Wednesday, September 7, 2016

July 27th: Goodbye Oshkosh, Hello Ohio

It's no surprise that I slept pretty bad that night with how late we were out. (Plus, I always seem to sleep really badly the night before I need to be super functional the next day.) I knew that we needed to get at least part of the way home, though, so we were up fairly early to start breaking down camp.

At least it was a pretty morning!

Turns out we weren't the only ones who decided to leave on Wednesday; a few of the planes in the row behind us had already packed up and were getting ready to fire up as we were loading up the plane.

After packing and settling our fuel tab, we wandered into the Warbird area for a little bit. I had already paid for Wednesday wristbands and I wanted to at least get some use out of them!

It was still pretty early, but there were already a lot of people in the air.

We wandered around and looked at the planes for a while...

...and I even got to show Mark my favorite goofy-looking warbird, the OV-1 Mohawk. This thing looks like so much fun to fly, and while we didn't get to see it in the air here at Oshkosh, I did at least get to see it fly earlier this year at Sun N Fun.

I drooled on a few Stearmans before we made our way back to the plane. I didn't want to stay too long since I knew we had a long day ahead of us.

Hector gave us a hand pushing our plane out of the campsite; with the rain we had earlier in the week, it took all three of us to get the plane moving because the wheels had sunk down into the ground a bit. We said goodbye to Hector, fired up, and joined the conga line toward the runway.

It was only 8am but there were already a lot of other planes making their way out. We were probably about number 50 in line for takeoff when Mark grabbed this picture!

We followed the marshallers and snaked our way toward Runway 27. It took about half an hour, but finally... was our turn to take off. Goodbye, was fun!!

We got a great view of the North 40 on departure. You can't really tell by this picture, but there were already a lot of empty spots as people left.

We followed the departure procedure and eventually made our way on course. We passed Ripon again on the way out.

It was impressive to see how many other planes were leaving, too...there was traffic everywhere you looked on my Foreflight! You can also see the glob of weather northeast of the field that had moved through earlier in the morning, which probably didn't help the congestion on the west side of the airport.

After a little while we made our way back to DeKalb. They were a bit busier this time with other people making their way home from Oshkosh. We stopped for a little while to top off, grab some coffee, and check the weather for our next leg.

One of the T-6s was on their way home, too. I've seen this airplane around a fair amount over the years at different airshows, even in New Jersey, and oddly enough I think I saw it just last week (in late August) at the next airport over from my home field.

We made our way back into the air and eventually turned east. Now it really felt like we were on our way home.

We made a quick stop at Huntingdon, Indiana (HHG), to top off again. It was probably the quickest stop of the trip, which was nice because I was really started to get tired and knew I didn't have much left in me.

The next leg was about 2 hours long and just wouldn't end. It was pretty hot, I was pretty tired, and as we got further east we saw a few storms starting to build. I was pretty happy when Cambridge (CDI) finally popped into view.

That dark cloud on the far side of the airport was one of the buildups. We checked the weather after we landed and I didn't really like what I saw. The next leg was the last leg of the trip and would have taken us home, but the thought of picking my way through thunderstorms over the mountains was very unappealing, especially with how tired I was. The forecast for the next day looked good enough for the morning, so I decided I'd had enough for the day - we decided to spend the night and start fresh in the morning.

The guys at the FBO were fantastic, got us all settled in, and let us borrow the courtesy car for the night. Mark booked us a really nice hotel room, and after a week of camping, the long hot shower and the nice cold air conditioning felt amazing. The guys at the FBO had recommended a nearby restaurant for dinner, so after sucking up the air conditioning for a while we decided to check it out.

They weren't kidding...The Forum was delicious! That was some of the best lasagna I've had in a really long time. The bartender did a great job with the drinks, too, and we even wound up getting dessert. With full bellies, we walked back to the hotel and went to bed early. We weren't home, but we were close!

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