Today is Monday the 28th, day two of Cordele, Georgia. For those of you who did not run over to the map and look it up, Cordele is about 2, 282 miles east of Cable Airport and 274 miles from our destination. So close but yet so far. As some of you may have seen on the news, there is a “little” storm system that is covering the southeast United States. Well, we are looking at it right now. Those that are familiar or even if you are not, when you look at a radar image of the U.S., when there is no color on the map, that is a good thing. Well currently, the southeast looks like a 2 year old spent 5 hours coloring the map with red Crayolas. Red is never good on the radar. I don’t know whose kid it was but when I find him………
It was interesting yesterday…today….not so much. The ceiling never got above 500 feet here in Cordele so at 4pm our time, we decided it was time to go back to the hotel after checking the weather every 10 minutes for the last 6 hours (as if our checking was going to change a 1,000 mile long storm line. Duh). The gentlemen at the airport office who probably has been laughing at us all day, met me in the pilots lounge and without me even asking, he handed me the keys to the same car from yesterday and said “you’all probably want these again?!” I took them like a whipped pup. So we headed back to town. Mike needed a haircut so we went to Bud’s Barber Shop. Bud was a nice guy and let Mike in about 5 minutes before closing. When we tried to leave, the car finally died. The old girl had had enough. I called the airport to let them know and see if there was another car we could use. Nope. Yesterday when the gentleman said we had the good one of the three, he really meant they had 3 cars but 2 ran. The other poor suckers who are stuck here in the storm got the other one. So we walked to the hotel.
All is not lost. Today worked out. Because we stayed here in Cordele, the granddaughter of Lt. Karl Elton Kelley, Chrissy Kelley drove down from Atlanta to see her grandfathers’s airplane from WWII. Chrissy’s father Karl Elton Kelley, Jr. was killed in Vietnam when she was 3 so she grew up with her grandfather as a role model and was very close to him. She was not able to make it to Florida to see the plane, unlike her sister Lori Kelley, who is meeting us there on Wednesday. She brought her friend Tessa Cross whose grandfather was a crewman on LST’s that used the Brodie System (small world). Tessa is also a 4th cousin to the Wright Brothers. Chrissy brought a picture of her grandfather from his later years and it took about 2 seconds to recognize him in the picture we have of the VMO-4 Officers. She was very happy to see and be part of the plane. Magically, the ceiling lifted above the airport and the surrounding 3 miles to 1,310 feet so we could take Chrissy up in the same plane her grandfather flew 66 years ago. Tessa got a flight too. We got to hear stories of her grandfather and what he was like. He was a perfect southern gentlemen. I pictured nothing else.
I told today’s events out of order. Before we killed the car and after the girls left, Mike and I were bored so we drove to the next county to see what was there. We went to Arabi and Ashburn, Ga. Besides the overcast, the country is beautiful. We saw the sign for the Crime and Punishment Museum in Ashburn so we went. They are closed on Mondays. We stopped by one of the 100′s of open cemeterys in Georgia and came across one with the graves of Civil War families. We don’t have many cemeterys in California with whole acres of graves dating past 1830. A lot of history. On the way back, we stopped by “BJ’s Diner” in Arabi. It was gamble, looking at the outside, but we risked it. When we walked, in they were closed. The family was already packing up to close but the lady who was obviously in charge told us we could still eat but she could only make us a hamburger and fries. We agreed and she said it was the “best hamburger around” (it was). After that we pretty much could not understand anything anybody there said to us but they were very nice. Nice enough that Mike and I were planning on going back for breakfast until Mike killed the car. (By the end of this trip Mike is really gone wish he was the one writing this.)
All in all it was a good day even with the bad weather. No matter what happens, we still flew an old WWII taildragger across the United States. Life is good!