Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Centre Airpark Annual Fly-In / Camp-In

Until now, ain't nobody ever used Embassy Suites and camping in the same sentence.

Beth and I have just returned from our first Camp-In and what a wonderful time we had! The Fly-In/Camp-In location was Centre Airpark (N16) Pennsylvania located near Penn State and we both agree that we'll be going back to the next one. What a great time we had!

We departed Pottstown-Limerick Airport (KPTW) on Saturday, October 6 around 3:30 pm after widdlin' down our overnight bags weight from two 747's (also know as two huge airplanes) worth to one PA28's (also known as one lil bitty plane) worth of carrying capacity. We'd have brought the neighbor's stuff too but they weren't home. Ain't that right honey? Slap! Sorry Dear. I was just kiddin'.
We did in fact defy gravity at half past the hour of 3:00 pm and climbed a couple of thousand feet up and headed out yonder way (West Northwest) towards the center of Pennsylvania. The reason was, was these folks we didn't know, sent out an invitation inviting us to fly our plane out there and setup a tent and camp out, and they were gonna feed us the next morning, all because it was fun. The only thing we had to do was bring them dinner the night before and they wouldn't even charge us to
eat it with them, plus!, we'd get to see a movie if we were all nice and ate everything on our plates. I signed up for that one, yes I did. In fact, I'd got up on Saturday morning and started preparing our super secret tater & onion & bacon & garlic mixed-up-and-cooked-on-the-grill-for-about-an-hour recipe to bring along. I made two in fact, just in case we weren't good and got sent to bed early. We'd keep one just for us and just in case. The flight lasted just about an hour and we entered the traffic pattern for runway 24 at Centre Airpark. We could see a few airplanes already there and I wondered if they were already in line for dinner. We landed and parked next to a TriPacer on our right side and a Cessna 172 on our left; both parties very nice. This was gonna be a great weekend!
Seeing that it was only 4:30 and dinner wasn't going to be served for another hour, we decided that we'd unload the plane and set up the tent. It had only taken us 6 hours to get everything in the airplane, but taking it out should be much quicker. I'd set the tent up the week before only to see if all the bits were still there, but I couldn't remember if I had brought any of the stakes with us. If I'd have had a little
packing accidental left-behinditus incident, we surely would be having a vertically challenged tent. Luckily we did pack the stakes and 4 1/2 hours later we had a mighty fine erected tent. Just kidding, it only took 30 minutes to setup a 10 minute tent, but it looked real pretty. I need a beer!

Beth finished unpacking our 4 suitcases, pots & pans, curtains, toiletries, linens, lawn mower, snow plow, and running shoes while I had a swoller or two of Yuengling (that's beer). It was now time for dinner so we headed towards the big hangar where all the good smellin' stuff was coming from. Oh, we had our super secret tater & onion & bacon & garlic mixed-up-and-cooked-on-the-grill-for-about-an-hour contribution with us and Beth made me bring along the second helping that I'd made cause she's nice like that. Hope she doesn't get hungry at midnight! So we ventured down to join the others having dinner and enjoyed a delicious meal put together by each families favorite dishes. There was chickens, hams, and taters, pastas, fruits, and breads, pickled eggs, beets, and salads, deserts, and much more! I think I ate the equivalent of my own body weight. We sat down and ate with our tent neighbors Robert and Donald. Donald had a tour or two in Germany just down the road from where I had also served time in the Air Force. Robert had taken some photo's on the way in and had a portable picture publishing factory with him that printed out pictures onto post-cards paper just as quickly as you could turn the thing on. The food was delicious and the conversation brilliant and the day was still young.

After dinner, we want back up to the tent and finished setting everything up (I hadn't unpacked the dresser and chest of drawers yet). We had brought along the kitchen sink as well so after unloading the 2700 pounds of packed luggage, the Viking Witch's (N8388W, PA28/180 - a/k/a our plane) belly no longer touched the ground; she kinda looked skinny now. I'd done some quick calculations and was able to figure that if we were to actually wear each item that we'd brought with us, we'd have to change clothes every 16 seconds from the time we landed until March of 2013; we'd brought a lot. The one thing I didn't do and now wish I had of done was take a video walk through of the tent. It's a 3 room tent and my Sweetie had set it up inside so one room was our closet where all the clothes, dressers, and shoes went. The other room was our garage and kitchen where the microwave, tv, snow blower, weber (grill), sewing machine, and ab-lounger would be housed, and the 3rd room would be our bedroom where we'd put the sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, overhead lighting, chase lounge, computer, and fuzzy slippers. We'd have probably had to pay taxes had the tax man been a pilot and received an invitation from these people that we didn't yet know.

