Sunday, October 5, 2008

Centre Airpark Camp-In, Two In A Row


"Yes Honey, It's going to be warm camping out tonight.  I think it's gonna be at-the-coldest around 70 degrees."

Had Beth known I was lying through my teeth, they'd have been slapped out before I even started my checklist.  I didn't know it was gonna be so cold that the cattle would be wearing hoodies & leg warmers, but I knew it was gonna be chilly.  I did remind her to bring a wind breaker. 

We were both really excited about getting back to Centre Airpark this year after attending our very first flying camp-in at this same airport just last year.  We got up early Saturday morning and I had the grill going by 8:00 a.m. cooking our super secret tater & onion & bacon & garlic mixed-up-and-cooked-on-the-grill-for-about-an-hour recipe.  Last year we'd brought along 2 batches and Beth made me give both of 'em away so this year I brought 4.  Beth found the one I had hidden in my headset bag and made me give 'em all away at the dinner this year too.  

The Forecastin' Fella on TV said it was gonna be a sunny and warm weekend.  No worries of a cloud in the sky I'm sure he said. Well, that's atleast what I had told Beth he'd said.  There must have been something lost in the transalation because the ceiling was coming down and it had grabbed a hold of the temperature and was bringing it down too.

Here (to the left) we were about 40 miles from Centre Airpark, weighing in at about 8000 pounds (household items plus), and smelling like taters & onions & bacon & garlic mixed-up-and-cooked-on-the-grill-for-about-an-hour.

We were ready for Centre Airpark part duex! Damnit!  SLAP!   Honey! That was just an expression, Damnit!  SLAP!

The field looked awesome!  We flew the pattern to runway 06 and after parking the Viking Witch, we learned that the fella next to us in the cub had disobeyed a direct order and Uncle Sam had sent someone down to manipulate an attitude adjustment along with a little proficiency training!  Nah, I'm just kidding.  One of the fine EAA'ers was hunting his camera lens cover and asked this Civil Air Patrol Officer to pick his airplane up and give it a shake or two.   I could just hear his mama,  "PUT THAT PLANE DOWN SON, NOW!"  Guess what?  He found his lens cap! He did! 

Jack (in the background to the left) is the owner of Centre Airpark.  I'd love to sit down with him for a few days and listen to his stories.  Someone please write 'em down and send them to me!

I ain't messin' with that dude. He's liable to pull my tooth out!

After parking the Viking Witch we began unloading her and soon the big dent in the ground caused by the weight of her began straightening itself out and was no longer  lower than Furnace Creek California (below sea level).  We had brought everything we own plus the stuff in the neighbors garage that we could sneak out when they weren't looking.  We'd sent the address to Allied Van Lines to deliver the rest of the furniture and the new outdoor equipment we'd bought on the way to the airport.  Since we were only staying overnight, I was surely hoping it would be delivered before noon the following day.

Beth asked me several times why everyone was walking around carrying coats with them; I'd told her how warm I "thought" it was gonna be so she would still come.  I'm sure I would be close.  About that same time, I heard someone hollering from down the way that the movie would be in-doors on account of the freezing temperatures.  My head grew heavy and I nearly passed out thinking that Beth has heard those same words.  Somehow she hadn't and the beating that would soon be coming had been delayed for yet a little bit longer. 

After setting up the tent backwards and upside down, we finally got it fixed up right and ended up having to hand pull the plane out of the way of the tent door in order to use it.  Beth has finished unpacking the clothes and getting them all put away in the dressers and had just sat down to take a break before the moving van arrived.  I took advantage of the break and pulled out our new Nikon D40 Digital SLR that we'd just bought.  It has a ton of cool buttons and switches and even another lens that I have no idea what any of them do.  I just took a few photo's with one lens, changed lenses and took a few more, than flicked a switch here and there and kept pushing the button.  I'm sure someone read through my Gilligan stare and knew I was the Nikon Village Idiot.

The folks here are truly good people.  It was nice to see familiar faces of those that we'd met last year.  Everyone had a big smile and a warm hello and that was nice.  Jim and his boy Jack stopped by to say hello and soon they were off flying.  Later, we would meet Jack's Grandparents and that was a real treat for us too. They are wonderful as well and we got the chance to talk with them for a bit. 

