There Are No Old, Bold Pilots

Yesterday didn’t exactly go as planned. I felt better for most of the morning, but still off. I filled our fresh water tank in anticipation of hitting the road Friday. Then I spent most of the afternoon napping while Donna went for a run around Lily Pond.

Donna fixed a plate of leftover pasta with meatballs for me. I could only eat one meatball and a little of the pasta. I haven’t eaten much over the past few days.

I went to bed around 7:30pm and was out. Donna stayed up a watched a movie. Friday morning I woke up feeling well-rested despite gusty winds in the night. My head felt clear. Donna made a Switchel Sports Drink – it has maple syrup, fresh ground ginger, apple cider water and a pinch of sea salt. It was good and I had an appetite for a small bowl of cereal.

Donna remarked that I looked much better. I was feeling better for sure. But she had reservations about hitting the road. It was windy with occasional unpredictable gusts well over 20mph. I have to digress here for some background.

About 17 years ago, I took an Airman’s Medical Exam and was issued a certificate. I started taking flying lessons. I’ll never forget my flight instructor telling me that the most important trait a pilot must possess is one he can’t teach – good judgement. After a few flight lessons, cancer intervened – realistically I couldn’t afford it at the time anyway. Several years later, I went for another Airman Medical Exam. By then a lot had changed. I had been through several surgeries and no longer had sight in my right eye. The doctor told me he thought I was a risk taker based on my medical history.

I had to admit that racing motorcycles was definitely accepting a certain level of risk, but much of the rest was the result of a very active lifestyle. I can’t help it if while riding my bicycle I get hit by a car driven by an inattentive driver on his cell phone – what am I going to do – just give up cycling? He said he had issued certificates to one-eyed pilots before but it adds to the risk factor and he needed a little more time to review my history. He finished the interview with the old adage – there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

I received my certificate a few weeks later but never took another lesson. So, what am I leading up too? Donna felt the wind conditions were tricky at best and could be tough even if I was at 100%. Even if we waited to see if the gusty winds would improve, we would be heading right into thunderstorms in the west by afternoon.

I did a self-assessment. There’s a game app on my smartphone that I play at the highest level. I’m usually quite proficient and score among the top five on their weekly results board. I opened the app and tried a few rounds. The games ended quickly when I would make a wrong move or my reaction time was too slow. That sealed it. Donna called the office to see if we could remain where we are for another night. I bit the bullet and paid the premium.

That being said I am feeling quite a bit better today. What was slow, incremental progress became a big step today. Hopefully we can move west tomorrow and not battle the weather conditions.

 

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