Bucky Mowrey and Speedy Gonzales watched the countryside slide evenly beneath the wings of the Cherokee 180 as they followed their course, ever to the South and West. They were on the way to our headquarters in Guatemala. This would be their fourth trip to help us. They are from central Ohio, and because they had done this before, they knew what to expect when they got to Guatemala, but this time they had decided to make the trip in Speedy’s plane. Partly for the adventure and also so they could carry the 90 baby quilts, made by Bucky’s mom, which were packed into the back with parts, tools and other things. The plane was near the weight limit.
They left Lancaster, Ohio, on Sunday, January 31, at 2pm after saying goodbye to a crowd of friends and family. They landed at College Station, Texas, where there was cheap fuel available, and after a short stop, they went on to Beeville, Texas, where the lowering clouds seemed to say this was a good place to stop for the night.
The next morning they were at the airport at 5am. The weather did not look promising. After a call to Flight Service, they decided to stay on the ground till the clouds lifted, but the clouds did not lift all day Monday. Tuesday morning the weather was still bad so they decided to lay over another day.
Bucky noticed on Tuesday morning he felt a little sick, but did not think anything about it. They killed a few hours and in the afternoon decided to go to a local movie. During the movie, Bucky began to realize something was really wrong. He was suffering severe pain in his side. When they left the theater, Bucky told Speedy, “I need to go to the hospital, right now!” So they went. Bucky was examined in the emergency room and after a couple of hours it was determined that he was passing kidney stones. He was discharged with some instructions and went back to the motel for an ordeal of pain for the next two days. Only those who have passed kidney stones can appreciate what this pain is like.
Finally, on Thursday at 5 pm, the weather was ok and Bucky thought he was fit to travel. They fired the Piper up and headed again off to the south. Customs was ahead and then the trip down across Mexico and on into Guatemala. There was more adventure ahead, but I’ll save that for part II.