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  #31  
Old 08-17-2017, 01:56 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Four

My alarm was set for 5:00 AM. Gary told me that most of the backcountry pilots arrived at first light and used the smooth, cool air during the morning hours to get most of their flying accomplished. I quickly dressed, deflated the mattress, packed up, and started loading up the Dove. By 5:30, McCall Aviation had come to life and was prepping their fleet of C-206ís for their morning flights toward Boise.

I fired up and taxied to the runup area at runway 16 to warm up my engine. All three of the 206ís took off ahead of me to the south. I blasted out last. It felt good to get off the ground again.





I flew a direct course over Cascade, then cut a hard line to the east to continue following the eclipse centerline with a 20-knot tailwind pushing me along through the Sawtooth Mountains. In a little over an hour, I decided to land at Rexburg, ID (RXE). Originally, I had planned Rexburg as a simple waypoint for an initial landing at Driggs, ID; but needing to top off with about 25 gallons of fuel, and because Rexburg easily had the best prices in the area, I landed there instead.

I was glad that I did. I couldnít have picked a better place to spend Day Four on the pathway of the coming eclipse.



As with wherever I touched down, a sign of remembrance in the form of a Cross shaped from the Merced soil I brought along was placed behind the tailwheel.



I wiped down the Dove and then took a quick tour around the airport. I discovered that I had landed at the site of the Legacy Air Museum. Later that morning, I saw an L-19 pull out and take off for a brief flight, and then later, a P-63 Kingcobra fighter took off and made several high speed passes over the field.



I also discovered that Rexburg had an after-hours access FBO with a couch, restrooms, and a showers.









I was writing in my journal in the FBO when a Husky landed and taxied up. Two guys got out carrying their headsets. When they came into the FBO, I could immediately tell that one was a flight instructor and probably the guy who owned the place; the other was a student. They had just finished a flying lesson.



I did not want to distract them during their debrief, so I mostly kept to myself at a desk in the far corner of the FBO. Later in the afternoon, long after the student was gone, I decided to take a break from writing and go take a look at the museum.
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  #32  
Old 08-17-2017, 01:57 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Four (cont.)

There was a small group of people in the front office of the Legacy Flight Museum when I walked in from the tarmac. I could hear them talking. It sounded as if they were about to conclude a tour of their own.

Inside, I found a marvelous collection of warbirds, all of which appeared to be airworthy and ready for flight. I walked through the entire congregation by myself, totally uninterrupted, letting their history speak to me in the whispers and shades and silences of combat that not so long ago shredded the skies for freedom.



















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  #33  
Old 08-17-2017, 01:58 PM
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Default Day Four (cont.)

Back in the pilotís lounge, I continued to catch up on all the journaling I had failed to ink in over the last few days, and during that time, I got to know a little about Lewis, the owner of the FBO, Copter Doctor Plus.



Lewis was a commercial CFI and chopper pilot with tons of experience in the Alaskan bush. When I told him about my 40-day flying mission through America, he was enthused and began sharing with me many of his own flying adventures, including his plan to fly up to the International Peace Garden on the Canadian border. In the meantime, a Fedex guy delivered a new credit card reader that Lewis needed to install, and getting it to work properly over the phone lines took the better part of two hours.



After about 8 hours of writing, it was time for me to stretch my legs again. I decided to begin walking through and exploring Rexburg. As I left the airport, a few thunderstorms in the area began sweltering overhead, and the air began cooling and churning and picking up the desert scents of sand and sage and dust, stirring the town to life as the bright heat of the day disappeared under a canopy of thick clouds and darkness.







Signs of an impending July 4th celebration the following day, including a float with Old Glories cracking in the wind, began to appear before me on my walk through town.



The display of farm equipment, and the outlay of railroad tracks through the outskirts of Rexburg, gave the community a small town feel that put me immediately in touch with my surroundings.





People had staked claims to curbside real estate by placing hundreds of lawn chairs and umbrellas throughout the city along the route of the upcoming July 4th parade and festivities. Some areas had been roped off and readied for large groups and families to participate in the celebration.



