Friday, November 4, 2011

737 Comin' out of the sky........ en route home to see my folks in MN

Well I stole a line from a CCR song. But I was on a Boeing 737, or so the nice pamphlet in the seat pocket said.

My parents live in central MN out in their 40 acres of woods, in an earth sheltered home they constructed mostly themselves save for things like plumbing, wiring and excavation some 25 years ago. I'll save that for a future blog entry.

The cost of airfare to fly from Savannah to MPLS has skyrocketed, I used to get round trips for $350-$375  but now it is up to $570 not including taxes or fees. Delta and US airways are the only options from Savannah to Minneapolis out of Savannah. However, Southwest airways flys out of the Jacksonville FL airport which is 127 miles away, the round trip was $295 including all fees and they allow a free checked bag, something Delta wants $15 to do. So you can guess my choice in air carrier!

The disadvantage? Delta has more flights and I could have left Savannah at 6am with an Atlanta connection and been on the ground in MPLS at 11am. With Southwest, the options are less. My flight went from Jacksonville FL, stopped in Ft.Lauderdale where you stay on the plane, then on to Denver, CO.

Now my 7:15 AM departure meant I wanted to be at the airport at 6:15am.  Sooooo, leave my home at 4am to allow for this normally 2 hr, 127 mile run......I set my alarm for 3:50am, had myself all packed and the S10 gassed up.  However, I forgot to TURN THE ALARM ON!!!

At 4:45am my eyes opened. SHIT! I leapt up, threw on jeans and a tee shirt, kissed Kristybelle on the cheek, grabbed a cup of jo (the coffee I had however managed to turn on) and jumped in the truck, pump the gas a couple times, hit the key. My S10 has an old skool carburetted V8 under the hood. In this age of EFI, who knows the fine art of motorboating the footfeed to keep the cold beast rumbling until manifold heat builds, or the art of setting the choke?

At 4:55 I was a mile and a half from the house passing the time and temp at the Badger Rental store. I managed to get to the long term lot in 1hr and 38 minutes. Rand McNally's says it's 127 miles. I tore in to the economy parking lot and the shuttle driver motioned me to wind down my window (no power windows either) and said in a middle eastern accent "You park by fence, I follow you!" and so I did. Hopped on and was dropped off at the curb by the Soutwest gates.  I walked right up to the empty counter, it was 6:48am at this time. Got my tickets  Breezed through security and got to the gate area in just enough time to walk right on board.

Here are a couple shots I got leaving the airport in Ft. Luaderdale- over the wing!  In this shot we are headed due east, taking off in to the wind. The beach as you can see has a surf breaking on it, the canal to the inside is the Atlantic Intercoastal waterway.
     This next pic is after the plane circled and headed back west, coming back in. Too many clouds but I couldn't tell the pilot to drop lower.
Next, you see the edge of the Everglades against the edge of the city. I lived in Broward county, in and around the Ft.Lauderdale area from 1985 to 1996. In that time the city boundries exploded to the west, and can not go any farther. Well, if it was up to the developers they'd fill the whole thing in. It's a fragile ecosystem stressed by the ever expanding population.

Now I have a shot over Oklahoma on the route to Denver. I only knew we were over Oklahoma as I had my hand held GPS to show me. That picture of the screen with map position did not turn out, but the one showing out speed and altitude sure did.  451 mph and 36,146 feet altitude.

Coming in to Denver!

The leg from Denver to MPLS I did not have a window seat and the folks in the window seats were sleeping.  So no pics! More to come from this adventure!

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