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From Pennsylvania to Iowa

Our trip from Pennsylvania to Des Moines, Iowa was a little less than perfect.

We left Allentown, PA after a great four days. Then on to Chicago, then on to Des Moines, Iowa…or at least that was the original plan. After circling Cleveland for an hour, the pilot came on and said that we had circled longer than our fuel was available. So we went back to Dayton, Ohio to get fuel. There were some severe storms in Chicago so traffic was held up.

Anyway, we got back on the plane and got almost to the end to turn around and leave when we pulled over and were told to sit for 45 minutes. Then after 45 minutes, the plane turned around and we all got off again to wait for Chicago to open up so we could land.  Five hours later, we got back on the plane to finally get to Chicago, knowing our flight from Chicago to Des Moines was probably gone.

Well, not exactly correct. It wasn’t gone but canceled. So we called airport hotels and got one.

Fortunately, we had made a plan to rent a car in Chicago and drive the five-plus hours to Des Moines as a plan B, Oh boy, are we glad we did. When we got on the Hertz bus, the driver said there were no more cars. And if you didn’t have a car, you would not get one.  Plan B is good.

We got to the hotel, and after five hours of sleep, we were up at 4 AM to make the drive to Des Moines. We made it and kept calling to find our luggage, which was going to Des Moines without us sometime when a plane was allowed to leave.

Did I mention that all flights to Des Moines had been canceled and the next morning the flights were all delayed? So off to Dick’s Sporting Goods to buy clothes… two days in one set of clothes is enough.

After our session with the Iowa DNR group, we realized that the next day was going to be a rain event, so we went back to Dick’s for rain gear. We got to the hotel and washed our new clothes and hoped that our suitcases would come soon…. they didn’t.

The luggage was delivered to the hotel that night (or should I say early the next morning) but at least we had what we needed with ear protection, glasses, etc.

So we went off to the DNR training and today we shot most of the day. It didn’t rain too much and we got a lot of shooting in. We also showed these trainers how they can use the DNR toolbox to help their volunteers be better trainers and help the kids and adults to be better shooters.

They were all a little skeptical at first, but then realized the ease of the OSP system and how it worked so well. Megan in Iowa had done a masterful job of including not just the DNR trainers, but volunteers who came to listen but not shoot. On the last day, I had my group of listening volunteers shoot some targets and they were amazed at how well they could shoot after only listening to the information. Even the trainers were amazed how everyone got so much better by hearing the information and not shooting the whole first day. This says a lot about the system you guys and girls are learning.

We spent most of the last day on trap, which is what most of the Iowa trainers teach. That, too, was enlightening. They had never thought about putting their nose at each station over the place where the target comes out. They were all looking straight down that gun, then chasing the target the whole time.

We had everyone, both trainers and volunteers shooting, and lightbulbs were ignited all along the line. We then spent time showing everyone how to make their students’ guns fit somewhat by making the length of pull correct since most of their students are new to shooting. The goal is to get it short or long enough for them to shoot without hurting themselves.

Off to the airport hotel for a 5:45 AM flight to Houston and home for a few hours. Then off to the bay for Labor Day weekend and to watch the storms in the Gulf.

St. Louis on Thursday!