The Super 8 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin … for one week every year, it is the second most desirable lodging in the world for pilots and aviation geeks as AirVenture begins.
My flight out from Sea-Tac was fairly uneventful – I had a three hour layover in the twin cities of Minneapolis & Not-Minneapolis. Dinner was a beer and a brisket sandwich, after which an enthusiastic waiter shook a bag of hot donuts at me for dessert. Two young kids played violin at the gate, having a very credible go at "Les Marseilles" – an odd choice, maybe, but it lent a certain … I do not know what. After Minneapolis, I headed to Milwaukee (which, according to Alice Cooper, means "the good land" in Algonquin), seated next to a doctor who was angry because women can’t give directions without discussing the way the elevators are decorated.
After landing and re-claiming (as opposed to simply claiming) my bag, I picked up the keys to my rental (a Grand Caravan with a Garmin glass cockpit, no less … built, rather sadly, by Dodge) and set out through Milwaukee on the drive to Oshkosh, trying to decide if I was more of a schlemiel or a schlimazel.
I found Owen at the motel, and checked in … before I’d said a word, one of the clerks said "You’re Hal Bryan! I was told to place this directly in your hand … " and handed me an official EAA tote bag that might as well (or mise well, if you prefer) have been the nuclear "football", given her dramatic timidity. I was flattered to be recognized, but, really, they’re only happy to see me because I’m the one paying for all the rooms for the week.
Owen and I left and picked up Justin Lamb and Mike Lambert at the Appleton airport, then I came back to stuff exhibitor badges and lanyards and sponsor passes and all manner of other trade show flotsam into envelopes to be left at the front desk for the rest of our team.
That took longer than it should have, and I’m really tired, but for some reason I decided to write this instead of just going to sleep.
Tomorrow is setup day, but rumor has it the lion’s share of the work is already done. All that really means is that the unforeseen disasters will have to be bigger than average in order to fill the available time.
Regardless, it is, as always, good to be back in America’s Dairyland. Unlike mountain ranges and things that surround us at home in the Pacific Northwest (America’s Barista), the terrain here is subtle, and just rolls along politely staying out of the way of the sky. It’s beautiful in its way – lush and green, but, especially here, and especially now, the sky’s the thing.
That seems like a half-pithy place to stop writing and go to sle