Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lovin’ Virginia

Pilots Pub at Campbell Field

Hello Again Ya'll! We just returned from down yonder and I wanted to tell you a little something about it! This is how it started yesterday morning….
"Honey, do you want to pack the plane full of stuff, fly down to Virginia and camp in the woods amongst the bugs, and get rained on" (I whispered softly), and "Honey Do You Wanna Go Shopping This Weekend?" (I hollered loudly)........     "Yes Dear", I heard from the other room and I grabbed the tent.
We had flown to Campbell Field, down yonder in Virginia, once before for Soup on Sunday and sure did have a fun time.  It's a public grass field with intersecting runways just north of Cape Charles Virginia on the Eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay.  We'd flown down there to get a bowl of chili and a hotdog a couple of months back, promising then to return for an overnight stay.  We'd not talked specifically about it though and I thought what better way to celebrate our independence by getting beat up by Beth across three of four states and back.  After all, bandages, blood, and bruises are red, white, and blue.
This episode of my latest bait and switch conversation with Beth about "roughing it" occurred Wednesday evening as we were cooking dead chickens on the grill, along with some corn still in shuck, yams, one large Vidalia onion, and a sip or two on YeungLing brew.  When dinner was ready, I stealthfully encouraged Beth to eat a little more than usual.  I didn't tell her that this was in case we couldn't cook down at Campbell Field and had to survive the camping adventure on Chiclets chewing gum and a leaking cooler full of water (melted beer ice).  If push came to shove, I may be able to track down and catch a cow, but wouldn't know what to do with it once I caught it.


There were thunderstorms perculatin' over the capital but so far none had gotten close enough the cause concern along our route of flight. I had been watching the weather for the whole week while I thought about how I'd get Beth to agree to go camping on her own free will. I was sure someone in Virginia would stop the beating I would get if it actually rained and she got soaked.   
I'd filed a flight plan to climb to 8000 feet, where I was figuring the ride would be smooth.  Clouds were building and light rain had visited already a couple of times in the morning, but still nothing to be concerned about;  Virginia had remained cloud-free with upper 90's degree weather.  "Honey, shopping's gonna be fun, huh, when we get back"  "Yes Dear" came a happy reply  (so far she had no clue she was about to go camping).

In the mid afternoon we got in the car and headed out to shopping, NOT.  I had already loaded up the back of the car and she didn’t even know it! HA! The only thing I had to guess at was which of her clothes to pick so I loaded them all up, plus about 5 pairs of shoes.  The Vibe was a little full but I had covered most of it using a picnic blanket and flirtatiously hinted that just maybe we’d eat out tonight.  She didn’t know how truthful I was being.  Instead of turning right to go towards the Plymouth Meeting Mall, I took a left turn and headed for Wings Field.  Beth knew exactly what that direction led too and so I asked her if we could go for a lil flight.  A flag must have raised cause now she knew I was lying about something.  A quick check under the “picnic” blanket and I was busted again!  
Ah Honey Please, can we can we canwe canwe canwe canwe canwecanwecanwecanwecanwecanwecanwecanwe Puuuuuuleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese?”  I thought I saw a smile almost, she was breaking, she was giving in. We may be going camping! “canwecanwecanwecanwecanwecanwecanwe?” She broke!  A teeeeny smile came across her purty little face and I now knew we were going camping!  YAY!  I packed up the Viking Witch like a home-sick ugly ape heading home (quickly) and within 30 minutes of arriving at the airport, we were airborne and pointed towards the South. 

Home Sweet HomeDockweepin willow





Home Sweet Home down yonder in Virginia at Campbell Field. On Saturday Morning, we went on a bike ride and happened upon this dock. We loved the look of this huge Weeping Willow. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Upon arrival, we found that the wind was a gusty 20 knots from about 2 O’clock as we headed down final to runway 21.  We landed and didn’t hit nothing layin’ around (cattle, dog, birds, corn fields, electrical lines, etc) and taxied back to our campsite just off of the intersecting runway numbered 32.  We set up the tent and finished just about the same time a V-Tailed Bonanza landed and taxied up beside us.  There were also staying overnight, but they knew someone in the area and wouldn’t have to sleep with us and our neighborly cows.

