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  #21  
Old 08-14-2016, 12:42 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default July 9th: Everglades City, FL

Following the roughest night of attempted sleep in Ft. Payne, AL, I departed the area to the southeast, making my way toward Florida over a hot, humid, rain-soaked, and T-storm ripe landscape:



I landed at Williston Airport (X60) for fuel after 2 hours in the air. There were a bunch of RV pilots enjoying a Saturday morning breakfast at the local diner there, but I didn't have an opportunity to speak with any of them. They all took off as I was getting caffeinated and checking weather.



The heat was rising quickly that morning, and with it, the cumulonimbus. With time a-wasting, I took off with tanks full for a 1.5 hr. flight to Everglades Airport, (X01). The lone bird on the field once again, I was greeted warmly over the radio by Nancy, the weekend attendant on the field that day:



I tied the Dove down and had a wonderful conversation with Nancy who, out of the sincere kindness of her heart, gave me a tour of Everglades City, including Chokoloskee, an adjoining crabbing village south of the field:



Flags were at half staff out of reverence for the officers killed in Dallas days earlier. The half-staff nature of Old Glory would remain as such for nearly the remainder of the trip nationwide. The Baton Rouge tragedy followed soon after:



Nancy was very sympathetic to my cause. In my Californian ignorance, I told her I wanted to sling my hammock between a couple of palm trees and sleep under the stars for the night. Nancy chuckled. She said I was more than welcome to do so if I didn't mind the occasional alligator, panther, copperhead snake, or the mosquitos which, according to her, were like something out of the Old Testament once the sun went down.



Silly me. Instead, she let me sleep in the rear access area of the tower. I put my bike together and spent the rest of Saturday exploring Everglades City by pedal power.







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  #22  
Old 08-14-2016, 01:14 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Sunday, July 10th: Everglades, FL (cont.)

I awoke Sunday morning knowing that I was going to attend Everglades Community Church for worship. I rode my bike into town that morning and experienced perhaps one of the most loving, inspiring, and comforting services of my life, pastored under Korean War veteran and chaplain, Rev. Bob Wallace:





Following worship, the congregation invited me to stay for lunch and fellowship. I was overjoyed to do so. I learned much about the community, and I garnered in the process another league of prayer warriors to keep me protected throughout my journey across America.

After bidding farewell to my brothers and sisters at Everglades Community, I focused the rest of my attention on getting an air boat ride. It would be my first. There were several air boat tours from which to choose, but Speedy's topped the list. Why? They possessed several square miles of private Everglades marsh land that were inaccessible to the others, and I wanted my ride in the relative cool of late afternoon. Speedy's was, as I discerned quickly, not only a wise choice, but a providential one.





I couldn't have asked for a better ride. Shane, my assigned pilot, was a native of Everglades City---a true Son of the 'Glades, as it were. Additionally, since I was the only passenger on the boat, Shane soon learned about my being an airplane pilot. Therefore, a few Air Boat Aerobatics were in order as we raced through the mangroves on pure Corvette-Sensenich-driven power:





Not only did I get to do a little crabbing on the journey, but Shane let me take the air boat for a spin. Call it a pilot thing---air boat or otherwise---but Shane and I hit it off from the moment the V-8 fired up. He was more than happy to bend the rules a little this time for a fellow pilot:



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  #23  
Old 08-14-2016, 01:41 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Sunday, July 10th: Everglades, FL (cont.)

Like a couple of teenagers on a joy ride, Shane and I brought the air boat into the slips with sly grins and snickers. An enormous storm cell had developed to the south and was approaching us quickly. If I was going to buy Shane a beer or two, we had to get moving . . . and pronto!





We hopped into his old pickup and headed into the storm. The rain was torrential:





Shane wanted some action from the bar after a long day at work piloting air boats, and I . . . well, I wanted to try some of that stuff they call fried alligator. Tastes kind of like chicken, but the bartender photo-bombed me otherwise:



Shane gave me a little mini-tour of Chokoloskee after my alligator cravings were satisfied, and then he took me back to the airport and bade me farewell. It was an incredible day of friendships, discovery, and excitement. Now it was time to rest. Another big day of flight was on for Monday:







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  #24  
Old 08-14-2016, 02:33 PM
StuBob StuBob is offline
 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
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Great writing, great photos, and an uncommonly frank and authentic spiritual perspective. Thanks!
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2017 Dues paid. Wrote a check. On paper. Because I'm old school that way. Sorry, Doug!
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  #25  
Old 08-14-2016, 02:44 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default July 11th: Sebastian, FL, Moncks Corner, SC

I fueled up on the morning of July 11th hoping to fly to Key West, then back up the Keys to the east coast of Florida. The weather prevented any such attempt. A horrendous line of thunderstorms was already fully developed over the entire Keys chain and was moving inland rapidly. I made a beeline for Miami, then cut northward over Homestead Airfield (X51). The northbound journey up America's east coast had begun:



Landing at Sebastian (X26) 1.2 hrs. after takeoff, I fueled up, caffeinated my brain, checked weather to the north in the Charleston, SC area---my planned destination for the day:



Meanwhile, I contacted Lightspeed Aviation by phone and spoke with Travis. The only mechanical squawk of the entire 5-week journey occurred just after takeoff from Everglades City that morning. The right ear of my Zulu 2 headset suddenly crackled and went dead. With no backup on board an already packed-to-the-gills airplane, I arranged for a loaner to be shipped to Camden County Airport (19N) near Philadelphia, PA, where I planned on being by week's end. Travis was incredibly supportive and shipped the loaner via USPS Priority. Meanwhile, I did my best with a left-ear-only headset for the next five days.

