We have pretty much the same hazy, muggy August-like weather we've had for a couple of weeks now, although August is still quite a bit away. With the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon, and the 100% certainty that it was only going to get hotter as the day progressed, I decided on a morning hop down to Highland Co. to have a walkabout around Rocky Fork State Park. Winds on departure were dead calm, with clear skies and about 5 or 6 miles visibility. I cruised down to Hillsboro at a leisurely 2200 RPM, finally, after two years in the RV, beginning to break the habit of flying everywhere at full throttle that I developed in my 5 years of flying the 100 knot Tampico. Even at 2200 RPM in the RV-6 I get a nice 135+ knots and I was, after all, in no real hurry.
Highland Co. is typical of an Ohio county airport: a lot of slope on the runway. The automated weather system was reporting calm winds there as well, so I had my choice of runway. Coming from the north as I was, it was more expedient to enter a left downwind for runway 5, although that isn't my favorite way to land there as it is a downhill slope on the runway. That can be tricky in the flare, but with the calm air I was able to make a decent touchdown, and I got down early enough to still make the turnoff right in front of the parking area.
I parked the plane, gathered up my camera equipment, and headed for the gate to walk the half mile or so down to the lake. Parked over by the fuel pumps was this gorgeous Piper Cub:
I like the horn, and wish I could put something similar on the RV. Why, you ask? Well, some of the renters at the Bolton FBO are pretty cavalier with regards to where they park the airplanes, and it's not uncommon to have the taxiway blocked by a Skyhawk. Many's the time that I've wished for some way to encourage someone to move an airplane out of the flow of traffic.
Just outside the airport is this portal to the open-air chapel at the park:
I'm not a church-goer, but this is something I'd like to try sometime, assuming I can get down there by 8am. I guess campers don't sleep in very late!
As I walked down the road towards the park, I saw this:
For anyone that thinks our government can stem the tide of illegal immigrants invading us from the south with a fence, consider exactly what it means for our government to build a fence. As they say, a chain (-link fence) is only as strong as it's weakest link, or in this case, gap.
Rocky Fork is the home of the only "Wildlife Diversity Area" that I've ever seen, and I naturally wondered (give my knowledge of the connotations of the word "diversity") if there is some kind of quota or affirmative action policy in place:
They also have a very nice bird observation area, although I've never had much success in seeing any birds, which may simply be a case of someone forgetting to tell, you know, the birds about it, and it's been my experience that you can't expect much by way of reading comprehension out of them:
I was a little luckier today, though, and was able to get a few pictures of this guy:
It was hot hot hot, and it looked as if there was some weather building up to the west, so I kept my walk short and headed back to Bolton after only an hour or so of walking. About 10 miles out of Bolton, the view to the left was looking pretty threatening so I ran Papa up to a healthy 2500 RPM and scooted back to the barn at a nice 155 knots. The landing was passable, what with there still being very little by way of wind to deal with. As I taxied by the FBO, I saw my AP/IA parked in front of the hangar getting his boat ready for the water. Personally, I think he made the right choice in the boat vs. airplane question today. It was a nice trip, but I wouldn't have wanted to stay out much longer than I did. As I type this, I can here thunder in the distance, signaling an impending thunder-bumper. It's good to be home when that happens! I'm not a real big fan of Weather Diversity Areas, as it turns out.