Saturday, July 23, 2005

Day 14 Summary

Kept you in suspense for a day, didn't we?

Don't sweat it, IFR Pilot and Dadster are still with ya. We were just in places where there was zero -- and I do mean zero -- access to the internet. Today, that's been remedied, so let me try to bring y'all up to date.

When we last left you, our heroes were in Regina, SK. After restocking on groceries the night before, we departed early for Piney/Pinecreek. This airport literally straddles the U.S./Canada border. More importantly, it is open until 10:00 p.m. at night, so I was able to call and provide the requisite notice in advance to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Many other Customs locales close at 5:00 p.m. and don't open until 9:00 a.m., and so calling them in the morning would have meant either delaying our takeoff time, or requiring us to make a mid-trip stop. We wanted to avoid both, so Piney/Pinecreek it was.

Our path took us southeast until a few miles from the border, then east until we cleared the eastern edge of the Tiger North MOA. Here, you can see the total lack of evidence of the border between the US and Canada at the 49th parallel:

Here, we see proof of the Dynamic Duo's crossing of yet another border:

After obtaining the proper code for the transponder so that the AWACS wouldn't think we were trying to sneak across the border, we plodded along eastbound. Below, we see the customs inspection station located near some interstate highway; I forget which one:

A couple hours after taking off, we founds ourselves on the ground at Piney/Pinecreek. See?

There's no border painted anywhere on the airport, but the IFR Pilot determined where it was, took a photo, and provided you with an appropriate annotation:

We had some company: The biggest black flies that the IFR Pilot has ever seen. And, this lovely little 182 on floats that the Customs Agent searched with a fervor:

After a quick fuel up, we launched for Aitkin, Minnesota. After an hour an a half, we arrived just before a North American reported behind us. Apparently, he was on his way back from Colorado where he had some very important ADs complied with. The paint job was awesome! This thing look like it just rolled off the assembly line!

I can't decide if I want this one, or the King Air. Maybe I'll just take both. After I win the lottery, of course...

Also found on the Aitkin ramp was this crop duster. Not just any crop duster, but a bi-plane jetprop. Talk about loud!

For the first time, we broke out the tent and made camp. For the IFR Pilot, who hasn't been camping since he was a wee little IFR Pilot, it was peculiar. So absolutely quiet. Also, once it really got dark, having the airport beacon sweep by every couple of seconds was unnerving.

Around 1:30 a.m., the Dadster announced that he was going to try sleeping in the plane. He just couldn't get comy on the ground. The IFR Pilot stuck it out for a few more minutes, but was too worried about getting attacked by bears or robbers, that he rounded up the Dadster -- who looked like he was getting settled in -- and we crashed the pilot's lounge. Which, most importantly, had an air conditioner. It was pretty stinkin' hot in Aitkin.

And buggy. I hate bugs.

Did I mention that I hate bugs?

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