After 8 days in the wilds of central Wisconsin, I’m back in the friendly confines of Neptune Beach, and while a week+ steeped in airplanes is a lot of good fun, I’m happy to be home.
Saturday dawned grey and a little dreary again. This is what they call the North 40 at Oshkosh. It’s where they park the airplanes that fly in to the show, and people camp under the wings or alongside their airplanes. I saw one that had a tarp draped over the wing of a high-wing plane, and the tent pitched underneath. There was a King Air in the north 40 with a tent, and a Pilatus P-12, a high-powered business turbo prop. There are far more Cessnas and Pipers and Champs, Oh My. Hundreds of airplanes, each with its story. By now, most of them are probably gone.
Saturday was a little slower. Not nearly as may news conferences, so a little more time to go out and enterprise stories. By 5:00, we were tearing it down and packing it up, a little like the roadies in Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out”.
Now, with flights out of Milwaukee beginning at 0515 Sunday morning, and at least an hour on the road before to get from Oshkosh to MKE, we left the rental house about 0200. That’s in the morning. It meant we didn’t get a lot of sleep. I think I managed about an hour and a half before I was back up and getting ready to go. Our shuttle driver nearly got a ticket for running a red light and making an illegal “U” turn. We finally made the airport, and started waiting for the ticket counters to to open. Small to medium airports at 0400 mostly don’t have everything up and operating at that hour.
The flights were uneventful. Crammed full and uncomfortable, but on time. The Charlotte to Jacksonville leg was even a little early. But air travel, at least on scheduled carriers, has gotten to be just a drag. Fewer seats, all full, crammed like sardines into aluminum cans and flung through the air at 350-400 mph, each hoping that the bag they paid 20 bucks to check makes it to the destination.
Mine did, thankfully, going both ways.
It’s great to be back at the beach. We went to the beach this afternoon, and took a swim in the ocean. I’ll hopefully get some more sleep tonight, and be ready to hit it again in the morning.
Looking out the window of the plane as it was coming into Jacksonville this morning, I thought about how much I’d missed the low country. I was Midwest born and bred, but I’m now definitely a creature of the tides.
Oshkosh was quite an undertaking. We worked hard, but we worked well together. Now, I’m back at the beach where I belong. I’m very pleased to be home.