Had to travel to Cleveland for a deposition. (I was not the one being deposed)
Flew the 182 to Burke Lakefront Airport (BKL)… flight time was about 2 hours. Much better than the nearly 6 hour drive. (Or the 4-1/2 hour time to travel if I had flown commercial)
Flight was enjoyable. Fairly smooth, fairly uneventful. When I got to the Cleveland class Bravo airspace, I asked if they would clear me direct instead of having to go around it. They gave me clearance through, direct BKL, so that took 15 minutes off my flight time. Never hurts to ask. Sometimes you get lucky. One almost NEVER gets VFR clearance through the class B airspace in Chicago. Landed, taxiied, parked as the marshaller directed, tied the wings down, checked in at Signature Flight Support, and locked the plane. waited a bit for their courtesy shuttle and off I went. I got to the hotel (near the Stadium) and spent the evening looking around a nearly deserted area that is apparently usually teeming with people from football games and conventions and such.
The downtown area near the stadium is like a scene from a dystopian novel. probably less than 10% of “normal”. Not much business travel to fill the hotels and there is NO convention business. The Hilton had rates of $129 a night, so I stayed there. It is a sad reflection of what it once was. Services are at a minimum. If it is even 10% full I’d be surprised. They have to be losing tens of thousands of dollars a day. There is only one restaurant open, and that wasn’t being used much. The food was good though. Services are at a minimum. No valet services, few bellhop services, no concierge at all, no room service, etc. Masks are, of course, required in all indoor spaces.
Since the place I had to be in the morning was only about 2 miles from the hotel, and the evening was cool, I thought I’d walk to it and see where I needed to be, just to get some exercise in and reconnoiter the area.
Nope, …I changed my mind about 2 blocks from the hotel (heading west)…I did not realize until then that the streets change hands at night. Gone were the smiling, happy folks, clean cut and greeting even strangers with a “hello” (while, of course, staying “Socially Distant”)…in were a bunch of much more scruffy looking folks, playing loud rap music on their car stereos and congregating closely. It looked like a scene from Mogadishu…seriously. Lots and lots of things being offered for sale, if you know what I mean. Men squaring off and women chatting and showing off for the men. No one was in any way threatening, mind you, but it was clear that not only did I stand out in my differences, but that I, whether because I was a stranger or because I was white, was not welcome.
I took the hint and went back to the hotel. I found the same thing about 4 blocks south as well. I ended up going back and staying in my room, as there wasn’t much to do…
The day of depositions went well and we got done about 7 pm local, earlier than I had been told to expect, and I got an Uber to the hotel. Called 1-800 WX-Brief and decided to fly home that evening as the weather was clear, broken layer of clouds at 7500 and only about 15 knots of headwind forecast.
Went to the FBO and untied the plane, and had them top off my tanks. I MIGHT have been able to make it, but the forecast headwind would make the trip back home with the fuel I had left marginal, so I chose to buy their (fairly expensive) fuel.
Checked the oil, used their ladder to clean the windshield, and waited 5 minutes to check the fuel for water. Fired up and called ground for taxi.
They had me wait at 06R while a Learjet crossed to 06L, then cleared me for takeoff. However, I was afraid of the jetwash of the big Lear sitting just of my runway, so I waited….and waited…and waited. He didn’t move, and Tower called me and repeated that I was “clear to takeoff” I told ’em that I was waiting for the jet to move as I was afraid they’d blow me off the runway, so they asked him to pull up a bit and he did, then I took off.
Climbed out on runway heading as instructed, and then turned left “West on course” when they cleared me to do so. Changed to Cleveland Departure and, again, they cleared me right through their class B airspace at 6500 feet MSL.
I never did find that headwind. My groundspeed matched my airspeed for nearly the whole flight plus or minus a knot or two. I moved right along at about 134 knots. Pretty smooth flight in the calm air. VFR all the way.
1.9 hours home. If I had known the winds were gonna be calm, rather than a headwind, I would not have bought the expensive gas, and paid nearly $2 less per gallon back home. But, better to land with expensive gas in the tank than none at all.
2 hours each way is so much better than nearly 6 hours driving (each way). This a part of the reason that I own a plane….I just don’t get to use it that much for that what with the WuHan stuff these days.