Truly, the end of an era

So I made my last trip to Bobby Nelson’s Cheese shop in Kenosha Wisconsin on Saturday. (no link to a website….because they don’t have one!)

An hour and half each way.

They are closing after 70 years of selling Cheese, meats, and Sausages. 

You could get aged cheddar, fresh curds, and beef summer sausage…the latter, as the sign out front promised…either Mitt, or Mittout……Mitt Garlic, that is (lots of garlic). I have to keep the “Mitt” outside in the garage ’cause it stinks up the house. But that is some good food.  I (used to) go up in that direction every few months, and bring delicacies back for friends

Good old fashioned-needs no refrigeration-hang it up by the string, summer sausage.

Sadly, the kids have their own lives, the proprietors are in their 70’s, and no one wants to work enough to buy the business, so after 70 years in business, 40 years with the present owners, they are closing.  I bought from, and knew Phyllis and Richard since I went to college in Wisconsin 30+ years ago, and remember my grandfather stopping there with me even before that from when I was about 10….

I have friends who swear by their smoked liver sausage (I can’t stand the stuff), others who would kill for their aged (2, 5 10, 15 and 25 year) cheddar,….I like the 5 year and the 10 year, the older stuff is a bit strong for me. I also love the 2 year old swiss.

Sadly, most “Wisconsin” cheese shops are not Wisconsin cheese but imported from all over.
Bobby Nelson’s was the real thing.

His property sidelined by the expansion of US41/I-94, and beset by age, Robert and Phyllis are retiring.

I’m so glad that cheese freezes well….. I have 20 lbs of it. Plus sausage. I will be distributing the liver sausage among friends who like it. I bought a whole bunch of all of it, meat, sausage, and cheese.

I bought a bunch ’cause there ain’t gonna be no more after this.

I wish Phyllis and Richard well in their retirements.

The flight home (Texas flight part two)

So Saturday, I had been watching the progress of Tropical storm/Hurricane/Tropical depression “Barry”….

After we finished our business in Texas on Saturday, we had time to fly home……or at least part of the distance…

So I called 1-800-WxBrief for a briefing…..explained that I wanted to go back to NW Indiana, and had planned for Sunday, but could leave Saturday night if that was a better idea for VFR flight… the weather at Tyler was clear to at least 10,000 ft and not windy. Perfect VFR flying weather.

The Meteorologist briefer told me that the storm would track east and north….that my proposed route of flight (Tyler/Ft Smith/Joplin/Springfield Mo/Springfield Il/Home) would be clear, possibly a bit of headwind….maybe a small deviation west and north to clear the expected 3500 ft ceilings and a bit of turbulence out of Tyler….

So we stayed the night, planning to leave in the morning after a good nights rest……

Yeah, not so much.

Morning came, and the ceiling was lower than forecast…..lots lower. Like 1500 ft AGL.

I called again, and was assured it would clear shortly…expected to be 3500 ft in 90 minutes. Clearing to the north and west.

So we went to the airport, pulled the plane out of the hangar, preflighted, paid the bill, loaded the luggage, and waited.

and waited.

Finally, some clearing. the ceiling was 2200 (just above minimums,) and the tower told me it was clearing to the north and west (notice a pattern here?) and cleared me for taxi. We taxiied to the assigned runway and took off.

So much for forecasts.

About 20 minutes into the flight, the ceiling dropped….to about 1500 ft AGL. I tuned in the ATIS at Tyler, and it was…600 ft…..Can’t turn around (shit)…. Turbulent too, so we were flying at 90 knots to not beat up the airplane…It was clearer at Majors, but only marginally. Hmmm… Set a course for East Texas Regional (staying out of the Dallas class Bravo airspace), and looked at obstructions in my path (Don’t wanna hit any towers or anything) in ForeFlight…. Clear below 1000 ft AGL, so we kept going….staying just VFR. Vis was 4+ miles, so we were barely legal, I’d have landed at East Texas Regional if it hadn’t cleared up by the time we got closer…2500 ft and 8 miles visibility.  The AWOS for Durant OK (to the north of us) said 3500 ceiling, so we turned that way…..turned right (east) at Durant and flew to Joplin. Found a hole in the clouds just after Durant and climbed to find the tops at 6300. Flew at 7500 for most of an hour at 127 knots indicated…146 true. And we had a tailwind of (at one point) 45 knots…so we made some real time to Joplin. Stopped there for fuel and a bit of walkaround.

Very pretty up above the clouds

From there, it was gravy. Clearing skies, higher ceilings, mostly perfect…..We did cross the Mighty (muddy) Mississippi River again going north-east (ish) after Joplin, somewhat north of St Louis.

Mightier and Muddier than the trip down. Lots more out of the banks too. 

We dodged a couple of small thunderstorm cells around Decatur Illinois, and, while we COULD have made it home, decided to stop at Champaign, Il for some 100 LL….(expensive fuel, but it was a good idea, as there was a squall line between us and home). We flew north to nearly Joliet,Il and then turned east to get home.

All told, 8 hours of flying to get back.

Twas an interesting flight back. Challenging flying…not dangerous, but at or below my minimums for the first part.

I doubt I ever trust a weather forecaster ever again though.