I continued onward through the historic areas of town, passing a Mormon tabernacle built in 1911 and moving closer to the Mormon temple in the distance.

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  #34  
Old 08-17-2017, 01:59 PM
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Default Day Four (cont.)



The local newspaper building was shut down for the day but had its windows patriotically prepared for the morrow.



I eventually found myself walking through the Rexburg campus of Brigham Young University. Very few people were to be seen anywhere on campus, yet virtually every building I entered was open for me. I approached the apex where I could see the Mormon temple glowing before the backdrop of a rainbow-draped downpour.





In the templeís shadows, I beheld the boundless glory of the storm over fields of wheat that swayed like a sea of life toward the showers beyond.





I stood on the street corner alone by the temple. I looked back over the city of Rexburg. The sun began to descend slowly through the passing storm clouds, and I started back to the airport feeling strengthened and empowered to see more.



On the way, I found countless seats and chairs empty of their human occupants, both within the campus auditorium and throughout the city streets.





And I was finally reminded, as Day Four came to a close, that I needed to find a good pair of eclipse glasses soon. The town was getting ready not only for the celebration of American freedom, but also for the witness of a transient beauty that a dying Creation would describe over America in the heavenly bodies above.

It was coming, and coming quickly.

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  #35  
Old 08-18-2017, 08:46 AM
Neal Trombley Neal Trombley is offline
 
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Default

are you still on this voyage or is this finished, I see July 4th?
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  #36  
Old 08-18-2017, 12:30 PM
flynwest flynwest is offline
 
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Smile 40 days

I thought it was a 40 day trip that was day 4
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  #37  
Old 08-19-2017, 07:15 AM
NYTOM NYTOM is offline
 
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Talking Almost like writing a book.

Scott is probably going to be posting this trip write up over the next month or so. It takes me quite a while to even make a single post and I'm still having trouble posting a single photo. I can't imagine the time it's taking Scott to arrange all his photos and trip notes into a presentable flowing presentation.
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  #38  
Old 08-20-2017, 02:01 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Five

I had dinner on the way back to the airport at a Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. The place was brimming with late-evening Brigham Young University students, and two young men in line with me were discussing their recently completed Mormon missions overseas, one of them in Honduras.

When I got back to the airport, I punched in the after-hours entry code and went inside. I brushed my teeth and lay down on the couch for about 5 hours of restful sleep. Lewis had told me he would be back on the field by 6 AM the next morning, July 4th, 2017.

I got up at 5:30 and packed up for departure. I went outside to load my bags and to wait for Lewis to show up so I could get the Dove topped off with fuel.



Lewis showed up right on time as I was preflighting, and he drove his vehicle up and down the flightline to inspect it before hopping into a fuel truck and coming over to the plane and sending me on my way. Airborne at sunup, I bade farewell to Rexburg as I climbed eastward.



I flew a direct course line for my first waypoint, Alliance, NE, over Driggs Airport and and Jackson Hole, WY. The Grand Tetons were soon in my rear views with plenty of great flying weather ahead of me.



It was a gorgeous flight, with only a couple of instances where I had to fly around some small downpours. At Alliance, I chose to keep going because I had plenty of fuel, the weather was great, I had a nice tailwind, and I was enjoying the Great Plains scenery below.



After 4 hours of flight, I landed some 705 nautical miles east-southeast of Rexburg in the little Nebraskan town of Beatrice (BIE). There was a red high wing experimental flying just outside of the pattern during my approach. I landed and parked, the lone bird on the field.



I walked over to the FBO and took a quick look around. There werenít any after-hours keypads to get in, but it was a nice building that had a comfortable leather couch and clean rest room facilities.





I met a guy working in the FBO named Chuck who was in his mid-40ís and had a long mustache that curled down over the sides of his chin. When he asked me where I was coming in from, I told him about the mission I was on, and then Chuck asked me if I wanted to put the Dove in the hangar overnight. I asked him how much it was going to cost me, and he said twenty bucks. When he showed the hangar to me, and when I considered how early it was in the day for thunderstorms to be developing so strongly in the area, I agreed to move the Dove over there.



