Flying High in Blue Skies

Apr/4/2016 2 Malia Lane
Arizona, Family

April 3, 2016 – Yesterday was not only a blue sky day, it was a flying high day!  I’ve had the nasty kind of blues dealing with the gloom and doom issues surrounding the Norcold refrigerator failures, fires and ineffective recalls and I felt like I’d been living under a dark cloud of frustration. I’ve been on a mission to make this matter more public, starting with my own experience at Norcold RV Refrigerators and I hope readers will check this out and the other pages I’m adding as my research continues.

blue-skies-550

But I needed a break about now and this page is about how I was rescued for a day by my cool nephew, Kevin, and his wonderful wife Vera, when they flew over from San Diego to pick me up in Needles for a flight over to Lake Havasu for lunch and views of the London Bridge there.

London Bridge aerial

I thought it was great to get to see London Bridge from the air and also the jetboat (the blue boat seen docked above the bridge here) where I departed from on my BlueWater Jetboat Tour of Topock Gorge a few weeks earlier.

Colorado River aerial

I’m not actually sure if this is part of the gorge or not since everything sure looks different from this perspective, but the Colorado River is beautiful no matter what and I am certainly glad I was able to see it while on and above it both!

Pilot Malia

But talk about a thrill – I was able to take the controls for a little bit, and when I posted to Facebook that I drove the little plane, I got a bunch of laughs and asked if I didn’t mean that I flew it.

I don’t know, I didn’t feel really responsible for flying it since without Kevin beside me able to compensate for anything stupid I might do, I’m sure that plane wouldn’t have flown for long.  But regardless, it was still pretty exciting!  He showed me how to make it turn and make it go lower by pushing on the wheel and higher by pulling on it.  (Or is it the opposite – I now forget!)  Thankfully, becoming a pilot is not on my bucket list!

Vera took the pictures and video of my brief pilot stint and I didn’t realize until afterward that I had screamed a couple of times, “I’m afraid!” – and Kevin said that came over loud and clear in his headphones and I may have caused permanent hearing loss.  Sorry, honey!

Anyway, later, when we were on the ground, he tried to show me how it steers using foot pedals, but I just couldn’t keep it on the middle line of the runway and I kept veering back and forth.  I told him that the tower would think he was drunk, so he better deal with it.

Blue-green water

I was content to totally trust him and just relax and enjoy the flight and taking pictures.  The topography and the desert’s hues framed by the blue-green water is even more fascinating from this vantage point.

Lake Havasu City aerial

We all commented on how much larger and expansive Lake Havasu City seems when seen by air.

Lake Havasu lunch

Believe me, I’m not the kind of person who normally says things like, “I flew in to Lake Havasu for lunch,” but that’s what I posted to my Facebook friends.  We ate at Javelina Cantina right at London Bridge and Vera and I were ready for a chilly Margarita.  Naturally, pilot Kevin stuck to iced tea.  smiley tongue out

Kevin-Me-Bridge

We walked across the bridge and around for a bit after lunch enjoying different vantage points.

Kevin & Vera

Vera’s from Prague and she got a kick out of seeing a European bridge in the Arizona desert!

Jetpack flying

When we saw this guy advertising his Jetpack rides, Kevin asked if I wanted to try it, but I said piloting a plane for the first time at my age was enough for me today!

checklist-collage

All the little things he did in preparation for the flights were interesting to me – seeing him go through his checklist, control tests, and God knows what else.  We RVers have our checklists when we take off, but this is even more extreme than anything I’ve ever seen. I really appreciated his attention to detail and safety, but when we were getting ready to leave Lake Havasu after he had the plane filled up when I saw him doing this, I asked about it and he told me it’s a fuel test to make sure it’s right and to check for contamination.  Again, I was impressed, but in a few minutes when Vera told him a little tube off the wing was dripping, he said, “That’s only fuel.”  HUH – only fuel?!  shocked smiley  I thought that was a weird “only” remark, but he then explained it had to do with fuel expansion in the heat after a fillup, etc.  He assured us everything was perfectly fine and the blood then returned to my face.

Needles Marina aerial

On the way back to Needles, Kevin flew over the RV park where I’m staying.  I’ve never seen my home from above before, but here it is waiting for me to land (the motorhome in the middle facing the pool).  See my review of the cool Colorado riverfront Needles Marina RV Park here.

I also couldn’t stop thinking of my mom on this day and how we experienced a day like this together with Kevin in 2005 when we visited them in San Diego…and how she kept saying, “I can’t believe that’s little Kevin flying this plane!”

Mom-Kevin
I reminded Kevin about this and both of us found it hard to believe it had been that long ago and how the next time I saw him was during Christmas 2012 in New Orleans, the last time she saw us all together again before she died in 2014.  I hope you’re having fun flying high again in heaven, mom!

kindness mattersI also had a rush of memories about Kevin which kind of surprised me since my memory sucks so bad these days.  But I told him how I still chuckle when I think about the Halloween I spent with them in Seattle (I think 1991) when he carved a pumpkin with a big mohawk he said was in honor of his then-hero, extreme skier Glen Plake.   His Christmas present to me that year was a handmade card that included a gift certificate for a ski lesson from him, another first for me.  He was so patient and stuck with me on the bunny slope and helped me up as I plopped down on my butt over and over again whenever I felt like I was going too fast.

I told him to remember that you never know what a part you can play in another person’s life and memories and that kindness like his is never forgotten.

I’m really thankful they took the time to come visit me – it truly made more than just my day!

  • Ted Leavitt

    Enjoyed your adventure and excellent aerial photos. Good luck with the Norcold…..Ted

    • Thanks, Ted (especially for the good luck with the Norcold because apparently I’m gonna need that)! 😉