I think the thing I love about cross country flying the most is that every flight is like taking a holiday, an excursion to a place you have never visited. As a perpetual traveler I love arriving in a strange country, a place surrounded by the unfamiliar and the challenges involved with communicating with the people and finding your way around a foreign land. When your feet touch the ground after a cross country flight, whether it’s in your own back yard or somewhere new, the adventure is normally only just beginning.
I have been in Turkey two weeks now and have had some amazing cross country adventures. One day the mountains began to over develop so I pushed out in to the flat lands of this massive valley to keep a safe distance between me and the cumulus nimbus cloud, and the subsequent rain. As the flat lands were working well I had a pleasant flight, landing about 25 miles away. The area I landed in was all rural and a mixture of wheat and other crops, and a few farm houses.
But with four hours of light remaining I wasn’t too worried. After folding up my wing I began my walk along a dusty farmers’ road; within minutes I was greeted by a smiley old guy on a tractor who then offered me a ride on the back of his tractor (or at least that’s what I think he said). For about six or seven miles I stood with one foot on his tow hitch and the other dangling in the air, alternating feet every few minutes for comfort. He eventually dropped me at the intersection of a not so busy sealed road, where I sat there for about half an hour watching the cumulus clouds in the distance decay as the day began to dry up.
Although a few cars passed by, none stopped to the wave of my thumb, not because they didn’t want to; none seemed to have room. Eventually three young guys on two small motor bikes passed me, going the opposite direction. After circling back and asking me a few friendly questions in some very broken English they offered me a ride. I rode on the back of the bike for about 45 minutes as they worked together to try and put a few more words of English together they had obviously learnt at school and forgotten, asking me various questions along the way. After dropping me at the door to my hotel I tried to give them money for gas, buy them a beer, anything at all to show my appreciation for taking me so far out of their way, but they refused to take anything and just seemed happy to help out a stranger.