Friday, September 12, 2014

DAY 3: Ogallala, Nebraska to Washington, Iowa

Eastward!  I left Ogallala late morning today.  The clouds lifted just enough to warrant a try, knowing full well I might just take a loop around the pattern.  The clouds were low, only a few thousand off the deck, but it was enough.  I paid careful attention to the antennas on the chart and made sure I stayed far away from them, even knowing I was above them all.  I don't usually like to fly only a few thousand feet up but with I-80 below me and an endless grid of fields and N-S/E-W criss crossing roads, I knew if I had an engine failure, I had quick options.  Thankfully, I did not need such options. 
I landed in Maryville, Missouri and hoped to beat my record of 45 minutes before I start the engine again, but was delayed due to a long weather briefing.  IFR conditions prevailed but at last we came to a solution of heading northeast to make a little bit of progress and set me up for tomorrow.  

I passed two beautiful cranes up high today.  So beautiful to see them in their element, up high soaring along.  Otherwise, the most interesting thing I flew over today was a huge abandoned ammunition cache.  Bunker after bunker for miles and miles.  

Ammunition bunkers.

A coal plant.  To think, some people think a wind turbine is an eye soar.

I hope there were some people enjoying this sunshine on the ground.  They must have done something right!
So off I went back into the sky and eventually made it to Washington, Iowa.  I passed the airport in hopes the briefer had been wrong or that conditions had changed, and I found a huge opening in the sky, but beyond it was solid and low overcast.  I hit my personal minimums and turned around but first climbed a few thousand feet in the huge hole just to see a bit of the sun that I hadn't seen in a few days.  So beautiful on the white clouds from above.  

So beautiful above the clouds.
Back down I went and back to Washington for a smooth landing, the cheapest gas yet at $5.05/gallon and a few crop dusters on the tarmac.  

I fueled up, organized and then tied Freddy down for the night.  The legs were eager so I ran the runway as I did this morning in Ogallala.  For how much I like the mountains and the sea, there's something to be said about the plains at dusk on a cool night.  The sunset reminds me of the sunset pictures from space, the open views satisfy my aviator's want to look at the sky in all directions.   

It is remarkably colder today and I've put on pants and shoes for the first time in what seems like months.  I'm now about 900 nautical miles from home.  Within striking distance but rain will probably preclude me from arriving home.  Maybe that will mean a stop at Neil Armstong airport in Wapakoneta, Ohio - Neil's hometown...

My bed for the last two nights.
How I keep busy when I'm organized and exercised.

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