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  #121  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:08 PM
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Default 19. House of God

There was a National Weather Service office right next to the airport. It appeared to have been recently constructed.



About half a mile into town, the son noticed a DeWalt slip cover on the ground where he was walking. It was originally made to carry a pair of safety glasses. He could feel something else in there. Opening the satchel, the son found three syringes and a cook spoon used for injecting street drugs. He tossed the bag on the ground and kept walking.







People were actively coming and going from the post office. There appeared to be a lot of commerce taking place in town that morning.







There was an American Legion chapter housed in a brick building with a wooden vestibule built onto it. A stamped concrete sign above the entrance called the place a veterans memorial. The son decided to have a look inside.





The door being locked, the son turned back into the street and continued walking through Caribou.

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  #122  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:09 PM
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Default 19. House of God

The commerce and activity the son could feel around him that morning manifested itself in various ways. For one, construction was going on everywhere. A Methodist church cattycorner from where the son was standing was getting a new roof.



A house down the street was getting one, too.



People were hiring.



And according to a clerk standing outside the Caribou Courthouse, a public trial was about to start and he was monitoring the area outside as the jurors arrived.











Beyond a shallow dip in the main thoroughfare, where the city itself appeared split in two, the son found a small veterans memorial on a small island of grass. He crossed the street to have a closer look.



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  #123  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:10 PM
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Default 19. House of God









The first house of worship in Caribou, originally built in 1867, was now simply called, The Meeting Place.



The son crossed the shallow dip and began heading back in the direction of the airport. Construction crews were busy everywhere.









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  #124  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:11 PM
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Default 19. House of God









The son turned north on a back road and discovered the Caribou Middle School building, erected in 1926. It was still being used as a middle school.







More construction was taking place next door with the building of a new high school. The son walked past the perimeter fence hearing hammers and hydraulics, saw blades whining through wood, and diesel motors grumbling.



A large crane on the construction site appeared like a playground ornament as it rested idly near a swing set.



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  #125  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:12 PM
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Default 19. House of God

As the son approached the main road back to the airport, he even saw homeowners hard at work making improvements to their property. One man kneeled below Old Glory while applying a fresh coat of paint on the front deck of his home.


A King Air was on the deck when the son walked back onto the airport.



Inside the terminal building, there was a pilot napping on a couch. The son quickly used the restroom, walked back out to the Dove, and prepared to launch. In only a short time, the son departed off of Runway 29 and cranked to the southwest on a left 45-degree turnout.

The flight was another quick jaunt that brought him 188 nautical miles from Caribou to another small town in Maine. The son descended and made an aggressive mid-field crossover for left traffic, landing long and hot which required a lengthy back-taxi to transient parking. He topped off with 100LL which sold for $4.29 per gallon, a bargain compared to other prices in the New England area. Then he taxied to a parking spot, shut down, and climbed out. He was at Bethel, Maine (0B1).



As the son was wiping down the Dove, a chubby man in his fifties rolled up to the son on a Rover, a two-wheeled battery-powered platform that the rider stood on and controlled with his feet. The man wanted to know how fast the RV-8 could go, and whether it could do aerobatics. He told the son his name was Chris, that he owned a Cessna 170 that he hadn’t polished for 11 years after his father died. The son told Chris about recently losing his own father who helped him build the Dove. Chris told the son that is was good meeting him, and then he rolled off toward a row of hangars.



The son walked up to the terminal building. There was a marker near the entrance memorializing the tragic loss of two people known in the area.



Inside, there were 3 sofas, a snack bar with coffee and a soda machine, restrooms, a flight planning room, and a large conference room off to the side.



The lounge was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not only to pilots, but to the general public as well. There were even signs on the doors boasting as such. Anybody and everybody could venture in, and apparently the lounge was promoted in cycling circles as a rest stop.

The son tried napping for a time, but was interrupted several times by strangers coming into the building to use the restroom. When a twin-engine Beech landed and pulled up next to the building, everyone aboard came in and chattered while the son lay on a sofa. When it suddenly got quiet again, the son looked outside. They were leaving after a 30-minute rest stop.



Not long after, Chris showed up to wash his car.



