We made it home from Iowa Tuesday night. The trip reminded me of the good things and the bad things about Midwest winters and how difficult traveling in the Midwest in the winter can be. On Monday we drove to the Ceder Rapids airport and Duke returned the rental car while I lugged the bags inside. When I got to the airline counter the lady informed me that all flights out were canceled and that driving to another airport Like Des Moines or O’Hare wouldn’t help because the whole area was having the same fog problems. We changed the reservations for the same flight on Tuesday and rented a new car from a different company because National now said they were out of cars even though we had just turned ours in and obviously no one was going to be coming in to the closed airport to rent a car!
On Tuesday it looked like planes were flying even though it was snowing pretty hard by the time we left for Cedar Rapids. We arrived at the Eastern Iowa Airport and optimistically checked in. The flight from Cedar Rapids to Dallas was scheduled to be on a small three seat across jet. We flew in on the same kind of plane. It holds about 40 people but the cabin is so small that Duke can’t stand up straight in the aisle. I was surprised when we boarded the plane pretty much on time. There was snow and ice on the windows and wings so I was glad when they started to spray orange stuff to de-ice the plane. But then pilot announced that there was bad weather in Dallas so we would be waiting in Cedar Rapids for about an hour until air traffic control let us take off. After an hour of sitting on the plane on the ground watching more ice and snow build up on the wings I was getting more and more nervous. I was sure that we would again have the flight canceled. But instead they started to de-ice us again and the pilot started to taxi out to the runway.
The de-icing process used two liquids one orange and the other a green gel like substance. As we taxied to the runway the second green gel substance was still on the wings. Apparently it is supposed to stop new ice from forming on the wings even though it was still snowing pretty hard. At the end of the runway the pilot announced that air traffic control wanted us to wait another 5 minutes. Five minutes later he announced that it would be another five minute. The green gel on the wings seemed to be doing its job but I was expecting the next announcement to be that we were going back to the terminal to de-ice again or perhaps even to have the flight canceled again. Instead after five more minutes we pulled out onto the runway and started down the runway to takeoff. As we built up speed the green gel was flowing off the wings. I suppose it was my imagination but it sure seemed like we took a very long time to build up enough speed and lift to get off the runway. In spite of my worries we made it.
We kept climbing. It was pretty bumpy but eventually we got through the turbulence and clouds . The blue sky and sun above the clouds was wonderful. I don’t think we saw the sun the whole time we were in Iowa except maybe on the first day when the temperature was -4 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill was -25. That was bone chilling cold.
We were about 90 minutes late getting into Dallas. We had to rush to make our Reno flight. But we made it and arrived home in Reno safely about 9:30 pm.
The good things about winter in the Midwest include the fun you can have doing things like sledding and snow man building
The first picture is of Duke and his nephew, Paul, racing. The next picture is of Duke and me getting ready to race. The snowmen are Wilbur and Fred built by Paul and Vicky.
I was inspired to write this post after reading the blog post Thirty Below on the Flight Level 390 blog. Dave who writes Flight Level 390 is a commercial pilot and a very talented writer. His blog is well worth reading regularly. Thirty Below is about what it took to get out of Edmonton recently.
I’ve been home four days and I’m leaving again tomorrow. Dad and I are driving the truck back to Escondido. We are going to pick up another load of his stuff. My sister B is flying in to Escondido Thursday night. The three of us will then drive Dad’s van and our truck, loaded to the gills, back north to Reno. Dad moves in to his new apartment on Saturday.