Best Cross Country Flight

I think it was June 1970. I was 18 and a freshly minted private pilot. A friend (Walt) a few years my senior and I decided to fly a C-172 from Baltimore, MD (BWI) to Dothan, AL (DHN) to visit my brother Gary.

He was at Ft. Rucker going through Mohawk OV-1 training. We decided to surprise him by arriving unannounced.

I had a few details, provided by our Dad on how to get to his home, but was really not too sure.

Walt and I arrived in Dothan late afternoon. Fortunately, Walt was old enough to rent a car, because I sure wasn't. We followed the sparse directions Dad had given me and set out to find Gary in Enterprise, AL.

It had gotten dark and miraculously, we found the trailer that he and his wife Joanne were living in. The only way we were sure was because his MGB was parked outside.

I knocked on the door. When Gary's wife, Joanne, opened the door she was in disbelief that I was standing there. She asked, "What are you doing here?" I think I replied that I came to see Gary for his birthday.

Walt and I flew back to BWI a couple days later, dodging thunderstorms just like what a couple of young, bullet-proof, VFR, private pilots, with a lot of luck might do. 

It was an experience I will always remember as one of my best cross country flights.