Friday, May 27, 2016

Valley Run

After many weeks of planning and scrubbing this mission, Mary and I finally accomplished our task.  Mothers day we were going to take care of my Brides parents at the Veterans Cemetery near Summit airport, KEVY in Middletown, DE. Following that short hop we were going to then fit in a run north to Wilkes-Barre, PA and take care of my parents. That fell through when I tried multiple times to land at KEVY, the gusty cross winds chased me home.
Since I was a kid the family tradition has always been to visit the graves of family members and attend a memorial service for those who laid down their life for this country. Honestly, I haven't been to a memorial service in some years but I never have missed taking care of family.
Every year I think back to a simpler time as we make this trip. It was easy and fun as a kid growing up surrounded by family. These days time seems to be a blur. I often thought today how my Dad would react to flying upstate versus all those weekend trips driving. It always seemed like there were long lines on the North-East extension and backups at the Lehigh tunnel. Today we flew over that roadway and tunnel. Two tunnels now, multiple lanes each direction.  Mary was snoozing and communications were set on isolate as to not wake her. I cruised along with many a road trip memory running through my head.
We had launched from Ocean City after I had to call for Op's to clear a family of Canada Geese from the runway. My run up didn't do much to motivate them but when the Ops truck came by they waddled their butts across and eventually lifted off for the empty field across for the airport.

The ride north was smooth and we enjoyed the tail wind. I didn't pick up my IFR clearance until riding along with Dover Approach on flight following. I went through a series of hand offs with Philly and got to help out with an ELT signal that was sounding. A few commercial flights reported and then Philly asked me to give a listen. I heard a faint signal about seven miles south of Pottstown Heritage Field Airport, KPTW and as I passed overhead it was screaming. I reported both distance markers and then was thanked and handed off to Allentown.
Allentown was quiet and I listened for the ATIS at Wilkes-Barre. Allentown eventually handed me off to Wilkes-Barre Approach and I was crossing the mountains enjoying the view when I spotted the Francis E Walter Dam in
White Haven, PA. First time I noticed this structure.
I cleared the last ridge line and gave the wind turbines a good look to my left then descended for the traffic pattern. I was cleared to land runway two-two. I made a nice turn, base to final and followed with a smooth landing. It was a short taxi to the FBO, Aviation Technologies. We were given the use of the courtesy car and in turn took on twenty gallons of 100LL for 08Romeo.

The run across the Valley was quick, despite some crazy drivers. I'm not sure what the rush was today but 'they' were out in force. Mary spotted a new garden center just off the cross valley, Ed's Garden Center. We really liked our usual flower stop but we always had to make a second stop for mulch. This place was the jackpot! Beautiful plants and flowers, a small petting zoo and great service, our new go to place.
We planted flowers and placed mulch at my parents grave site and dressed up a few other family members. I was happy to clean off my Uncles service plaque, the headstone was already done by my cousins. My Uncle Murph and Aunt Balty, Moms sister, are buried right next door...sounds weird, I know. The joke was that since the whole family was in that area it would be one big party on the other side. Strange the things that stick in your head from childhood.
Most will think I'm nuts but I enjoy talking to Mom and Dad while I landscape. I also get to chat with my Aunt and Uncle right next door. So many good memories, I wish they were all still with us. Many aunts and uncles are buried here along with both sets of my grandparents. It's a quiet ride for me as we head back to the airport. Mary and I decided to grab some lunch along the way at The Cafe' on RT. 315.  Good eats and service!
The last stop before the airport was for a quick gas and go. We returned the car with a full tank and squared up our fuel bill at the desk. We were ready to head south.

I filed for this leg to KEVY.  The sky had build ups and I wanted to make sure, if I had to, I could plod along IMC if needed. I picked up my clearance with WB ground and was given the Scranton Five departure. Say what??  I'll have to look that up. Read back was correct and we taxied for departure. Ground advised the Scranton Five was runway heading to five thousand feet. I quickly brought up the SID on my iPad noting 224 heading, climb to five thousand then radar vectors. The regional jet departed in front of me and we eventually taxied into position and launched. Next stop Summit, KEVY.
The build ups were indeed setting up shop. I had filed for six and was thinking I would take four and ride under. I wasn't going to out climb what was right in front of me with a full belly of fuel and DA of 1600.  Once past the front line I advised I could do six thousand and be good to go but Wilkes approach was ready to hand me to Allentown so I was kept at four. I managed .3 IMC and bumped along just into the bottoms but not low enough to have any ground contact. I eventually broke out and by the time we reached Allentown I was comfortable riding under the buildups.
Crossing the C&D Canal, final for RW17 at EVY
Allentown handed me to the first Philly sector and they turned me direct PTW (yes, the ELT was still singing) and then direct KEVY. We paid the price for the nice tailwinds heading north and now bumped along at 102 knots. I cancelled IFR with the last Philly sector and pointed down the runway for one seven at Summit. Another nice landing and we were marshaled into a front row parking spot.
At Summit we took on some fuel and were given the use of their courtesy car.  The drive to the Delaware Veterans Memorial from the airport was six minutes. We did have to make a stop for fresh cut flowers so it was maybe twenty minutes total. The Veterans cemetery was covered in flags, despite the reason why, it was a breathtaking site. We cleaned up the service plaque and placed the flowers Mary picked out. I always like to talk to Pop and Mom L...I even told her Mary made a great dessert for me just the other day. Mom L ALWAYS made me was our inside joke to tease my Bride.
We returned the courtesy car van, and squared up our fuel bill. It was really hot walking across the hot mix ramp. Once we got the fan turning we kept both doors open on 08Romeo. With forty gallons on board we lifted off and pointed south. No flight following just quiet time. I made my position calls heading into Ocean City and made another nice landing on two-zero. I tucked 08Romeo in her hangar and spent some time cleaning all the bugs off her leading edges, it was loaded and gross. She's all clean and I'll stop by tomorrow to hook up the battery minder and give the inside a quick clean.

For the rest of the weekend we'll get some beach time and stay close to home. Maybe even some additional fly time.


Jim and Sandie said...

With Jim's parents being buried in Virginia and mine in Montana we don't get to the graves very often. So I just talk to Mom especially all the time. Sure was nice of those winds to die down enough for you to make your journey.

Gary said...

Sandie, I right there with you. I'm always having that conversation with my parents, in my head. Most of the time its my Dad, I swear I can hear him laugh at me sometimes.

I always teased him for saving this and that in his garage. He always said you never know when you might need it. Honestly, I'll be looking for something I thought I still had and my Bride reminds me I pitched it....about then I hear the laugh.

Good to see you both are back on the road and Jim got a good doctors report!!