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Last Update: Sunday, August 11, 2002 08:03 AM

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August 22, 1998

What do you do on the morning of your return from an adventure like this one...??  Easy, you take your flight suits and sneak into a nearby hotel that has a washer and dryer. You act like you belong and do your laundry. While it washes, you take a shower . Then you sneak back, put them into the dryer and go to your hotel and dry your hair... What would ya'll do ??????

We went to the airport about 1pm to wait for a 1:40 departure. Don't want to show up too early. At this point, we are fully aware that we are in the south... HOT.......... Nikki is standing on the ramp in her red boots, clicking her heels, saying "There's no place like home, There's no place like home." (I think she's losing it).... We take off and have Louisville FSS call Lebanon and tell them that we are 1 hour out. We talked about just doing a low pass down the runway and continue on to another flight. Like maybe, flying around the edge of the USA.. Just for fun.......Don't think Doug could handle it.. This last and final leg of the flight was fun. We laughed, we sang, and we even invented a new dance. (The swinging bridge. Don't even go there)........When we were told to contact NASHVILLE APPROACH, we just hollered.... HOME... As we came in, ATC in Nashville gave us their Congrats.....We called Lebanon about 7 miles out and said HELLO....

Of course, no return is complete without the standard low pass down the runway. (We DID think we needed a gear check)....There was a stage set up, people waving and cameras everywhere. Nikki was waving and I was looking at the people, cameras, and the crosswind. Great, final landing, media and a crosswind....With my luck..................But, it was OK...We were brought in amidst cheers and waves. WOW.... AMAZING..... Nikki fell to the ground and kissed it. (I couldn't bring myself to tell her that in all the camera interviews, she had a little gravel on her lips)....On stage, Mayor Don Fox from Lebanon spoke, A representative from Senator Fred Thompson, Mrs June Maule, my Boss Ron Magruder from Cracker Barrel, representatives from McCauley Props, and Jessi Colter spoke for her husband, Waylon Jennings and presented us with a letter from Vice-President Al Gore. (Waylon was there but elected not to speak) (He did demand the keys to the airplane though, so we couldn't go anywhere else, and accused us of just traveling around looking for the cutest guys) (How did he know????)...................This day was so amazing.... Supportive friends....FUN ........................................................................

Later, Nikki left with her Mom and a friend. My Mom and Dad left earlier for their hotel. My sons left with their friends... I got into the car that my family left me and headed out to the hotel so we could go eat together. REALITY !!!! I'm Home...... About a block from the airport, the LOW fuel light came on. I stopped and pumped gas while looking for any kind of money to pay for it... I have Rubles.... Finally find a $10 bill.. Go to the hotel and find my parents are gone... Drive through all the restaurant parking lots looking for them... Call on the cell phone, can't find them... Call the airport, nope.... Drive home to Nashville by myself, unload the car alone, eat some stale chips and drink some water (no cokes or tea )...Typical ......... Man, it's great being home .........

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