Friday, August 03, 2007

Day 16 Part Two: Time To Go Home

Cheyenne, WY (CYS) to Evanston, WY (EVW)
354 statute miles (308 nm)
time enroute: 2:59

Headwinds of 20 to 30 knots were the first of today's challenges. It took three hours to go just over 300 nm. At the field in Cheyenne this morning, I met a pilot on his way home from Oshkosh in a Cessna Cardinal. He was headed to San Carlos, just up the road from Palo Alto. it turns out that we have a mutual acquaintance. His partner in a previous plane is an instructor at West Valley Flying Club that I met during the Board elections this year. A Cardinal is typically a bit slower than a Skylane, so I figure he was well behind me by Evanston. There was no sign of him here, so I presume he either stopped earlier or was able to keep going when I was grounded. I'm curious to learn how he made out.

When grounded at Evanston, I was only about 40 minutes short of my intended destination. It was frustrating being so close to my destination and unable to reach it. The airport at Evanston was a good place to be stuck. The runway is nice and long. There is a pilot's lounge with an aviation whether terminal, comfortable chairs and satellite TV. All that was missing was a place within range to grab something better than a candy bar. I spent a fair amount of time chatting with Kevin, a commercial helicopter pilot getting his After three hours and change watching the radar display at the Evanston airport, I thought I saw a window. When I went outside, things looked pretty clear in the vicinity of the airport. However, the wind had picked up to about 18 kts and as I looked toward Salt Lake City it wasn't as great as I imagined it should be. I decided that I was in danger of contracting get-there-itis and declared myself grounded for the day.

I managed to get a room at the Howard Johnsons and caught a cab down here. This may be the bleakest accommodation of the trip. After spending $69 for a large, charming room at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, it is a big disappointment to spend the same for a gloomy, semi-basement room in a bleak hotel with crappy service. All of the employees here seem inconvenienced by the presence of guests. I expect that by treating us this way, the inconvenience will be reduced over time.

After checking in, I discovered that the free internet wasn't working. After a totally pointless call to the front desk to see if it could be fixed, I decided to get out for a walk. I wandered by the laundry room, which gave me the idea of using this downtime to run a load. The sign said that soap was available at the front desk. However, they didn't have any. The desk clerk reluctantly disclosed that there were a few convenience stores up the street and even a grocery store past that. With a new sense of purpose, I headed off up the hill.

Walking uphill, I noticed that the weather was much better. I could see for miles to the west and the clouds were all high and docile looking. Given the gloomy circumstances at the hotel, I was tempted to pack up my stuff and head back to the airport. However, the effort just seemed too much and I felt I should honor my earlier decision.

It seems that the HoJos is a half-mile down the road from the rest of Evanston. After trudging up the hill, I was greeted by an oasis of more junky motels and restaurants. I wandered through a few blocks and it started thinning out without sign of a grocery store. I can only assume that it would require a car or much more time to get there. Lowering my expectations, I stopped in a truck-stop food-mart and loaded up on snack food. I had no lunch today, the restaurant at the hotel was kind of scary looking and on top of that it isn't open for breakfast on Fridays and Saturdays. I couldn't really bear the thought of going back up the hill for a meal.

Walking back to the hotel, I saw an area of heavy rain in the hills, which sort of reassured me that I belonged on the ground.

Back at the room, I had a small dose of crackers and peanut butter, washed down with Clamato juice. After a short semi-nap, I roused myself and wandered down to the restaurant. My trepidations proved justified. The dinner selections were all smoked ribs or meat. I opted for the chicken. As far as I could tell, the only smoke that chicken ever saw would have been from something burning in the kitchen. It was also the scrawniest chicken I've ever seen. It must have died on a death march from wherever it was raised to the restaurant here in Evanston.

I don't know whether this place is grimmer than others I have been or if it is just that I am ready to be home. Either way, I expect to be sleeping in my own bed tomorrow. The only casualty outside of my mood was my intended visit with my friend Mark in Salt Lake City.

And look: the internet actually started working.


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from