Day 1 - August 28, 2018 - Johnston County, NC (JNX) to Connellsville, Pennsylvania (VVS)
A thinly vailed strata of predawn ground fog spoke volumes about being careful not to depart too hastily. The deep greens of the forests and lawns enhanced by unseasonable rains in the late summer gave rise to minimal temperature dew point spreads. A quick check of the weather conditions at our first planned fuel stop confirmed a brief delay in our departure would be prudent.
The Cub sat not so patiently completely ready to start the adventure. This was further complicated by a small airplane taxiing past as we waited out the weather. A stunningly brilliant cloud formation illuminated by an eagerly rising morning sun made waiting on the ground all the more difficult. Forty-five minutes later and we would take to the skies. The wait was well worth it.
We were finally on our way to what we consider a pilot's field of dreams...Dyersville, Iowa. Dyersville Aiport literally is cut into cornfields (okay, sometimes they are soybeans). A sparkling new pilot's lounge was constructed just a few years ago. It's a great place to get current weather along your route of flight and if needed, a place to stretch out. Kevin Costner filmed the epic movie "Field of Dreams" on the east end of town. Much of the original movie set remains for every baseball lover to run the bases, pitch a few strikes and listen quietly for the spirits who live in the corn and occasionally make an appearance.
Day 2 and 3 - August 29 - 30, 2018 - Connellsville, Pennsylvania (VVS) to New Philidelphia, Ohio (PHD)
After crossing the northern end of the Allegheny Mountains near Cumberland, Maryland with 15 mph headwinds yesterday, the rolling hills of Pennsylvania were a welcome sight.
Leaving Pennsylvania and entering Ohio is a rather dramatic event near Wheeling, Ohio. Huge smoke stacks billowing pure white clouds of steam puncture the skies along the Ohio River. Old factories stand their ground in a landscape riddled with empty buildings.
Our good friend Terry met us at the fuel pumps to begin our two-day visit in the Amish country. It didn't take Terry long to fill us in on why a vintage World War II C47 was parked on the ramp. It seems the plane was here to give rides the weekend before and had mechanical problems. Soon a half dozen men would arrive and begin the two-day repairs to make it airworthy for its flight back to New York.
Day 4 - August 31, 2018 - New Philidelphia, Ohio (PHD) to Huntington, Indiana (HHG)
Like waves in the ocean that lose their energy eventually and become calm flat seas, so did the rolling hills of eastern Ohio become vast stretches of flat, square, quilt-like patterns of crops. We also noticed more homes had recreational ponds on their property. It rarely gets boring with so much to see as it passes under the wings of the Cub.
Day 5 - September 1, 2018 - Huntington, Indiana (HHG) to Valparaiso, Indiana (VPZ)
Flying from Huntington to Valparaiso was under a high overcast. This meant Mr. Nikon could rest comfortably until the sun made its appearance. We settled in at our cruise altitude and continued to be thoroughly entertained by the seemingly endless farms and small towns of the Midwest. Occasionally we would circle a water tower to see what small town we were visiting from above.
Day 6 and 7 - September 2 - 3, 2018 - Valparaiso, Indiana (VPZ) to Poplar Grove, Illinois (C77)
An early morning departure meant the winds at our destination would be light crosswinds. The sun struggled to burn holes in the lightly overcast skies. Mr. Nikon had no reason to rise from his resting place, although we were greeted along the way by a beautiful rainbow. Unlike viewing a rainbow from the ground, from the air at just the right altitude, one gets treated to an almost perfect complete rainbow (full circle).
We are looking forward to spending some time with my brother Mike and his wife Rita.
Day 8 and 9 - September 4 - 5, 2018 - Poplar Grove, Illinois (C77) to Madison, Wisconsin (C29)
The weather forecasters said we would have partly cloudy skies when we departed Poplar Grove. They were right. As we squared out our fuel tab at the FBO desk, Steve and Tina came in. With broad smiles on their faces we began sharing the highlights of the past year of both the airport and our families.
Rains of near-biblical proportions have plagued northern Illinois and much of southern Wisconsin this year. It wasn't uncommon to see cows knee-deep in water attempting to find grass in what was a pasture and is now a pond. The Photos page has a better explanation of the storm track.
Day 10,11, 12, 13 - September 6, 7, 8, 9 2018 - Madison, Wisconsin (C29) to Brodhead, Wisconsin (C37)
Clear skies with cool northerly breezes were a welcome change from the continuous storms that dumped even more unneeded rain. Fields of crops adjacent to streams and creeks bore the brunt of the record rainfall. Fortunately the forecast for the next week is rain free.
Day 13 - September 9, 2018 - Brodhead, Wisconsin (C37) to Dyersville, Iowa (IA8)
Bob met us at the fuel tanks to give the Cub some much needed fuel. The usual banter and well timed jokes ensued shortly after the Cub's 65 horses clattered hard enough to get the Cub into position. The flight west across northern Illinois that brought us to the shores of the Mighty Mississippi was made memorable by the perfect contours of a farmer's plow-work. Just before Dyersville came into sight on the horizon, we passed a small classic church with cars parked along side. Yep, it was Sunday in Iowa; it got even better a few minutes later as we passed over the "Field of Dreams" movie site. It's hard not to imagine Kevin Costner slamming a bases-loaded home run and clearing the bases.