The son decided to take one of the bicycles locked up outside and ride it into town. The combination to the lock was the CTAF frequency, 1229, and he chose the cleanest, best maintained bicycle of the lot. It functioned perfectly.



It had already become muggy outside and somewhat cloudy. The Barry remnants were drifting in. The son mounted the bike and rode. Right outside the gate, the son found another marker. It belonged to a fallen Marine.

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  #126  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:13 PM
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Default 19. House of God

Named after the same Biblical site where Jacob dreamt of angels ascending and descending on a staircase to heaven, Bethel literally meant, House of God. Leaving the cemetery where he honored the fallen Marine, the son rode toward town and took in the lovely sights along the way.





He crossed the Androscoggin River and continued toward Bethel Village.





The son was met by a veterans memorial near the center of the village. The son dismounted for a time and admired the markers placed there.









There was in Bethel a private university called the Gould Academy. Students were on summer break, and the campus appeared completely devoid of people.



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  #127  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:14 PM
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Default 19. House of God





There stood an actual house of God in the glorious light of the Maine evening sky as Barry’s spinoff moisture drifted happily overhead. The son felt the thrill of Jacob’s vision as the heavenly scene moved before him.



The son headed back toward the airport following another chance encounter with a different veterans memorial, this one located near the Gould Academy in a small park.









A long footbridge took the son back across the Androscoggin River where the road back to the airport waited.





Before locking up the bike and preparing a couch in the pilot’s lounge for a night of sleep, the son visited again a host of congregants awaiting resurrection outside the city of Bethel. There lay before him another son, a son lost to a father at the age of 21, who among all those communing with him cried out for recognition as the son walked by. And the son heard the cry. It was a father’s cry. It was a cry filled with grief that only a father could feel after losing his son---grief that was deep, guttural, intense, and inconsolable. It was a cry that went quaking up from the ground and ripping through the skies beyond sight, beyond hearing, beyond feeling, beyond breath. And there it died, in the house of God, where a perfect peace settled into night.

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  #128  
Old 09-10-2019, 01:00 PM
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Default 20. A Blinding Flash







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  #129  
Old 09-10-2019, 01:01 PM
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Default 20. A Blinding Flash

The son was nearly asleep on the couch that night in Bethel when a deputy sheriff drove up to the building and walked in. The lights were off because the son turned them off. It must have been unusual for the building to have been darkened that way, because the deputy came in with his flashlight ablaze and began sweeping it suspiciously down the hallway and into the pilot’s lounge. The son pulled the sleeping bag over his head. The bright beam fell onto the couch and paused for a moment. The son could see the light glowing through feathers and fabric before everything suddenly went black again. He could hear the deputy turn and walk back down the hall and into the restroom where he stayed for a few minutes before stepping back out to the parking lot. The sheriff deputy sat in his vehicle and stayed there with the engine running for half an hour before leaving.

By 11:00 PM the son fell asleep. At dawn, the son woke up and stuffed the bag. After cleaning up over a sink in the restroom, the son made coffee and checked the weather. There was a large blob of storms moving in his direction from the southwest. He had to get moving quickly if he wanted to beat the weather, but to where? There was a clear line of flight to Biddeford, Maine, only 62 miles to the south, but beyond that, the weather looked very sketchy. The son hurriedly packed up and pre-flighted the Dove.

When he re-entered the building, he found a German couple inside. They were driving through Maine on their way to Alaska but were having trouble with their Garmin Pilot GPS. The maps were not loading properly. The son tried to help with the problem, describing his own issues with the Garmin 396, but unfortunately he was not able to fix it. They were both private pilots from Eastport, Maine, but were driving to Alaska, not flying.

“Is that your plane out there?” asked the woman. She was a red-haired woman in her forties with crooked teeth and a wide warm smile. She was looking at the Dove.

“It is,” said the son.

“That looks like fun!” The couple wished him a safe flight, and the son left the FBO building for the last time.

“All right,” he said to himself as he cranked over. “Let’s have some fun, shall we?” He was airborne again and departing Bethel to the south soon after.







