St. Joe

Bert picked us up from the hotel and brought breakfast, which we devoured hungrily on the drive to the airport. Also on the way we learned that Greg had coordinated with Bob Heimberger to let us borrow his XM Weather antenna which should help us to stay out of trouble flying further west. This antenna plugs into Robert´s Garmin 496 and gives you the capability to have live NEXRAD radar on your GPS. There was just one snag (actually there were two but we were able to solve one of them): Robert´s GPS does not show the XM Weather menu when he turns it on, which may have to do with the fact that he bought it in Europe, where this service is not available. We thought that we could probably solve this by updating his software. Well, we managed to update the Garmin´s software to version 3.90, which is the latest, but there´s still no XM menu option. We will have to call up Garmin´s support and see if they can help us figure this out.

There was bad weather and storms moving in from the southeast and we hurried to get off the ground before they shut us down, which we did manage. The weather was definitely on the change as evidenced by the hazy conditions limiting visibility somewhat (which is bad) and the tailwind, which pushed us along at an additional 15 mph (which is good).

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There is not much to tell and if I had taken more pictures of this trip, you couldn´t tell them apart anyway. We did a quick fuel stop, just to be on the safe side, in Mexico, MO, and reached St. Joe´s airport Rosecrans Municipial after about 2 hours of flight time.

When we landed, we were told to park next to an orange Aeronca and asked for the fuel truck. Along with the truck came the owner of the Aeronca who had been told by Doug Windhagen of our pending arrival in Rosecrans. Greg Gremminger in turn had told Doug that we were on our way. So we had been “handed off” to the next station on our trip.

Encountering so much hospitality and interest in our journey is very motivating and heart warming. I can´t thank enough all the people involved and apologize at the same time for not mentioning everybody´s name here. This has mainly two reasons: (1) there are just too many people and (2) I am really, really bad with names. I try to remember them correctly but at night or the early morning when I´m writing this, I get mixed up and a “Steve” might become a “John” or “Larry” or the other way around. Please accept my sincere apologies for that.

Initially we had intended to gas up at Rosecrans and, weather permitting, press on to Salina, KS. And the weather did look fine to the naked eye. However, when we went into the FBO to pay for the fuel, everybody present just pointed to the weather screen showing NEXRAD radar echoes all across our route to Salina. There were afternoon storms brewing, reminding us that now we had entered “Tornado Alley”. Steve, the owner of the Aeronca, was specifically here to lead us over to a small private strip, where we could hangar our gyros. So he played “Mother Goose” and led his two ducklings through the air.

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After a short flight of about 10 minutes we landed at a small private airstrip and were greeted by a veritable welcome party, the Morrow family and friends.


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After a hearty welcome and much shaking hands, we were treated to a late lunch right in the hangar.

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Just as we sat down to enjoy our lunch, a heavy and sudden shower passed overhead and reminded us that this is a good area of the country to get wet fast. We were glad that we had a roof over our heads and not just a whirly set of rotor blades. A shot of the hangar shows several airplanes and one Magni M16 gyro along with our two MT03s. The Magni belongs to Doug Wildhagen, who arrived a bit later.

After lunch, actually it was already 6 pm so you might call it an early dinner, Doug and Melinda, who had also flown in with her Aeronca Champ, wanted to take us to another private airstrip where a bunch of ultralights were parked. So we got in our gyros and followed Doug to the other strip, a couple of miles away.

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ohn, the owner of the strip and adjacent house, is a gentleman of 82 years and an avid airplane builder. We went down to his basement where he showed us his projects. There were two projects side by side, one metal frame job and the other one done in wood. His skills are exceptional. I guess they have to be after having built a fair number of planes already. It becomes ever more clear that Robert and I will be starting our own build at home. The spark and enthusiasm of home building our own aircraft is very catching.

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When we arrived back, there was a Globe reporter waiting for us, curious to learn about our endeavors and trip. The first thing we told her was never to call a gyro a “small helicopter”. She promised to keep that in mind. We´ll see...

The weather is supposed to be kind of iffy on Monday and Tuesday, with a 60% chance of showers. We´ll play it by ear and wait what it is really doing, before deciding what we´ll do. If it looks OK we´ll fly to Salina. If not, we´ll explore St. Joeseph as regular tourists and discover all about Emilia Earhart (who was born here), the Pony Express (which started here) and Jesse James (who ended here).


Robert & Chris.