Disclaimer - heavy dog content and Pete blathering to follow..........
It has been an interesting roller coaster of a week. In the course of 3 days, I have seen a depressing low that brought me to tears, rekindled an old relationship via RV, and made a new best friend.
Things started off bad on Weds when we realized that time had run out for our old Boxer, Boo. For close to 10 years, this character was highlight of our lives, greeting us with a daily wiggle-wag and always quick to climb all 80 pounds onto your lap for a "cuddle". He had lost most of his hind leg function and finally, control of his bowels. We scheduled the vet, and I carried him in to the office on Thursday afternoon crying like a baby. Boo moved to a better place.
Perhaps knowing I needed a distraction, the Boxer Ladies asked me for a favor. Cooper, a Boxer I met on the rescue mission that started it all
needed a ride to Minne to have some eye surgery. They had lined up ground transport from Dayton to Indy, and Pilot Mike of Sully Rescue
fame agreed to get him to the western Chicago area from KEYE in his Cherokee. How could I say no, I figured it would be good therapy.
The only issue might be the weather. It was clear, but cold, really cold. Forecast said -2 to 2 for a an 8 am takeoff from Anoka. Well, the plane does not know it is cold, but I do, so I donned long johns, flannel jeans, 2 pairs of wool socks, a sweatshirt, and stocking cap. I was stylin'. Would you let your dog fly with this guy?
The WX by Chicago was acting all snowy for us, so I called Pilot Mike and we "audibled" from Aurora to Illinois Valley Regional at Peru where the WX was CAVU. Ya gotta love the Midwest for airport options.
The bank sign on the way to the airport said -4F, not fun, but the sun was up and it could only get warmer - and Cooper needed a ride. I got a briefing and preflighted the -9A. Bernie and Alex showed up to take the SkyPig 1 (Bonanza) for spin. Maybe I was not as crazy as I thought, (or they were as crazy as me). Finally, I opened the door and fired up the lycoming, yep it was cold! The tower guys set me up with flight following to KVYS and I was off. Approach cleared me right up into the Bravo and the sleepy, frozen cities passed below me.
The route to Cooper was right down the Mississippi, so navigation was easy, even for me.
The high layer above provided some interesting light.
I ended up on top for about 20 minutes - very peaceful
2 hrs later I was turning final for the brand new runway 7 at KVYS. I heard Mike and Cooper on unicom landing right before me.
On the ground, we found Cooper and Mike hanging out.
After a quick pit stop, Mike and I loaded Coop up, and we were off. You can see Coop has some eye issues, but I can assure you this in no way slows this big boy down!