July 22, 2007

Thumb Tour

I just had a birthday back in the beginning of July. My parents (being the giving people that they are - insert brownie points - ) decided to get me some flight time as a gift. My dad likes to go flying too, so this worked out for him as well.

Earlier this week I was following a high pressure system moving across the Dakotas heading right for Michigan. It was a Thursday and the forecasts showed it being firmly parked over us on Sunday, PERFECT! I booked the airplane online, called my Dad and told him I want to cash in that birthday gift. He was game and also got a long time family friend (Bill) to tag along as well (check out his site).

The weather today could not have been better. Low temps (mid 70's) and no wind. Just a perfect day to go flying. Rather than have the guys drive all the way up to me (I live 45mins north of them), I flew down to Oakland/Troy airport (KVLL), which is very close to both of them. Here I am about to float over the numbers:

Troy is where I originally learned to fly. Its a perfectly situated airport for Metro Detroit, but unfortunately it has never had a decent FBO (IMHO). But, its great if you are just picking up passengers.

We decided to take a tour of the "thumb". For those unfamiliar with Michigan, think of our state as a mitten and the "thumb" becomes obvious. Here we are ready to take flight: (from left - Bill, My Dad and Me)

Here I am looking WAY too serious on departure! Thanks to Bill for bringing along his camera and getting all these great shots today.

You can see our route of flight in the first picture. We headed Northeast towards Lake Huron so we could cruise along the shore. Here is a shot as we were about to turn north. On the left is Canada and you can see the Blue Water Bridge.

And here is another shot as we turned north: (Lake Huron is a HUGE body of water)

It was a picture perfect day. Very little wind and great visibility. The air was so smooth it was like being in a speedboat at dusk. The freighters heading north on Huron still looked huge at 2,500ft.

As we headed further north we spotted a lucky bastard (I'm just jealous) with his own private strip and hanger attached to the house... Nice setup!

As we headed up toward the top of the "thumb", we decided to head west towards Bad Axe (KBAX). This would allow the guys to switch seats and allow me to relieve the one liter of water I just drank. Here is a shot as we were about to land on runway 22:

Bad Axe has a great airport... its got "small town" written all over it, fitted perfectly with some guy in the FBO that has probably worked there forever. The building was in good shape, but very dated - in a good way. I don't know why, I just dig airports like this... I find a lot of character in 1980's wood paneling, "pleather" seating and mechanical vending macines that look like they were one-off's out of some dude's basement... call me crazy, I just like it.

Here is a shot of me and my Dad on the ramp at Bad Axe:

Funny story, were were all just hanging around for a second while I did my business and Bill changed his flash card when this guy comes in... and I shit you not, he asked the aging gentleman behind the counter if they had a "Potty!?!" (Oh, BTW - in the most effeminate voice ever!). I don't even say that to my 3 year old daughter... My Dad made mention of it back in the plane and we all agreed that he MUST turn in his "Man Card" ASAP!

We left Bad Axe for Lapeer where we were going to have a brunch at my brothers house (he makes a mean set of waffles and egg McMuffin's).

Again, another perfect day and flight.

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