I have meanwhile arrived in Wellesley, Massachusetts. This is neither near to New Orleans, nor to Tucson, let alone L.A. So what happened?
The short answer is: sometimes, plans just turn out differently. The long answer starts with the fact that the weather was bad on the day of our planned departure, that Ben had to make adjustments to his agenda, given his belated and tiresome return from Germany after 37 hours of flying over the Atlantic and ice and snow, that the autopilot of his new plane needed an inspection, and that he would not have a partner to fly back with him from Los Angeles, had we flown there anyhow.
After having explored all possibilities to still venture out on the Southern route as far West as possible, at least to Houston, we finally decided to let go of the idea. Instead, we would fly to Boston, where Ben lives with his family, and have one stop over somewhere on the way. We talked about Atlantic City and Philadelphia, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, and finally ended up with Newport, where Ben and his wife Sarah got married many moons ago. Sadly, I had not been able to attend the wedding and perform my role as best man back then, because I was about to have my oral examination as part of the German bar exam. Ben therefore thought, we should make up for it now by visiting the place. A new plan was born.
I booked a commercial flight from Boston to my ultimate destination Los Angeles and cancelled my appointments in New Orleans, Tucson and Los Angeles, and we took the Beechcraft Bonanza to a small airport with a radio shop in a place called Griffin south of Atlanta, to have the autopilot and some other things inspected. My first practice flight for the longer journey, so to say. I will leave it at that for now, because there will be a separate post on flying with “November 707 Foxtrot Foxtrot”, for it deserves a post of its own, but I must say, it was good to test the waters, before going on a longer flight, and even if I did not have my Olympus with me, but only my iPhone.
Upon our return to the Cohen’s house that night, I did the only thing one must do, when things go a completely other way than expected: I cooked a pasta with a ragu alla Bollognese, because it warms the heart and caresses the soul. And it makes the farewell the next morning less painful. We spend a lovely evening around the Cohen dinner table, and I learn almost the entire aviation alphabet from Alpha to Zulu and Foxtrot to Tango.