Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life in a Flyover State

Leaving T at the tiny regional airfield last month started me thinking.  Except for a short break for college, most of my life has been spent in places where the closest airport is smaller than the average Wal-Mart.  After high school I opted to leave Michigan behind and head several states east for college.  Getting home for Christmas usually meant someone got to pick me up in Green Bay, WI, a 3+ hour drive away.  But you couldn't call where I grew up flyover country exactly.  Mostly because we weren't even in the flyover zone; if we spotted a plane overhead it was the DNR scoping for poachers or pot growers and the odd bi-plane or classic areoplane heading for Oshkosh, WI's annual fly-in.

When I moved to SD, the hour drive to Sioux Falls where a medium-size jet could actually land didn't seem too bad, although economy-wise I tried to fly out of Omaha - never have figured out why flights are routinely at least $200 cheaper down there; the airport's not that much bigger, and the flights still went into Minneapolis, mostly. 

With a county population density approximating 6 two-footed mammals per square mile (if the cows ever decide to rebel, we're gonna be toast) it didn't exactly shock me to learn that major airports in this part of Kansas are non-existent.  But planes... well, now I know (at least one reason) why they call it flyover country.  It's not uncommon to look up on a clear day and spot as many as eight or nine big jets dragging con trails across the sky, and a few more old tracks pluming out besides.

Denver's new airport's pretty much due west, and Kansas City sits roughly southeast, which accounts for the popularity of our airspace, I guess.   Neither of them are close though, so there's relatively little noise attached to the air pollution.  But it's a good thing we're accustomed to a lengthy drive pre-flight - if T's not on orders for the army (they book his flights out of even tiny regional airports - which in SD still meant a 150 miles plus round-trip), we'll be making the 5 hour drive to Kansas City or Denver.

Along with the ready availability of air transportation, we also left behind pretty much all forms of public transportation - unless you count the local ambulance, which knock-on-wood we won't require out here any time soon. And I suspect T and I may have lowered, albeit incrementally, the average age.  People are friendly (and curious).  Drivers in oncoming cars are more apt to wave than not.  I mostly don't see any cars when I walk, but of the few I do see 99% of drivers wave, and I've had a couple slow down on colder days to make sure I'm walking on purpose.

And we've already been invited over for dinner, received a few house-warming gifts, and more people "just thought we'd drop by" than we ever did in SD.  Okay, so the majority of offerings originated with cousins - I swear T's related to half the county and he or one of his siblings went to school with, dated, or worked for the other half, but still....  I've never minded being anonymous, but it's kind of nice to be welcomed.  Although I suspect when I finally do get to town with un-frizzy hair, clean clothes and make-up on rather than grubbies and a thick coating of grime, no one I've been introduced to is going to recognize me - lol!

Among the neighbors who've dropped by is the owner of two horses that inhabit the pasture at the southeast corner of the crossroads just to our south. (An old retired grey mare with creaky breathing, and a younger sorrel gelding his daughter was using for a barrel horse until she got too busy with the rest of her life.)  The gelding, T was informed, needs riding.  He volunteered me.  Um, really?  Because I have so much time to ride the four we have?  Probably not gonna happen any time soon. 

At work and out and about, T's been fielding questions about moving back.  People are happy for us, but curious - that's more polite than calling them nosy, right?  A frequent question is, "But how is your wife liking it?"  His usual response, "Couldn't pry her off the farm with a stick."  Or, "She can see her horses out the window, so she's happy."   Both true.  Scary how well he knows me.  I have the horses, I found the public library, we have hot water, heat, and the internet.  I'm happy.

I love my new view!


Kellie said...

Drat I had a huge comment, but got an error....


Love your view too!

We have a lot of flyover trails here too and hear a few helicoptors a week. Think they are doing medivacs from up North to Eau Clarie to the South of us..

Funny how folks can be so nosy. They must think they need to know so thay can pass on what them new folks are up to..

Glad that you are happy in your new home. Nothing like that good feeling of contentment.

Sure like how you've updated your blog too :)

SunnySD said...

I hate when that (error) happens!

Yeah, it's interesting how much more interest people take in what's going on when you live in the country. Not a bad thing, but if you've never experienced it, it can be kind of a shock :)