Thursday, August 28, 2014


DAY 2: Clarion, PA to Taylorville, IL

Flying out to NOLS HQ, I feel like I’m on a NOLS or Outward Bound course.  The first day and night are always chaotic, but slowly, there becomes order and organization and efficiency.  I still have a long way to go, but made some progress after waking up from my resting spot in the grass next to Freddy.  I flew the first of two flights today to Marion, Indiana.  It was a beautiful flight and after taking off I had to fly through a long corridor between clouds to gain my cruising altitude.  From there I stayed mostly above the clouds but made sure I was going to be able to get down, either through a big hole or by checking in with a Flight Service Station to find out the conditions at my destination. 

The second flight took me into Illinois where I am now.  I was hoping to get into Iowa, but I put down early because of wicked haze and thunderstorm activity.  I debated setting down early for a bit, but I find when I’m debating it, it’s often best to just put down.  I landed in Taylorville and am now the only one here.  All the other planes are in hangars, which I assume is because of potential for hail damage and I now type with the computer on the tail watching lightning on all four sides.  I can’t hear any thunder, so I know it’s a ways away but it is disconcerting nonetheless.  I don’t want hail damage to end my journey and damage Mr. Fred. 

There’s a pilot’s lounge here that’s open 24/7 with wifi, snacks and the like.  I met the chief of police who was hanging out on his motorcycle at the airport in civilian clothes and he told me to sleep inside for the storm.  Earlier I went for a run and played some pick up soccer with some folks until the lightning came and ended all the sports in the park.  It was 90 degrees when I landed and it’s cooled off a little bit but not much.  The local soccer players say this is normal.  Hot and humid.  I was hoping to get a lot of sleep tonight, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be the case.  I’d be happy in the air conditioned lounge snacking on popcorn, charging up all my things but with all the other planes packed into hangars, it feels like Fred’s a sitting duck.  I suppose better to deal with this kind of thing on the ground than in the air.  The heavens do not seem to be happy.   I love the look of the airport lights, but I don’t like the darkness of the sky all around.  Here’s to a safe passage through the night.  

896 nautical miles left to Lander...838 miles made good.  Just about half way there...


  1. Hello Ben :-)

    I stumbled across your blog today.

    I am finishing up another long and thus far successful (haven't crashed yet) summer in Alaska.

    Beginning to contemplate the flight home to Colorado.

    I'll be through Lander about the 10th.

    Let's grab a beer if you're in town.

    The sky is a remote and wild place much like the biggest mountains and the sea.

    A place we can only visit and from which we hope to return safely.

    Wishing you and Fred well on your long journey.

    Your distant cousin,


    1. Cousin Tim!
      Happy to hear of your so far successful AK adventures in the sky! I'd love to hear more about them. I may have to head out of Lander before the 10th. But I'll be in touch. You are so right, the sky like the mountains and the sea. Clear skies and tailwinds for your return to the lower states!