Monday, September 02, 2013

South Dakota Vacation, the trip home begins. And Stops.

I didn't sleep well that night, knowing on Friday morning we would be starting our journey west towards home and there were isolated thunder storms forecast for the area between Helena and Missoula, and Missoula was my destination for Friday.  I plotted a course reverse of our trip east, and a back-up route to Rock Springs WY, Boise ID, and then back to the Puget Sound.  The southern route would add two hours to the trip.  Friday morning the isolated thunder storms were still forecast, but it looked like there would be a break around the time we would be passing through, so we took off on the northern route. 

I filed out of Rapid City on the same Transition route on which I had flown in, T288.  The flight briefer taking my plan had never heard of a T-route.  He entered anyway, and the flight plan computer accepted it.  He was kind of excited to have learned something. 

West side of the Black Hills.
Again the flight between Rapid City and Billings brought no surprises.  Take-off, Climb, Cruise, Navigate, Descend, Land – 2:18 of flight.  The highlight to me was seeing Devil’s Tower.  But the heat and turbulence were starting to build, so I could tell my back seat passengers would become miserable soon.  

In Billings we walked to the terminal where we had a very good meal at Gateway Restaurant and Lounge.  I checked with Delta to see if I had enough miles to buy my more delicate passengers a ride home at a higher altitude.  I did, but the next available flight was not until Saturday, and it went through Salt Lake City.  We decided to make a run for Missoula.  The nice folks at Edwards Jet Center provided us a crew car and directions to the CVS pharmacy where we got some Dramamine. 

I filed a flight plan, got one last check of the weather, and decided that the gap between storms was too small.  Not worth taking the chance, so we tied down the plane and headed for the pool.  A lot of work for little progress. 

Again on Saturday we loaded the plane, filed a flight plan, checked the weather, and took off.  

Traveling with a son who has type one, or juvenile, diabetes can present its own challenges.  Hotel breakfasts seem to prefer starches and carbohydrates over protein.  And teenage boys loves them some carbs.  Especially after not eating for the eight hours they were sleeping.  Carbs turn to glucose, and with enough insulin, the glucose turns to energy or stored as fat for later use.  But we miscounted, and the excess glucose over ran the insulin and kicked off and attempt by the kidneys to filter out the excess glucose.

Welcome to Livingston
And that kicked of an unscheduled stop in Livingston Montana.  A wide left downwind 45, and a strong headwind made for an easy high altitude landing.  48 minutes -- this was supposed to be more than a 2 hour leg.  But I would not trade the son for anything.  This is just one of the costs for the privilege of raising him. 

A brief stop, a snack, a little insulin, and all is well.

At 4,659 above sea level, I pondered if it was the highest altitude airport I had landed at.  It is not – Fort Collins at 5,016, Colorado Springs at 6,178, and Rock Springs at 6,765 are all higher.  

Move along there is nothing to see here.
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