The pilot is trying to help me take advantage of the last couple of days of summer. My job mimics the school schedule so before I am too busy we are taking a few extended day trips. One of the nicest parts about having a plane is the fact that we can just grab our stuff, throw it in the plane and we can be some place hours away (by car) in a short time…the plane has really extended the range on our trips.
When the pilot is trying to do something really sweet for me, he can be wonderfully thoughtful when it comes to trip destinations. I love fruit. I really love fresh fruit. When the pilot and I were dating, one of his brothers tried to get him interested in a fruit and vegetable supplement; he explained to his brother that I made sure he ate more than enough fruit so it was unneeded. We usually eat fresh fruit with at least one meal a day.
Of all the fruits, I love peaches the most. The season is so short, especially with the lack of rain and heat in Texas that we have experienced these last few years. So, as an extra special trip for me, even though impractical, the pilot and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas (Airport Identifier T82), the PEACH Capital of Texas.
It helps that T82 (Fredericksburg’s Airport) is also in the Hundred Dollar Hamburger, a book, or website, of Airports with good close by places to eat. They call it the $100 hamburger because it takes $100 worth of airplane gas to fly there and eat a hamburger. The Airport Diner in Fredericksberg is actually right on the field so we park the plane and walk over to the restaurant and sit down. Very convenient.
After the pilot did a quick fill up in Georgetown, Texas (GTU). We were on our way. One interesting thing that I didn’t know until we started flying was the gas for the airplane is actually in the wings. Our airplane has 4 tanks and can go about 800 miles on a full set of tanks.
The pilot is really good about letting me read or sleep or just take it easy in the right seat. So far I have learned to set the squawk code on the transponder, which tells air traffic control who we are, and enter the destination airport into the gps (and most importantly change the XM radio station). Eventually I need to take the pinch hitter course, but so far I am happy to have no responsibilities. The pinch hitter course would give me the basics to land in the unlikely event that something happened to the pilot. Its a very basic, here is how to land the plane training.
The runway into T82 is beautiful. With all of the farm land in the surrounding arenas it is a beautiful place to land.
We got up and flew in first thing in the morning so that we could have breakfast at the Airport Diner as soon as it opens at 8am. The food is always wonderful and it is a fun little place with booths and retro bar stools with good home-style food. It is fun to get there early and sit by the windows to watch all the other planes come in. There are a number of patrons who drive over, but by the number of people that came in it is definitely a morning airplane fly in location.
One of the days when we head to Fredericksberg we are going to stay at the Hanger Hotel, thus far we have been making it a day trip or staying at a bed and breakfast, but every time we go we agree that “next time” we will actually stay at the hotel. It is on the airport field as well.
To make sure that we can get around to all of the peach stands and the wildflower farm we rented a car at the Gillespie County Airport building. The pilot loves tea and they make homemade everyday and have the cups and ice ready and waiting.
The pilot took me to all of my favorite fruit stands…as usual the Behrends Orchards outdid themselves with quality product and variety. They are one of the only orchards that still have local peaches later in the season each year, which was especially impressive considering the drouth from last year. Many of the stands had peaches from out of town, since they were out.
I love orchards where I can pick peaches myself, it does not get much fresher than that so we took the little mile drive off the road to the U-Pick orchard, but they were already out of peaches for this season. We also stopped at the roadside stand, they had a really nice variety and large peaches. There is one fruit and vegetable stand that is well out of town, that always has the main ingredient for one of my favorite holiday foods, cream peas. Wild Boar Farms always has a wonderful variety of vegetables; so we also picked up a few squash and a cantaloupe for eating later.
After hitting all of the orchards, the pilot took me to the Wildseed Farms. Even though it is currently too hot to plant anything at home I love to stroll through their gardens and look at all of the different types of butterflys.
They have absolutely beautiful zinnias and the mix of colors and just looking at them makes you smile, they are so cheery and bright. They were filled with butterflies. At first, I saw a few, but as I looked closer, there were hundreds of them. They must have been in flower heaven like I was!
The pilot is really patient as I like to walk all through each of the rows in the garden. When he gets tired of strolling around with me I can always find him on the closet bench or leaning against a fence somewhere. He is a really good sport about looking at all of the plant and posing for all the photos I like to take.
After an hour at the Wildseed farms, we were hot and ready for a little shade and stroll through downtown. I love the old, homey feeling of downtown. We hit a few leather shops and the paper store. The pilot fell in love with a pair of alligator boots in one of the boots stores. I love walking down the main street. It is very touristy.
We didn’t want to stay too long as I do not enjoy the turbulence that mounts as it day warms up, so we made sure to go by my favorite shop the Handmade Candle Shop before we left. I already have about 10 of them, but I really like to go watch her work. She makes the process look so effortless and the candles are truly beautiful. After one of our trips to see her we came home and tried to make some little candles ourselves, BUT all we did was make a huge mess and a lot of trash. She talks with you and explains what she is doing, but now we know she makes it look much easier than it really is.
After a quick trip back to the terminal to return the car, the pilot and I hopped back into the plane to make the quick trip home. Even though it is a short ride the pilot always flight plans above the clouds so that I don’t have to contend with the bumps. I have learned a lot about weather and flying. Usually, once you get above the clouds, the ride in the plane is much better.
Fredericksberg, T82, was a wonderful morning trip that was close enough to get us home in time for lunch and an afternoon nap. The people there are always so friendly andwe will make that trip again soon.