There was a strong crosswind that caused the Dove to skip off the runway as the son took off on Runway 26. Over the water, he cranked to the north and bade farewell to Mackinac Island as the setting sun washed over the scene.
There was a strong headwind as the son landed a short time later only 24 miles away, at Chippewa County International Airport (CIU). It was the former site of the long-retired Kincheloe Air Force Base. After touching down, the son had to taxi over a mile to reach the FBO where he shut down next to a Cessna Cardinal.
It was quite breezy outside. There were two buildings to inspect as the son climbed out and walked over the tarmac. The first was completely stripped of equipment and abandoned to the elements.
The second was in operation, but not a soul was around. The door was open and there was no need to enter the Michigan Code on the keypad. Inside, there was a U.S. Customs facility, an FBO with a pilot’s lounge, restrooms, a shower, and a snooze room.
It was a standard military-style, cinder block building that brought back many memories as the son wandered through its halls. It was quiet, cool, and utterly devoid of human activity. In the shower room, the son happened upon an open locker with a pair of work pants that had been hastily flung over the top of the door. He stood there and looked at photos of a lineman named Todd who was the proud father of his baby girl, Jordan. The son smiled. There was much joy and happiness in Todd’s eyes. But the personal, private joy of the lineman being displayed in a public restroom somehow made the son feel like a thief, and he turned away to begin unpacking his gear from the Dove and preparing his home for the night.
The son showered, cooked up a pot of chili-mac, and ate dinner. He brushed his teeth and walked past Todd and Jordan again on the way back to the snooze room. Then he turned off the lights and went to sleep on a recliner. It was very dark in the room. But it was only so dark because the day had been so bright.