Archive for August, 2014
Saturday, August 2
Berck’s phone rang at 2:50 a.m. He answered it but no one was there. Then my phone immediately started ringing. Since my number is one after his, it seemed like something was calling every number. I don’t know if it was the motion sickness patch or because it was so early, but it was hard to get up. We had to get up early because the taxi was arriving at 6:45. The taxi ride was less than $9! It was $10 to park at the EAA event, $1 to ride the city bus, and $1.50 to ride on the EAA bus. Maybe we should have been taking the taxi each time.
The FBO had our plane ready. We put up our VFR sign in our windshield as we taxied toward the runway and listened silently to the radio to find out when we were allowed to depart. I watched the controllers on the ground giving us directions while the guys were fooling with the electronics. We were waved up the same time as a plane from the other side of the runway, and we took off together. That was unnerving. We headed west into a lot of haze. Chicago Center wouldn’t give us flight following, so we all kept our eyes open for traffic.
We flew high, and for the second time on the trip I was happy I had my Google hoodie sweatshirt to put on because it was pretty chilly. (The first time was using it as a pillow while I napped in the plane.)
Our original destination with cheap gas turned out to have a pretty short runway, so Uncle Stacy looked for an alternative while Berck flew and complained about the weather. We decided on Boones, Iowa. In Boone we had to keep track of a plane in the pattern and a helicopter, which I spotted first. We filled up with auto gas (which is cheaper) and emptied our bladders. To take off we had to wait for some parachutists to land on the airfield before we could go.
We headed west from there over Omaha, then headed south to avoid some weather. We landed in McCook, Nebraska to get some fuel. Amusingly, the “courtesy hoopoe,” Berck and I had borrowed to go out to breakfast in McCook when we were taking the Air Force trainers to Rockford in 2007, was still there at the FBO. We got back in the plane, headed back out to the runway, did a run up, and took off. The plane was climbing very slowly and then the engine started sputtering. Berck announced it was the right magneto but didn’t turn back to the runway. The engine got some more life into it, and Berck turned around as he announced on the radio that we were coming back to land. “I was five seconds from putting it in that field,” he said. We landed without difficulty and taxied back to the FBO. No one was there, so we let the engine rest a bit and tried it up again. It was still running rough. So we taxied back to the FBO again. There was not a mechanic on duty, but the guys talked to one on the phone, who suggested cleaning off the spark plugs. A couple of grease monkeys helped them with that task. A couple hours later and a lot of carbon removed, the engine was running much better, and we took off, this time with no problem.
We made it all the way to the Springs without incident. I was able to find traffic faster than anybody else. The folks at Cutter Aviation put the Cherokee in a hanger, and we loaded up the car we’d left there for ten days. Then we drove up to Black Forest to pick up the Professor, then drove to Randy’s house to pick up our bag we’d sent with him. Then we had supper at McGinty’s. Now we’re about read to collapse into bed.
And I think the Professor has finally forgiven us.
Friday, August 1
My tennis shoes were still wet from the downpour the day before, so I tied them to my back pack and wore my Chacos. Tracey dropped Berck and me off at the museum, and we fully explored that before catching a bus back to the event area. The show was the best yet, which the Jelly Belly plane interrupting an aerobatic routine with his aileron falling off. The Thunderbirds were the last to perform. I’d never seen them perform except at the USAFA stadium at graduation. It rained on and off, so we were glad to have our umbrellas.
Uncle Stacy was over at the FBO when the Thunderbirds were getting ready, so he got to watch them do all their preflights together.
Berck and I met Randy and Stacy over at the parking area, and then we all picked up Uncle Stacy at the FBO. Then Randy and Stacy started off for home in their car. The rest of us walked to Players Pizza next to the bus stop by the house and had some good beers and pizza. We returned to the house and sat out on the back patio and smoked some free cigars Uncle Stacy had gotten at the Dominican Republic booth along with some of the last Miller Lites from the garage’s mini-fridge.
Thursday, August 1
Berck and I slept in and took the bus by ourselves in time to try to catch the other scheduled RV composite building class, but it was canceled too. Instead we went to the What’s New at Van’s class, where Van himself spoke. They didn’t talk very much about the RV-10, but it was nice to hear them talk about how they try to design planes for real people in the real world.
We decided to find a good spot to watch the air show early and found one right on the spectator line. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm came up, so we took shelter under our umbrellas in the lee side of a building until it stopped, then reclaimed our soggy spots on the ground. I spread out my jacket so we could have a dry place to sit. The show was really good with Sean Tucker (Berck’s favorite stunt pilot), Pattie Wagstaff, and wing walker, which I’d never seen before. The Thunderbirds also arrived and went over the field in several configurations getting their bearings.
It started pouring rain again after the show. Fortunately, it never rained for too long. In fact the weather all week was very nice. It wasn’t too hot, and the nights cooled off a whole lot. Berck and I slept with the windows open most nights, awakening to the zooming plane engines over the house starting around 6 a.m.
Randy and Tracey met us after the show in one of the merch tents, and after it stopped raining we made our way back to the car. A bus driver had kindly dropped Uncle Stacy off at the house already. We all went out to eat at the Dockside Tavern and sat outside until it started raining again. A watch company was doing a promotion, and that got us a couple of free beers. The Dockside Tavern has excellent food, and it was a very short drive from the house. Berck got a burger with cheese curds one night we went. I got the fried lake perch both nights we went; it was so good. They have an amber ale that is very good.