The withdrawal symptoms are bad. Apparently there is something about air breathed at altitude while hearing loud engine noises that causes endorphins to flow. In any case I am not only acutely aware that the last time I flew was Saturday, but like any good junkie I am even more aware that a fellow junkie has been shooting up more often than I have.

The flight with Colin to Big Bear and the desert was my last trip. It was exactly as much fun as I had hoped to get in the plane with just the two of us and push off. As we walked to the plane I suggested to Colin that we try the seventeen airport hop with no GPS. He looked at me, thought for a moment, and said ‘I had not even considered that.’ Of course he was as into doing it as I was. More it turned out, since I would have peeked at the GPS when we were flying around looking for the first airport and could not pick it out in the haze. I have to admit that I am singularly bad at picking out airports. On long final for Paso Robles, descending at the behest of the designated examiner, I did not have any idea where the hell I was landing.

We made it to eight of our destination airports and it would have taken another four hours to get all seventeen. The ride home was quite direct once I looked ahead and saw the contrast between the clear desert air and the haze of the coast. We had flown up in it, but with no clear air comparison it was not an issue. The idea of diving back into it for another nine airports seemed nuts. We shot the pass at Palm Springs and headed back to SMO. At one point I was asked to divert from direct flight for faster traffic. I did and a few minutes later was told to resume own navigation… also to look right if I wanted a view of a 757 on final for Ontario. A Fed Ex plane at my altitude heading in, very cool. About half an hour later LA Center again told us to avoid entering Class Bravo. The controller then asked whether we planned to drop below the bravo and head direct to SMO. I replied in the affirmative and he said, ‘Oh good, because right now you are lined up on final for LAX.’ LAX was still a good twenty miles away, but apparently the big boys were dropping in right over our radar blip and it was making him nervous. I diverted a bit north to make my intentions clear.

I have to go get checked out in a Cessna at Torrance so I can fly Mom and Alex around. I am hoping to get them up on two flights but the loft trauma may have sensitized them so much that they want to stay on solid group for the first few days.

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