Heading to OSH for Campsites!

Done 7/14/09 - Posted 7/20/09

Well another year has gone by already and it's that time again...time to get campsites for OSH.  This year I decided to get there a bit before the 2nd weekend pre-show, when I could have a good shot at getting these particular campsites.  Surprisingly, if I had only needed 2 or 3 sites, I could have even found some in Paul's Park!  Once again, for the maybe 4th year in a row, I'm in the same basic location...at the corner of Binder and Lindbergh, just down the row and once again someone else snagged the first site on the row with their tent, and someone snagged 4 sites at the other end of the row.  It's a popular place.  Despite the changes this year, the further out rows from this one were pretty much open other than a random site taken here and there, and some down further.

I almost didn't go on this day.  I got up and was going to leave early and checked the weather and there was a huge mass of rain that was coming my way.  It actually was already upon us in the morning, and everything you saw from the radar made it look like a miserable day.  So I waited another hour and a half and checked again.  Sure enough, you could see that despite all the rain, most airports even under the rain were still VFR or at least marginal, and the rain kind of dissipated as time went on, although the weather system remained...it morphed a little.  That was enough for me, I took off with the girls and headed over to stake our sites!  The trip over was the standard 1 hour almost on the head.  This year we've all been so busy at work that we didn't have time to prepare the vehicles and camper by this day, so I did two trips, following up with a 2nd trip over on 7/18 to drop off our camper.

As you can see, we staked, taped, and marked our sites, getting enough room to make everyone comfortable.  We're probably a couple rows or so away from RV-10 HQ, but I really like being under these trees if possible, and it's a little closer to the gates.

For the trip home, I filed IFR using my iPhone's ForeFlight software.  A quick plug for this...  It took me a lot of nerve to fork over the $75 for an iPod Touch app initially, but not long after I bought it, they added even more features.  For our Bahamas trip I found it invaluable to have an iPod Touch and Foreflight to check the weather when I had WiFi.  I used a Cradlepoint PHS300 personal hotspot tethered to my standard EVDO Capable Motorola VE20 phone.  In our neck of the woods, there is no AT&T 3G, and to tell you the truth, AT&T's service sucks in my area, so the VE20 gave me faster bandwidth than AT&T's 3G is capable for, at less cost.  Anyway, this combo worked well for me, but there were a couple drawbacks.  One is that I had to carry the cord and cradlepoint with me to get WiFi.  The other is that Alltel, my carrier, doesn't use GSM and wasn't available in the Bahamas.  In the Bahamas I was exposed to my pal Ed's iPhone which worked in the Bahamas, but better yet, on WiFi we could use Skype to talk using VOIP for free and it worked awesome on WiFi.  So after having this combo for a while, I finally caved in and got an iPhone 3GS.  Let me tell you....first of all, every pilot should consider at least getting an iPod Touch with Foreflight...it's the absolute fastest way to get weather imagery and TAF/METAR/Aiport information that you'll ever find, AND you can file flight plans with it.  But, if you're a pilot who does a lot of travel, you'd not regret getting a full iPhone for a second.  I've had mine a couple weeks now and I have no buyer's remorse over this one.  It has built-in GPS which works well, and allows me to use the $10 "SkyCharts" app, you can use the GPS with road maps (I also have the MotionX GPS software which rocks with satellite maps), but Foreflight is an absolute DREAM with an iPhone.  For this return trip I said I filed my plan with it.  Well, while walking back to the plane I did a quick weather check again of the route, then took the route and filed it with ATC while I walked.  By the time I reached the plane I was able to get in, start up, and my clearance was in the system waiting for me.  It was absolutely AMAZING!

So the photos below tell the story....we took off, climbed out, and they kept me down at 6,000 due to active MOA's all over central Wisconsin, some of which started at 8,000.  They actually routed me around all but one of the MOA's, and I flew along through soggy clouds and did the approach into KLUM.  It was a very successful day of flying.  The trip on the 18th went much the same...it was another PERFECT day for IFR flying even though weather was called as VFR.  We arrived at OSH and another plane had just gotten there and had flown under the weather all the way in, while we flew over it in sunny skies.  It makes the trip so absolutely enjoyable when you can blast up through a thick layer of soggy clouds into blue skies!  So as it stands right now, I am a 2009 property owner at OSH, along with Scott and his family, Lenny, Vic, and Gary Blankenbiller!  Stop by and say "Hi" at the show!


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