We departed Sturgis, Michigan just after 10am on Friday, aiming for our first waypoint: Champaign, IL. Clouds were at about 2,500 - 3,000 feet above grounds so way stayed fairly low. But, as predicted, the weather continued to improve the farther we flew.
Eventually, the clouds broke up so much that we were able to climb on top and enjoy the view a bit more.
Once we passed Champaign, we set our sights on St. Louis. However, we made better time than expected, and passed over St. Louis to continue on toward Springfield, MO with mostly clear skies.
But biology took its toll and we decided to stop in Lebanon for fuel, food, and a restroom break.
At the Lebanon Airport we were greeted by the friendly folks at Lebanon Aviation Services, who fueled up the plane, offered us food and a ride into town if needed.
In Lebanon I found that our next goal, either Wichita or Tulsa, was unobtainable. Both were under IFR or nearly IFR conditions (low clouds and decreasing visibility) with the rain/ice/snow storm coming in. In fact, Lebanon was expecting several inches that night. With that news, we became rather discouraged and expected to spend the night in Lebanon. :-(
After eating and relaxing a bit, I got back on the computer and began to look at the weather more closely. I found a few destinations that were halfway between where we were and where we wanted to go and noticed that they still had good weather (clear up to 12,000 and 6-10 miles visibility).
With this new information, I called up a flight service briefer to talk about the options. Amusingly, I got the same briefer as last time. He realized I wasn't going away and decided to work with me on finding other options. After studying the weather for Saturday a bit more, he convinced me to shoot for Texarkana, AR or even Shreveport, LA.
Weather at both was diminishing but expected to be good enough for us to get in safely. And they didn't really help us get farther west but would put us in a better position for Saturday as the storms moved out. We'd be farther south and able to start heading across Texas earlier in the day.
So we packed up, hopped in the plane, and flew down to Texarkana, arriving about 30 minutes after sunset. The fine folks at TAC Air helped us with fuel, parking, and arranged a shuttle to the local Holiday Inn for the night. Best of all, there's a good Cajun Seafood restaurant right in the hotel.
This morning we're waiting for ceilings to lift high enough that we can begin the journey across Texas.
More pictures and GPS flight traces to come as time allows.
Posted by jzawodn at December 15, 2007 07:50 AM