So I bid my vacation a year in advance to try and catch the Petit Jean weekend, I missed it by one weekend this year. Oh well, I'm still loading the airplane and taking my oldest daughter Hope flying. I"m kinda a sucker for trips in the RV with my family.
I was planning on a trip out west, but with TS Sergio moisture working it's way through the southwest I shifted my focus east. After a look at the long range weather and a couple last minute calls, emails and texts I made a "flexible" plan for a trip to DC and East Tennessee.
Saturday morning I woke to the alarm, peeked outside then pulled current METARs/TAFs and went back to bed. I'm not mixing IFR with darkness and I got a little more sleep. I settled for 45 minutes after sunrise and some improvement in the ceilings/Vis. The layer was less than 300' thick, passed on a PIREP and climbed Eastward.
I planned a 4+15 leg at FL190 and 60+ tailwinds, issues with my O2 had me change to 110 and a fuel stop at KBFR in Indiana.
4.7 hours flight time from home base by Kc we landed at KHWY just after lunchtime. We grabbed a courtesy car and headed through the Virginia country side to the FAA Command Center where my Friend and co-worker Jess was expecting us. Jess gave us a in depth tour of the command center, the home of Traffic Management Initiatives-Weather ReRoutes-Ground Delay Programs and general headquarters of "The Big Picture." Acronyms were used liberally and we had a great tour!
On the way to the Command Center we passed this sign and it peaked our interest but it was only 2:00....
On the way back to the airport we stopped at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church to see what the "Crabs to Go" was all about. We walked into the parish center and were greeted by a couple parishioners and boxes of freshly steamed crabs. Being from Kansas Hope and I know our way around red meat, but our seafood experience is pretty limited. The Parishioners were great and after a couple minutes of dual instruction we were signed off and sent away with half a dozen crabs and a miniature mallet. Luckily there was a picnic table at the airport and we had a seafood experience while watching the airplanes. We tore those crabs up!
Just happened to run into another VAF'r BUD K from back home while we were paying for fuel, small world!