Traveling — from Florida

Staff Columnist

I’ve been at this avocation since roughly 2010.  That’s more than six years worth of columns published in our local newspaper.  I won’t bother to count them, although I certainly can do so.  In those many columns there were several I’d class as travel pieces.  These mostly described travel up and down the east coast to and from the west coast of Florida,  There have not been any of these of late – because I wasn’t flying up and down as often, and because I found things of greater interest (at least to me the columnist).  In those days gone by readers commented favorably on my efforts.  Some might recall that I used these pieces to ridicule the Town’s fascination with sugar white beach sand – I described sand as seen from the air in places like Virginia and New Jersey.  Nothing came of it!  So, I’ll produce another travel effort.  Things may actually have changed.  I’m older, and maybe even wiser; aren’t we all are.

All the  following written on board aircraft on Monday, 8 May 2017 and transcribed in Longboat Key.

It certainly is dark as I depart The Bayou on this Monday morning.  There is not a car to be seen driving north on GMD, over the bridge to Anna Maria and then the second bridge to Cortez.  I like this short trip, if not in the dark.  It lightens up a bit by Manatee Ave.  There is a bit of traffic heading east also.  Over the bridge (we have lots of bridges) I feel like I’m making progress.  It’s just about an hour from here to TPIA.  The construction at the airport is well underway.  Traffic is light this early.  I park, noticing the changes in the long-term garage.  The check at Security is actually a bit long.  We make it even with the usual scan of the installed device in my chest.  The 0830 flight to Washington looks to be full.  We push back a few minutes early.  There is no traffic on the taxiway – a quick takeoff.  It is a bit hazy over Tampa as we depart.  Our A-319 aircraft follows the Gulf coast north. Visibility fades as she climbs through that morning haze.  Some of those pesky man-made features are still visible; we do like to build things in the Tampa Bay.

The agriculture features of Florida become visible north of the City.  Just a half hour out we are abreast of Jacksonville and 546 miles to go to Reagan, according to our Captain.  Coffee arrives!  Sunny but more haze over the Carolinas at 0945.

While reading The Economist in flight I learned that only Syria sends more immigrants to Quebec than France – interesting.  Many French it seems still are stuck on their native language:  the difference between “tu” and “vous”.

Weather in D.C. is 56 degrees as we fly up the Potomac  towards the City.  Our Captain says it’s an on-time arrival.  The Virginia countryside gives way to the metropolis as we approach Reagan from the south.

Of course, on arrival the jetway won’t move and we wait 20 minutes + to get off the aircraft.  This is all too common; we’ll survive.  The next leg, a shuttle flight to Boston leaves from the other terminal – a short bus ride across the tarmac – not recommended.  I may be taking Reagan, DCA, off my favorite airport list!  I like the view though.  There is a Dunkin Donuts there!

The shuttle flight to Boston is on another A-319,another of my favorites – not so many passengers.   We leave on time.   Two Senior  Captains get aboard – as passengers!  I really am getting  old –the gate agent asked if I’d like to board early –of course I would..  Captain tells us Boston weather: Windy (as on DC climb-out) with 52 degrees, estimate 1 hour flight.  Take off to the north from National, blue sky and cumulus  clouds.  This north climb out from Reagan’s one runway usually provides  a good view of Arlington – flying over National Cemetery -a most impressive sight, beautiful today.  We’re soon over the Chesapeake Bay, soon on-top of the clouds smooth flying.  Heading north and east over the Jersey Shore.  There’s that less than white sand on the beach, the kind we weren’t looking for in our earlier days.  Somehow we on LBK may be maturing.  We’re completing another personnel change also!  It appears that we’re getting closer to the Developers now! (maybe not so bad, Eh?)  Now over the North Shore of Long Island and L.I. Sound, heading east.   The Sound is blue, the sky clear, with haze.  This is home territory for Long Island boys, like me.  From this altitude we can look east and see the complete width of Long Island, with the Atlantic Ocean beyond – clouds over the sea.  We’ll be landing to the west, on time arrival at Logan, Bumpy over Massachusetts Bay.

My Daughter, Eileen is scheduled to meet me there.  She’s the one featured in these pages last week.  I’m planning a quick trip to the South Shore – our old home area.  I’ll be seeing my friend and cardiologist, Dr. Tony Marks, tomorrow.

God Bless America.

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