No flying today but wandering around in Chicago. We started the day with a boat tour that took us along most of the tall buildings of the city center. Amazing how tall and different these buildings are. Here’s an impression; more photos in today’s photo gallery (20110909-USA-Chicago)
And since windows get dirty, they need to be cleaned by brave men…
After the boat tour we walked around and enjoyed the views. It’s a big city, but it’s easy to get to places. As with any big city with tall buildings, there’s always one that has an option to go to the top floor to have a good view on the city. So does Chicago. And this building has a nice feature: you can stand in a glass box that extends out of the building. Have a look at Lex and Egon here; Egon really does not like hights, so the only way to get him in the box is to have him look up…
After a day walking around, we ended up in an Italian restaurant; we ordered “small pizza’s”, but even that was way too much to eat. The left overs (at least two full pizzas) were nicely put in a doggy bag and we handed them over to some of the homeless people on the street.
That’s it for today. The general impression: Chicago is a nice city and for sure worth while visiting. I may come back to this place in the future.
After a long and perfect evening in Nashville, we are on our way to the first big city that we will visit: Chicago. It was a very long night last night; therefore I hopped on the backseat this morning and let the Kooy-boys fly me to the next destination. The landscape isn’t really special. There’s one thing that’s clear though: there’s still a lot of construction going on. On our track we saw a lot of housing development sites.
We’re stopping at St. Louis to have lunch and fuel the planes. After take-off we overfly the river to have a peek at the city and its world famous arc.
The next track brings us over the cornfields of America. This is massive; everywhere you look, there’s corn or grassland. This is where America gets its food.
The last track of the day brings us into Chicago. Ferdinand selected a nice airport; however he didn’t realize how busy this airport is. The jumbos are all around us and the weather is extremely poor; low ceiling, poor visibility. Once we landed, we had to taxi to the other side of the airport. It took ages to get there. What an experience.
We ended up in the Hyat in Chicago; perfect hotel and near the city center. Tomorrow we are going to “do Chicago in one day”.
Today we will fly to Nashville Tennessee; world famous because of the music scene. We’ve been here a few years back and really enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to it. But before we get there, we need to do some flying. Nothing specific to report with regards to the trip itself. It’s a beautiful day, weather is good.
Oh, there was one minor detail: we got interviewed by the FBI… Yesterday we took some pictures on the Tallahassee airport, an airport heavily used by the USA Navy. A few days back, the FBI published a “small aircraft terror warning”. And there they are: a lot of foreigners flying small aircraft and taking pictures of military aircraft. Ohh… and they are en route to New York and expect to be there on 9/11. After a short interview (the guys were really friendly and taking a lot of notes), they were convinced that this was not the Al-Qaida cell they were looking for and left in their big four wheel drive with tinted windows.
Once we got to Nashville, it was time to hit the town. And we did. We had a very nice dinner and then hit the bars. Nice night out; good music; too much beer…
First event of the day: Lex had to fly back to Merrit Island, since he forgot the bag with all his paperwork and credit cards with the FBO yesterday. According to the weather forecast, we would get some bad weather during the morning, so it was questionable whether he would be able to return to Kissimmee. We were still stuck at Kissimmee, since the paperwork of Ferdinand was not yet completed.
By the time Lex was returning to Kissimmee, the thunderstorms were hitting Kissimmee. We just tied down his plane when the wind and rain hit the airport.
After a few hours, the weather became much better. The thunderstorms moved away from Kissimmee, however not from the airport that we planned to fly to today. As a result, we did exactly what we did last year: change the route to match the weather. We’re going to fly to Chicago first; then New York and back to Kissimmee.
Although the paperwork of Ferdinand is still not completed, we decided to start the tour. Ferdinand and Tom will remain in Kissimmee and catch up once the documents are there. Therefore Egon, Lex, Kees, Jeroen and myself took off for our first stop: Cedar Key. During the flight we encountered several rain showers; but since we could easily circumvent them, they were no issue. They resulted in some nice pictures though.
We’ve been to Cedar Key before in 2008; it’s an airport that is situated on a small island and therefore starts and ends in the water.
There’s nothing on the airport of Cedar Key, so after a short break it was time to move on to Tallahassee. We ended up with the FBO named “million air”; what a brilliant name. The interior of their building matched their name,
After our landing we found out that Ferdinand’s documents were approved and Tom and Ferdinand also left Kissimmee on route to Tallahassee. For us this meant that we had a few hours of waiting ahead. The weather was beautiful; a nice 23 degrees. This airport is used by the US Navy for all sorts of training. While we were there, an Orion was practicing touch and go’s and there were some other aircraft of the US Navy stationed here.
Once Ferdinand and Tom arrived, we got to our hotel to enjoy a nice dinner and to celebrate that we were “on the road”. Tomorrow we’re heading to Chicago.
The track of today:
Since I am done with the paperwork and check outs, I joined Lex and Egon on a sightseeing tour. After leaving Kissimmee, we flew to the coast; then along the Kennedy Space Center where they used to launch the space shuttle; then back to Kissimmee overflying the Disney parks.
It was quite a bumpy ride; the temperature at the ground is over 32 degrees. The weather forecast shows thunderstorms later today. Once we returned to Kissimmee, we found that for most of the pilots the paperwork was done and everyone was getting ready to fly to Vero Beach for lunch. So, I hopped on the Cirrus of Lex again for a flight to Vero Beach.
Once there, we found out that the restaurant was closed to Labor Day which is public holiday over here. Looks like some people can still afford the chauffeur driving them to their private jet and have him load the bags onto it.
By now it was after 14.00 and everyone was getting a bit hungry. We got on the planes again to hop over to Merritt Island.
A taxi took us to a restaurant about 15 minutes away from the airport. While driving back from the restaurant, we noticed that the sky was getting dark and by the time we got to the airport, we were surrounded by rain, lightning and a lot of wind; no flying conditions. We waited for some time to allow the bad weather to move on, not only at Merritt Island, but also at Kissimmee since we had to fly back there. After all the rain, we had a nice smooth ride back.
Another day in paradise. Tomorrow we will start the flying tour up north.