Monday, February 22, 2010

Rainy day catchup with internet!!!

This is Livy, she just turned three. She came right up and asked me what my name was, my rebuttal was to immediately take a quick picture and then of course respond.
This fellow Mike is homeless in Fort. Lauderdale. He moved down five years ago from Ohio of all places. I asked if he had any family. He has an ex-wife and a daughter. He was formerly into sales management or something. He moved down to FL for a girl, who shortly after died of cancer. He is intelligent and made good conversation. I'm glad to have met Mike.
Conny was sitting at the table behind me durring breakfast, and while we were both waiting, somehow I struck up a conversation. Conny's husband passed away a number of years ago. She said a lot of women her age don't travel alone, but she loved to travel alone and observe people around her. She said in recent times people had begone to appear vain and trivial, and she was very excitited when she heard my journey. I told her about couchsurfing and the people that use it. She is also from MA, just north of Boston.
My view while eating breakfast.
When I woke up outside the hotel.

Steve outside our faithful Citation Mustang.
A lovely action shot of Chris.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Florida sun, Citation Jets, and People

For those of you who have been following my blog I have to take a second and apologize for my recent inactivity. I could say internet is difficult to come by.... but I don't really have an excuse. I also have to excuse myself for not putting pictures on this post. The computer I am using at the moment is not mine, and so does not have the card reader that mine has, meaning I cannot upload my photos. That all said, as soon as I can, I will upload some of the most exciting photos of the trip so far (maybe?). 
I think I will give a quick overview on what has happened in the last couple of days and then I'll go back and talk about the people. (but I never stick to the plan so we'll see)

I mentioned briefly the guys at Rocky Mountain Sport Jets, these guys and gal were great to me. Steve, Chris, Alan, Kandi, and Matt this was the crew. Steve was a former captain for US airlines, although he flew for Air Tran as well. He flew everything from helicopters to jets, he is one of those guys that just has every rating. He is a very likable guy with a real enthusiastic personality, he would make funny accents and crack a joke here and there, the kind of guy people tend to gravitate to. But all that aside, he is a very generous man. It is because of him that I am now in Florida. Chris was an interesting guy. He and I didn't have that much time to talk, but he is the very first member of the group that I met knocking at their neighbors door, he invited me in, showed me around, and introduced me to the rest of the crew. Chris also plays a mean guitar, I can vouch for him. He is also a very generous man. Kandi is his daughter, she was a very dedicated worker, when I was there she was arranging everything for Steve's next flight out. Alan is 21 and already has his CFI rating, he is totally and utterly obsessed with the aviation world, books include. Aside from all that, Alan made excellent company, and drove me all over the place. Matt is a bit of a free spirit. He offered me the T hanger to sleep in one night it had two futons a pool table a moped, some workout stuff, a big truck, this place was perfect. Matt is currently working on his private license, but I think he is probably ready.  I went with Matt to Starbucks to meet one of his old friends. It turns out the two of them had taken a road trip at my age hitting all the edges of the country. Incidentally one of the pictures on my last post is the two of them at the Starbucks. 
After hanging around long enough, Steve had a flight he had to do down to St. Maarten's with a pit stop in Florida, he said he could drop me off in Florida. Not having had to much luck in Ohio,  and Florida being kind of the mecca of general aviation in the winter, it was a pretty appealing offer. Tuesday afternoon at about four o'clock a Citation Mustang pulls up outside the hanger. A beautiful plane. The owner gets out comes in for about ten fifteen minutes to chat and then it begins. Mark the owner learned to fly  early on and then flew in the air force. He is very successful at what he does, but he still flies his own jet. He flew down to Florida, we had a pretty decent headwind and stopped once to get a little extra fuel just north of Ft. Lauderdale. Steve was planning to leave at four in the morning and so Mark had rented a car so he could make a quick getaway. Steve said I could crash in his hotel room since we arrived so late in the evening, and I would find a way to make it North to my family the next day. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous. I woke up had a fantastic omelette and walked across the street to lie of the beach. It turns out forty degrees is cold with or without snow, but as long as the sun is out and the sand is there it's fine.
It's very convenient when you find yourself in a place where you have family. I was picked up that day and had about one more day of enjoying Florida before I discovered all these moments of extreme fatigue I'd been having were because I has coming down with some kind of bug. I went to a walk in clinic because I was not sure what I had, and it turned out I had quite a high temperature, so they wanted to do blood work and such, anyway I'm stuck in Florida until at the very least this fever goes away..... 
Anywho. this is another post into Ari's adventure.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Couch surfing meet private jets!!!