Beth didn’t know that I had been in contact with Gordon and Christine who are the owners of Campbell Field and I knew what events would be going on.  To start with, Gordon had invited a live band to play that night and had invited a bunch of Virginian’s from the local neighborhood's to come out and party with them, and us.  That sounded great to us!  I’d packed a cooler full of sandwiches and fun unhealthy stuff too like beer and chips and dips and ho-ho’s.  I’d also packed another cooler with eggs and bacon and coffee and hamburgers too since we’d been given the green light to use the grill there at the airport.  Since it was already past 7, we just had sandwiches and then grabbed our lounge chairs and beers and headed across the airport to the concert area.  We had a great time and the band was great too!  I think we stayed until about 10 pm before heading back over to the tent to get a good nights sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s bike ride that Beth didn’t yet know about.



Another Gorgeous View that we discovered on our ride.  We traveled 13 miles.

Beth; she’s such a good sport!



Upon Our Return, it took nearly an our hour to unload the Viking Witch and get home.

The following morning we woke up early due to something hollering loudly in the woods.  I have no idea what it was but it sounded bigger than both of us so I figured I should just let it be.  We got dressed, grabbed our breakfast cooler and morning wake up kit and headed towards the hanger. I poured some water in the coffee pot, lit the grill and started heating up the water for coffee.  Beth went into the hanger bathroom and I didn’t see her again for 45 minutes; I did hear lots of electrical equipment running though.  Finally the aluminum coffee pot heated up and I grabbed it to pour coffee into the cups and nearly shat a live zebra when I realized that my hand was on fire and melting from the hot coffee pot.  I had propped up the handle to keep it way from the flame but didn’t do such a good job and now I couldn’t seem to get away from the pain.  During all this, I somehow noticed the live web camera moving to follow me and knew that I was the morning show for some zipperhead on the internet watching me burn myself up.  I think it was my buddy back in Pennsylvania that I’d text mailed earlier to tell him about the airport and how neat it was to have a web camera to watch planes with.  Anyway, we cooked breakfast on the grill and had coffee that was actually quite nice.  Christine and Gordon joined us (probably after they heard me screaming in pain) and we chatted for a little bit about the history of the airport and other cool stuff.  Gordon opened up the bike locker and we pulled out some bikes that we’d soon be riding all over the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Seaboard.  After cleaning up breakfast, we headed out exploring on the bikes.  Our route, pictured below, took us quite a ways over and around the area.  The weather was perfect and surprisingly bug-free.  That was cool!  We happened upon some pretty houses and great lots that sparked conversation on “why don’t we move down here”. Maybe one day….  If you look towards the right side of the picture below, you can see the “balloon” indicating the starting point.  You can also see the turf intersecting runways at that same point. We rode around for a bit and then returned to the airport to start packing everything up. 


After the tent was loaded up and all the bits and pieces that were left over we also loaded up, we grabbed our lunch cooler and walked back over to the hanger grill.  Hamburgers this time and ice cold fruit bits.  We would take our time eating and enjoying the sunshine before beginning our journey back to Wings Field.  Gordon checked the weather for us and some quick storms were popping up just to the West side of the route so we decided to speed things up and cleaned up our mess and headed for the plane.  I had filed an IFR flight plan (meaning we could fly in the clouds under the supervision of air traffic controllers) the day before for our return trip home “just in case” and was glad I did.  While the ride did remain fairly smooth on the way home, we did fly the majority of the trip in the weather and “on instruments”. About 15 minutes before getting back to Wings Field, we broke out of the clouds and flew the remainder of the trip on our own after terminating our IFR flight plan.  We did have a great time down at Campbell Field and, as always, Christine and Gordon were great hosts.  We’ll be heading back down in a few months for the 75th Anniversary of the airport, which began as Kellem Field long ago.

That’s how we spent our weekend. We hope ya’ll had a fun one too!  

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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