I took off the tailwheel, and put it back on floats this weekend, a little late for the summer ritual.
It’s a reluctant climber, and it weathervanes in a crosswind, but the view from low and slow is terrific, and if the water looks fine, then just drop in. Land two degrees nose up with a little power, and you only know you are on the water because you slow down.
North Alabama, and East Tennessee were irrevocably changed when the TVA dammed the river. Muscle Shoals was buried under the flood til only the old and infirm up in the quad cities can remember plucking the clams in ankle deep water, boiling them in Bay seasoning, and eating them with home brew.
On the East side, up above Guntersville, the flooded plains left the flat topped Apalachian tailings lush in the blue gray mist, and that’s where we put it in, along South Sauty Sound, near Buck’s pocket. On a holiday weekend, there’s no barge traffic, and the Bass men get out early, and only fish under the bridges in full daylight.
Cormorants stick their necks out, and labor along in ground effect, those birds were meant to swim.
They mostly step delicately in the weed, each foot placed with agonizing slow care, but then the blue herons show us cross country flying, necks tucked and legs extended into the slipstream, only occasionally beating a wing, soaring. Martins dive and swivel after bugs at sunset, aerobatic turns about a point, their wings short and angled.
There’s a bird for every mission.
Jeanna Dinan made chicken stew in a huge iron pot over a dugout wood fire in the front yard, like Momma Jack did til at 90, she couldn’t stand up to stir in the heat.
Her husband Bill made ribs, took all day, and fell off the bone. He’s not just a boat driver, the boy can multi-task.
After it settled, we flew South Sauty Creek and looked at the tornado damage, the pines splayed in swirls, rubbed out, the mountain limestone caps crumbling, and the sweet bottom land in hay and corn, goats and cows grazing, then watched the fireworks over the causeway.
It’s good country.
We flew home in haze thick enough for IFR, and landed long at BHM worried about nosewheel shimmy. But our luck held- smooth, smooth.