Made it back yesterday. Such fun. From Groton, CT to my place was MFVR all the way. I ran the north coast of Long Island Sound at about 2,000 feet under a broken ceiling, but after I crossed the Hudson River I was able to climb up through it and came out on top in a sunny sky above 7,000.
Radios are quiet--probably because no one who didn't have to fly in that crap didn't--and I was all alone in a great big sky.
Well, except for this guy who was probably on his way down into Philly.
Then the broken started going to solid overcast, and I had to go back down so I could keep sight of the ground. That left me scud-running under a 3,500 foot ceiling from about Reading, PA all the way back. But now I'm back in an area that I know, and except for the Blue Ridge mountains around Camp David, the land is all flat and low, mostly farms. I stopped at York to get a new weather update and confirmed that the ceilings were still 3,500 and that I could still make it home VFR, and I took on more gas. I'd been flying a while, and I know my plane's fuel burn, but I'd had altitude changes and headwinds and I found myself calculating time aloft + fuel burn at cruise - extra maneuvering at full power...Screw that. If you have to start doing mental math to guess if you have enough fuel to finish a flight, you need to land and get more fuel.
As it was, I had 14 gallons usable fuel left at York. Could have made it back with an hour's flying to spare. But knowing that you have full tanks gives you one less little thing to think about while playing "dodge the rain squall" at low altitude.
But I made it back just fine. The dogs about killed me when I walked back inside--you'd think I'd been gone for a year instead of three days. Was it just three days? Wow. So much stuff in three days, much of which I'll post about shortly. Stay tuned.