“So, do I have to fly out of Flagstaff to hang with the ‘airport slugs?’ Or, are us’ns outta Williams Airport not fit for polite company?”
It was the first “official” pilot query from Bruce Bloomquist, who just earned his private pilot certificate and took delivery of a shiny new-to-him airplane in the same week. [Congratulations, Bruce!]
“You need not fly out of Flag to join the slugs, Bruce,” I replied. “My cowboy buddy Baldy, for example, flies out of Seligman. The only requirement is to be hungry on Sunday mornings.”
“Ha! I’ve already heard a story or two about the, um, infamous Baldy!” said Bruce. “I’m really looking forward to meeting him − and all the other flying locals.”
“Baldy is a total character, Bruce − and one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet!” I offered to share my columns about Baldy. Then I realized that YOU might enjoy knowing Baldy too, so here is the true tale of a real cowboy pilot!
Read “Cowboy Pilot” here. One of my favorite columns, about one of my favorite people, it first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine back in May, 2005. If you like it, comment below and I’ll post an additional column about him.
Those recent auto-show posts got me reminiscing with friend Sally Lynch about a far different class of vehicles − the often-battered “airport cars,” pilots enjoy as free loaners.
Our own “best” airport car was in Baudette, Minnesota, on a “long journey North,” Jean and I made in the Flying Carpet one 4th of July weekend, from Arizona all the way to the Canadian border to attend a funeral. Read Greg’s past column, “Goodbye, Don,” here. I think you’ll get a kick out of it!
I was chatting with my acquaintance Bruce today about an airplane he’s considering buying in southern California, and somehow the conversation turned to his visit to the renowned skydiving center at Perris Valley, California.
“I landed there one time,” I said, describing the unusual indoor skydiving facility located on the field.
Photo: Prairie sunset near Eagle Butte, South Dakota, from “Coyote Hunting: Small Adventures Under a Big Sky.” Said my companion Larry’s Uncle Charles when he saw us photographing the incredible sight, “No need to burn up all that film, fellas. Same sunset we get here every night.”
Years ago while living in Indiana we encountered a good deal of country humor, the likes of which we haven’t enjoyed in such quantity since.
Off Highway 32, for example, a pair of full-sized pink concrete hippopotami grazed a farmhouse lawn. The sign in front said, “Well, I’ll be!”
Ten or 15 miles down that road to the west, a small official looking green informational sign pointed down a side road. It took me probably a dozen times passing that little sign at 60mph before I finally sounded out the seemingly Indian name on it: Camp Nothingmuchere.
Then there was our favorite catfish place up by Lake Freeman reservoir at Monticello. All manner of old stuff hung from the ceiling over the bar including a plow, an ancient outboard motor, and a large bucket − occasionally activated to tip water upon some unsuspecting customer occupying the stool beneath it. Oh yeah, and then there was the place’s motto, painted on a billboard visible from the highway: “The Oakdale Inn – Best catfish by a dam site.” (The motto was well-deserved.)
My wife and I didn’t live in Indiana long enough to consider ourselves natives − no one does who isn’t born there − but some of that Hoosier humor must have rubbed off on me. So here is my first occasional installment of visual or verbal humor – some intentional and some not – as I find or rediscover it.
To kick off this new “Well I’ll Be!” category, I’m featuring a past column, “Festival Flying: Tales of the Emerald Chevy,” that definitely fills the bill. (I’ve also tagged some previous posts that fit this category.)