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2005 Go West Trip - Day 3

Date: August 26, 2005

I woke early (around 6:30 AM) and checked the weather for my flight to St. Louis. A lot of convective activity existed along the direct route, but it looked as though I could get most of the way there by staying to the north. After driving me to the airport, I put two quarts of oil in the engine and removed the wheel pants to pump up the tires.  They were down to 35 psi - way too low.  I had been trying to keep them at 50 psi, but Ken Miller suggested 60-70 psi, so I pumped them up to 62 psi - it made a big difference on the ease of pushing the plane around on the ground, as well as the ground roll on takeoff. After saying goodbye to my father,I headed out toward Kent State, OH (1G3).  Checking the weather along the way, I decided to continue on to Sandusky County Airport,OH (S24), where I would stop to get some food, unload my bladder, and check the weather further on with something a little more detailed, like radar.

This place was dead - no activity whatsoever, but they let me use a car to go into town to get some food, and although their weather station was dead too, they let me use their computer to check the ADDS weather site. Things looked decent through northern Indiana and down through mid-Illinois, so I tood off and headed out.  I stayed below the clouds in the haze at around 3000 ft., but I got Flight Following from ATC, and there was very little traffic. At first I was going to go to Central-Illinois Regional Airport for my next stop (KBMI), but as I got close the AWOS-3 weather stations further along the way were reporting clear weather, so I continued southward toward Decatur (KDEC) and Taylorville (KTAZ). The weather at St. Louis Regional was 1/4 mile visibility and 400 ft. ceilings as I approached Taylorville, so I landed there to wait for the weather in St. Louis to clear and to call Curt Smith to see how things were going.

As I checked the weather from the Taylorville weather computer, St. Louis suddenly cleared to VFR conditions. Curt said it looked good there, so we both headed off for St. Louis Regional (KALN) at the same time.  I beat him by about a minute - the 50 miles took about 20 minutes. We tied the plane down and headed over to Curt's place. Curt lives on a lake, so we took a short ride in his boat to cool off and look around. Around dinner time, Curt, his wife Judy and I took the boat over to the community clubhouse, where they have a small restaurant, to have dinner outside on the deck overlooking the lake.  Very cool.

When we got back to Curt's house, we spent some time looking at pictures of his trip up to Montana - he goes to a family ranch on the Yaak river, right up in the northwest corner of Montana near the Idaho / British Columbia border. Curt flew his COZY up there from St. Louis - saves a LOT of driving. After that, we talked for a while and then went to sleep.

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