We heard engines in the background and soon watched a herd of powered paragliders taxi by and a lil home built airplane thingee and then a couple of other aircraft taxied by. The airport manager had turned on the runway lights but the ground hogs kept eating all the wires so out of the 88 or so lights that the runway had, about 4 of them actually came on. Every now and again we could see a ground hog light up as it bit through the wiring. He'd (the ground hog) run off still smokin' a lil bit but he was alright I'm sure. The herd got airborne and Beth and I watched as they danced just a couple of hundred feet above us. We watched them for about 20 minutes and someone announced over the PA system that the movie would be starting in a few minutes. All those that were in the air made a bee-line back to the airport and we soon had 3 rows of chairs sat up similar to a line in a movie theater. There was a vote and "The Blue Max" won as the movie we'd be watching. Beth and I were grinnin from ear to ear because this whole experience was truly wonderful. I'd made the comment to her that "Money can't buy you this much fun" and truly meant it. These folks that shared their airport with us are genuinely wonderful people. We'd made friends this night that we will definitely see again.

The Blue Max is not a short movie. It's a good one, but it ain't short. I had to keep running back to the tent to get a Yuengling and then sprint over to the porta-potty to get rid of a Yuengling. This happened a couple of times maybe, but Beth saved my seat for me and caught me up on what had happened whilst I was gone. I told you she's nice like that. It's about 11:00 pm now and we hed off to bed. Just before laying down I discovered an unopened box of peanut butter crackers and had a few.  Ok, Ok, perhaps I ate pretty much the whole box but I did hear that they were good. We'd had a wonderful day and in the morning they are gonna feed us pancakes and sausages!

It's 4:22 in the morning and I have no idea why I'm awake. I lay there for at least another 30 minutes and then look at my clock and it's 7:00 now. I can smell the bacon already cooking and several airplanes have already landed that have come in specifically for the breakfast. Perhaps they hit pigs on the runway and it's not bacon that I smell, but then again.....

Beth wakes up and we pull 2 suitcases on wheels over to the restroom to prep ourselves for the day. I brush all my teeth and slap some antiperspirant 'round my armpits while Beth does something in the ladies room for the next 2 hours. I hear hair dryers, curling irons, ice cream makers, washing machine, blenders, and an TV going on behind the bathroom door, but I dare not ask questions!
We decide to go down and have some breakfast before putting away the furniture and tent so we head back down to the chowhall that also acts as a movie theater. I wish I knew how to put in to words how good the smell was from the bacon and sausages and pancakes and fruits that awaited us. I was still full from the excellent dinner we had just the night before but got hungry really quick after smelling what was on the griddle. We met up with our tent neighbors Robert & Donald and enjoyed breakfast with them. Robert had brought along some pictures from a recent long cross country trip that he'd flown up into Canada and other places way up yonder.

We must get one of those portable printers! The trip (in pictures) proves that he no doubt had a brilliant time. It's was fun to hear about his adventure and see the pictures that he'd taken. He'd taken some friends along and met up with another aircraft along the way and flew in formation, taking pictures of one another in flight.

After Breakfast, Beth and I walked along the flight line to look at all the aircraft that had flown in for breakfast and talked to some of the pilots. There were all sorts of neat aircraft there from home builts to old-old aircraft that were kept in mint condition.

We stayed for another hour or so and then finished packing up all our stuff and stuffing it back into the plane. I got the help of some of the others to assist in wedging our bags back into The Viking Witch. We took off just before 11:30 am and returned to Pottstown Limerick. We sure did have a ball and are both looking forward to our next camp out, hopefully in the next few weeks.
Ya'll be particular!

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