After a fun Father’s Day weekend with my daughter Grace and her family, I rented a car from Budget in Manhattan and drove across New York to JFK to pickup my flying buddy Mike. I had arranged for Mike to fly Jet Blue to New York so that he could assist me in ferrying the new Cessna 172M back to Austin. We drove a hundred miles back across New York and New Jersey to Scranton, Pa. We met Karsten Wallis at the FBO and he flew us in his twin Comanche over to his skydiving strip Skyhaven 76N. Mike and I both enjoyed the short trip weaving in between the Pennsylvania hills.
We checked out the Cessna 172 and then prepared to head out hoping to takeoff prior to a shower coming our way. No luck! We waited fifteen minutes for it to move on and off we went. Since we had a headwind we tried to stay low but it was very hot and muggy. After a bit of that we decide to climb and see if a higher altitude would make a big difference in the headwind or not. It didn’t so we stayed at the higher altitude 6500 to enjoy the cooler air. I realized that my ambitious plan to fly to Louisville was not going to work because of our poor ground speed. I considered Morgantown, home of the West Virginia Mountaineers but I seemed to remember that they often had fog in their valley early mornings. We decided to press on and ended up stopping in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The airport which is actually in Bridgeport had a friendly FBO student studying for her private pilot cross country. We were able to have the local hotel pick us up and also stop and allow us to order some Italian food to go.
The next day looked like it was going to be a long one. Our first stop ended up being in Russell Co, Kentucky. We were surprised that the airport had an old police cruiser available even though it was unattended. Simply sign for the keys and away we go. We drove into town and had lunch at the local cafe. They were advertising fresh home baked blueberry and cherry pies and let me tell ya, Advertising Works!
Once back at the airport we ran into a state police officer that flew a state helicopter. He told us tales of the marijuana farms that he had found. We refueled and back in the air we went. Looking ahead we could see the weather building much like the weather we encountered on our last Airport Hopping/NO trip. The pleasant controller helped us around some of the developing storms into our next refueling stop at Ripley, Mississippi (25M).
The last leg of the day took some weaving around the weather. We decided to do the Localizer approach into Shreveport Downtown for some Instrument practice. Once on the ground after deciding not to attempt to fly the remaining leg into Austin, we hailed a Lyft driver and were delivered to our hotel.
The next morning the weather was just as crummie as we were expecting. A low ceiling of 5-600 feet (my personal minimums) and light rain and mist. I filed IFR and we climbed up through the clouds breaking out around 3,500. We were cleared direct but ended up having to go more up north and back around. We hit some rough stuff jolting us with updrafts that shot us up 500 feet in a hurry. We were glad to finally reach Austin and the ILS for 17left. Total 15.7 hours plugging away and a couple of hours on the instruments. After a unanimous vote it was decided to treat ourselves to a Mexican food lunch.