John & Anne Wiley



It started when Anne looked out the window this morning in San Jose and shouted “There’s so much Color!” Then she turned to me, and pointing to her eyes said  “My rods and cones are flooding!” She was talking of course about seeing bright colors for the first time in weeks, because snow covers and dims colors as do overcast skies. After a warm time with sisters, brother-in-law and niece in San Jose, we got a late start and flew Tripp relatively fast (120kias) and high (7.5kagl) to arrive abeam Lompoc just as the sun slipped into the relatively warm Pacific.

5906 Sunset Welcome

5906 Sunset Welcome

Coming out of San Jose, ATC asked me to make a rapid climb to help another pilot, and Tripp so easily obliged he was startled (not knowing when I told him she’s a 172, that she’s a Q model and that makes a big difference when we want to go up quickly). Most people familiar with planes have never heard of a 172Q, so it’s fun to show her off. Two pilots casually looking her over at the Spokane airport asked about the “Cutlass II” logo on her side. “Isn’t that a retractable?” “No, the nickname for that type is ‘Gutless’ due to all the extra weight of the landing gear mechanism.” It was fun watching their eyes get big when I quoted them some of Tripp’s performance statistics. Then they looked at her again with admiring expressions, imagining having that performance and the 172’s frugal operating expenses.

Now our Trusty Tripp (as we sometimes call her) has brought us home to SBA. Driving home from the airport felt familiar, as if today’s flight were just around town. It was great to see our place all tidy and welcoming thanks to friends. We’ve turned the gas, water softener and assorted electronics back on, the fan’s running to air the place out, and we’re having fun doing the first round of unpacking.

Though tired we’re energized with an inner glow. Our hearts, minds and eyes are overflowing with colorful memories of people, places and flying. Now the notion of flying into hard Winter no longer seems exotic. Like having flown from San Diego to Maine to Florida and back on our Big Adventure, or from here to Sault Ste. Marie to Alaska and back on our NxNW Adventure, such things seem almost as familiar as a hop over to look at Neverland Ranch.

Which is better: to go on an adventure, or to arrive home from one?

Seems to me each is made more wonderful by the other, and both gain immensely from sharing with the Perfect Partner. 🙂


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