Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017 - The Further We Get, The Better

So with initial plans and arrangements made, we set off at sunrise on Saturday, June 24.  The goal was to work our way to the Black Hills of South Dakota.  It was unrealistic to get there in one day, but if we could get off early, before the thunderstorms of the Southeast had a chance to really develop and got as far as we could, we wouldn't have much to go the 2nd day.  I told the family that the first day would be the most amount of flying and after that we would have much more scenic and shorter times in the plane.

We were rolling down the runway in Jacksonville (@KCRG) a little before 7 am.  We departed VFR and picked up flight following at 6,500 feet heading northwest for our first fuel stop in Savannah, TN.  The only weather we had to deal with at all that day was a larger area of thunderstorms south and east of Birmingham, AL.  We climbed to 8,500 feet and found our way around them.  Finally turning back on course over Birmingham, we remained in clear skies for the rest of the day.

We made an easy straight in approach to Runway 1 at KSNH and taxied over to the self serve fuel area.  I had last been at this airport 7 years ago when I bought the Lance.  When I went inside to pay, a familiar face was there waiting.  I looked at her and asked her if she might be the same kind lady that helped me 7 years ago.  I found our old entries in their guest book and added a new one.  I also thumbed through the internet on my phone to find the blog post from that trip and showed her the picture that my Mom took.  Sure enough it was her!  She told us the following day would be her last as she was retiring.  She is 72 and will now be able to stay home to take care of her husband.  I'm so glad we briefly crossed paths again and I wish her and her husband all the best!

From 7 years ago!!
With minimal time on the ground, we were back in the air heading for our next fuel stop.  I had originally wanted to go to an airport just on the east side of Kansas City next and stay the night, but then I noticed they were having an airshow that weekend so I need to find another place.  I also knew if we could just fly a little further than that it would be tons better.  So in an effort to give us a better break, we stopped in Clinton, Mo at KGLY, a little southeast of Kansas City.  This was the first of a few stops at airports that were pretty inactive and felt more remote than what my family has been used to.  My wife commented she felt we might be in an episode of The Walking Dead.  Ha!

Just as with our other stops, the fuel pump worked great, there were nice facilities to use, and we were easily on our way to the next stop. After about 20 minutes we were back in the air headed northwest again and looking to get to Lincoln, NE to stop for the night.  Our route took us right over downtown Kansas City, close to Kansas City International Airport, and by Ft Leavenworth, KS where my Dad was stationed and we lived when I was 12 years old.

After all we had already done, this leg was only going to be 1 hour and 45 mins.  We can do that!  Around 3:30 pm CDT and after 8.5 hours of flight time for the day, we happily called it a day and shutdown on the Silverhawk Aviation ramp at KLNK.

They kindly gave us a ride to the Hampton Inn that was right next to the airport.  We checked in and walked over to a Perkins Restaurant to have a late lunch/early dinner.  After that, we went back to the hotel to relax and get a good night's rest.  The next day would be another full day, but not flying wise.  The plan was to get going a little early and be in Spearfish, SD by lunchtime so we could really start this adventure!


  1. I almost spit out my ice tea. " My wife commented she felt we might be in an episode of The Walking Dead." Mary and I landed at an airport and the town people totally avoided us and we went out of our way to say hello. We still refer to those folks as "children of the corn" from the 1984 Stephen King movie.

    It looks like you covered some ground and everyone still had smiles on their faces....good job!

  2. When my wife and I first started flying longer trips, I was still a little radio shy and usually kept to smaller, often unattended airports. Over time, we started landing at more towered airports with active FBOs. This caused my wife to comment that our flying destinations were becoming more "upscale". Geoff, it sounds like you're regressing! :-)

    8.5 hours! You're all troopers!


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