Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 6: OK to MO

Weatherford, OK (OJA) to Lebanon, MO (LBO)
424 statute miles (368 nm)
Time enroute 3:54

This morning we took a few minutes to drive through downtown Weatherford and see sites from the Route 66 guidebook.

There was the Greek Temple building which later became the German Bank and is now a clothing store or thrift shop of some kind.

Then there was the blacksmith shop.

After that, we drove to the airport and prepared to depart. Once we were ready, we decided to take a quick peek at that General Tom Stafford Air and Space Museum. since we only had a minute, we convinced the attendant to let us pay $4 for both of us, where that is normally the fee for one fly-in guest. Land-arrivals normally pay $5 each.

Inside we were amazed at the size of the facility and the range of exhibits. You need a human reference to appreciate the immense size of one of the five rocket engines from a Saturn V booster.

We were equally surprised by how small the Apollo capsule turned out to be. Can you imagine three grown men leaving in that thing for over a week?

We were so impressed that we ended up adding $6 to our original $4 and paying the equivalent of full walk-in price. If you ever have the chance to go or to recommend this place to others, please take it. All in all, Weatherford was a great little stopover. The fuel was only about $3.60/gallon, the people were great and the museum was a bonus.

Once in the air, we headed east for Oklahoma City. With a few minutes of calm in the cockpit, I took this pilot's eye view shot of what I have been looking at for the last 18 hours.

The weather was all VFR today, but I did have to do a little cloud avoidance around Oklahoma City. The GPS track tells the story.

Looking east, there was a layer of clouds building, but the weather on the 396 made it sound like it was just in spots. I decided to go up and over the top. As I proceeded, I had to go to 7500 and later 9500 feet. I was making sure to keep my options open, including going IFR or turning back fron spreading clouds. When I realized that I was soon going to be on top of a layer, I took advantage of a big but funny-shaped hole and squiqqled down to get below it.

Leaving Oklahaoma City behind, our next destination was Kansas. Route 66 just nips a a fifteen mile bit out of the southeastern corner of Dorothyland. The only airport near that stretch is private. I made a half-hearted attept to reach the owners and get permission to land. When that didn't work, I opted to make Oswego, KS (K67) our next waypoint.

Kansas was my second all-new state of the trip. After landing, I took in the cornfields surrounding the airport.

It was pretty quiet at the airport. Airport listings say there are about 50 operations a month, which comes out to just under a flight a day.

I don't know if this old Ercoupe accounts for any of those operations. To my eye, it wasn't in flying condition, but I noticed that there was air in the tires so it isn't totally abandoned.

From Oswego, we headed due east to intercept 66 again in Joplin, Mo. Along the way, we passed this drive-in in Carthage, Mo.

This distinctive building seems like a county courthouse or municipal building.

We ended our day in Lebanon, Mo, between Springfield and St. Louis. The airport runways and facilities were excellent. We picked Lebanon because of a recommendation to stay at the Munger Moss Motel, an old Route 66 stand-by.

It was novel, but unfortunately it seemed like munger moss was something growing under the rug in our room. The room was clean and well-maintained, but the pervasive mustiness was a bit of a let-down. We dined at Dowd's Catfish House, where I fell in love with the pickled tomato relish.

The evening ended with the discovery of a wi-fi enabled Starbacks that appeared just as we had given up the search and pulled into a parking lot to return to the hotel.


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