The trip to DC was a complete success and the December trip from Oakland, CA to Miami FL is a GO! I can’t believe I can finally say this, but I will fly the North American leg of Amelia Earhart’s round the world flight in the plane of my dreams and I will do it before the close of 2011!
John and I flew to DC on Saturday morning and arrived on the most beautiful Fall day. The flight there was filled with spectacular colors, day dreamy conversation about flying around the world and a very nervous Amelia who would not shut up or sit still during the decent. (Sorry John… well not really!) We walked out to be picked up by what turned out to be one of the coolest people I have ever met… this of course, was the aircraft owner, who we instantly clicked with! When you put three Cirrus pilots in the car together for an hour long drive, there is no way there could be a lack of conversation or enthusiasm. My nerves slowly settled as we wound our way through DC traffic, watching sweater wrapped east-coasters, seeing for the first time, the monuments and buildings that I have only seen on television and read of in textbooks. I was pretty much in heaven as we received a tour of the gorgeous neighborhoods near Georgetown. We stayed at The Fairfax, a beautiful, historic hotel.
The evening picked up at 7:00 when we went to dinner at Cafe Milano where we celebrated with champagne, ate an amazing dinner and made new friends. The aircraft owner and his wife, myself and John, discussed details of the mission, shared stories and all in all, had a great night. I simply could not stop smiling. The night wrapped up with a night time tour of DC where we saw the Capitol, the White House, etc. It was short and sweet and filled with tidbits of info from two people who have lived and worked in this amazing place for years.
Sunday morning I sprang out of bed to get ready to head to Manassas to see the plane for the very first time. This is what I saw when we opened up the door to the hangar. I gotta admit, I was kind of shaky and even got a little teary when I saw it for the first time. Because I have such a deep connection to the way flying has changed my life and the places aviation has changed me, I couldn’t hold back. Those of you who know me will know this is rare… I couldn’t really compose a sentence! I was silent, in complete happiness!
More on the experience of flying the plane for the first time, because that is an entire book in and of itself (it is 3:35 in the morning and I should probably get ready for work soon… sorry 9News, I was late for work because I had to finish my blog)
The connection could not have been better between John, myself, the owner of this beautiful machine, his wife… the entire weekend felt like it was supposed to happen just as it did. We all understood the significance of this sort of trip and how much trust will be bestowed upon all of us, in varying ways. I have so much respect for him because when I asked why he would offer something so large, so generous, so amaizng, he said,
“when you have amazing things, you should share them”
This reply stopped me in my tracks… as his wife says, “if the rest of the world thought like you, it would be a much better place”.
Yes, it would… and yes it is.