Our camping gear is all packed, weighed and recorded, and stacked ready to put in the car and take to the airport. It took us much of Saturday to finalize our gear. We ended up going shopping for a third time... but hopefully we will be properly outfitted for the trip, and properly balanced for the flight. Lots of weighing things and adding up weights. Husband still needs to do the final balance check to make sure how we plan to load the plane will work ok. I won't divulge how much of the weight is fuel vs. gear vs. us... but will say that we will be starting out pretty much at gross weight.
We're hoping headwinds will be light, as then we'll be able to make the trip with only one stop (which will coincide with an overnight), though we are trying to allow time for a second stop if needed. Our biggest concern is having enough fuel to be able to deal with any holding or diverting time that we might need on approach to Oshkosh-- but also to be well within our weight and balance limitations to be able to go low, slow, and make unexpected maneuvers if necessary.
We flew up to Lancaster yesterday to the Joe Pilot Shop (Airways) on the field. It seemed a little silly to go right before we go to the biggest gathering of aviation vendors in the US... but we needed tie downs, and it seemed simplest to have them on the plane when we land in Osh... self-contained. We decided to go for the Sunday brunch on the field at Florentino's, and then head over to the Pilot Shop. After a leisurely brunch and a relaxed stroll through the shop, we checked weather again before heading out to the plane. But... not so fast! Out of nowhere, a whole grouping of convective cells had popped up, unpredicted! Yikes! Within a few minutes, several pilots filled the lounge-- all had been forced to divert (or delay) for the storms. At one point, there was even a tornado warning a few miles from the airport.
We took the opportunity to pull out our charts and start our route planning. Three hours later, the storms had mostly cleared, and our route was marked on the 2 wide area charts (WACs) the 2 of the 3 sectionals that we'll need. A big part of the discussion was whether to overfly Lake Michigan to get there, or to go around the long way. We've decided to try and cut straight across the lake-- but only if we think we'll be able to fly at 8500 feet to allow ourselves to be within gliding distance of terra firma the whole way. We even picked a few potential overnight locations (Toledo is one, I forget the other) along each route. We want to be far enough along that we only have about 2-2.5 hours left for Thursday morning.
After a lengthy debate over how we will get propane for our little grill and single burner stove, we finally discovered that there is a camping store at Oshkosh-- in the Camp Scholler section of the grounds-- so hopefully that last hurdle is resolved. Now, I just have to get our clothes and toiletries packed up. I'm hoping to be able to keep those within 25-30 lbs... but that may require a miracle!
At this point, even though we don't depart until Wed night, it is very hard to force myself to concentrate on reviewing client deliverables!