Three days until departure for Outback Overflight. The butterflies are marshaling in wings, let alone squadrons.
I've decided that I'm going to write up the trip in two ways. The first, of course, will be here on E2, in the category set up for that purpose. But because I want to also have a more stranger-friendly version, with pictures and etc. for family and friends who don't grok E2, I'm going to blog it using blogspot, here. The text will be different here and there - this will be a more in-depth 'here's what I did', daylog style. The blogspot will be a straight trip report, with pictures if possible - more about where I am and what I've seen, rather than 'HA HA I SCREWED UP NAVIGATION TODAY' and the sort of thing I can tell all you mugs.
Today I got in my last training session before leaving. The 182 was FINALLY back from the month-long annual inspection, with a new tail number, just to be sure I remain confused when talking to Air Traffic Control: "Long Island Tower, on the downwind, One One Two...I mean, One Eight Two Hotel Foxtrot."
"And you're who again? Are you sure?"
"Ha ha, Long Island Tower, thank you, you're a laugh a minute, One Eight Two Hotel Foxtrot."
"One Eight Two Hotel Foxtrot cleared for the option runway Two Four, Dash-8 departing, notify you have Dash-8 in sight."
So anyway. The cloud deck was very low - 1000 to 1200 feet - so we elected to do pattern work rather than go navigate and play with the Garmin G1000. My stress levels have been ratcheting steadily upwards as the weeks went by without flying the airplane and the trip grew nearer. Today, however, despite the low clouds and windy day (22 knots, variable at times) I came around that first time, turned base, turned final, and...
...ended up right where I should be, looking at the centerline, speed constant and approach stable. Got over the numbers, pulled to idle, and *erk* ...rolling. Nary a bump. And that was all it took to relax me, so that by the third go around the pattern, I was bantering with the instructor. Did six landings, all were at least a 7 of 10, most were 8s, 1 was a 10. Oh yes, I got this.
Also went on a last gear buying frenzy, since I'm in that mode where the trip is so imminent that suddenly spending money on things you have told yourself you just don't need becomes not only possible but easy, sensible. An electronic flight computer? Yeah, absolutely. So what if it's $79? What if I need to know my fuel burn over the Outback? I always have issues with the E6B if I haven't used it in a while, and it's heavy, and...what the hell. Bought a gear backpack - it might be too small, but it's definitely more ergonomic than the cheap swag backpack I've been using, so if I can distribute the gear to use it, I'm gonna. If I can't, REI will take it back, so hooray. Bought a signal mirror. Bought a laundry bag. You know. Small stuff.
Okay. Settling down. Really gonna do this.