I woke up earlier than usual in Adel, then went back to sleep. Eventually, I got up and packed my things. I did not want to say goodbye to Adel. It was such a friendly place to stay that leaving, although it was something I had to accept, almost felt like a very unfriendly thing to do given how well I was treated there.
A pilot came early that morning and took the C-150 up for a flight. I saw the Dove sitting alone on the tarmac as the morning sun reflected through the glass patterns of the terminal building onto the asphalt.
There was a sadness that I felt as I pushed the Dove over to the pumps that morning, and when Carl came running out of the Azalea hangar to help me, I realized where that sadness came from. It came from knowing that where the Lord was sending me next would not be like this place at all. And that, too, was just something I had to accept.
As I topped off, Carl and Paul came over to the pumps to talk with me. Bill was airborne again in Larry’s Saberwing, and Kyong was not on the field yet. I asked the two mechanics to please thank Bill and Kyong for all they did for me in Adel. Then I got into the Dove and cranked over.
As I pulled onto the runway and announced over the radio my departure intentions, Bill keyed the mic and thanked me for coming to Cook County. I thanked him in reply, then applied full throttle and took off.
I climbed out and eventually got pushed up to 12,500 feet because of some stratus remnants from the storms the day before. It was a smooth and uneventful flight, and I started making a descent about two hours later and beheld the rising steam columns and the brew of convection to my port side beyond the Mississippi River and out in the Gulf of Mexico.
I recrossed the Mississippi again from the south under the New Orleans Class Bravo airspace.
I landed shortly after at South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport (KAPS). Kevin, the airport manager, welcomed me over the radio when I taxied in, and I thanked him and parked in the same spot as the year prior when the airport was still being called, St. John the Baptist
(1L0). I shut down and covered up the Dove, then went into the terminal building and spoke with Kevin for awhile.
I discovered that St. John the Baptist Parish relinquished control of the airport to the State of Louisiana with the FAA’s blessing, and Kevin was now the manager there. When he asked where I was from and where I was heading, I told him that this was Day Fourteen
of a 40-day mission trip around America, that I had landed there in order to go into the city. I told Kevin that the year previous, the threat of persistent thunderstorms pushed me out of the area before I had a chance to explore. I was back to get it done this year.
Since the airport did not have a courtesy car, I tried renting one from Enterprise, but they did not have anything available until late afternoon. Then I called up Hertz on Kevin’s recommendation, and the operator, Jennifer, said that she would drive over to the airport to pick me up in about 30 minutes. She did.
I thanked Kevin for his help, and then Jennifer drove me about 15 minutes away to a small community called Gramercy. It started raining on the way.
In Gramercy, Jennifer took me into an auto body shop specializing in PPG painting products, the same type of system I used to paint the Dove. I wondered why I was renting a car from Hertz at a collision repair shop and not just at a Hertz rental place. Apparently, she and Anthony, a man from Oakland, California who moved to Gramercy seventeen years earlier, were running a satellite outlet for Hertz as representatives for the company.
Jennifer asked for $97 to rent the car for the day. I thought that was a ripoff for a compact, considering Enterprise would have charged me about half as much. But there wasn’t anything else available, so I paid my bill, took the keys, and walked out. I was driving a car with New York plates in the State of Louisiana.
The drive to New Orleans was straightforward and simple, first passing through a few swamps and bayous, then heading past the Superdome into the business district.
I parked the Sentra and bought a 2-hour parking pass and started walking into town.