Monday, April 16, 2007

Sun 'N Fun 'N Wind 'N Stress 'N Florida Drivers 'N...

I've had an enjoyable stay in Florida so far... and now, the time has come to pay for it. I arrived in Jacksonville Wednesday, and spent a few days at ANN HQ in Green Cove Springs. My boss found a beautiful house -- with hangar -- on a small airpark nearby. Friday afternoon, I sat on the front porch, posting stories on the website, while watching a Sonex homebuilt and what looked to me like a Siai Marchetti buzzing the field. Like I said, cool.

Saturday, after taking the boss to the airport and grabbing an oft-delayed Starbucks on the way back, I drove to St. Augustine to see the Atlantic. (If I could upload pics, I could show you some of the shots I took... sigh. I've now waded in the three largest bodies of water bordering the US... all that's missing is the Great Lakes. That isn't a goal of mine, per se... but it was my first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean, which was very cool.

After that, I decided to splurge and take a helicopter tour of St. Augustine. I'd never been on a helicopter before -- I view them as sins against nature, as any flying machine whose inherent nature is to spin itself to pieces should be considered -- and I figured the $65 price for a 20-minute ride over St. Aug was worth it. I was right. I now have a newfound respect for whirlybirds... but still not enough to consider getting a rotorcraft ticket.

Yesterday -- sigh -- I drove from GCS down to Winter Haven, to set up shop for ANN's annual Sun 'N Fun coverage. Heading out to the field later today to take a look at things, and to get credentialed. More staffers are arriving tonight, and the affair kicks off tomorrow.

After that, comes marathon trips to NM (house-hunting), Austin (skate-filming -- no, Monk, I haven't forgotten), Omaha (Grammie is moving into assisted living at the end of this month) and, if I can possibly manage, an oft-delayed trip to Vegas to celebrate my friend's 39th birthday (how delayed? He just turned 40.) Sigh.

Oh, and somewhere in there, wrapping up my sport pilot training and getting my license. Oh, and writing about it.

Busy times ahead...

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