Since I have today off I thought I would zip down to the Motor Home and plug the rig in. Electric was turned on this past Monday and I wanted to get the fridge cold and batteries charging on shore power.
Mike was going to make the run since we would both get some IMC time. However, once trading emails this morning I found out he had rental car problems, missed a flight and didn't get home until 2am, that just stinks. So While Mike B slept in I called Vince to let him know that the back seat ride turned into a right seat option, he was a go.
We preflighted then tugged 08Romeo out to the taxi lane. Vince parked the SUV in the hangar and closed the doors, it was time to saddle up. I needed fuel so I took on 20 gallons which brought me to 46. I started up and did my run up then taxied for runway 6. I had filed for this morning after looking at the wx and skew T's. I really wish I had a picture of the skew T, both red and blue lines ran along the 0*C line to about 3,500 feet then both split in opposite directions. Looking down the listed chart showed above freezing temps down low with freezing temps up to 3,300. I filed for 5,000 with temps around 44*.
As we sat at the runway 6 hold short I tried calling Philly Clearance on the direct number, the 1-800 clearance number and multiple times on the listed radio frequency. I could not make contact on any of the numbers or on the radio. The ceiling was sitting at just 2,000 so I launched and contacted Philly approach. I headed on course towards ENO keeping cloud separation and maintaining VFR while Philly worked on my clearance. I don't think I could have passed the C&D canal with the wx ahead. My plan B was to either land at ILG and pick up my clearance from there (Vince's idea) or just head back to N57 and try the numbers again. Philly contacted us and wanted me to advise when ready to copy. I was ready and jotted down the CRAFT information, the only change being my temporary altitude restriction. The Garmin 530 was already programed with the flight plan so I was good to go. Philly handed us off to another sector then they handed us off to Dover. Dover approach dropped me down to 3000 and I requested 3.5 to keep out of the tops and the rough ride, they agreed. With in minutes Dover put me back to 4,000 and handed me off to Patuxent, just crazy!
Pax was busy with military traffic today but worked the GA folks just fine, always great service. Pax made a change enroute, having me fly the 180 radial from SBY (Salisbury) for 8.5 miles, half way to the Snow Hill VOR. I was very tempted to cancel and find a hole to spiral down through to make a run to OXB, but thought better of that brainstorm. Finally Pax turned me to direct CIRAN and back down into the layer.
I made a direct entry and went out bound for 3+ miles then turned inbound. I reported established then reported CIRAN inbound as directed. Although approach said "cleared for the GPS 02 approach, report established" not cleared direct I advised I would be doing the procedure turn, it's just easier that we are all on the same page. I broke out well above the MDA but it felt good shooting the approach in actual for most of the ride.
Vince and I uncovered our airport car and made the short hop to the RV. I plugged in and turned on the fridge and gave everything the once over, she was good to go. We locked up and headed to Taylors for lunch. Crab dip followed by each of us ordering fish. Good food and good service.
We quickly got the Cabrio secured. With 08Romeo not needing fuel we were ready to go after a brief walk-around. I filed during lunch and we picked up our clearance with Washington C&D after our run up. Vince and I launched off of runway 2 and picked up the 270* heading towards SBY. Once Pax had radar contact we were turned direct ENO and enjoyed the ride north. No IMC time going home, the layer was hanging out along the shore, well behind us.