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  #111  
Old 09-11-2017, 02:58 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Eighteen: Part I (cont.)

As with every town to which the Lord sent me, I took Dodge captive and did not spare any part of it, even in passing glances, as I continued walking through the streets with him beside me in the hot blowing wind of a Kansas morning.





The facade of Boot Hill, and the spurious nature of its presentation for tourists, rounded my left shoulder as I walked by.





Eventually, I made it back to the Buick and drove across the tracks where I found a large community park and recreation facility.



I placed a captive cross of Merced soil in the spread of granite and marble and brick and stone where soon I saw the rising up from their rest the many departed who, below the reach of wind and weather, now awaited resurrection.





A circuitous route back to the airport after two hours of exploration took me past the Boot Hill Casino which sat crypt-like beyond the verdure of a well-watered prairie.





I thanked Amador again for the use of the Buick. After I handed him the keys and used the restroom, I heard the door slam behind me for the last time. Amador followed me out to the Dove. He asked me about building the RV-8, about how well it performed, and then about the mission I was on. He asked if I were coming back someday.



And then out of nowhere, Amador asked me a ten-thousand-dollar question of his own.

“Where are you going to next?” he said.

The day was still young. It wasn’t even noon yet. I tightened up my shoulder harnesses and taxied out for takeoff.

The wind was blowing. I could feel it on my wings.
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  #112  
Old 09-12-2017, 08:08 AM
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olyolson olyolson is offline
 
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Default Great Journey

Always enjoy reading these posts. Sounds like I need to avoid Dodge City. How can people be so cold and not even attempt to enjoy life? Have fun, keep writing and fly safe in your journey.
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  #113  
Old 09-12-2017, 08:34 AM
TShort TShort is offline
 
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Not to steal from the thread (enjoying the pics and trip) - but I had a totally different experience at Dodge City last month. Lost my electrics and landed there enroute to KAEJ, the line guy was great, the owner of the FBO and the mechanics were super friendly (they've built several RVs, and Mr Crotts has a flying Rocket); they helped me with some parts from their parts bin and put the -10 in a hangar for over a week while I drove the rest of the way to CO.
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  #114  
Old 09-12-2017, 12:17 PM
BillL BillL is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyolson View Post
Always enjoy reading these posts. Sounds like I need to avoid Dodge City. How can people be so cold and not even attempt to enjoy life? Have fun, keep writing and fly safe in your journey.
You should read all the posts, there is a theme.
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  #115  
Old 09-12-2017, 03:00 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Eighteen: Part II

It was still morning when I heard the memory of a sheriff named, Matt Dillon, to get out of Dodge. I blasted out over the bumpy air and cruised to the northeast for about sixty miles before I made my approach into the next town. I was hoping that it would not be as windy as it was in Dodge City, but it was worse. A lot worse.

On final at Great Bend, KS (GBD), a woman’s voice chimed in over the radio asking me if I would be needing any services from the FBO. I asked her to stand by. I had my hands full. I was getting tossed around so much that I needed to stay focused on just getting the plane on the ground. The winds were howling over the canopy and playing with my flight controls as I taxied off the runway. Finally, I told the woman over the radio that I did not need any fuel.

The young woman was standing there alone on the tarmac waiting for me as I pulled up to the FBO, and she used hand signals to park me. Her name was Karen. She worked for Centerline Aviation and she asked where I was from. I told Karen that I was on a 40-day and 40-night flying mission through America, coming out of Merced, California. She complimented me on the Dove, then told me to let her know if I needed anything before she turned and went back into the FBO.

I got out to get the plane wiped down and tied to the tarmac. Just then, a silver minivan pulled up with Karen driving. In the passenger seat was another woman wearing a blue Centerline shirt. Karen asked me if I would like to come over to her house for lunch. She said it was just down the road a ways, and her boss, Christina, was coming, too. Would I care to join them? I told them that, sure, I would love to. I tied down the Dove and put my cleaning gear in the front baggage compartment.



When I opened up the sliding door to get in, there was a little kindergarten-aged boy sitting back there behind Karen. “Hey, little buddy!” I said. “How you doing?” I asked him his name. He said it was Ethan.



Ethan, Karen’s son, had a remote-controlled monster truck in his lap and he showed it to me as we drove down a dirt road for about a quarter mile to Karen’s house.



When we got there, Karen’s husband and Christina’s husband were both flipping burgers on a barbeque by the garage. Karen introduced us. It looked to me like everyone there worked for Centerline Aviation. They were all wearing the same blue shirts. Ethan took me out into the back yard where he showed me how his truck could ride across the pool they had covered up back there.



