Sunday, January 15, 2006

Over the rivers and over the woods, la la-la-la la la-la...

One of my favorite and most common day trips is to Darke Co. Versailles airport (KVES), 67 nm to the west of Bolton. This airport is only five miles from my parents' house so it's a convenient way to visit if I don't want to spend 3 hours on the road.

I've finalized my new cold weather starting routine. It was below 30 degrees this morning and the plane has been on the preheater for the last two days, and the rule for that is two shots of primer. Had it not been on the preheater I would have given ot three shots. Temps in the teens require three shots if the preheater has been on, and it's a no-go if not. One of the great things the builder did was put prime lines on every cylinder, so it's a pretty safe bet that at least one of them will fire within two or three blades. Once one gets going, the rest will soon follow.

I've been making this trip for a long time. In fact, it was the first trip I took after I finally got my license. Back then I didn't have GPS, so I got in the habit of going over Urbana-Grimes airport on the way to ensure that I was sufficiently north of the controlled airspace around Dayton International. Now that I have a good moving map GPS, I've found that I can to direct from TZR to VES without worrying about encroaching Dayton's airspace. I really just recently started doing this, so that's why I probably never noticed this barn about 8 miles southeast of Urbana:

That, or it's new. Could be either, I suppose. Even today I didn't notice it until I was already past it and saw it in my peripheral vision as I was doing a horizon scan. The beauty of VFR flight in a little fighter like the RV is that it was a simple matter to turn around and go back for a picture.

I also took a few shots while walking around the farm with Faygo, who isn't really much of a camera hound (it was pure luck that I managed to get this shot - she insisted on profiles) but is clearly photogenic:

This is the falls. We didn't get it done last year, but this is normally the place where we try to camp at least once a year. I'm not sure if it comes out in the picture, but what caught my eye was the vibrance of the bare sycamore (?) trees:

This tree caught me in pretty much the same way. It seemed to dominate the entire landscape around it, but I wanted to get a few of the horses in there too so that it wasn't just a picture of a tree:

As we continued our walk, Faygo and I came across this insolent fellow:

Discretion being the better part of valor, we agreed to give him a wide berth to avoid trouble.

It was a very nice ride both ways. What few clouds we had were in the 20,000' range, so I was able to climb high enough to get out of the light chop below 4,000'. This is finger-tip cruising weather - the ride is so smooth that I can just lightly press a couple of fingers against the stick to maintain control. Also of note were the two excellent landings. The first was, of course, at KVES, one of those airports that never treats me fairly. No matter what the prevailing wind is every where else, it is a direct crosswind at the approach end of runway 27. And gusty. Always gusty. Today, though, I had a very, very good landing. I assumed that meant I had caught my limit and the return at Bolton would exact Karmic revenge, but apparently I'm running a tab. The landing back at Bolton reminded me of dropping a feather onto a pillow. Extra points for greasing one in front of a waiting Taylorcraft, itself being a taildragger and all.

And best of all, I was back in time to watch the 4th quarter of the Steelers-Colts game!

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