Sunday, January 6, 2019

The End…

…of 2018 that is. The year didn’t end anything like I would have expected when it began. If anyone had suggested that it would close with us being back in St. Louis and Kintala on the hard for sale, the only thought that would have come to mind was that some real tragedy had struck. A second season worth of work at Snead Island was done, Deb and I both had Coast Guard Captain’s tickets tucked away, there was some money in the bank, and Daughter Eldest and Family were on their own boat living happily nearby. There was no reason to think that our life afloat would be history just 12 months later. And yet, here we are.

Yesterday we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and went exploring, spending much of the day walking down to the river to check out the Gateway Arch National Park. Since we last lived in these parts, a lot of work has gone into the Park. Each year there are several major events held at the site. Since we will not have to struggle with parking, I suspect we will take advantage of many of them even if big crowds are not high up on my list of favorite things. We did, after all, come this way to have new adventures and live a different way. If the crowd gets too much, it is an easy walk home.

I was a bit surprised at the lack of a crowd yesterday, it being a near perfect day for walking and the Gateway Arch National Park being a major draw in the city. It turns out the Park was officially closed, along with much of the rest of the Government. I don’t pay much attention to such goings on anymore and was only vaguely aware of the shut-down. I have already ridden to the top of the Arch, don’t need to take that trip again, and so didn’t notice that the ticket office was closed. The grass, river, trees, sky and sun ignore such goings on as well, and they were what had called us out for our walk in the first place.

Tomorrow is my first day of type rating class. I took advantage of the slower pace between the holidays to book a bunch of hours in the Graphical Flight Deck Simulator. It seemed likely that the years spent on an actual deck-deck had left flight deck skills a bit rusty. But in fewer hours than feared, old habits started coming back, the cadence of events that make up departures and approaches started to feel right again. I am not sure that all of the technology actually reduces the work load as much as claimed, it has just changed the nature of the work being done. Electronic check lists are cool, but do the exact same job as paper check lists and take about the same amount of time to deploy and work through. Instead of concentrating on physically flying the airplane, pilots now concentrate on a litany of nav source / autopilot / flight director / auto-throttle mode annunciators and controls. If the air is smooth one can certainly do all of that while sipping at a cup of coffee, so to someone looking in from the outside, it might appear that there isn’t much work being done. And it is certainly a different kind of work than that which goes on in a boat yard in the middle of a Florida summer, not to mention that it pays a lot better.

This might be a pretty good year after all.

The arch at the riverfront. We hear the barge horns in our apartment from the river here.

The arch is just too big to fit it all in a photo!