For lunch, Karen and her husband served up a recipe from their native Pueblo, Colorado. They were called, sloppers. A single serving consisted of a hamburger bun topped with a patty, then that was topped with a mixture of chile Colorado spiced up with plenty of green peppers.



All six of us sat around the dining room table and ate sloppers. Karen told about how they had come to Kansas from Colorado some time ago and had found work at Centerline. When they started asking me about the mission trip, almost immediately the question came up about where I was planning to go next. I did not know, and it did not really matter at that point. Ethan was sitting next to me with a bag of toys he wanted me to see. Most were Transformers, and some figurines came from the Airplanes and Cars movie series. The sloppers were excellent, and I thanked Karen and her husband for lunch.

When we got back, I was finishing up with the wipe-down when Ethan came out to the tarmac with another remote-controlled vehicle. He was enjoying the fact that I liked to play along. It ran into my feet a few times causing me excruciating agony. That agony, of course, boosted Ethan’s confidence in the control he had over me.



After wiping down and barely managing, even with Ethan’s help, to get the canopy cover on, I went inside the FBO to look around. There appeared to be no after-hours access, but the facility itself was clean and well-organized.







When I wandered back outside, I began to realize that Great Bend, Kansas, had quite a bit of history. She had a war record that I knew nothing about.

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  #116  
Old 09-12-2017, 03:04 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Eighteen: Part II (cont.)

The old WWII hangar was hewn in the roughshod redwood used seventy-five years earlier when the base was being used to train B-29 crew prior to the all-out air raid assault on the Japanese homeland.



Behind the hangar where Old Glory snapped alongside her stately companions, the B-29 Memorial arched under the wind-driven billows as a testament to the global consequence the Superfortress brought to bear on the enemy.



Beyond the memorial, acres and acres of land were being used as a staging area for the construction of a wind farm. The blades were strapped to large anchors and laid side-by-side, appearing not unlike the splayed and sun-bleached ribs of some incredibly large carcass that had fallen there.





Ethan and I spent much of the afternoon playing on the floor of the FBO while Karen worked in her office. Ethan’s favorite game was winding up a miniature version of a monster truck and letting it go in an attempt to strike Thomas the Train, which trudged slowly along across the floor under battery power. We took turns vectoring for Thomas’s demise. We played for hours. It became clear that much of my work in Great Bend would focus on children’s ministry, and that ministry would focus on one child, Ethan.



When a courtesy van became available, Gerald, another Centerline employee, had me sign some paperwork so that I could use it for the night. I decided to give Ethan a little time to spend in the office with Karen as I drove into Great Bend to do some exploring. I parked the minivan downtown and started walking in the wind and through the streets.







A sign posted on the front of an Art Deco movie theater reiterated what I was there doing that day; indeed, exploring, but also taking captive to the Lord every shred of my experience as I had for the past eighteen days.



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  #117  
Old 09-12-2017, 03:07 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Eighteen: Part II (cont.)

When I drove back to the airport that evening, Ethan and I were able to get in another episode of Train Smashing with Thomas.



Before Karen and Ethan locked up and started for home, I was out by the Dove when Ethan came running across the tarmac to say goodbye. He ran up and threw his arms around me and we both wanted to cry a little bit because we had so much fun playing with Thomas, and because we both knew that I had to depart the next morning for the Lord knew where, and it was tough to say goodbye like that, especially as the sun was setting and the wind was ripping the words right out of our mouths. Karen waited for us at a distance, and when Ethan turned and walked slowly away back to the van, I waved another thank you to her. Then they were gone.

The mother and her son were the last souls I would see at the airport at Great Bend.

I decided after they left that I would go back into Great Bend to walk through other parts of town. First, I took a closer look at the wind turbine blades that were anchored behind the B-29 Memorial.



I prayed that the Lord would lead me captive to his will as I continued exploring the town. He took me there immediately, and I understood. There was the laughter of children in the distance where a baseball game was being played, and the laughter carried across the vast assembly as if through a gateway to eternity.



Then I continued my walk through Great Bend as the end of daylight approached.







I finally came across an abandoned train station. It had been abandoned for some time. I wondered about the many, many people who came through there, when the B-29 bombers were flying regularly overhead, and when people arriving at the train station felt themselves safe and secure and assured of the American victory that was coming toward the end of the war. I wondered about the words that were spoken there, about the countless, lovely, and impassioned embraces that beautiful young women gave their men as they arrived and departed, departed and arrived, then departed at last into a perpetual fading-out of one generation to the next until finally the clock stopped and there would not be any more trains to speak of.





Then I walked back toward the van. I walked back knowing that I did not have any place to sleep that night. And it did not matter. I was just passing through.



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  #118  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:42 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Nineteen: Part I

I did not sleep well in Great Bend. There was no place to hunker down, although I did find a couple of open hangars. The problem was the wind. There was so much racket with the wind rattling the hangar doors that an army may as well have been standing outside pounding on the sheet metal with bare fists to keep me awake.

