Thursday, September 11, 2014

DAY 2 EASTBOUND: Ogallala, Nebraska

Homeward bound I am, or was...and hope to be again soon.  I managed to leave Lander before the storm, only to make it to Nebraska for the storm.  One bumpy flight with lots of clouds; not quite the beautiful puffy ones, but the ones that have rain under them, the ones that take concentration to avoid.  The mild turbulence stems the usual relaxation I feel in the cockpit and a few tosses of Freddy made me laugh after bringing the wings level again.  Toward evening things settled out a bit and the ride happily got smoother.  Ten miles out from the airport, I had to duck under an overcast layer of clouds at about 2,000 feet.  So clear above the clouds and so dark below.  It was such a distinct layer, I wanted to try to land the plane on top of the clouds and spend the night there.  

I headed below, over flew one airport then decided to divert 10 miles to the North to an airport with a second runway and automated transmitted weather broadcast.  (I like having the weather info both when I'm in the air and on the ground and the second runway give me better options for taking off into the wind.)  I landed in Ogallala, Nebraska (named after the Ogallala Sioux Indians), fueled up Freddy, found the pilot's lounge, had dinner in the plane as I logged my flight and tidied up the place and checked the next morning's weather, and then called it a night on the comfortable couch in the lounge.  

Today's weather was rain and overcast skies all day long with low ceilings.  By flight rules, the area was marginal VFR or marginal visual flight rules, so technically I could have taken off.  However, the number one cause of accidents is pilots flying from VFR into IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions.  So I did my best to exercise good judgement, and stayed on the ground.  

Around mid-day, I went into town and climbed the hill known as "Boot Hill" where all the cowboys were buried.  Apparently I'm in the cowboy capital of Nebraska.  Then went to a petrified wood museum, and had lunch at the local grill.  I asked two men in their sixties if I could sit down with them and they said yes.  There was not much conversation after that, despite their conversation before I got there.  I asked many questions about the town and about their work, one half-seemed to roll his eyes with each of my questions, but was very polite when I said goodbye.  They were certainly not the chatterbox that I ran into at the petrified wood museum.  Otherwise I had very friendly interactions as I got a new watch battery and at the music store.

I'm hoping to continue east tomorrow, at least by the afternoon.  More rain on the way with a chance of snow tonight!  Freddy's tied down facing east, very patiently, eye on the prize.  Now out to the plane to scrounge up some dinner.

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