Jim & Jack were on a mission.  They were heading down to their plane for a quick spin around the patch.  Jim's Wife has a gorgeous Aeronca that she let’s Jim fly. rofl

If I remember correctly, Jack is 6 and will no doubt make a great pilot.  If you can zoom in to their departure picture, both fella's are looking and waiving. Maybe they’re just trying to get the prop started again….nah, just kidding… that’s the new camera and the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing.  I’m sure there is a way to get the prop blur like it’s supposed to have, maybe.  I think.  Or, was the prop stopped.  Nice tricks Jim, does your wife know you’re flying her aircraft like Bob Hoover?

Looking down the flight line, there were lots of planes, ultra lights, gyrocopters, tail-wheels, singles, twins, RV's, and huge pickups. Oh, and one tent.....ours.  I wonder if Beth has noticed yet that the temperature has already dropped 10 degrees in the 2 hours since touching down on 06?   Shhhhhh

I heard airplanes cranking!

Click on them to have a closer look.Gyrocopter


I knew I heard something big cranking up and before too long a C207 immerged from behind the FBO.  What a purty aircraft, with luggage pod and all.  As quickly as Beth saw it, she wanted one cause now she would be able to bring even more stuff to the camp out.  I’m figuring that caravan could carry probably at least 3/4 of her shoes. SLAP! Honey! I dare you to slap me one more time, just one morSSSSSSSSSSSLAP! Honey!  (winding up), You So Purty! 


The Caravan driver dude flew a left closed traffic pattern and gave us a high speed pass.  Where ever he was going – it wouldn’t take long.  Nice airplane!  

Did someone say Yuengling? I wasn’t gonna be doing any flying tonight and somehow a beer had fallen out of the zipped up cooler and the beer cap fell off. Heck, I had to drink it!  And the other one too. It was supper time! 

It was getting close to 6:00 pm and I could see fella’s starting to look towards the chow hanger.  Some of them were acting like they weren't interested in getting there first but I had been sizing them up since we’d arrived and I figured if I got to running downhill, I may just beat a couple of them to the hanger.  We all took off running about the same time and knew we were in trouble when we rounded the corner and were faced with an obstacle course of Winnebago's and pick up trucks.  Narrowly missing a mirror and port-a-potty, I wind sprinted for the hanger and nearly panicked when I realized that the hanger door itself was closed and now we’d be fighting to get in through one small little door that I happened to be farthest from.  I hit the brakes and barely escaped running down through a farm field.  I wouldn’t even finish in the top 3.  My precious Beth,….Beth?  Bethhhhh?   OH LAWD HELP ME, I had forgotten to tell Beth that the dinner bell had rung. I’m gonna tell her that Jack (Airpark Owner) had called me over to the other hanger to show me a Beech 18 twin tailed twin cept she’ll know I’m lying cause I can see her up the hill talking to Jack now.   This is gonna hurt….    Hi Honey, I went down and saved us a seat cept I didn’t have anything to mark the seat with so chances are we won’t have one when we get there but we can go whenever you want cause I ain’t in no hurry and if you want to leave some secret tater & onion & bacon & garlic mixed-up-and-cooked-on-the-grill-for-about-an-hour dinner bits for later we can do that too but only if you want to.  No I ain’t lying about nothing.  Hi Jack, I heard you were looking for me…

