Thursday, August 19, 2010

How y'all doing? (Update from South Carolina)

At thirty bucks for an umbrella and two chairs you can rest assured a pilot (well most of us)will be heading to Walmart or Target to buy their own. Besides lifeguarding, my daughter has the task of renting out these packages. Her boss has exclusive rights to the entire Hilton Head beach. Cha-ching Cha-ching

The flight (JAZZ) to CLT (Charlotte, North Carolina) with three others on stand-by went without a hitch. It turns out the first officer was an ex-Brampton flight center graduate. I taught him some weather. Hired directly on the RJ Challenger, he is still smiling!

In hindsight, I should have looked into buying tickets with "other airlines" to avoid the near five hour drive to Hilton Head. For the price of a case of 12 beer per person (done in beer dollars) in Ontario we could have flown stand-by on a U.S Air connector from CLT to HHH per person. Actually, my wife thought it would be a scenic drive so we didn't buy tickets. Turned out it was a land locked drive on a zombie inducing freeway. Another lesson learned, always check the itinerary - some people may not be as versed on geography than a "know it all" pilot. :)
Heck, it made for interesting conversation, but that's what road trips are about -marriage challengers. :) :)

Hilton Head is much bigger, populated and posh than I thought. From golf course to golf course, to gated communities (called plantations) to gated communities, it's a place of going concern. My wife loves it so much, she even volunteered me to commute from here. We poked into a retirement (I can't believe that word is creeping into my vocabulary) community to check things out. Good news. I didn't qualify. Minimum age is 50. Next year....

My eldest daughter wanted to escape the island of Hilton Head so we packed up the rental and headed to Charleston, South Carolina. What a beautiful city although the temperatures hovering near 98F (37 C) with the humidex off the clock is a bit much.

While enroute Captain Doug encountered a small rock going 60 mph. A chip the size of a nickel is now a glaring reminder how I dislike driving. Of course, I wavered all the insurance so I'm hoping the rental agency won't require my first born son as collateral. I guess it could have been much worse. The reminder of bird strikes in an airplane comes to mind.

Charleston is a city rich in history with beautiful colonial buildings. The historic district (where we are roughing it in a four star plus hotel) even has old fashioned gas street lights.
Now it's off for a horse drawn tour, more eating and of course - sampling the local beer.


Joe said...

Nice to see the update, Captain Doug. I haven't visited HHI, but years ago visited Charleston for a weekend trip. A fantastic city and area to spend a few days. We toured several of the local historical homes and districts but the highlight for me was the Naval and Maritime Museum on the harbor. Spent so much time aboard the Yorktown I didn't make it to the other floating exhibits.

Enjoy your stay.

CanuckFlyer said...

Have a good vacation Doug! I was flyin on AC a number of times this past week, and each time I hopped a 320 I hoped I would end up with you as our Capt. Alas, it never turned out. Good Luck with the Car Rental Nazi's, I rented one in YEG at Christmas, waivered the insurance then picked up a rock in the top right about 10 mins from the airport. Thankfully, they didn't notice it when I returned the car so I didn't get dinged for it. Hopefully the same happens to you!

Tim said...

Make sure to wear the sunscreen, Doug! CHS sounds like a cool place so enjoy it and HHI!

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Joe. So that's the aircraft carrier I can see across the harbour, the USS Yorktown. I'd venture over there but I'm certain "shopping" takes priority over history for the family.

Although, we did a one hour horse drawn carriage tour of the historical area of Charleston and we all loved it.

I didn't realize I'm in the most "holiest" city in the States with 190 churches in the immediate area.

From the Flight Deck said...

CanuckFlyer. I love it..".the car rental nazis."
Something tells me I will be leaving my first born son as the insurance adjustment. :)

I guess it would be wishful thinking If they miss this blemished bulls-eye right in the middle of the windshield.

But keep flying Air Canada, eventually our paths will cross. :)

Thanks for the comments.

Doug in Charleston about to backtrack to Hilton Head.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Tim. The temperatures and humidity are near outrageous.

It sure is nice when we duck into air conditioned shops, restaurants, bars and the hotel.

Christer said...

Nice to read about your adventure here in the south Captain Doug! Hope the humidity doesn't get you too bad- it's been pretty nasty here recently. I'm a Canadian living in Charlotte and fly Air Canada regularly (my first choice for Canadian, Europe and Asia travel). Any way you could convince AC to send mainline down to CLT:)? An A319 would sure be a comfortable change to the CRJ...
Have a great vacation and hope to catch you on an AC flight someday!

Andrew said...

Hi Doug,

Just a quick "heads up" if you go jogging on the beach keep your head up.

I'm out SLC and its amazing, its hot but there is no humidity.

CanuckFlyer said...

Doug, Its hard to fly on anything other than AC when your on a employee standby pass!

From the Flight Deck said...

Canuckflyer. You have that right! Air Canada and others are flying around full. Take London, England for example. A couple of weeks ago there
were 140 "cons" (employees) trying to get back to Canada. Only two got on the entire day.

Funny, if I was flying solo on vacation, I could fly around the world for less than a Starbucks coffee with "other airlines."
It's called the "reciprocal jumpseat policy." It doesn't mean you actually get the jumpseat, but a seat in the back (space available).
And sometimes that seat in the back can be a very nice seat. As the saying goes, "membership has it's privileges." :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. "Keep my heads up?" By that I guess you mean having the radar on for "Southern Belles."
I'm a married man with two daughters who easily qualify for the "Southern Belle" status. :)
(Oops I better include my wife just in case she reads this) :)
Having said that, I always say, "an instrument pilot should always keep up their scan." :)

What are you doing in (SLC) Salt Lake city?

Doug about to launch back to Canada from CLT.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Christer

Yes, it sure would be nice to see a 319 on this route but there is only 20 passengers booked on this RJ today which holds 50. So it doesn't justify a bigger airplane. But it's great for us traveling on stand-by. :)

True, it's a bit of a pain for carry on luggage. For example, flying down here I saw a great "glory" forming in a cloud deck below. I wrote about this phenomena for October's enRoute and it would have made a great picture. But guess where my camera was? :)

I'm curious why we don't fly to SAV (Savannah) JAX (Jacksonville) or Charleston (CHS). It would have made my drive a lot shorter.

Captain Doug still waiting in the lobby for the flight back to YYZ

Christer said...

Just missed you this morning Doug! I was sitting in the US Club in CLT waiting for my flight to SFO which departed at 9:40. If I'd have known you were over at gate A2/4 I'd have said hello. Currently sitting in a US A321- the wifi is something nice US has going.

While the Jazz flight to YYZ is often empty or close to it, there are days when it's packed and the US flights are full too. An A319 may be a little large, but even an ERJ 175 would be nice:). And yes, other southern US east coast destinations would be great.

Hope your flight to YYZ is going well, take care!

Andrew said...

No, "keep your head up" i was refering to that accident where that single engined (Piper?) lost its engine and landed on the beach but he hit a jogger and killed him or something like was on a beach in Hilton Head.


I have a brother and Sister that live out here, and we were attending the BYU Education week.


Daniel said...

You should head over to Hilton Heads airport. Pretty neat little strip gets a lot of G5s and other private aircraft that are pretty neat. Hope your enjoying your time :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Daniel. I should have gone, but the family dislikes anything aviation except when it comes to boarding a plane to travel.

I bet it's similar to West Palm beach in Florida, loaded with lots of expensive exec jets.

Doug now back in Toronto

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew, thanks for the clarification. Although, I much prefer my "heads up" slant instead of yours...getting taken out of the picture from an airplane... :) :) :)