Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wheeeeee!!! ... And Silence is Golden

I needed a lift to Detroit, and Murphy's Law was going my way and was kind enough to let me hitch a ride.  A Cessna 172 is a more weather-dependent than a commercial jet, but it definitely has advantages, the greatest of which is that scenery viewed from 3,000 to 5,000 feet elevation is way more interesting than from 36,000 feet.

We lifted off on a beautiful Thursday morning, and quickly crossed ridge after ridge of the Appalachians.

Line after line of wind turbines perch on the ridges north of Cumberland, MD.  I don't know what it is about those things, but they give me the willies.  Like high tension lines, I don't want to live near them.

The geologist in me wishes I could plot our track live on a geology map.  I can generally see whether it's limestone or sandstone that's being quarried, but I'd like to see the big picture and know the names and eras of deposit of what we're flying over.

Since we tend to live near centers of population, we forget how much farm and woodland we still have. Miles and miles and miles of green.

Murphy's Law can probably identify this - I've already forgotten.  

And then a pit stop and refueling.

Back up into some clouds.

Past Sandusky Bay as we skirt Lake Erie.

The flying dinosaur accompnied us the whole way.  He must have approved, since he never complained.

And then, after a long 6 months, Grandma arrived.  And No 1 Granddaughter (well, ok, only granddaughter) was mine for a week.

We wanted to go to the air show and Aaron's bday dinner, but the cons just seemed to out way the pros with an 18 month old.  So, since the family maintains a membership at Detroit's excellent zoo (meaning a melt-down requiring us to go home wouldn't cost us a small fortune and was much closer if we had to bail), we opted for that instead.  Baby Girl loves butterflies and and so do I and the zoo has a butterfly aviary that delights both of us.

There are also a lot of animals, of course.

And the first carousel ride was a success.

We went to the park nearly every day while Mommy and Daddy were at work.

And the view I had each morning as I had my coffee was not bad at all.

She's utterly charming and utterly exhausting - non-stop movement and noise. A week made me wonder how grandparents raise their grandchildren.  It takes an amazing amount of energy just to get through one day.

You may have heard that there was a little rain in Detroit.  Yeah.  Just a little.  My daughter couldn't get to work on Tuesday - the roads were all blocked.  And a friend of hers got caught in the flooding on the way home from the gym on Monday.  She said that it took just 10 minutes for the water to rise from the floorboards to the steering wheel.  At which point the wiring was fried and she couldn't roll down the windows and wasn't strong enough to force the door open against the water.  Fortunately, the friend with her is an ex-Marine and he was able to force his door open and get them out.  At which point they had to walk 7 miles.  She recognized the top of her vehicle on the news the next day - all that was exposed was the roof.

I can't get the video link to work, but Son-in-law filmed himself kayaking down their street and posted it to the town Facebook site with a comment about having told them weeks before that the drains were blocked. At the time, the town blew him off.  Funny thing - by the end of the week the town had cleaned out the drains.
The week went too fast, though, and before I knew it we were back in the air on a day that made the nice weather we had  arrived in look like a piker.  Cue "I can see for miles and miles and miles..." 

The burnt out and deserted problem of Detroit is clearly visible from the air.

Down the Detroit River:

Past the city itself.

Plenty of boats on the river.

Some mighty fine houses - the Hamptons on the Detroit.  There is definitely still money in that town.

On our way to Lake Erie.

And although you can't see it in this photo, you could see clear to the other side of the lake.

A flight path that crossed the Bass Islands keeps you out of Canada and provides a possible dry landing site in case of an emergency.

Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument stands at Put-In-Bay.

And more quarries.  Dang I wish I had a geology map with me.  All smoothed out by mile-thick glaciers I know, but what were the glaciers sitting on?

A pit stop on a grass field.  The landing was as smooth as any I've experienced on paved runways.   The taxiway was a bit...undetermined...though.

While we were there some folks did their first parachute jumps.  Not a sport I completely understand.  Can't see jumping out of a perfectly good airplane that's still flying just fine. If the plane's not broken I'm staying in it, thanks.

The take-off was considerably bumpier.  And I was hoping as I filmed that ML was aware of how fast the road and trees were coming up.  Kept waiting for the feel of the wheels leaving the ground.  Was relieved when they did and the nose went up.

We had a tail wind that kept us moving at +100 mph most of the time, so cities and towns like Pittsburgh quickly fell behind us.

The sun set behind us, but we were on the ground before full dark - 4 hours including a stop. 

Flying in a small plane is definitely a "Wheeeee!", and it was pretty amazing to be able to see the lights of Winchester, VA, Charles Town and Martinsburg, WV, and Hagerstown, MD all at once as we came across the last ridges.

And the "Silence is Golden"?  Well, I woke up the second day in Detroit with a sore throat that added a Niagara Falls of drainage and a cough within a day.  It got better for a bit after the rain - I assumed that I was allergic to something and the rain cleared the air for a bit.  But by yesterday my voice was going, and now I've got full-blown laryngitis.  A quick Google check doesn't show me much to do about it except rest the voice box and give it time.  So I guess I have to be quiet for a few days.  No snide comments, please.


  1. Glad you had fun with the Family and Granddaughter!

  2. That river with the island was the Ohio River at Weirton, WV. And you make a pretty good passenger, esp. when you can't talk. ;-)

    1. What's the emoticon symbol for "raspberries"?

  3. Great pics, and glad you were able to 'hop' a ride! Glad you got time with the grandbaby too!

    1. Definitely better than commercial flights.

  4. Great pictures.Your granddaughter is a cuite

  5. Those turbines creep me the [redacted] right out. I had to drive past a bunch while in MN a few years ago. The seem semi-sentient and malevolent as can be. They pushed my claustrophobia button something fierce.

    1. I sometimes think some of my phobias are due to Dad letting us watch stuff like "The Outer Limits" when Mom was at work...