In part 1 of my crazy Thanksgiving week, I discussed how we were delayed getting to lower Michigan due to weather. In part 2, our trip to upper Michigan was delayed due to cold starts and dropping landing gear. In part 3, the weather strikes again!
We were enjoying a "heat wave" in upper Michigan. That heat wave being 28 degrees! We enjoyed some fun walks on the icy Lake Superior beach, bringing Grandma out to nice meals and to a craft show and church, and quiet nights by the fire. Due to icing conditions, the warm spell had us wishing for either much colder, or much warmer weather.
Cloud bases were just above 3,000 feet and looked to be mostly overcast. We departed VFR out of CMX and hoped to find a hole to climb through and get above the chilly soup. About 20nm from CMX there was still no hole to be found and the cloud bases were driving us to a lower altitude. Soon, we were closed in by the descending cloud layer and mist started to freeze on the windshield. Pilot reports suggested that the cloud tops were 3,000 feet above us. That meant 3,000 feet of ice to fly through. We quickly turned around to land back at our departure airport.
We were both upset, and due to Bob's unique career, he had to get home that day. At times he regretted not trying to fly up through the clouds, but in the end we both agreed we made the right decision. That's 3,000 feet of ice to climb through and we'd gather just as much changing our mind and descending back through it as we did climbing into it.
Two airlines fly out a day at CMX and the last one was leaving in an hour and a half. Bob booked the last seat to DC and soon was giving Turbo and I hugs goodbye. We watched him board the plane and went back to Grandma's to await his return in a day or two to fly the Glasair back with us (yeah, I can't reach the rudder pedals-kind of important!).
But a snowstorm was quickly approaching...