Today has been possibly the most successful day of my trip to date. I spent last night tossing and turning over the idea of hitch-hiking on the actual road, and the trucker idea seemed suddenly quite frightening. I woke up this morning resolute, and called a taxi during my complimentary cup of Raisin Bran and glass of milk (coffee was an option, as well as orange juice, although for the moment orange juice consisted of an empty jug). When my taxi arrived (remember 17 cars, small town, and based ten minutes away) about forty minutes later, the dispatcher who had said the driver could possibly cut me a deal from the fixed price to Akron, was in fact bluffing. The driver informed me that there was no way that he could change a fixed rate, only the dispatcher could. After our brief talk about financing I ended up giving a brief explanation about my trip. The driver was rather stuck, he told me "If God had wanted I fly, he would done get me wings for me." He dropped me off by the departures at the airport, and I began walking the twenty minute walk to the FBO. I was so thrilled to be at a new airport with a big FBO I walked right in and right up to the counter. A young lady was sitting there at the desk and asked "What!" A little taken aback, I told her tale, and what I had come through to get there, and asked if I could just sit in one of the chairs for a bit. She told me to get out. I asked how come, and she told me it was against her policy to let me talk to anyone and to remove myself right away. I mentioned once again that I was writing an article and could give them a good review if they showed me hospitality, plus being a pilot, the pilots lounge seemed like a perfectly reasonable place to sit. She said she didn't care and to get out. The only useful information I got out of this girl, was when I asked her if there was another FBO on the field I could possibly talk to. I found that the place I wanted to go was on the other side of the field. I began my search for a means of getting around this class C airport, not easy. Finally A gent from a shuttle service was nice enough to show me the way for fifteen dollars. In desperation I took it. I got to the other side of the field, and although friendlier staff at "Ultimate Air" the policies were the same. About one hour after I arrived I was told I had to leave. When A pilot did fly in from Oshkosh on a medical trip, I was told not to speak with them. Lucky for me, the pilot was bored waiting for his patient, and struck up a conversation with me. He was in fact going west and if he wasn't carrying "Live legs" he would be more than willing to take me.
As soon as he left, the guy at the desk gave me a number for the air cargo company based at the airport and told me to leave. I did not feel like calling another taxi, so I took the three mile walk on the highway back over to the other side of the field.
When I got to the cargo air, no one answered the door, but the next hanger over had a guy who just arrived. I went over, and he invited me in out of the cold. I told him my story and he loved it. He told me they dealt with jet financing and selling and refurbing and such, more specifically the Eclipse sport jet. The he insisted I come in and sit in one of the jets as well as meet all the guys in the company. At this point I had resolved myself that the only way I would make it out of Ohio was by Greyhound. I felt rather pressed for time, so when Chris (the gent. afore mentioned) insisted I meet the boss who was in a meeting, I almost said no. Steve (the boss) turned out to be a bit of an adventurer himself. A former US Air pilot, Steve had left the company in order to pursue something more interesting. He was of the philosophy, it is better to be broke in happy, than broke and unhappy! He invited me to stay and eat lunch with them and hang out, he said they had a laundry machine in the hanger if my clothes were dirty.... He was extremely generous. He also suggested if I stick around till Monday, I could get a ride in the Eclipse. I told him if the bus was a dead end I would definitely come back and hang out with them. They made me feel more than welcome. They gave me hope and felt like family.
I went over to the terminal to find out from the travel information people what my odds were of getting a bus out were. An exasperated old lady finished yelling at the client on the phone before telling me I was a fool and no buses drove on weekends.
Dejected, I walked back to the Eclipse guys just in time to eat pizza. It turned out Steve did a tremendous amount of flying into Bradley Airport and knew the area quite well. He told me to stay and fly the only certified Eclipse simulator in existence and they might possibly sign my logbook.
At about six o'clock I realized I still had no place to stay. I remembered the couch surfing network and immediately looked up Akron. I found a couple of listings. I am to tired at the moment to continue, but at the moment, I am safe and comfortable at a house in Akron.
Tune in tomorrow for the complete tale.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Birthplace of aviation... cough me up a ride

