Sunday, September 01, 2013
Off on another adventure
Saturday moning, I loaded Murphy and a fair amount of gear into my trusty little plane and headed off northwest.
I flew farther north of my regular track to avoid some convective activity, and in so doing, I found this grass field airport at Mt. Pleasant, PA.
Lesson learned: if it rained the night before, dropping a loaded 172 down onto a grass strip might not be the smartest move. I almost got stuck in the squishy soft grass turning around, and I needed every foot of that strip and 10 degrees of flaps to get back out of there. And when I did get out, there was mud splashed clear up onto the lower surface of my wings.
A bit farther west, I spotted a bright flame shooting up out of the forest to my north.
Aw, rats. Just a gas well. Sigh.
Next I shot touch-and-go landings at Rostraver and Finleyville, this time with a newfound appreciation for paved runways. Paved runways are cool.
Then I found this steel mill in Weirton, West Virginia. It's the old Weirton Steel plant, an integrated plant with everything from blast furnaces to final production mills.
Nice shot of the Monongahela River.
Then we landed in Carroll County, Ohio, because Murphy wanted to go outside. I topped off the gas tanks and we were back on our way.
The haze started to get bad by the time we reached Norwalk, Ohio, but local AWOS was still calling it ten miles visibility and I could hear plenty of aircraft operations at Port Clinton, Sandusky and the Bass Islands to the north so I kept on going.
Overflying Port Clinton, I got a treat. Look what's there!
Yankee Air Force from Ypsilanti, Mi are in town. The B-17 is Yankee Lady and the B-25 is Yankee Warrior.
Detroit AWOS claimed higher ceilings and good VFR visibility though, so I turned again and headed that way. If nothing else, once I got over that way, Detroit ATC could help me out. Thank God for two GPS in the aircraft to point me in the right diirection. The next fifteen minutes had me focused on the water below and the instruments. Looking outside, I could see everything except the shoreline. Yet both Cleveland and Detroit were calling this mess "VFR". My ass! Even Murphy weighed in when he sat up on the back seat, leaned over my shoulder and said: "Dude! What retard flew us into this crap?" Such a helpful, supportive dog.
Finally I got to the Detroit River and it was like a curtain lifting. I could see again! Grosse Isle airport was operating and thhe pattern was chock full of planes, so I hit it once myself, just to shake the fog off.
Here's a tugboat and barge going up the Detroit River.
Lot of history in these shots. At the left in the first pic is the self-unloader barge Sarah Spencer, formerly the proud steamship Adam Cornelius before her aft section and engines were cut away. She's been mothballed in this slip for a while now.
We've also got a self-unloader of the Lower Lakes Towing Co. taking on what looks like coal or coke, and ahead of them in the slip are the old laid up Bob-lo boats.
A bit farther up-river, I came across the H. Lee White unloading coal as a gas barge passes her in close quarters in the Rouge River. The White's got quite a past as lakers go.
Heading up the Rouge, I overfllew the Ford Motor Co. Rouge Steel Plant, or at least what's left of it. They aren't doing all that hot these days, either.
Ten more minutes saw me on the ground at my destination airport, and Murphy cried and leapt with joy when he saw my mother, his grandmother. 4.4 flight hours and seven airports later, my day was done.
Sunday and Monday's adventure? Check back and see!