Up at 05:00 and 10 minutes later out the door into a still dark and humid Tennessee morning. A few birds are singing other than that it is still. Hans and me driving back to the airport in the Courtesy Car and with our eyelids still at half shutter trying hard to find the right way back in the mist.
A last weather check, file a flight plan, get the radar and all this from the back of the car. We are getting into the flying/traveling mode. I have to say, not being a geek, that all the little electro gizmos for sure ease the surprise factor in Aviation. The Ipad with fore-flight is working really well, even for the occasional cockpit use.
iPad with foreflight showing the radar
Tennessee Morning Mist
Taking off at Sunrise!
Only about an hour in and the weather in front of us is getting less and less to our liking, time to divert. Click nearest on the Garmin 296 and the winner is...: drumroll please. dyers burg,TN off to our SW by about 2o minutes. As we are closing it is getting foggy below and we are only at about 2500', by about 3 miles out we are still looking for the airport. Trust your instruments, in this case the 296 which brings us dead smack over the runway. Awos 3 tells us the wind is favoring 16 and three minutes later we are rolling up to the terminal. Tie down and off to Breakfast. It's only 7:15.
Dyersburg ...where are you?
Somewhere in the Mist...
Yet another courtesy car and a quick drive down to Huddle's for a real breakfast. Finally not a bagel. We both chomp down on some eggs, bacon, beef, ...toast and Jelly, aaahhh!
Off again by 09:00 with a new plan to head west instead of NW, weather being the issue. Next planned stop Walnut Ridge Regional, AR and we crossing the Mississippi after about 20 minutes in. Still smooth flying but by about 1/2 way in we are getting serious headwinds and our groundspeed drops to 48mph average... Time to divert again, this time it is almost off our nose in Paragould, AR. We line up for the main runway, but the crosswinds (about 10mph) are drifting us slightly too much, go around and head for the grass and into wind. AAAHHH, grass runways, soft, no brakes needed for roll out.
The "Glass Cockpit" at work...
After a bit of snooze and some Quizno's it looks like the winds are shifting. At 17:30 it is finally in our favor and we are off again from Paragould to the west. Next stop, Gaston's, a grass strip in the Ozarks near the Arkansas and Missouri state line. A local lawyer gave us the rundown on how to use this "wilderness strip" with trees, and canyons and all; ie. trying to scare the crap out of us. I guess he hasn't seen Nimpo, the Penfold and or Silvertip International. Love to hear his story on those ones!
At least we are making good headway, doing little spurts of 90+ ...finally. Flying on a westbound track just south of the Missouri Stateline is cruising over God,s Country. This is really, really nice and one can see why folks head this way. Landing at Gaston's is a real breeze in a 701. No worries for us, gears always down and we are pretty slow by the time we hit the soft grass. 20 minutes later we find ourselves sitting on the shores of the White River and debating how cool this place must have been a couple of hundret years ago. One starts to understand the love people have for this place, he connection to it is easily felt even for a first timer. It is an amazing place, and Hans and me agree, one could easily fall in love with this area and live here.