Dyersville is a quiet town that reflects pride of ownership from the manicured lawns of its residents (who have been accused of all cutting their lawns on the same day) to businesses along the main street repleat with the town's one stop light.
The "Photos" page has more on our friendships and experiences in Dyersville, Iowa.
Unfortunately our stay in Dyersville was cut short after learning that Hurricane "Florence" had taken aim at the North Carolina's Outer Banks and would be continuing on to the Raleigh area.
Day 14 - September 10, 2018 - Dyersville, Iowa (IA8) to Carmi, Illinois (CUL)
Reluctantly, we decided to cut our adventure short and head for Nashville, TN where we planned on leaving the Cub and letting Delta Airlines take us back to Raleigh. There was no way the amount of time necessary nor the weather would be enough to make it back to our home airport before Hurricane Florence made landfall. Laurie had already begun the preparations to gather the emergency supplies. The Cub would have to stay in Nashville...all alone.
Day 15 - September 11, 2018 - Carmi, Illinois (CUL) to Nashville, Tennessee (JWN)
Tailwinds can actually appear when you don't want them. We knew we had to relish our remaining time aloft, so at this point, we would have been perfectly happy with a headwind. Contour Aviation is the FBO at JWN. After discussing our situation and hoping to leave the Cub while we returned to North Carolina, Waylen said he would make sure the Cub was looked after. The next day, the FBO manager, Matt Ostermann called me; he was very empathetic and also assured me the Cub would be looked after as well. Putting this into context, Nashville's JWN is a busy Jet-Port with a high percentage of corporate jets and turbo props on the ramp at any given time. The diminutive Cub looked small and almost out of place in that environment but certainly no less important to the staff at Contour Aviation.
Day 16 through 22 - September 12 - 18, 2018 - Wake Forest, North Carolina Hurricane Florence
We were fortunate in not sustaining any damage from the strong winds and heavy rains as hurricane Florence stalled out after it made landfall. The Outer Banks and coastal cities like Wilmington and New Bern, NC were not as fortunate. Once the weather along the Cub Adventure route of flight was forecast to be good flying conditions, we would jump on a commercial airline from Raleigh Durham, NC (RDU) to Nashville, TN (BNA) and complete this year's adventure.
Day 23 - September 19, 2018 - Nashville, TN (JWN) to Elberton, Georgia (EBA)
The Blue Ridge Mountains blocked Hurricane Florence from hitting Nashville, TN. We were at John C. Tune Airport in west Nashville early on a crystal clear morning with calm winds. Today's flights would be over the western foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The weather forecast for the next several days along our route of flight promised clear skies and light winds. The folks at John C. Tune airport (JWN) had lived up to their word of taking care of the Cub. After an extended pre-flight inspection and loading the Cub with our baggage, we pointed southeast for the first leg of completing our Cub Advenure 2018.
While the week in North Carolina delayed out adventure, the rewards of some of the best flying weather could not be overstated. Tennessee's rolling forested hills that seemed to embrace the smaller farms stretched out before us, seemingly begging for Mr. Nikon to get the shot. Shortly before we landed at our overnight stop, Lake Hartwell, north of Atlanta, was active with boaters getting some beautiful afternoon cruising in before sunset.
Day 24 - September 20, 2018 - Elberton, Georgia (EBA) to Smithfield, North Carolina (JNX)
This morning's sunrise at Elbert County Airport was a pleasant reminder of our very first take-off on this year's adventure. The sun, once again pushing the morning clouds left over from the night before out of the way, made the start of the new day a permanent memory.
The beautiful sights of the terrain as it passed under our wings gave us reason not to be in any hurry on this beautiful morning flight. Perhaps we will start next year's adventure heading over some of the same terrain...just a thought.
As the 65 Continental horses clattered to a stop and began their well-deserved rest, Laurie walked up to the Cub. In just a few minutes the Cub was unpacked and we were on our way to an early dinner.
We are glad you came along on this adventure. Our planning for the Cub Adventure 2019 has already begun. There are still many beautiful places and terrains for us to cover...Low and Slow in a vintage airplane.
One important fact becomes more clear after all the years of flying the Cub over rural farms and sparcely populated areas of our majestic country. When aloft in a vintage airplane it is very easy to forget it's 2018 and far easier to dwell on the romance of what those who piloted these wonderful machines experienced decades ago. Give some thought to following along again next year.
Oh yes, don't forget your cup of coffee...
Number of Days = 23 days
Statute Miles Flown = 2,377.4 statute miles*
Number of Legs = 25 legs*
Longest Leg = 127 statute miles*
Total Flight Hours = 37 hours 35 minutes*
Total Fuel = 143.6 gallons
Average Gallons Per Hour = 3.8 GPH
*Recorded by GPS
"Dyersville, Iowa" Cub Adventure 2018
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