But as I was walking back over to the plane to start it up and taxi over, Chuck called out to me and told me that he could not get the doors to open. Something was wrong with the motor and the bifold doors could not be cranked open manually.

I told Chuck that it was okay. I told him I would go ahead and take my chances on the tarmac. Then I asked him if it would be okay with him if I could sleep in that hangar overnight. I told him I would inflate a mattress in there and at least have some decent shelter if the storms came raging through. Chuck sort of laughed at first, but then he said that it would be no problem. He showed me where to find the key to get in, and I thanked him.

I asked Chuck if he expected there to be any kind of 4th of July celebrations downtown that night. He told me he didnít know, but then he said I could use the courtesy van for the night because it was a two-mile walk into town and I would need it to get around.

Then, all of a sudden, Chuck left and a new guy punched in. He was just as friendly as Chuck, and when I asked him about what I should do with the keys to the courtesy van when I departed early the next morning, he told me how to get into the FBO so I could leave the keys on the countertop. I thanked him for his help.



I cooked up a batch of chicken teryaki in the pilotís lounge and ate, then cleaned up, loaded the courtesy van with my bags, and drove them over to the hangar for the night. I was very interested as to why I had been so powerfully called to land in this small town. Soon, I would discover why.

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  #39  
Old 08-20-2017, 02:02 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Five (cont.)

When I drove back off the tarmac and started toward town, I could see the periphery of storm cells developing nearby and the darkness hunkering in closer and closer to the airport.



The way toward town, however, appeared more hospitable. I drove off the field and bade farewell to the Dove for the day.



Only a few minutes into the drive toward town, I was compelled to pull off of the road. There was no way I was going to let Independence Day come and go without making some sort of combustive, explosive, or pyrotechnic contribution to the cause of American freedom.





I found something. It was the only one left for sale, so I bought it, complete with passages from Zephaniah, Chapter 1.



I drove into the countryside to behold some of the famous corn fields of Nebraska where I prayed for guidance and humility for the coming day. I still could not understand why the call to come to Beatrice was so powerful and compelling while I was still airborne. I did not know it yet, but all of that mystery was about to unravel before me.



I drove into town and stopped near City Hall. I parked the van, got out, and began walking through town.





It was a sudden and unexpected revelation to discover that, in virtually every direction I looked, down nearly every street I walked through in Beatrice, I encountered a church in one form, shape, denomination, or building. In all of my life, I had never seen so many churches occupying so much real estate in so small an area as I did there. I now lived and breathed in a little abstract town known as Beatrice, Nebraska; were I to assign a second name or subtitle to the town, however, one may just as well have called it, Church Town, USA.

My day of exploration had just begun.



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  #40  
Old 08-20-2017, 02:04 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Five (cont.)







I walked through the streets and neighborhoods and alleyways and store fronts in Beatrice that afternoon to find depth and meaning and purpose to my visit there. It did not take long to receive the wisdom I sought, for the question kept driving through me, pounding through my sockets with each step, with each breath, with each rounding of a street corner that revealed an emptiness and a sad, broken, crumbling but beautiful decay in the town: What will it be like when nobody is around anymore?

The same answer came to me. "It will be like this. Everywhere. And it is coming soon."













There was a feeling that sometimes came over me---the kind of feeling one gets when he sees a clothesline clipped with many colorful but bodiless garments that float vacantly in a backyard breeze---and it was that feeling which now became so overwhelming to me in Beatrice that I called out audibly for comfort, for peace. And although that sense of loneliness raged about me and fought madly to drag my spirits down, I knew I was never alone. I knew that the Lord walked with me, and I knew that wherever he led me I would willingly go if only I had the strength and courage to follow through.

Whether I had any of that, being myself the broken, fault-filled man that I was, remained as it had from Day One. It remained hidden. It remained a mystery. It remained as something else in the city that had yet to be discovered.

So I kept walking. And I did not stop walking for a long time.

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