I ended up driving the minivan behind a darkened row of hangars and parking it there. The passenger seat was torture to lie upon. The seat belt receptacles protruded out like wooden stakes with no possibility of pushing them under the cushions, and stretching out was impossible. There was also no air circulation in the van because the windows would not roll down.

I gave up and walked in the wee hours of morning to the FBO to plug in my phone for a charge-up and to try getting some shut-eye on a bench outside. Unfortunately, the CTAF was connected to a loudspeaker, and some guy in a Cherokee was practicing approaches only ten miles away on the same frequency, activating the runway lights, calling out positions, and keeping me awake the whole time. Finally, I was so tired that not even the seat belt stakes could keep me awake. I went back to the van and tried again.

I managed to get enough sleep to be able to fly the next morning. I drove the van back to the FBO, pulled the cover off the Dove, grabbed a new set of clothes and changed by the Army Air Corps hangar. Then I pushed the Dove over to the pumps, topped off, and cranked. I was airborne again by 7:30 that morning.

I climbed up to 7,500, and then I got pushed up by a layer of clouds to 9,500 as I set a course to the southeast. I thought that I would be flying for most of the day when I put Great Bend in the rear-views, but less than an hour-and-a-half after start-up, I landed again for fuel, initially intending to top off and continue southeast. But that changed quickly after touching down. I was in Claremore, Oklahoma (GCM), and the ramp was nearly empty.





When I shut down, a guy came out of the FBO building to chock the Dove. I asked him to just put the chock on the tailwheel, and I would chock the mains. When he asked where I was from, I told him about the 40-day mission through America, and he welcomed me to Claremore. His name was Jimmy.

It did not take me long to figure out that I had work to do in Claremore, so I topped off, tied down, and covered up the Dove.



Jimmy was talking with one of the mechanics from behind the counter, and I decided to look around at the facility.





Jimmy directed me to the pilot’s lounge. Very recently, it had been retrofitted with an after-hours-access code lock which I could use if I wanted to stay the night. Jimmy said I was more than welcome to do so.





I sat down in the pilot’s lounge with a cup of coffee and relaxed for a time. It was refreshing to be in a place where the people seemed to live with one purpose in mind: serving others.



Jimmy told me that I was also welcome to use the Crown Victoria parked outside should I desire to go into town.



He had me sign some paperwork, and before the morning was over, I was on my way into another American township. I did not know what I would find there.

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  #119  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:44 PM
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Default Day Nineteen: Part I (cont.)

As to where the Lord would lead me that day, I had no idea, but the first place he took me came as no surprise. It was precisely the manifestation of everything I was witnessing up to that point, and Claremore, OK, proved no exception.



I beheld the wide sweep of granite near America’s fallen warriors buried there, and I felt within me the quickening surge of God’s presence with a message to go---to go deeper and deeper into the heart of a nation that was itself being laid to rest.





I drove past the Claremore Fire Department into downtown and parked in front of the Boom-a-Rang Diner. Then I went in for something to eat. I was pretty hungry.







After lunch, I started walking.







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  #120  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:47 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Nineteen: Part I (cont.)

There was a large building at the corner of the old downtown district. It was the Will Rogers Hotel, home of the Radium Water Tubs. I did not know what radium water tubs were, but the name, Will Rogers, was somewhat familiar to me. So I went inside to see what I could find.





I found a staircase and walked all the way up to the top floor where I found an enclosed room with bathtubs in it. Those, I supposed, were the radium water tubs advertised on the outside of the building.



Downstairs again, I read a little history about the hotel. Once designated as a bomb shelter during WWII, the hotel was built in the late 1920’s and claimed that its mineral baths---the radium water tubs---could cure diseases, not unlike the biblical Pool of Bethesda. I walked across the street and beheld the bomb shelter from the far corner.



The Rogers County Courthouse was just down the street, the curling flame of a war veterans memorial twisting before it in a light breeze. An ambulance showed up on the scene just as I arrived. Jurors returning to court after the lunch hour walked up the steps, some with a look of dread on their faces.







The nearby federal building was gutted on the inside and under renovation for an undisclosed purpose.



When I walked back toward the Crown Victoria, I looked all the way up the road and saw a large, gold-domed structure over a mile away on top of a hill overlooking Claremore. I decided to drive up there.



It was the campus of Rogers State University, once the site of the Oklahoma Military Academy---the “West Point of the Southwest.” With that discovery, the day of exploration took a sudden turn, and I could feel the culmination of every war once fought building up around me on top of a hill.

Another war was coming, but I was in good company. So I stayed there for some time.

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