Speedy Gonzales packed his bag in the back of the Cherokee 180 and carefully got his friend Bucky strapped into the passenger seat. They were both ready to leave Beeville, Texas. Although the plane was near the weight limits, Bucky was lighter by the weight of 5 kidney stones which he had passed over two painful days. But he was weighed down by the bill from the hospital for just under $11,000. How this could have been racked up in a little over two hours in the emergency room was, and still is, a mystery. (And we thought the only thieves were in Guatemala)
First was a stop in McClellan, Texas for the documents for Mexican customs and permission for the flight. That turned into an 8 hour ordeal for the paperwork, almost as painful as passing a kidney stone. Finally finished, they launched for their first stop, Vera Cruz. The got fuel and then back into the air headed south. As they flew, the ceiling kept getting lower and lower till they were getting into the soup at less than 700 ft above ground level. It was time to turn around and get back on the ground.
After a night’s stop in Pose Rica they flew on without incident and landed at the airfield in Poptun. Gary was there to meet the weary travelers. They had been one week on the way and very glad to rest for a couple of days before the drilling work started.
The plane was a hit in the town of Poptun. The field is controlled by the military and so security is no problem. They met with the mayor, the judge and the coronel in charge of the military base and before long Speedy was taking all the dignitaries for rides in the plane. He must have taken 20 people for short rides around the town and out over the orphanage and school campus. They were thrilled with this and it served to extend our contacts with the important people in the area. This will pay off in the future as these folks can help us in many ways.
I asked Speedy why he was involved in the drilling project. He said, “I have learned that my purpose in life is to help people get clean water. It is something I can do and so I do it.” Then he started to tell me about his attempt to fly from Guatemala to El Salvador to check on a well that needs refurbishment at an orphanage there. It was another adventure, see part 3 for the rest.