It is time to take action!! First sleep, then ACTION! As much as this town has treated me with tremendous hospitality, both from the airport, and the people I knew/met at the college, I MUST MOVE ON! Today was an utter failure. I find myself lying in a bed at a Super 8 hotel just outside of Wooster exhausted and annoyed. In terms of food I had tremendous success, the Green Leaf restaurant gave me breakfast for $4 including tip, eggs, English muffins, and coffee, not an extraordinarily large breakfast, yet with enough of what I needed to keep moving. I arrived at the airport at 7:40ish. No the sun was up, the sky was clear, and the windsock was limp, also it was a FRIDAY! The perfect makings of a travel day. Everything en-route was clear. Not a single plane took off the entire day. A medical chopper went out on some business, but it was local and they were full. In the evening a Citation jet took off from the charter service on the field, but they would not even touch me. That was it. Seven until five roughly, and not a single possible flight, not even to Akron Canton. My other dilemma was in rooming. Tonight my friend with whom I'd been staying left for a convention of sorts. I also feel as though my constant arrivals and departures, goodbye's followed closely by my inevitable return was becoming draining to the people I had met, at least to me it was/is. I do not enjoy goodbyes, and if I spend a week repeating them they begin to sound hollow and I become frustrated.
Right now, having gotten minimal sleep last night, I lie exhausted on the hotel bed. By myself. The lady at the desk was nice enough to give me a discount when I told her of my adventure, so if anyone here happens to be driving through Wooster, Oh, the Super 8 staff do have hearts. As for the rest of my trip, I feel as though going back to Wayne County airport would not be a bad thing socially, in order to make actually progress on my trip I have to get to Akron and early. The advice that my cap driver gave me was; since the hotel is just off of the road to Akron, just ask around and hitch a ride out. My hope is to go to sleep immediately (right now) wake up in a couple of hours, and ask every trucker who comes in here if he's going to Akron. Although a slightly sketchier mode of transportation than I originally had hoped for, I am determined to make tracks.
This is yet another insight into the mind of Ari. Friday Evening

Birthplace of Aviation

A final goodbye to Ohio (maybe?). I always expected to do most of my traveling on the weekends, but I feel as though I have milked Ohio for everything I can get. Interesting fact, Ohio's motto on their license plates is the "birthplace of aviation". I got to the airport at seven thirty this morning, took a picture of a farm on the way over. I feel a sense of closure, all I need is for someone to come along for me to ask for a ride, anyone. So far today, which is an absolutely gorgeous day with blue skies and no wind, there has yet to be one airplane coming or going, regardless, I have a feeling in my gut that today is the day.
This has been yet another peek into the happenings of Ari's journey (that's me by the way)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well, here I am, still in Ohio. The last two days have been filled with snow, reading, and a few movies. Although I would like to be moving along, any pilot has to accept when the weather is just too much. Today was a flyable day, not beautiful with overcast clouds, but definitely manageable. This morning I woke up, packed my things and called a taxi. I got to the airport, and commenced schmoozing, the only thing was, no one was going flying, in the many hours that I have been here today, I have seen a helicopter and a Piper Lance come in (you'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge about helicopters) both were based here, and neither got back in the air. I tried calling the air cargo company down the road, they practically hung up the phone on me. Today is one of those days that absolutely nothing is happening, tomorrow on the other hand, I have a good feeling about. At about seven thirty tomorrow morning a Citation jet is leaving, I don't exactly know where they are going, but frankly it does not matter. I think at this point I just have to get back in the air. I prefer not to have my feet on the ground for more than three days in a row, it makes me uncomfortable.
A brief explanation about the photos above, the chai represents energy, or more specifically is my energy, it carries me through the day, hence I thought it deserved some note. Next we have Jim moving a Euro copter 145 out of the hanger to make way for the piper lance that just arrived. The next photo is one of a gent on welfare who works shoveling and assisting however needed. Last is a Piper Cherokee 6 which also had to be moved in order to get the Lance into place. After all this moving everything was put back, and we all (myself and a couple of pilots, as well as two rather large dogs) went back to the pilot lounge and talked until now.
As for my thoughts on the day, there are always going to be slow days, I always imagined that during the middle of the week I would not do that much traveling, and at least in this case I was a able to visit a friend as well as get stuck. As long as I can make some headway tomorrow, I think I'll be just fine. I'll keep you all posted
This has been yet another (although not quite so adventurous) adventure in the life of Ari.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Still Ohio

