the FBO on A7 I made a left on Alpha then 'assuming' I was going to the end of the runway started to follow Echo. I immediately stopped and checked the signage, knowing there shouldn't be an ILS critical area on Alpha. Ground said 08Romeo you can just 180 there and hold short at 1 and Alpha. Ughhh, he was very kind, I was a dope. I responded, thank you, I'll 180 and hold short then contact the tower.
I was cleared for takeoff runway one, proceed on course. I acknowledged and asked if they wanted a right or left turn out. The tower said my choice, so we turned out right/east over the Delaware river and then pointed south.
The trip home was a better ride than coming north bucking those headwinds. Instead we cruised along at 125 knots with just a few bumps. It couldn't have been to bad since both of my passengers were well into dreamland before we even passed over Dover.
Once I clear Georgetown, KGED I like to switch over to Ocean City and paint the mental picture of traffic location, especially in the summer season. Today was no different, it was busy into OXB. It was a good work out after not flying much and I was starting to feel back at home in the left seat. I worked my way in behind a Mooney and with a nice tight pattern turned base to final. I added the last notch of flaps and intentionally landed long for the easy taxi to my hangar.
Mary and Ziva climbed in the SUV to keep warm, the temps were cooler now and the ocean breeze was still here. I opened up the hangar and then decided I should put a jacket on. I reached inside the baggage door and grabbed the tow bar along with my jacket from the storage shelf. That's odd, I have my leather gloves on what the heck is in my coat pocket? Ahhh, the keys to the rental SUV. What! Yes, those keys were still zipped up in my jacket. I secured the plane and got everything covered, plugged in and vacuumed too.
What and end to a crazy day. I called the FBO and they didn't even notice the keys missing. I said I wanted to call to let them know I was going to overnight the keys. The staff assured me that this happens all the time, it didn't make me feel any better.