After decades of thinking about flight, in late June 2003, I finally took my first lesson. It was a great move that has gone on to take my family and me to places I expected and places I never dreamed of. The timing, though, could hardly have turned out worse. My career, which had always been a jealous mistress, ramped up that year to an unprecedented degree, and it was difficult to even think about finding slots for flight training. But that wasn’t enough. The summer of 2003 was monotonously gray and rainy, only to be followed by a winter not much snowier, but a lot colder than usual, even for the Boston area. In April 2004, I found that 73% of the few lessons I had been able to schedule wound up getting canceled for weather. Yeats might have called this the struggle of the fly in marmalade.
Partly because of that frustration and partly just because springtime in New England is always such a relief, June 2004 was a thing of beauty, and even better, it found me finally prepared in the eyes of my flight school for solo cross-country work. A large and strong high-pressure system rolled into the region, and I set out to do as much flying in a short time as I possibly could.