My good buddy Steve reached out to me and asked if I might be willing to fly his mom to Nags Head, NC so she wouldn't have to drive the 11-hour journey. Lucy and I and ma hopped in and off we went for an adventure! I filed IFR and got in some good experience. I relayed to an aircraft for ATC, they changed my route 3x, I provided a PIREP on WX due to a radar outage they had, and I dodged a thunderstorm cell and ducked under an MOA. After a nice, but busy flight, we approached First Flight Airport (KFFA) and I canceled IFR to do the visual approach. It was a gorgeous-looking beach area and we saw the huge wright brothers monument as we lined up for downwind.
We landed and ma took off to go visit her friend and Lucy and I walked around the area and then walked to lunch and to the beach. I need to self-report child abuse to someone, so I may as well spill a confession here - it was hot and after a mile or so of walking around Lucy was just not having it anymore. I told her there was a dairy queen nearby and I will get her a special drink there. She said 'what is a Dairy Queen'? What kind of parents haven't exposed their kids to kid meccas like DQ by age 6?! She got a grape misty and her eyes lit up and she said 'oh wow this is really good!' Haha, yes, yes they are dear. Sorry to have kept you in the dark, but there is a whole world of sugary awesomeness out there, most of which you will rarely ever get under the care of your sugar police parents. After a much-needed boost to morale and energy levels, we continued on and found a pirate-themed store to buy Lucy a big sun hat from. Next was a quick Thai lunch and then it was prime time - the beach!
I wasn't sure what to expect arriving at the beach and as we get to one of the public beach entrances it starts to set in that there weren't any public restrooms we could change into our swimsuits at. Lucy was excited because we were right there at the beach, so I thought to myself 'We can just walk out there for a bit and then figure it out. Welp, that resulted in sandy wet Lucy in like 30 seconds. Oh well.. let the kid be a kid! I decided to let her swimsuit be the dry clothes she could change into before we hopped in the plane at the end of the day.
I'll gloss over all the challenging parts of the trip, like how it started to pour down rain and we had nowhere to seek shelter at so we just kept playing on the beach... all by ourselves. I'll barely mention the part where Lu said she REALLY had to potty (with not a single restroom in sight) and so near some tall grass in a secluded dune and I told her to just go there and then magically out of nowhere a family of 4 starts coming down the beach as Lu had dropped trousers in the sand before I could stop her. Who the heck did this family think they were roaming around the beach in the middle of a downpour? I'll hardly mention the part where I had to carry Lucy on my back for half a mile in the hot humid sun. I chuckled to myself as we passed a guy jogging because all I could think as I passed him was 'oh, I see you are jogging with just your own body weight. If he wanted a real workout he would have a soaking wet sandy 6 year old strapped to his back talking about how tired SHE is while somehow carrying two pocketfuls of seashells and a backpack full of wet and sandy kid stuff. :)
We made it back to the airplane and headed for home. Lucy got a nice 90-minute nap in while I caught up on work emails and other various business while the autopilot did the flying. Not too shabby for a Wednesday adventure.