Route 28

Sterling, Virginia

March 28, 2021

Sitting here next to the wing and this huge jet engine, wondering how fast those turbine blades are rotating. Metallurgy has never been my strength; I marvel how we developed our understanding of how to fabricate things out of metal.

Flying across the country in five hours certainly is a different perspective than I’ve gained over the past 18 months. I have made this cross-country flight dozens of times over the years. I feel lucky that I have been able to explore the United States on the ground and at a slow pace.

I also feel fortunate that I overcame my fear of flying. I will always recall when it hit me. I was on an American Airlines 757 from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Miami. We were over the Amazon when my mind decided it did not want to be on a plane. The cabin seemed to be getting smaller and every bump result in my death grip on the arm rests. And I started sweating like I was in a sauna. The remainder of that flight and the flight from Miami to Washington left me emotionally and physically spent.

Prior to that experience I had enjoyed flying. I appreciated the uninterrupted time it gave me, which I like to remember that I used productively; however, I do recall listening to a lot of cassettes on my yellow Sony Walkman. I listened to the B-52’s Cosmic Thing on a continuous loop with extra AA batteries in my carry-on bag. “Roam if you want to....” And the Fine Young Cannibal’s version of “Suspicious Minds” — “we’re caught in a trap....”. Goosebumps.

Today I’m on a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner.” Not sure what is dreamy about it other than it has more room than the 737s that the airlines coax us into. First class is full as are business class and economy. I fondly remember the days my company paid for my upgrades. Made me feel special — the company got a good return on that investment as I typically billed 60-80 hours per week. Back when I was naive and craving those “atta boy’s” from

my boss.

When we landed at IAD we were greeted by a shower provided by two fire trucks. It was our captain’s final flight and the tradition is to shooting water onto the plane. Way cool.

Our approach to Dulles was through a thunderstorm.

Contrail close up.

I was shocked by the lack of social distancing at Dulles.

And the summer-like rain storm!

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