Monday, 1:30PM: Leave the Yellow
Monday, 3:00PM: Arrive in Little Rock, AR
Monday, 3:30PM: Leave Little Rock, AR
Monday, 4:30PM: Arrive in Memphis, TN
Tuesday, 9:00AM: Leave Memphis, TN
Tuesday, 9:45AM: Arrive in Cape Girardeau, MO
Tuesday, 1:00PM: Leave Cape Girardeau, MO
Tuesday, 1:45PM: Arrive in Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, 2:00PM: Leave Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, 3:30PM: Arrive in the Yellow
We left the Yellow at our intended time for our 26-hour trip to Tennessee/Missouri. No problem there except that there was a huge line of thunderstorms in Arkansas that was going to make it very difficult to hit our target of Little Rock and, subsequently, Memphis. We fly to Norman, OK instead and wait out the weather. This would be the first adjustment to the itinerary. After about an hour and a half in Norman, we decide to shoot to the Arkansas/Oklahoma border at Fort Smith to get closer to Little Rock. Instead of daring the skies anymore at this point, we decide to crash in Fort Smith ("crash" as in sleep). This is the second and third adjustment to the itinerary. Papa's Pizza in Fort Smith absolutely killz. Also, need to make a note that Boulevard is a fantastic beer from Kansas City. Wake up in the morning and make the jump from Fort Smith to Little Rock--the fifth adjustment to the itinerary. Our end target of Memphis is now in our sights. We lift off shortly for Memphis and land about an hour later, but about 18 hours later than expected. This is the sixth adjustment to the itinerary. We spend the better part of our day in the greater Memphis area and the thunderclouds began to descend upon us. We knew our time in Memphis was limited so we start heading to the airport. Once we arrive at the airport, our pilot says, "You guys better hurry," as the storm is now essentially right on top of us. We hop in the plane and begin to leave. We're not going to head to Cape Girardeau, but rather back to Little Rock to drop off the party that we had earlier picked up in Little Rock--the seventh adjustment to our itinerary. We line up behind about eight FedEx planes on the runway and then an ark-floating downpour levels Memphis. We taxi back to the terminal to wait through the storm. Thirty minutes later (eighth adjustment to the itinerary), we taxi back out and prepare for lift off. Lift off was successful and, upon arrival on the Little Rock runway, the plane begins to shake and vibrate rather wildly. Something was wrong with our landing gear. If you ever want to be able to quickly identify your "problem areas", land in a Cessna with faulty landing gear and watch for the jiggling. I have identified my problem areas as my boobies and my belly. Despite the vibration, our pilot stuck the landing and we rolled to a wobbling stop. The co-pilot fires from his seat and dashes to the front of the plane where he discovered that the tire on our front landing gear was flat. In fact, it was not only flat, it was warped and wrapped around the actual frame which had mangled the fender and rendered the landing gear inoperable. We spend about two hours at the terminal discussing the possible "worst-case scenarios" that didn't happen and eat ice cream. I sit with one of our party members and the locals listening to a man talk of his days in law enforcement while watching C.O.P.S.. We book hotel rooms for the night in Jacksonville, just north of Little Rock. I ain't going home tonight. This would be the ninth adjustment to the itinerary. We make way to the hotel, dinner and then downtown where I'm reunited with Goose Island beer ("I thought I had lost you forever!") and one of our party members was reunited with her favorite band, Widespread Panic, who was playing downtown on the river. I have no change of clothes. We wake up in the morning and wait for the landing gear to be fixed while making our way to some local competition and an area store. I find that the button on the only pair of pants that I have has broken off. Nonetheless, I just tighten my belt and keep an eye on my fly during the day. Same pair of boxers and socks despite showering. It feels so damn gross. Normally, I wouldn't mind, but I'm on a business trip. I pick up a Pixies t-shirt for close to nothing at a local store. It was a large, but fit rather well. The plane was ready to go at about 3:00PM. We leave for the Yellow and arrive at about 5:15PM. This would be the tenth variation from the original itinerary. All in all, I'm alive, healthy, reunited with my lovely wife and two dogs and have discovered two problem areas to work on.
Check out this photo of what our landing gear did to the runway. See the wiggly line that our messed up tire left.
It's Friday. Sox won the first game of the second half with homerless contributions from Manny and Papi. I guess we'll do it with RBI singles. As long as we're winning. A-Rod hit his 92nd homer of the year and the Spankees go back to .500 baseball. Welcome to the land of the breathing, fellas.