Having said that, it was a wash as far as travel time, and (slightly) cheaper for the two of ys vs commercial.

Plus it was friggin’ cool flying myself to where I wanted.

Lessons: Never trust Meteorologists.  Don’t trust forecasts, or even conditions that are “clearing”…. wait for real, reported conditions to be above your minimums.

I can’t wait for an excuse for another trip.

So….. was Muellers testimony

An actual Fact Finding mission, or simply a chance for all (and yes, I mean BOTH sides) of those Congresscritters to get a chance to bloviate and do their best to put some kind of a spin on what few questions they got Mueller to answer?

Jesus, what a colossal waste of time, money and effort. 

Texas flight (part one)

So we traveled to Texas….Tyler, Texas, to be precise….I looked at Southwest flights from Midway to Dallas. $849 round trip plus surcharge. More at peak hours.  Each. (times two ’cause, while I COULD leave MC behind, then I could never return home).
Plus Parking at MDW

Then I looked at the cost of flying my 182. (yes, I wanted to fly my OWN plane there, but I DID try to look at the economics)

6:30 total time  each way more or less (including routing around Saint Louis and either Little Rock or Memphis). My cost per hour including maintenance? $110.

Time is a wash, as the travel time To MDW, then parking, then TSA, then being there a half hour before boarding puts us at least 2 hours, (better plan for 2 and a half) plus 2 :30 travel time, plus 2 hours from DAL to Tyler….

And besides, I wanted to fly the damned plane.

So we flew private. As in Private Plane private style.

The weather on the trip down was AWESOME. Clear skies and a 4 knot headwind on our first leg….2 hours to Mt Vernon Illinois. Flight Following all the way, great controllers. Pleasant and professional. 8500 ft at 128 knots indicated….142 true.

Mount Vernon is a VERY nice, well kept airport. Cheap fuel and a decent FBO…Pleasant people too.
Took a short walk, did the necessary, and we were again airborne.

Second leg was to Stuttgart Arkansas, just south and east of Little Rock. 8500 and (since it was hotter) 124 indicated (about 146 true according to the GPS calculator)

We did cross the Mighty (muddy) Mississippi River…It was out of it’s banks.

Not much there. Self serve fuel and, while the Runways were well kept (Markings were fresh and such), the rest of the airport is….well-broken in, shall we say. Lots of cropdusters in the area….and none of them use the radios! Stuttgart was, once, a VERY nice aerodrome…now, sadly, neglected.

We filled up, walked to the airport building to use the facilities, listened to the phone ring at the airport office while we did our business (there was no one there for the 15 minutes we were in the building…good thing we are honest) and left. Lining up for departure, AFTER I had listened to the radio and called “Departing RWY 18” we had the fun of watching another cropduster land at that moment on 36…No radio calls, nothing. Just heading right at us as we began out takeoff roll….Disconcerting, I must say, even at the far end of a 6000 foot runway.
Interesting, that. Them boys are crazy.,,,,but all cropduster pilots are. We stopped our takeoff, he turned off at the first taxiway, and we again began our takeoff roll, this time without any other traffic scaring me.

Departure was without incident.  Again, Flight Following and great controllers. 6500 (per the controllers request (for traffic) and 133 indicated. I didn’t bother to calculate the true airspeed. (it’s still on the far side of 150 MPH)

We went past Texarkana, and were deviated a bit by Longview approach for a small pop-up thunderstorm that was just sitting in our path….

Passed off to Tyler tower and, once I figured out the right runway …their runway numbers are SMALL… we got on the ground and parked (with a bit of taxi assistance by the ground controller) and found our FBO.

Johnson Air in Tyler is a nice facility. They were pleasant and professional….But they forgot to order our rental car…..and there were none to be had at that late time in the day…So they gave us a crew car for the first evening and most of the next day until they could get a rental for us. Screwed up, but made it right, which is all one can ask.

Dinner was Stanley’s Barbecue…not fancy, just plain damned good food. Exactly what I needed after a long day of flying…that trip down was (until then) the longest I had flown in a day.

And off to our hotel.

More later as I have time to put another post together.

Do I have this right???

The Democrats (and the Media)…(But, again, I repeat myself) are all up in arms about the (claimed, but somehow not proven) “Foreign interference in our election”…(Despite the fact that over half of Barry O’s  campaign funds came from overseas credit cards) and they want to pass laws to prevent this “Foreign Interference” from affecting our next election….(even though there is no evidence that there was any, but let us table that fact for now)

But they want to allow Illegal Immigrants (forgive me, “undocumented future citizens who don’t pay taxes”) the right to vote, and they want those Illegal Immigrants (sorry…”Future DNC voters”) presence to affect how congressional districts are allocated (by not counting of the people in those districts are citizens or not)

How is the above not “Foreign Interference?? It may not be funding an election campaign (like Barry’s) but it is still interference, nonetheless.

Yeah, once again

The Meteorologists blew their forecast for my area.

Never did get the rain they promised…it went 40 miles north of the predicted path.

Temps were lower than forecast by nearly 10 degrees.

But they can, of course, tell us the climate in 50 and 100 years, even if they can’t get close to tomorrow.