The son landed at Biddeford (B19) and parked in front of the FBO. He had spent some time there in 2017 and was aware of the after-hours access the pilot’s lounge offered. He wanted to take a more intense look at the dynamic weather situation moving in over Maine and plan for a flight where he felt called to go. Inside, the son made a cup of Keurig-style coffee, decided on a destination, and departed the FBO building just as somebody drove up. Within a few minutes, he was climbing out of Biddeford and heading southeast.



He flew through a few areas of light precipitation and avoided the stronger downpours. The air was very smooth and cool and comfortable, but he had to fight a 20-knot headwind the entire way.





Just over two hours later, the son crossed over midfield and made left traffic for a little airport tucked between two heavily forested ridgelines. He touched down on Runway 26 and taxied to the pumps where a C-172 pilot was topping off. He was at the Northumberland County Airport, Pennsylvania (N79).



The son had a conversation with the Skyhawk pilot while he was topping off. He had a big pot belly and a handful of scruff on his face. When he discovered what the son was out doing, the pilot told the him about a cross country trip he once took down the Oregon and California coast, then about another time he went island hopping in the Bahamas. Finally, it was the son’s turn to fuel up after the Cessna pilot cranked over and took off. When the son was finished, he walked over to the FBO building to have a look around.





There was an after-hours access keypad on the building entrance. Inside, the son found a pilot’s lounge with a couch and chairs, restrooms, and a bar which included model warplanes and two stuffed bears on the back wall.

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  #130  
Old 09-10-2019, 01:03 PM
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Default 20. A Blinding Flash





It was still only late morning as the son stood looking out over the empty tarmac through the panes of glass in pilot’s lounge. He was comforted by having a place to sleep for the night, but there lurked a curiosity about another airport only 10 miles away where the runway was nestled right next to the town limits. He decided to go explore it and took off over the Pennsylvania countryside.





In just a few minutes the son was on the ground again and taxiing up to the FBO. A lady with a sweet tone in her voice asked him over the radio if he needed fuel. He told her that he did not and shut down. Now he was in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania (N13).



As the son began wiping down the Dove, the radio lady came out and started taking pictures of him and the plane. Her name was BJ, the airport manager at Bloomsburg. A younger man in his mid-thirties came out and introduced himself as Phil, a local flight instructor. Another young pilot, Chris, came trailing behind him. The son answered all of their questions about his flight through America. Phil told the son that he held nearly all of the ratings needed in aviation for a lifelong career, including having a part-time professorship at the local university. Then Phil also told the son about having built a Zenith experimental aircraft, crashing it into the forest after an engine failure, and walking away from the wreckage with his life. He said that his wife would not let him build another plane after that.

The son was invited into the FBO building. The building itself was raised on over 20 feet of solid concrete, a mandated stipulation after the last flood from the Susquehanna River wiped it out. Inside, the son met BJ’s Golden Retriever, Payton.





The son asked BJ if there was any after-hours access to the building. She told him that there was no way the City of Bloomsburg would allow such a thing. Disappointed by that, the son decided to take a walk into town for lunch. It was a sweltering hot day. Behind the FBO stood a marker depicting the flood history of the river. He wondered how much higher the Susquehanna could go.



In town, the son had a large meatball sandwich at a restaurant called Original Italian. He thought it was perhaps the best Italian sandwich he had ever eaten. But by the time he made it back to the airport, he was being threatened by thunderstorms that were approaching from the north.



He decided to depart Bloomsburg after BJ told him that no hangar space was available and that there was no place on the airport to sleep for the night. Perhaps she could arrange a hangar for him over at Northumberland?

“I was just over there a couple of hours ago,” said the son.

“Well, I can call Ron, the airport manager over there, to see if he has any hangar space. Would you like me to try?” BJ asked.

“Sure,” said the son. “I appreciate that.”

Then BJ was having a conversation and nodding her head as she spoke with the airport manager over at Northumberland. BJ said that the son was traveling America all the way from California and was looking for a hangar that night. Was there one available? She looked at the son and nodded her head. Then she thanked him and hung up.

“He’s on his way over. I told him you’d be there in about ten minutes.”

The son thanked BJ for her help and said goodbye to her and Payton. Then he went out, climbed back into the Dove, and departed Bloomsburg to the south. The river shone brightly below.

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