Well, it turned into a long evening. There were just so many years and memories to cover.
We started with a VIP-style tour of the premises, hangars, shops, club house, and when we were done Mike proposed to go out for dinner and invited me to spend the night at their condo up near the Windham ski area.
Food! Sounded great!
His offer of a king-size bed with private bath I had to decline, however. After all, this trip was not only about my first attempt to gather some cross-country experience, it was a shakedown cruise for my camping gear, as well.
So after a good old-fashioned beer and burger dinner he dropped me off at the airfield.
The tent was quickly set up, sleeping quarters installed and then it was time for a last tea and a beautiful night sky.
Silence all around, a nearly full moon hanging between stars, the tent under the wing of my Cessna – man, it doesn’t get better than that.
If that was the harbinger of things to come I wanted them to come as quickly as possible.
Sunday morning dawned with clear skies and cool temps, promising a great flying day. This time it was Marty who picked me up for breakfast in a lovely old country store barely a mile east – cooking my own had to wait until monday, when I’d be alone on the field
It took us well over an hour to finish our farmer’s breakfast and pick among the sandwich specials to take one with us for lunch.
Back at the field gliders were already on the flight line, the towplane ready. As soon as the first wave of instruction flights was through and the ambitious cross-country pilots had been launched I climbed aboard 4VW to do some flying myself.
Vermont was calling, or rather that part of the VT-sky which I had navigated decades ago on silent wings. It looked ike a perfect day to practice terrestrial navigation, modest mountain flying, entering unfamiliar traffic patterns, and leaving them after a couple of full-stop landings, and finding – and operating successfully – the sometimes well-hidden fuel pumps.
Great success! Of course, there were a couple of less than perfectly executed landings, maneuvers and procedures which assured that I kept climbing the learning curve of my piloting skills.
I even made it back to 1I5 in time to bid farewell to my soaring friends before they shut down the operations and headed home.
I spent another night under the wing, not without first putting my cooking gear in action and testing a couple of rather tasty freeze dried meals for dinner and then again next morning for breakfast.
Another joyful 4 hours across the skies of southern New England got me home for a late lunch on Monday, and a thorough debrief with mentor and instructor Greg.
Ready for the big adventure!