How spiteful the weather is. After a bit of a late start I made it over to the airport, (I had to bring the courtesy car back). The airport had a TBM parked outside, as well as a Mooney. I spent some time talking to the Mooney pilot, he had been having an oil problem. The TBM pilot came in, a younger man, and we chatted for a minute. I got to sit in the cockpit, incidentally the owner came along later and offered me a ride without hesitation, I almost took it, except I hesitated. I shouldn't really go more north than I already am. I think this is the first milestone of the trip. A flight offered that I had to turn down!!! In a TBM too.
I have grown really fond of this airport. I think by now any remnants of my first reaction are totally gone. Jim has been more than hospitibal to me, and the people who come in here have that small town family vibe going that I love back home. All in all, if the snow has to stop me. This is not a bad place to get stuck.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


After what seemed like a never ending cycle of postponements, (weather as well as just not having everything together) I packed my one bag and made my way to the airport. In order to start the trip off with some kind of plan, my father offered to fly me the first leg, to Ohio, where I met up with a friend. It took us about three hours of smooth flying over the clouds and playing with the avionics before we reached the snow laden grids of Ohio.

Arriving in Ohio, my first impression was slightly desolate. The airport looked practically abandoned, and I became quite certain then and there that the trip was over. My father would get back in the airplane and go home. Day after day I would return to the airport looking for a ride, and day after day I would fail. These thoughts were practically cemented when an airport attendant came out to fuel our airplane. He barely even lifted his arms to direct us. When I walked into the airport however, every turned around. I met Jim, the friendly worker behind the desk who took his job with the enthusiasm of a salesman. The second I told him what my plans were, he pointed out two possibilities for the morning of people he knew would be going west, as well as the possibility of an air cargo company a couple miles north who fly all over the country all the time. If I connect with them, I might possibly open up a network all over the country. He told me to keep the courtesy car (nicest one I have yet to drive) all night, and he would be back in the morning to help me.

The town itself is extremely flavorful in that it has not been overrun by corporate America, I did not see chain restaurants or convenient stores, and when I asked where I could eat, I was told a place called the Barn. The Barn is an actual barn that burned down in the 30's I believe, and was rebuilt. It is now a beautiful multi-level restaurant, with waitresses out of the Little House On The Prairie, decked out with the bonnet and smile. Everything in the town was covered in snow possibly feet of snow, and glistening. The plows were either backhoes or lawn tractors with a plow.
All in all, the first day has gone by as smoothly and successfully as possible. The two hardest things were taken care of for me, a flight and a room, but now I have the confidence to see what tomorrow will throw at me.
This has been day one of my adventure on February 7th, (which also happens to be my mother's birthday) Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

As I have not yet departed, I feel slightly obligated to keep the passive couch potato; the reader (you) content by letting you know, no I am indeed leaving. Tomorrow morning I plan to begin my journey.
I suppose I should also stop assuming that everyone reading this knows exactly what my plans are. I think I will explain, so for those of you who have heard me ramble on a thousand times feel free to stop reading now.
I plan on departing from the Great Barrington Airport with a backpack, my camera, and a little bit of confidence in the hopes of hitch-hiking (by air) to Santa Fe, NM. My father has generously offered to fly me south to the Virginia area in hopes that there is more activity. I do not consider myself a very adventurous person so I figured that if I threw myself into the lions pit (metaphorical lion of course) then I would have no choice but to adapt and survive, or... the alternative is the knowledge that I should never ever attempt anything like this again.
I think that is a sufficient explanation for now. The rest should be fairly self explanetory with the unfolding of this blog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Certain days it takes getting in the air and seeing everything from an objective point of view to truly appreciate the beauty of your own home. This picture was taken just about a week ago when I took my friend for a quick loop around the area, stretch my wings and such.