The Stars and Planets Aligned – Part 1

The old saying “When the stars and planets align…” seems to have real meaning on this trip. They did just that to enable this trip, both figuratively and literally. The three M’s (Mercury, Mars, Moon) and the Sun in close proximity, and then topped off with a total eclipse.

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It all started with a decision to sell one of my airplanes, and ended with several giant scale fly in events and a total solar eclipse.

The short story. The buyer was in Florida, and I was in Boston. We needed to get the airplane to him. Meeting half way seemed like the best answer. We chose a location and date. I saw the dates aligned with a full scale fly in for the total eclipse in South Carolina, just 6 hours further down the road. So the decision was made to meet the buyer at Triple Tree Aerodrome where I would attend the fly in and enjoy the total eclipse.

Looking at my calendar of possible events, the trip could also link together a few other RC fly ins before and after, creating a string of events spanning from MA to NY, NC, SC, back to NY, then home. Nearly three weeks in total, and over 2,000 miles. Sounds like a great trip.

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One of my favorite airplanes to see at the Chenango Bridge event. Pilots own design, meticulously built, and a great flying airplane.

A 5 hour drive to Chenango Bridge NY launched the trip with a 4 day giant scale RC event, which allowed me to catch up with friends from the NY area I haven’t seen since last year. I would see many of them again at the Warbirds over Wesport event on my return two weeks later. Both really enjoyable events. At the conclusion of the event, I was off to North Carolina.

After the 8 hour 500 mile drive, I did a quick overnight at a truck stop in Roanoke Virginia. Pulled in late and left at first light. Very peaceful night. The roar of trucks firing up in the morning made a great alarm clock. Refreshed, I headed back out on the blacktop for the next 300 mile leg into the land of pigs, peaches, and fireworks. At least that is what the billboards I see so frequently in that area imply. Oh, and moonshine. Not blasted on the billboards, but the presence isn’t hard to find.

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Just escaping a pretty nasty storm leaving North Carolina and entering South Carolina.

As I neared the South Carolina border, a nasty thunder storm chased me out of North Carolina. I could see it in front of me and off to the left, and we seemed to be on a converging path based on the weather radar. The NOAA weather station warned of heavy lightning and thunder with winds to 40mph, and advised people to remain indoors. I stepped up my speed to 70-75mph trying to out run it. Luckily, only the beginning of it caught me. But I could see the black skies and very frequent flashes of lightning in my rear view mirror chasing me.

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The storms 15mph northerly track and my 70-75mph southeast allowed me to just skirt the edge of the storms 40mphs winds and heavy rain and lightning

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Entering the Carolinas, these warnings became very common.

I was early for my meeting with the buyer, and the Solar Eclipse Fly In, so I reserved a campground for a few days. Pine Ridge Campground, about 25 minutes from Triple Tree Aerodrome. It was a great way to catch up on work, relax, and unwind for a few days. It was a great little campground, clean, friendly hosts, and updated. The bathrooms for example, were anything but what you would expect in most campgrounds. All tile, modern, very clean, halogen lighting, granite counters.

Normally I’d boondock somewhere and explore the area during the day. But it was hot and muggy mid-August, and I wanted the ability to run the air conditioning at night if need be. I could run it off the built in generator during the day, but I don’t run it while I sleep for safety reasons. So I elected to get a campsite with electric.

I spent the days doing errands, laundry, projects for work, and some general rest and relaxation. It was a quiet campground, day or night. I really enjoyed my stay, and would return.

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Not your typical campground bathrooms

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Modern, updated, great showers and water pressure

 

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