Peter Heller : Journal

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Kook Barnstormer Tour: Wing and a Prayer

July 29th, 2010 · 177 Comments · Uncategorized

Seal Beach, Orange County

Yesterday just breathing salt air and half asleep all day, so glad to be here. Pretty strenuous coming across. The Seal Beach Kook party was Tuesday evening, so I tried to fly the little Cessna out of Santa Fe at dawn on Monday, but got denied due to monsoon storms. That left me with one day to get all the way across. I showed up at the Santa Fe airport just at daybreak on Wednesday, looked pretty clear, satellite imagery showed an open path over Phoenix, so I hopped in and turned the key…dead. Completely. Dang. Found a guy with a pickup and we ran jumper cables and jumped the plane. Started!
“Hey,” I yelled over the roar, “you think this is gonna charge up as I fly?”
“Hope so!” he said. Me too.

Took off at sunrise and headed for Phoenix. Stopped once for fuel at a one pump high desert airport called St. John, flew west, big uplift ahead and…solid cloud deck. Thunderstorms everywhere. No way through. Shoot. This is not normal desert weather this time of year. Turned around, had to dodge a thunderstorm. Saw myself missing the reading, the OC launch. Figured I’d head north to Flagstaff, try there. It was clear. Dodged more storms by the Grand Canyon and came into Palm Springs with a huge relief. Only the LA Basin and the most congested airspace in the world to get through. When I landed in Long Beach and taxied up to the Long Beach FLight School, the guy in coveralls driving the little tug, said, “Peter? Welcome!” The air operations director for the flying club was reading Kook and loving it!

Had just enough time to shower, grab a book and get to the party overlooking the Seal Beach pier. Sold out all the books in first half hour. Mike, the Saint of Seal Beach, our first surf instructor, made up gorgeous Kook t-shirts with the book’s cover all over the front. We had a blast. Everyone from a surfing plumber to the CEO of Mattel was there, all stoked to read the book. Some folks had already read it and were lit up. One man said he was teaching it to his summer school kids and they loved it because it was real and honest and funny. It inspired them. All of this made me remember why we write a book.

Surfed this morning. At the home break. So good to be back in the water, among friends.

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