Twenty airplanes blocked Tyson’s Bearhawk from the Spurwink runway. Rene was a few planes ahead and Bill had only three barring his escape. We had come for the pancake breakfast. Then we planned to fly to NH for lunch at Tom Ford’s with a quick detour on the neighboring island. Tom and I had landed minutes earlier than the other three and claimed the last parking spaces on the runway. We were free to go, but the others were stuck.
I knew enough pilots at the fly-in to pass the time. Captain John said Vlad of Vans Airforce fame was there. He had recently flown to Russia and back in his RV. At Alton Bay last year, he flew in as I took off. Once again, I didn’t catch sight of him. Mike and Laura, our neighbors, showed up with a picnic basket to enjoy by the sea. Tyson had brought Dan from work, so I showed him around. Isaac played with all the kids he knew.
It was almost lunch time when the parking area emptied out one airplane after another. I took my time leaving the traffic jam, making me last to the island. The 900′ grass strip looked the same as previous trips. The wide blue waters around the island caught my eye. That was a lot of water if the engine quit.
The Cubs and bush planes were all parked on the left side of the runway. One lone silver RV-9 was parked on the right. That must be Vlad’s I thought. Maybe, I hoped, I can meet him on the island.
Captain John tried to convince people to eat lunch on the island. He had hot dogs and chips. Bill and Rene and their kids had to go home. They had spent too long already stuck at Spurwink. Tom departed to start his grills. We were about to depart when I saw a photographer walking back the runway.
“I’ll wait”, I thought, “and see if that’s Vlad.”
Indeed it was. He and John started talking before I could get a word in edgewise.
When Vlad was ready to go, I piped up to introduce myself. He knew who I was.
“Everyone knows you” he said, “We don’t have many lady RV pilots.”
I’m dubious everyone knows who I am given the frosty reception I received from some RV pilots. But I’ll take it that a social nexus of the northeastern US Vans community recognizes me. I asked about how to get involved with the the RV community. Vlad suggested the Belfast Maine fly-in — I missed it last year — and another fly-in down in West Virginia. I put Belfast on my schedule. I don’t know if I can make WV. Vlad also suggested watching the Vans Airforce forums for impromptu flights. Then he was off.
Meanwhile, Isaac had eaten half John’s bag of chips. I didn’t think it was fair to eat his chips and then not stay for lunch. Tyson texted our apologies to Tom for missing his cookout. We had another brief delay as Mike and Laura landed. They went one way for a secluded picnic spot. We went to the closest campsite with a fire ring. One 4″ coal still smoldered from campers the night before. Dan carefully rebuilt the fire using driftwood Isaac and I scavenged from the beach. John found a rusty metal grill. He scraped it off and placed it over the fire. I was prepared to cook peppers and onions at Tom’s. I had brought our vegetable grilling tray and a spatula, but I had neither a knife nor cutting board. I made do with my pocket knife. Its small blade was enough to cut the peppers into large chunks. I shoved each chunk into my Nalgene bottle with the marinade. The onions, I left in our bag. We had no buns. Isaac found flat rocks to use as plates. Dan discovered a foot long skewer of rock. With that and my spatula, I cooked the peppers and hot dogs.
A bun and a napkin would have been nice, but the peppers came out perfect and the hot dogs close enough. The best part of lunch was having figured out how to cook it. I sat on my log enjoying each hot morsel and the world around. Blooming rose bushes covered the island. A light breeze tickled my nose with the smell of wood smoke and salty fresh air. Southward, I looked over the cove, through a notch in the rocks, out to the infinite horizon.
The Spurwink EAA pancake breakfast is a yearly event. We went in Spurwink 2014. Other years we have stopped by not during the fly-in proper.