Last summer, the Chaser and I went to an airshow. (I told you – he’s rather fond of aviation!) They were offering 15-minute biplane rides for $85 per person. Terrence generously offered to buy me a ticket, and we flew above the city, my eyes following the path my feet took me every day.
This summer, we decided to do something a little more affordable and hit up a connection Terrence had made through craigslist rideshare: a local pilot.
We met Greg at one of the busiest private airports in the country – the one that serves as a backup for Denver International Airport. Did you know that Sunday mornings before dawn you will hit absolutely NO traffic? Sadly, along those same lines, absolutely no coffee shops will be open yet. We eventually found a Starbucks to tide us over and settled in to watch the sunrise while we waited for our fearless leader.
Greg took us up in a Cessna 172. Ready for the kicker? $60 total for an hour of flying. A third of the cost for four times the airtime! And Iowa, though I love you, I have to admit that soaring over Denver was a smidgen more interesting. And according to Greg, belonging to the largest air club in the United States definitely has its perks – like access to hundreds of planes at an extremely affordable price.
We skimmed over downtown and got all the way up to the Boulder Flat Irons, then buzzed around past Red Rocks. We flew right over the first neighborhood that I’d lived in in Denver. My microphone wasn’t as sensitive as I was expecting, so I spent most of the flight listening to Terrence and Greg talk. He told us about flying lessons and his dream plane and how his significant other didn’t come along anymore if he was flying local. Terrence shared stories of tornadoes and showed me off, talking about my work and passions.
All the while, we marveled at the clear skies beneath us, for the first time in a week not hazed over from the remnants of Washington wildfires. We flew in the buffer zone between the ground and DIA airspace and pointed out the superfund and developments, hot air balloons and trails. I was surprised to realize that the Flat Irons had a drop off behind them rather than being abutted to the range. The things you learn from 10,000 feet!
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in day to day living. Life can be stressful and busy. I used to not be able to survive unless I was dreaming of international travel and had a specific destination in mind (and okay, okay, I may or may not already have plans for my next three trips). I’ve been very fortunate to have a partner who is determined to find excitement everywhere, even if it means being stuck in your back yard. And I’m even more fortunate that he’s teaching me to do it both on the fly and on the cheap.
After landing and thanking Greg (along with promises to fly together again after he passes his mountain test), we decided it was time to get a cup of coffee from one of our favorite shops in the city: Corvus. The baristas were stoked to see us walk in, and treated us to some delightful brews to round out our morning nicely. Nothing like caffeine to make you fly high with both feet planted firmly on the ground.