Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two - No, Three Stops Up the Track!

It was impulsive.  Walking home from the library, I got talking to a workman who was taking a break in the shade of the park trees.  All enthused, he told me about the Vertical Air Show at the San Carlos Airport the following day, Saturday.  Take the train up and you can walk over from there!  Why not, I thought as I continued my way home; haven’t been to an air show since early salad days and I’ve always meant to stop by the Hiller Air Museum, next to the airport, all located along Freeway 101.  Why not?

I checked the train schedule and figured  I could do my Pilates workout, get the groceries, buy my round trip ticket and make the noon train out of Menlo Park.  Two stops and I’m there - oh, there would be  one at Atherton, which only has weekend stops these days.  All went according to schedule, at least my schedule.  Got to the depot on time but per the notice, the train not only was running ten minutes late but all trains were running on the northbound track.  Working on the southbound track at Atherton.  

Eventually the train arrived, more like twenty minutes late.  However, it whizzed  past Atherton and all the construction work, stopping about half way  before Redwood City.  Whoops, the engineer forgot he was on the weekend schedule and after some thought and calling in with the powers-that-be, the train backed up and picked up the Atherton would-be passengers.  From there we were ok and I got off as planned at San Carlos.  Did my several miles walk over the freeway to the Airport.

My experience with previous air show had been in the Forties when I lived in South Dakota and was determined to be a flyer and was a serious cadet with the Civil Air Patrol.    As I remember, the runway was dirt and  there was a daily Western Airlines flight in from Cheyenne, Wyoming (It’s about the same now except the runway is asphalt and the Northwest Airlines flight is in from Minneapolis).  There were all sorts of old aircraft, some from WW1, open seaters, Fokkers with the locals awe stricken at the  wing walking and parachuting.   

This time, it was helicopters - all shapes and sizes.  Craft from the military, police, air-evac, TV stations, private - you name it.  I was able to wander about, get inside some of the copters, look at the museum exhibitions, talk with various flyers.  Alarge number of families were there with excited yelling kids.  During the show, there were demonstrations of helicopters’ abilities including  stunt flying and sky diving.  Despite the 100 degree heat, The entire scene was exhilarating and left me trying to figure out how Flying lessons could fit into my  life.
Back in the forties, when I was a single college student, all my extra money went into flying lessons.  An old Piper Cub, as basic and simple as you could get.  The I met a guy,  student, a Navy vet, and learning to fly flew right out of my life.  We ended up into sports cars - and I must admit, the atmosphere at sports car races is similar to the air shows.  But at the moment, I am single, the owner of a Mini (after several Jags, a MGA, and three Alfas) and I’m gone, traveling at consistently at least twice a week -- ain’t going to happen unless I give up exploring the universe.  And I’m not.  

I barely manage to squeeze in a weekly  afternoon volunteering at the Library  and a monthly morning for the League - and they all understand my erratic schedule.  So it looks doubtful I’ll fulfill my dream of a Private Pilot’s license, though I may see about volunteering at the Air Museum, if I can work something out.  It’s  second best, but then I am doing the traveling and writing that were also part of that dream package.  

Anyway, walked back to the train station where I found I could have taken a shuttle to the airport!  Got back to Menlo Park, with required Atherton stop,  in time to pick up a sandwich at Barrone’s cafe and then home.  

(For what it’s worth, I ‘m still trying for the Kenya Camel trek for February.  I did send in  deposits for a Mesopotamia trip in March-April 2009 and another  Afghanistan trip  in August 2009,  this one in the mountains and  including Herat and the Minaret of Jam.)

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