Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Maryland-New York-Canada-Michigan Adventure

Turbo at the Ottawa Flying Club
I previously wrote about a surprise trip to Canada as an anniversary gift from Bob and how we were later trapped due to airplane problems and had to take the 8 1/2 hour drive home. If you need to catch up on that little adventure, you can read parts 1 and 2. This Thursday we started on the road with our puppy, Turbo, to pick up the repaired plane.

Thursday night after work we drove four hours to Binghamton, NY and stayed in a pet friendly Double Tree ($25 fee). It was Turbo's first time in a hotel as well as in an elevator. He enjoyed both! He was like a toddler as he jumped between the two queen beds in our room and explored every corner of our room.

The next morning, we completed the four and half hours to take us over the border and into Canada. When bringing a dog either way across the border, you must provide a rabies certificate. I also had a letter of health from the vet just to be safe. In addition, many websites note that what dog food you bring across the border would be scrutinized. However, we never had an issue as did many friends when I asked them about this.

The drive to Canada was pretty uneventful, I drove first while Bob slept and Turbo was in the back chewing up our car rental agreement. This would later play an important role after Bob had thrown up the shredded contract at a gas station. I was curled up in the backseat sleeping with Turbo when I felt the car stop, I peeked out the window and sure enough, we were being pulled over and the cop wanted a copy of that agreement. Luckily, we looked like innocent speeders and made it over the border and to Ottawa International Airport (YOW) without any further delays.

Lake St. Clair
The airplane was fixed on time and waiting for us at the Ottawa Flying Club. It turns out it had a lose gland nut, so was not a very extensive repair. The Ottawa Flying Club was such a cool place that it deserves it's own special blog post that will debut tomorrow. Want to learn more about this funky nut? Bob will guest post within the week with all you need to know gland nuts on your landing gear! Ah the anticipation!

After some lunch and packing up, we called flight service to set up our VFR flight plan. What's neat about flight service in Canada is that they give you a squawk code right then and there over the phone. The next phone call was to customs at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). The landing time your provide them must be within 15 minutes of your actual arrival. This can be tricky and we ended up calling FSS to update our time (1/2 hour later) en route. Airports of entry, you do not have to call ahead. But landing rights airports, like PTK require a phone call because customs officers are not available at all hours.

The flight from YOW to PTK was very smooth with clear skies and a very bright sun. Our route caused us to ask the ultimate question: Where would we land in the event of an engine failure? For much of the trip, there was simply just acres upon acres of swamp land and lakes below us. The rest of the trip nicked the corner of Lake St. Clair which with the sun looked like we could have been flying somewhere tropical. 

Upon landing, we were instructed to taxi onto the blue dot in front of the terminal and wait for customs. An officer came out within just a few minutes to check our passports, Turbo's paperwork (he got some spoiling and some petting) and to walk around the plane with a radiation detector. Soon after we were taxiing into our usual FBO Royal Air and were picked up just in time by my mother and grandfather to meet a lot of family for dinner at my aunt's.

The weekend was filled with:

1. Visiting with friends
2. Laying on the lake
On the lake! Lilly pads aren't very tasty! 
3. Lots and lots of eating
4. Shopping (I got us a super cute airplane lawn ornament at The Angel the Witch and the Old Crow and Bob so graciously bought me a beautiful necklace with a black pearl at Simply Marcella.
5. The need for more sleep

Before we knew it, it was Sunday and time to head home. We loaded up some leftovers, our newly bought loot and the pup. In and out of clouds and rain in MI and OH, the weather later opened up to We made one stop along the way at Grove City airport in PA for a potty break. Unfortunately, the FBO was closed. So, hopefully they are not cameras along the building behind those bushes...On another note, it seemed to be a very active airport for skydiving which was fun to watch.

In just two and a half hours, we landed back in Frederick ready for...more eating!

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