Friday before Halloween, we flew to West Virginia to visit my parents. The weather was windy and a little bit overcast, but sufficient to fly. Our Bearhawk was in the shop for upgrades, so we packed everything into the car and drove to Jaffrey. There we rented Tyson’s parents’ Cessna 172.
We took off and almost immediately after the wheels left the ground, the airplane shot upward as we crossed a wind shear. We stayed low, hoping to escape the headwinds, but, even there, 40kt quartering headwinds pushed against us.
Over eastern New York, I decided I hadn’t taken enough pit stops before getting in the airplane. Tyson grumbled about adding more delays. Not knowing anything about the airports nearby, I picked out an innocuous grass strip just a little east of the Hudson River — Green Acres (1A1). We found it tucked between farm fields. One end of the runway sloped up sharply. At the other end, there was an open T-hangar with a collection of classic airplanes, and sufficient bushes for my purpose.
I flew the next leg. I have very little experience flying a Cessna 172. It was as easy going as I expected. I had as much trouble with the seating position as I did with the aerodynamics of the plane.
We stopped for fuel at the Bloomsburg PA municipal airport. The facilities with cheep fuel were rather unique. Down by the river, I found a concrete structure built in 1920 with geometric detailing. The side facing the airport was nothing but a monolithic double door. On the side facing the river, there was a smaller door one level down with a rail protruding from above the door. The FBO and hangar were one giant building surrounding the ramp. It looked like it was originally a single large concrete hangar whose style was a cross between an ornate municipal building and an early 1900s factory. The hangar doors were gigantic. Each built of many small panes of glass. On either side, additions expanded from the original building. Many of them also had large multi-paned walls or hangar doors. The end additions were more recent with smaller windows a doors. The whole thing was dilapidated. Bits were boarded up, doors hung crooked, stairs were missing. And yet, if you peered inside, there were still office desks, chairs, workshops and occasional spaces that looked still used. Clearly they had no working plumbing because they had a portapotty outside.
Continuing on, we cruised at 4,000 ft, below the clouds until we reached the WV mountains. Then I climbed higher to squeeze between the wind mills and the clouds. The smoke plume from the Mt Storm coal plant blended with the clouds. We ducked low over northern Dolly Sods and dropped into the high altitude Canaan Valley where my parents were waiting.