Dinner, as we knew it would be, was awesome.  So many secret recipes and other good fixin’s brought in from all corners.  I was spoiled for choice so I took little bits of near about everything there. Excellent!  I had, once again, eaten my own body weight in dinner stuff.  About the time I took the last bite, someone had to go and say aloud “dessert”.  Dinner lasted about 90 minutes and after everyone was nearly about to explode, the lights dimmed and the picture screen lit up.  One of the fella’s who also has a camera (and unlike me, knows how to use it) showed his Oshkosh photo’s that he’d taken during EAA’s Air Venture.  Beth and I had also gone to Oshkosh and I’ve yet to finish that blog entry (it’s coming, I promise).  He had taken lot’s of great photo’s and we (Beth and I) learned of quite a number of things we’d missed that we’ll have to see next year – like the museum and sea plane base.  We’re going again and hope to see some familiar faces. After the slideshow came a Disney production on a couple of youngens getting there glider ratings.  We both thought it was a great production and it’s amazing how the regulations have changed in just a few short years (about 40).  This young fella wanted to get his glider rating and obtain some advanced qualifications except he kept on crashing his glider.  His instructor was very patient, even after he took the glider swimming in a pond with a herd of ducks.  He’d learned that trick after watching this young lady crash her glider into the ocean.  There, she called in a conveniently standing by Pawnee to land on the sea shore and try to tow her out.  She had other plans though and had apparently watched a recent James Bond movie because all she wanted to do was go scuba diving using her glider as a submarine.  After a few attempts she got airborne and only crashed a few more times later that day.  Meanwhile, the boy had earned his glider rating and elected to fly his glider into a thunderstorm and practice aileron roles while in IMC conditions.  He’d seen a large chicken hawk flying in the thermals and followed him out of harms way.  After landing in the middle of nowhere, he was able to get this toothless guy with a Model T to sign his X on the line and then tow his glider back into the air to continue his 1900 mile journey all in one afternoon.  He successfully climbed his glider the required 117,000 feet and covered a distance of 1311 miles.  He earned his ratings.  Ok Ok, perhaps I’ve forgotten one or two of the particular’s of the story, but I really did enjoy it.  I can’t remember the name of it, but if someone sends me the title, I’ll edit this bit ->( bit to edit here ) to include the title.

After the movie ended, it was time to head on up to the tent for bed.  “Honey, why can I see my breath?”  “uhm, did you brush your teeth?”  SLAP!  “Honey, it’s cold”.  I tried to explain the concept of un-forecasted instantaneous freezing conditional environmental situations but she wasn’t falling for it so I broke down and admitted that it was supposed to drop into the upper 60’s.  She wasn’t buying it and I knew that I’d just lost my own sleeping bag as I’d just been volunteered to donate it to operation-keep-Beth-warm.

The next morning after waking up I told Beth that it had dropped down to a mild 36 degrees.  I know this as true because at 3:30 I’d gotten up to get rid of one of those Yuengling’s I was telling you about and checked the temperature.  My forearm had frozen itself to my forehead so I’m sure I was a site to see heading to the porta-a-potty in the foggy dark.  I was able to get back to sleep but it did take a while.  I looked over at Beth and she was wrapped in 2 sleeping bags, a blanket, and long-johns – looking all cozy and warm, while I had 2 paper towels to cover up with, oh, and flipflops.  One of these days I’m gonna learn something (I’m not sure what though). 
This morning visibility is less than 20 feet and we feel bad for the folks in hanger because they’ve just put on 600 pounds of sausages and have cooked about 22,000 pancakes.   I’d asked Ron if he knew what the expected burn off time would be and he smiled and said “Soon”. I knew all would be well.

Foggy Morning

We rolled the portable wheel barrow of toiletries up to the FBO restroom and got ready to face the day.  A couple of hours later and we head down to eat breakfast. 

I was still filled up from dinner but I told myself I was on holiday and mozy’d on up to the food line.  Sausages, pancakes, fruit, coffee, syrup, and orange juice and we were filled back up.  Another great meal and now I’m wondering if we’ll get airborne or not after having eaten yet again.  I made a big mistake by saying that out loud and my precious Butterbean declared that we were going to go and walk it off. I faked an illness but she didn’t buy it.  She’d seen me fake illnesses 7 days in a row last month in Williamsburg Virginia when we were on vacation and it was time to run and she wasn’t going to buy it this morning either.  Ron met us down near his pick’em up and offered us the use of his truck to drive into town but Beth had given me one of those looks that your Mama may have given you in church when you were a kid and I knew I had to say no thanks cause Beth was making me exercise yet again.  I exercised last month!  And on top of that, just as my luck goes, we walked out to the road, turned right, heard a skunk get ran over up over the hill, and walked through skunk funk for the next 30 miles.  We did snap a few photo’s though…. click to enlarge….

The fog did burn off quickly just as Ron had directed it too.  Shortly there was activity all over the place with planes coming in from all directions!

CAP Flight


3 In The Pattern

Soon it was time to pack all up and head back to Wings Field in Philadelphia.  We can’t wait for next year’s camp-in and hopefully we’ll get to see the good folks of Centre Airpark and the 1327th again very soon!  Thanks again for the groups wonderful hospitality and we look forward to see ya’ll, our friends, again soon.

Beth and Shane

Centre Airpark 2008

Our Favorite Tree, Last year we had a picture taken near this tree too.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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