July 23, 2010: The departure from Meridian Key Field was interesting as it was the first time I have departed a towered airport with a turn immediately after takeoff to avoid flying across another active runway.  I flew over the control tower at about 400 feet above ground level.  The turnout was to the southeast with instructions to remain east of the approach corridor for runway 1 at KMEI.   This photo taken at 11:05 AM Eastern Time shows US 45 as seen when I am flying south of the KMEI airspace and remaining to the east, etc.  I was recording a video when I took this photo and mistakenly identified this highway as US 11 and that is certainly not the road to New Orleans, but it is the road to Mobile, Alabama.
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The flight down to the Hattiesburg Bobby L. Chain Airport was only 88 miles, but the Hobbs meter added 0.8 hours due to the position and hold I had when I departed from runway 22 at KMEI.  The oil temp got hot when I was idling on the runway awaiting my takeoff clearance.  The map below shows my departure path to remain clear of the inbound traffic for runway 1.  I flew over the Quitman Airport and saw an RV-8 on the ramp that looked like it was being prepared for a flight. 
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Here is a photo of my friend Cratin Gautreaux before our short flight above Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  I had called him just before engine start leaving Meridian.  He was waiting in the FBO office when I pulled onto the ramp.  This photo was taken at 12:07 PM Eastern Time when the temperature was in the upper 90's.   Since we did not get very high, it was a short and hot flight adding only 0.3 hours to the Hobbs meter.  I noted in my log book the Hobbs had 300.0 hours on it before this short local flight.
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This is the GPS ground track for the short local flight near Hattiesburg.   That military base has restricted air space.  There is a commercial airport north of the city known as Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport which has commuter airline service to larger cities.  Regional jets and turboprops land there without the aid of a control tower.  There are both VOR and ILS approaches to that airport.  There is also a VOR approach to the Hattiesburg Chain airport where I landed.
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We had a barbecue lunch at a little place on US 49 near the military base.   I kept a napkin from there to remind me of the name of the place.  It is Rose's Hickory Smoked BAR-B-Q & Catering.  They are on the web at www.rosesbbqinc.com.  After the hot flight, it was really good to be in the air-conditioned little restaurant with a number of military folks. 

My friend Cratin waves goodbye as I snapped this photo just before departing the ramp at 2:01 PM Eastern Time.  As I taxied toward the runway, an air-ambulance helicopter was hovering over the taxiway just south of the ramp.  I asked his intentions and he said he would hold for me to get to the north end of the taxiway for departure.  As I turned onto the taxiway I asked if he had air conditioning in the chopper and he apologized for being cool in there while I am sweating it out before I can get airborne and up to a reasonable altitude.
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I snapped this picture at 3 PM EDT of the Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi.  This would be the first of many crossings of this mighty river this week.
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A tug boat with barges is heading up river on the left side of the airplane.   That bit of land beyond the tug and barges is actually part of the state of Mississippi.  The original course of the river is seen as the blue water lake beyond "Glasscock Island" as it known by the locals.  It has road access only from the west side of the river via Louisiana roads.
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I had the video camera running looking at Interstate 49 near Alexandria, Louisiana.  The next three photos are at the lake formed by the Sabine River.   That is Texas on the other side of the lake.  These photos were taken at 3:54 PM EDT.
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Since it is coming up on 3 PM Central Time, the afternoon clouds are building up to my 10,500 MSL cruising altitude.
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From this location, my fuel stop is about 60 miles ahead and it is will soon be time to start down.  I was making a video here and gave the name of the town where I am stopping for fuel as Hendersonville, instead of its true name of Henderson, Texas.   The airport is known as Rusk County (KRFI).
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Here is the GPS ground track seen below is 344 miles from Hattiesburg, Mississippi to Henderson, Texas.  The track bends around more MOA's while crossing Louisiana following close to Victor airways to a point.  The curves in the track in Texas are made by me avoiding the scattered clouds during my decent to the Rusk County Airport at Henderson, Texas.
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The photo below is on the ramp at Rusk County Airport (KRFI) at Henderson, Texas.  The airport is unattended and requires the CTAF code to unlock the door.   The air conditioning was on and the facility is really great except for the lack of an ice machine to fill my RED CUP.  This location has the lowest price for 100LL AVGAS in the entire USA at $3.10 per gallon when I stopped here.  The photo was taken at 4:30 PM EDT just before my departure for Georgetown, Texas (KGTU).
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