Routing to Cleveland and Sporty'sSeptember 12

An interesting course on Systems and Procedures for Centurions was being  given by Cessna Pilots Association held in Batavia, Ohio.  We decided to go. It would be a good opportunity to learn some more about what makes our plane tick.


One of the little towns in Kansas

Following our normal routine leading up to departure, all was smooth as silk except for the fact that we were on the heals of a frontal system with another not far behind us. We filed IFR and Ueli launched off runway 8 and proceeded to Salina, Kansas (KSLN) for our fuel and pit stop. We landed on runway 17, a 13'337ft by 200ft strip designated by NASA as an alternate landing site for the space shuttle. The wind was more than blustery. Just overhead the sky changed from blue to grey. Ahead, the sky was black. We weren’t going anywhere. It was time to find a place to stay and have one of those yummy hot chocolate chip cookies at Flower Aviation.


Waiting for the front to pass at Salina (KSLN)Go? No-Go?  Looking south, wanting to go East.Our first afternoon and night in Salina was very good. Bundled up like Eskimos (in September no less) we decided to walk into town, have a coffee and talk about flying like the traveling airport bums we are.  Later we stopped at a little place to have an early for dinner before heading back to the room. It was only a few minutes after 5:00 PM but there were people lined up like soldiers clear out the door. Soon we found out that $7.00 bought an all you can eat buffet which was abundant in everyway. It is always interesting to visit a new place and see what’s what. Tired from the early morning departure, we nodded off about 9:00 that night. It was doubtful that we would be able to get out the next day and that turned out to be the case.


Happily on the way again.September 13   We rented a car, looked at the map and got a recommendation on what to see in the area. South of Salina there is an Old Dutch Village called Lindsborg. All we can say is that it was not our cup of tea and shortly we were on our way back to Salina, now under very dark skies. Once back, we went to the airport to check on the plane in hopes that we could fly out the next day. We enjoyed dinner at a little Italian restaurant in town which was very good, uncomplicated and fast.

September 14    It was time to roll again. There was a window which let us out to be on our way. With Ueli chomping at the bit and already strapped in, Joan jumped in the left seat, got our clearance and moved out like we had been in Salina for a century. Off we went to St. Louis, Missouri, IFR in actual most of the way. The flight ended uneventful with an ILS into St. Louis Downtown Airport, IL (KCPS). We tied down for two nights so we could investigate the City by foot and the next day, by air. 


St. Louis is in the process of revival and most of the people we met possessed a kindness and humor not found in many other larger Cities. Although the city has seen more prosperous days, the buildings are stately with handsome architectural features depicting the 1930 40 era. The famous “Arch” set on the River front was built in 1968. Tourists and locals abound to relax, take pictures and observe the old paddle steamers, immense barges and horse drawn carriages which regularly parade along the water front.  St. Louis in the sunshineBusy Mississippi

The old Union Station now is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, hotels. Most of it is enclosed with glass domes and is a delightful place to stroll and window shop. We took advantage of the early hour to grab a bite to eat and walk on back to our hotel. It is a long walk but well worth the time it takes to view the grand old buildings. One thing which happened nearly cost us our lives. As we stepped out of a shop located on a corner, there was a horrifying crash not even ten feet behind us. A ten foot piece of facade had fallen off the corner of the building and scared us half to death – not far from reality. As we looked up we could see another piece coming down and we ran like jack rabbits to get out of the way. All around us people were screaming. Ueli ran to find the police while I stayed behind to warn others that another piece was about to come down and it did. Four blocks were immediately closed to the public while rescue squads, police and TV reporters swarmed about. No one was hurt and that was the good news.


September 15 Since it seemed safer to be in the air, we opted for a local flight the next day. Departure quickly gave us a clearance to circle in front of the “Arch” over the muddy Mississippi and Ueli delighted in taking his usual great pictures. We proceeded south to where the River meets up with the Ohio River at Cape Girardeau. The bird’s eye view over and along the river banks was spectacular. Enormous barges and ships of every kind cruised up and down the Rivers .It was very exciting and a most wonderful thing to have experienced.


September 16 Ueli had the itch to fly and he happily took over the plane after several days. We both love to fly, but Joan would rather fly any day and leave the picture taking and video making to Ueli. He is really the expert with photography, but fair is fair; the man deserves to fly also! He needs to stay current so I let him do a segment now and then. It’s the minimum since he already claims to know everything anyhow. Actually, he does.

