Randy and I gave the airplane engine another workout Friday afternoon. After stopping in Lakeview, MI (13C), to pick up a stock of mineral oil for the airplane, we continued north to Manistee so we could lose some money at the local, Little River casino. It was a beautiful day to fly, despite the bumps on the way there. (We were traveling in the heat of the day – so that is pretty much a given).
Coming back was a different story though. It was glass calm – one of those flights where you can hardly tell you are moving at all. We followed the Lake Michigan shoreline south nearly to Muskegon, where we turned NE back towards Hastings. I managed to get some nice shots of Ludington State Park, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, (Look closely and you can see the dune buggies zig-zagging their way up an down the hills. Our route took s right over the top of Grand Rapids. I had a great vantage point for some nice photos of downtown Grand Rapids and the Gerald Ford Airport (KGRR).
In the life of any airplane there comes a time when the engine manufacturer recommends a complete overhaul on the engine. This is measured by hours recorded on the tachometer. The Navion’s Continental IO-550B engine was at just about at that point. During it’s annual inspection last fall, it was found that a couple of the cylinders were getting a bit “tired”. Randy decided to play it safe and have the engine overhauled. We flew it to our mechanic in Lakeview, MI in February. The process ended up taking much longer then we expected. We just picked up the airplane and flew it for the first time with the overhauled engine on June 12. Talk about cutting things close!
As you can imagine, we want to get some hours logged on the engine before heading off on our journey. So, this past Friday, in order to give Miss America some exercise, Randy and I jumped in and flew her to Port Clinton, OH, one of our favorite destinations.
The airport in Port Clinton, Carl R. Keller field (PCW), has a 1940s style diner, the Tin Goose. The menu boasts typical diner fare, however it is the ambiance and historical memoriabilia scattered throughout that makes it a neat destination for lunch.
The Liberty Aviation museum, home to a restored flying WWII B-25 bomber, “Georgie’s Gal” is also located on the field. Keller Field was also home to one of the first commercial airline operations , Island Airlines. Back in the 1930s, Ford Tri-Motors were used to ferry passengers between Port Clinton and nearby Put-In-Bay Island. The airport had added a Ford Tri-motor heritage museum which is currently in the process of restoring a Ford Tri-motor.
Lastly, no trip to Port Clinton is complete without a visit to Cheese Haven! Located, just a few miles from the airport, Cheese Haven is heaven for cheese lovers! You can find almost any type of cheese you can imagine, plus old fashioned candies, wines, beer and much more! If you fly in to PCW, take advantage of the courtesy car and the friendly FBO personnel will be happy to point you in the right direction!
I started flying airplanes in 2009 and scored my private pilot certification on October 16, 2011. The day I hopped into my trainer, a Piper Warrior for the very first time, little did I know that my life was about to change forever.
I met my soon to be husband Randy, also a pilot, at the Hastings/Barry County Airport, where I did my training. I remember thinking Randy had one of the coolest airplanes on the field, a 1946 Navion, with the same red, white and blue paint scheme as the famed P-51 Reno racer, Miss America. I was fortunate enough to be invited for a ride one day and – well – to make a very long story short – the rest is history!
I soon earned my complex/high performance endorsements in the Navion, so I could share in the piloting. Randy and I have since shared many exciting aviation adventures in the Navion. We affectionately call her our “magic carpet”.
This past Valentine’s Day weekend, Randy proposed to me and I said yes! In the true spirit of aviators, we decided to forego traditions. Instead we will fly off into the sunset to share an adventure of a lifetime. We plan to depart Hastings on July 10, 2016 and fly to Illinois, where we will intercept Route 66. We will then follow Route 66 from the air, making several stops along the way. We will eventually end up in beautiful Sedona, AZ.
We plan to be married on July 18, at the Sedona airport, on the ramp with the stunning red rocks of Sedona as our backdrop. Miss America Too will be our “maid of honor”, parked beside us during the ceremony. It will just be the two of us accompanied by Reverend Carla Riedel, our officiant, photographer, Pamela Duffy and Sedona Airport Manager, Amanda Shankland, who will serve as one of our witnesses.
I started this blog in most part, to capture our adventure and preserve the memories we make along the way. I plan to provide daily updates, including photos and details of each stop along the way. We have many amazing activities scheduled during our journey and I look forward to sharing it all! Although, I may make a few posts beforehand, providing updates to our preparations, etc., our actual journey is scheduled to begin on July 10, 2016, with our departure from 9D9 (Hastings). Stay tuned!