Beverly and I are incredibly blessed. We had planned to arrive on the 24th and return on the 27th. Since we didn’t arrive until later on the 25th, our hosts John & Bernadette suggested we extend our stay a day. I wasn’t looking for a quick turn and started to like that idea. After checking the weather up north, I saw that a flight as originally planned on Tuesday would be a similar challenge as we saw on the way down. Wednesday weather would be impossible to get home without much misery. Our hosts allowed us to hang out and plan a departure for today – Thursday.

I had the opportunity to read a Jack Reacher novel from cover to cover while hanging out at their pool. I even had a chance to swim for a few days. That is, until I slipped getting out and scratched up my right leg. Beverly and Bernadette made a pharmacy run and plugged the leaks. I spent the remaining pool days reading in the shade and loved it.

On Wednesday, Mike and Kim reached out as they were heading past us for Naples. All six of us met for lunch at a nice waterside spot called Riveria. Great fun and seafood in the Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte area with good friends. We are blessed.

Beverly packed us a lunch and we loaded the airplane for departure. The FBO treated us really well, but they charged me 7% tax on top of the daily ramp fee. Tax on a ramp fee is annoying. The fuel price was less than 6$, so the overall cost was acceptable. The service and hospitality was outstanding. I’ll go back and use that airport again. It is large and well staffed. Allegiant Airlines operates out of there.

Our first leg took 3 hours right back to Darlington, an airport that we knew now. It made sense to use this as our fuel stop as it was quiet; easy in and easy out. This final leg was planned at somewhat less than 3 hours, even though anticipated winds and turbulence would be bad close to home.

After getting our hosts up early and packing our gear, we were able to depart right on the planned time. Absolutely no weather drama nor significant turbulence on the first leg. I greased the landing at Darlington and maneuvered around a G5 preparing to depart on the ramp. That was a surprise, but didn’t slow us up any.

KUND to KILG – the final push for home

After refueling and a rest break, we picked up our clearance by cell phone and departed for home. We flew home and used some oxygen again at 9,000′ to find smooth air and lower winds for the first hour. As we progressed north, I descended to 7,000′ and finally 5,000′ trying to mitigate headwinds. By the time we reach 5,000′, Beverly and I were getting hammered by moderate turbulence again. I stuck it out right there as we had less than an hour remaining in our flight home by that time.

The temperature had dropped considerable since Norfolk, so I had the airplane heat going for the girl.

The winds were about 14 gust 27 with a left crosswind when we landed home on RW32. I put Beverly in the car with some heat, and put the airplane away for the night. I’d come back tomorrow to remove and store the oxygen tanks; remove batteries from devices that would be dormant for awhile (Bev’s headset, oxygen controller, portable scale); and clean out any trash we left behind.

We had an excellent winter get away and caught up with two sets of dear friends. That is precisely what we should be doing.

Fly safe you all. Frank

By fdorrin

Fully retired now, unless something interesting comes along. I’ve enjoyed a lucrative career as an Electrical Engineer, Certified Software Solutions Developer, and Project Manager. An excellent and fun career that I’m very proud of. I began flying commercially in Dash-8 aircraft for Piedmont Airlines, and moved on to instruct in the Gulfstream 280; WestWind; and Astra jet aircraft. I’ve also been blessed with a type rating in the B-25 bomber in a fortunate turn of events. My wife, Beverly, and I currently own and operate a beautifully restored PA30 Twin Comanche, which we use to explore the CONUS.