Flying back out of Michigan on Monday was a crap-shoot. The winds were bad, but that powerful storm system with it's tornadoes and days of promised rain was coming fast, and if I didn't make it out on Monday, I'd have to leave the plane, make other arrangements for transportation, then come back to get the plane next week. This was not something that I wanted to do, so after checking with Flight Services and making sure that I could avoid the storm front ("You can stay ahead of it if you get going right now."), I did a quick but thorough pre-flight and taxied out to the hold short line, with my eye on the wind sock, waiting for just a bit of a lull in the direct crosswind that was sweeping the runway. I sat there for almost two minutes before the sock dropped, and then it was "Hey ya'll...watch this!" as I poured on the coal and rolled down the runway, right foot already on the rudder pedal down in anticipation of the lateral wind blast to come. I got buffeted a bit but climbed out strong and held off on making my usual turn until I could put a bit more altitude between plane and ground, and then it was "ride 'em cowboy" as I turned into the wind. Needless to say, no nice pictures until I was able to bypass Detroit's Class B and come around to a more wind-friendly heading, but once I was in the clear, I got a few quick snaps of the Ford Motor Co. Rouge Steel plant and the downriver area.
Heading down the river, here's a pair of Great Lakes bulk carriers doing their thing at a Canadian dock.
Atlantic Huron, owned and operated by Canada Steamship Lines.
Second ship is the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin. She's also a Canada Steamship Lines asset.
And out on the lake, we spot the Chinese-built, Polish-owned, Bahamanian-registered M/V Wicko.
Crossing the lake via the Bass Islands (because I take comfort from their runways just in case...), I got this snap of the Perry's Victory Monument on South Bass.
Then it was back towards home. The last hour was better because I was farther away from the storm and I made better time. I got back in and tied down before the weather got here, and I was almost home in my car before the clouds came down over the western ridge and the rain started to fall. Longest flight ever on that route due to the winds, but I made it, I made it safe, and I learned a few new things. All good.