Taking off out of Sebastian, I cruised over the Melbourne and Cape Canaveral areas at 10,500. I passed up the opportunity to perform a low pass over Cape Canaveral's runway; my hearing is bad to begin with, and the whole one-ear thing kept me upstairs where it was quiet and cool:





Two hours later, I landed at Berkely County Airport (KMKS) in Moncks Corner, SC, just north of Charleston:



It is probably the only airport in America where one can find a biplane---or any aircraft for that matter---performing an inverted ribbon cut in the FBO building:



My clothes were getting ripe. The last time I was able to do laundry was a week earlier in Round Rock, TX. After helping me fuel up and tie down, Stacy, the airport manager, let me use the courtesy car to go into town to use the local Coin-Op Laundromat:





She and Bo were also gracious and sympathetic to my cause and allowed me accomodations in the snooze room for the night. After folding my laundry and writing in my journal, I slept well that night in Moncks Corner.



My plan was to depart at first light on Tuesday morning, northbound.
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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 08-16-2016 at 04:51 PM.
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  #26  
Old 08-14-2016, 02:55 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
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Location: Boulder, CO
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Sure enjoying the story and those great photos.

Modest recommendation: on tiedown knots, ditch those knots that you're using, they won't hold up to a real blow. They'll slide up the rope and things will get sloppy and loose and the plane will start rocking and eventually something will break. Instead, use three half-hitches after pulling the ropes just as tight as you can get them -- don't use chocks while doing this. I tie one main, then the other one, cranking down on it, and then the tail, pulling the plane back as I do for more tightness.

When the length of the ropes permit, I double-up the rope. The idea is to gain more stiffness. Anything to keep the plane from moving around.

I learned this after some 100+ mph winds at the Boulder Airport in 1981 or 1982. We lost about a dozen airplanes. I walked among the wreckage examining what failed, and among the survivors, examining what worked.

Dave
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  #27  
Old 08-14-2016, 03:10 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Tuesday, July 12th: Kitty Hawk (KFFA)

Weather in the morning looked sketchy but doable. The only way to really get a feel for the "doability" of the Wx was to get airborne and find out, so I did:



The areas near my destination airport were reporting marginal VFR with low ceilings, and the cloud layers kept pushing me higher and higher the further north I traveled. I contacted Cherry Point Approach to traverse R-5314 and get some clarification on the weather. I got clearance through the restricted airspace and began a rapid descent through a nice big hole. An hour-and-a-half after leaving Moncks Corner, I was once again the lone bird on another empty American tarmac:





The majority of the morning was spent getting chills as I explored the holy ground of Kitty Hawk:





No words can fully express how thankful I am to have been born American, to have been blessed with so much freedom, and to have been able to experience the fruits of the incredibly agonizing labors of two other Americans: Wilbur and Orville Wright:



Thank you, Lord!
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  #28  
Old 08-14-2016, 04:11 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default 12 July: West Point & Tangier Island, VA

I took off from Kitty Hawk and flew a comfortable .7 hrs. north to Middle Peninsula Regional Airport (KFYJ) at West Point, VA. An army chopper had landed just ahead of me, and the crew were preparing to debrief as I tied down the Dove:



No, this is not the same West Point as the West Point Academy in New York. It was just a fluke (or was it?) that an Army helicopter came swooping in from Richmond, VA. In any case, West Point, VA, would remain my base of operations for the next two days as I explored the colonial Jamestown-Fredericksburg areas of America:





After settling in and getting the lay of the land, I was convinced that an afternoon excursion across Chesapeake Bay to Tangier Island (KTGI) was in order. This flight was made on the clear recommendation of local pilots. I knew I was in for a treat before the prop even started cranking again:



Once on the ground, I began walking the pathways of an island whose inhabitants used mainly golf carts, bicycles, and boats for transportation.









The culture of the island was steeped in church history and with a patriotic intensity the likes of which I have never seen before:



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  #29  
Old 08-14-2016, 04:26 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default 12 July: West Point & Tangier Island, VA (cont.)

Standing out perhaps more than anything else were the tombstones, grave sites, and memorials planted on Tangier. When the British attacked Baltimore, Maryland, during the War of 1812, they used Tangier Island as the launching point. It was during this epic battle when Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner:





After several hours of walking and exploration, it was time to blast off back to West Point and settle in for the night. Before actually going to bed, I walked the .8 mile road into town for Italian food. The homes along the way were beautiful in the rust-colored light of a descending day:



After returning back to the airport, it was time for bed. Accommodations? Once again, self-explanatory:



The next day, Colonial America awaited me with open arms.
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  #30  
Old 08-14-2016, 05:08 PM
Jaknjoan Jaknjoan is offline
 
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Default The best ever.

Scott,

Your epic flight around our great country, your excellent travelog and high quality photos in my opinion is the best I've ever seen posted in the Forums. I read every word.

Jake Thiessen
Independence, Or
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