We have had this trip scheduled for a while. The plan was to take off Friday morning and fly to our cousins that live in Cave Springs, AR near Bentonville. My wife's best friend and her husband drove up from Dallas. We always have a good time with them since there are other girls for Abby to play with and we finally get to enjoy some adult socializing.
After our trip to Greenville, I wasn't sure how soon the family would be ready to fly again, but we all jumped back in the saddle and it worked out great. We did change a few things. We moved Mary's seat to the rear row next to Kristi. This worked out really well. Since she was right next to Kristi, it was easier to calm her when needed and she even slept most of the first leg! This also meant Mom got some sleep too. We also swapped strollers to an umbrella stroller. This takes up a lot less room and fits nicely in the forward baggage compartment allowing us to get two large suitcases in the aft luggage area again! Mary still won't wear her headset much, but we'll work on that as she gets older.
We took off just after 9:00 am. I knew we would be fighting some strong headwinds, but at least it was a smooth ride. We were trueing out around 155 kts but only averaging about 120 kts most of the time.
There isn't a lot of scenery like hills and mountains to enjoy on this flight, but I did find some things of interest see. Some of the patterns and colors of the farm fields below were pretty cool. The circular fields over southern Alabama looked like they had been afflicted with mold spots.
It took us a little over three hours to get to Meridian, MS (KMEI); our favorite stop when flying west to visit family. Mary woke up just prior to landing and was in good spirits. A really nice change from past experiences.
After getting some fuel and enjoying some hotdogs, popcorn, and ice cream, we were back in the air for the 2nd and last leg to Bentonville (KVBT). The headwinds were a little less on this leg and we finally saw our ground speed inch towards 140 kts. I liked flying over the Mississippi River and seeing all the towboats heading upriver with their barge tows.
We were about to partially repeat our previous adventure with some forecasted moderate turbulence, but we were all better prepared this time. During the last 30 minutes of the flight we bounced around a little as we flew over the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas. This time I slowed to maneuvering speed, which gave a much gentler ride in the bumps and only added a few minutes to the flight. The surface winds at our destination were reporting 19 kts gusting to 24 kts, but unlike Greenville the winds were only 20 degrees to the right of center line. They have a really nice 4000+ foot runway, but unlike our 150' wide runway at home, KVBT's is only 65' wide. Plenty of room, but a little different visual representation on approach. It was a sporty approach and landing, but we safely arrived, got the plane unloaded, secured, and met up with our family.
Well, it was a long day, but everyone and the plane did well. Let the weekend of fun and laziness begin!