Cleveland  skyline with Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL)Mary Ellen (Joan's sister)The flight to Cleveland was gorgeous and all the way accompanied with friendly and efficient controllers. While Ueli flew, Joan was busy with Approach rifling clearances like we were all at an auction. The clearance was so lengthy that Joan got about three quarters the way through before saying, “And I can’t remember the rest.” Approach responded with quite a good sense of humor, despite his enormous load and skirted us around Class B along the shore of Lake Erie. The view of downtown Cleveland was spectacular we and landed without another glitch at Burke Lakefront (KBKL).

 Once checked into the hotel, we drove to a nearby town to see Joan’s sister, Mary Ellen and her family. It was a great to be together again and have time to catch up after two years. The next day, Mary’s husband, Bill showed us the highlights of Cleveland and the surrounding area that we never would have found ourselves. The Cleveland area is quite remarkable and a wonderful place to live and visit.


September 18 

The weather was becoming poor once again so we said our goodbyes and shoved off to the next destination of the world famous Sporty’s Pilot Shop. It is located at the Clermont Airport in Batavia, Ohio (I69). It was a kick to see where we have dropped so much money over the years. What a place, what great people – we were excited!

At Sporty's in BataviaCessna Class September 19   It was the first day of Centurion school for Systems and Procedures. Twenty seven of us from various areas of the US were in attendance. Joan was the only female. After a day, the guys realized she was also a pilot and had more hours than most anyone. She was now included in “the club”. It’s always funny for us to see this amusing reaction. It happens all the time.

 The day was a long one, about nine hours. Time flew by because it was incredibly interesting. The next day brought more exciting things; old parts of engines were passed around for inspection to show everyone what things look like when they have broken or on the way. While we were in class, the head mechanic for Cessna took all the keys to our planes and later on in the day reported his findings on what was wrong with each plane. In some cases it was humbling and downright scary. Our plane was chosen as one of two demonstrators not because it had many problems, but because it looked so nice and had a tail number everyone could remember. There it was possible to look at various parts and exact locations. The principle of this course was not to reread the POH but to have hands on experience on how to operate the aircraft safely and efficiently. Of course there were many personnel experiences exchanged. Later, we had a delicious barbecue at Sporty’s and viewed the latest products. The Segway was one of them. What a fun toy it was and everyone had a chance to try it out. It’s really wonderful to feel like a kid and still be grownup. A super time was had by all.

September 22   Being so close to downtown Cincinnati, it was a must to check out, but once there we found it unremarkable, nevertheless an experience. Joan got sick on the food and the next day we were on our way west. 


Power generators near CincinnatiBreakfast is servedSeptember 23 Once again, the weather was nothing to brag about. On our way to Kansas City, Kansas we flew over the winding, impressive Mississippi River. There is no shortage of interesting banks flocked with small towns, large cities, farmland, quarries, bridges and many other interesting things. It is a whole study in itself. We took many pictures of the great farmlands which span this beautiful country. We snacked on bagels to pass some time on the long flight home.  


Mississippi on the way home

Kansas City with Downtown Airport (KMKC) on base for runway 19As we approached the Kansas City Downtown airport (KMKC) the wind came at us with a vengeance, but we landed, got some gas and bucked the wind all the way back to Boulder. It was so strong that we lost two additional hours from Missouri to Colorado, but once safely on the ground, we longed to sleep in our own bed and quickly bedded N85S so we could load up the car and finally be back home. As Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” says, “There’s no place like home.”






Visit our other Trips
Santa Fe Boulder - Santa Fe - Boulder (roundtrip 600nm = 1120 km)
Aspen Daytrip to Aspen ( roundtrip 200nm = 360 km)
Westcoast Loop:  part 1 Boulder - Prescott - Palm Springs - San Diego - Napa (1130nm = 2100 km)
Westcoast Loop:  part 2 Napa - Portland - Kalispell - Billings - Boulder ( 1580nm = 2930 km total 2710nm = 5030 km)
Pittsburgh Boulder - San Joseph - Indianapolis - Pittsburgh - Des Moines - Boulder ( 2360nm = 4370 km)
Cleveland Boulder - Salina - St. Louis - Cleveland - Cincinnati - Kansas City - Boulder ( 2410nm = 4467 km)
Four State Swing: part 1 Boulder - Dutch John - Wendover - Ely - Marble Canyon
Four State Swing: part 2 Marble Canyon - Montrose - Boulder


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