Saturday, July 28th we awoke to the dulcet tones of airplanes taking off at 6:30 AM. We went to get some food and then talked to the FSS folks about the weather. We then attempted to pack up the tent, but found that the tent poles had actually shattered during the storm. Since this was a cheap tent that my son had won at a bowling alley 10 years previous, I decided that it wasn't worth salvaging and threw it away. We packed up the rest of the stuff, preflighted the plane, dragged it to the pavement, and taxied out.
We took off on 36L and headed southeast, starting a long climb to 13.5K ft to cross Lake Michigan. We picked up flight following, put on the O2 and headed over the lake in clear, smooth air with a bit of a tailwind.The automatic rough kicked in just as we crossed the Wisconsin shoreline north of Milwaukee - I don't know how anyone flies over an ocean in a single engine piston aircraft... Of course, nothing was wrong with the engine and it ran perfectly.
The lake was clear - I won't fly over it if there are anything more than scattered clouds at any altitude - and 20 minutes later we were over Michigan. Over southern Michigan the low clouds congealed into a BKN-OVC layer, and given the weather reports from FSS further east - no projection of clearing - I decided to descend below the layer to about 3K ft.
We were headed for Caldwell, NJ (KCDW), theoretically, but decided to land at Findlay, OH (KFDY) to check weather and see what might happen later in the day. We fueled up and parked the plane. A number of other folks coming out of OSH had the same thought and had landed there, so four of us borrowed the crew car and went out to eat at Max and Erma's, which was surprisingly good. We checked the weather, but decided to stay in Findlay for the night. We might have been able to make it to the Pittsburgh area, but it didn't seem to make any sense to head off into marginal weather to get 45 minutes closer to NJ if we couldn't actually get there.
We got a cab (one that actually knew where stuff was) and headed off to the Fairfield Inn. We relaxed for a while, and for the life of me I have no recollection whatsoever what we did for dinner. We watched some baseball and put a call in to the cab company for a ride to the airport at 6:30 AM. - the weather near New York was supposed to deteriorate, with T-storms later in the day, so I wanted to get there early if possible.
We took off around 7:15 AM, climbed to 9500 ft. and got on flight following. Deanie was having a great time with the map, never asking "when will we get there?". Good sign. Over mid-Pennsylvania we encountered a cloud deck below us, but FSS said that there were clear areas to the east and it deck was broken, so we could descend through it if necessary. Just past Allentown, PA the clouds started getting thicker, but the ceiling was 1800 ft. BKN-OVC with 10 mile VIS, so I decided to descent through the layer and do the last 55 NM under the clouds - a total of about 20 minutes. We landed at Caldwell (KCDW) around 11 AM after 2:45 in the air, with Deanie saying "we're here already?"
We tied the plane down and my sister picked us up to take us to my mother's house in Englewood.
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