Oshkosh 2021: A Photo-blog

Last night, we got home from Oshkosh. It was a great trip, and we were able to visit with many friends we haven’t seen since 2019. Still, after ten days of camping, porta-potties, and showers with handheld nozzles, I was glad to be home.

Rather than writing about the experience, I thought I’d show you some of it in photos.


En route, we stopped for breakfast at Port Clinton’s Tin Goose Diner where plane spotters outside watched us manouver our 182 between two other planes. When one of them thanked us for the show, I wasn’t sure if they meant the parking job or The Engineer’s landing prowess. 🙂 As it turned out, it took longer to park than to decide to press on after hearing there was a 30-45 minute wait for a table.

Farms in western Ohio — the topography many picture when they hear our state’s name.
Setting up temporary camp at our friends’ grass strip in Illinois.
Obligatory photo of dusk at the airstrip
Lineup of traffic going in to Oshkosh. Note: this is on the Saturday before the event begins on Monday.

On Sunday night, we celebrated two birthdays. A piper who was camping nearby heard us sing, so she brought her bagpipes and played us several tunes. I didn’t get a picture of her, and the one I took of her pipes includes the face of another camper. Although unwilling to share that photo without permission, I am mentioning the story because it illustrates the magic of Oshkosh.

View of camp on Brat Night, a yearly feast when many visit us to dine on brats and corn on the cob. We had between 200 and 250 people this year. Unbeknownst to us, balloonists had been scheduled for a demonstration at the end of our row. What a beautiful sight!
A few of the planes at the EAA Museum.

Below are some scenes from the Fly Market.
This made me smile.
Despite being only a short bus ride away, the seaplane base is an oasis of calm, away from the hurly-burly hustle and bustle of the main event.

On the way home, we flew past Chicago.

Here’s the city, hazy in the distance.
Growing closer.
Navy Pier
Chicago on the aviation chart.

Of course, there’s always the aftermath. Since I worked today, this pile of dirty clothing awaits my attention tomorrow.

Flying Life

Some people buy vacation homes. Our second home is a hangar. Here’s what it looks like.

The man in the photo is my stepfather, who introduced The Engineer to general aviation.
Atwood Lake in Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Landing at Carroll County-Tolson Airport. There’s a restaurant on the field, and today we went there for breakfast for the first time in a year and a half.

Beautiful Ohio (and a windsock, which was all over the place today due to gusty, variable winds)

The heat and winds made for a bumpy ride today, but it was wonderful to be back up in our 182 after its annual inspection.

Let’s Fly!

Nearing Lake Erie (Please excuse dead bugs on windscreen.)
Ice on the lake, islands in the distance
Flying the shore (along with every other plane today)

Johnson’s Island

I never fly over this island without thinking of the men imprisoned there during the Civil War when it served as a prisoner of war camp for captured Confederate officers. (hmttp://www.johnsons-island.org and (http://johnsonsisland.org/)

On a happier note, here are two shots of Cedar Point, a lakeside attraction for over 150 years. I worked there when the year it turned 110. Yeah, I’m that old. (http://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Cedar_Point and, for some vintage photos, go here https://www.cleveland.com/travel/2015/03/cedar_point_through_the_years.html)

Somewhat farther south is Chippewa Lake (shown here with Chippewa Inlet), one of the largest natural lakes in Ohio. Formed by glaciers, it was also once an amusement park in the early 1900s. Long defunct, it is now scheduled to become a county park. (https://urbexunderground.com/chippewa-lake-amusement-park/ and https://www.cleveland.com/community/2021/02/chippewa-lake-amusement-parks-metamorphosis-brings-it-back-to-nature.html)
Let’s fly! It’s a little bumpy, but I think you will enjoy the ride.

Vilnius Airport Puts A Christmas Tree Made Of Confiscated Items To Highlight The Importance Of Aviation Security | Bored Panda – Christmas Story #5

With the winter travel season well underway, the Aviation security officers at Vilnius Airport opted for an unusual take on the classic Christmas tree, aiming
— Read on www.boredpanda.com/christmas-tree-prohibited-luggage-items-vilnius-airport-lithuanian-airports/

Oshkosh 2019: A Few Plane Photos and Some Rude Behavior

I have a lot to share about the bees, but first, a few pictures from Oshkosh.

I noticed this plane a few times on our several trips to check on our plane, which was once again parked two miles from where we camp. In 2017 and 2018, we lucked out and were parked a mere 3/4 a mile away, but this year we were back in the North Forty.

Anyway, the reason I first noticed the plane was because it had something written on its side about the philosophy of the Choctaw Nation. As you can see here, the aircraft also has the seal of the Choctaws, and when I looked up the N-number, I learned it was owned by them, which I found interesting.

The Engineer looked up the type of plane this one is, but I’ve forgotten. I just liked seeing it be towed backward.

And this is the plane we camped under. It is a Norseman, 1944, if I remember correctly, and the photo doesn’t capture how large it is. Fellow Metro Warbird Hans flew it up (although it isn’t his), and kindly let us borrow a wing to camp beneath.

I don’t have a lot to say about Osh this year. Though we went a day earlier than usual, it felt shorter, probably because we had three lines of storms come through during the first day and a half.

The fields got very soggy (even lake-like in some areas), limiting the number of planes coming in the first weekend, so we were lucky to get in and set up before the storms.

One unusual occurrence: I heard someone brush against our tent one afternoon when I was inside reading (possibly napping). I thought it was The Engineer until I heard him ask someone if they wanted to rub it two more times and see if a genie popped out. I then heard a man apologizing and sounding embarrassed. Husband then says something like “No genie is going to come out, but my wife might.”

Later, he told me he’d come back to the tent to find a stranger rubbing his hands on the tent’s surface and using the moisture to clean his them.

Why would anyone think that was acceptable behavior?

First Pollen(!!!) and a Mystery

FIRST POLLEN!

Seen today on a Buzzer.

So, here’s the mystery: Why are these bees so interested in the stump from the (long) dead tree The Engineer cut down earlier this week? The girls were also rooting around in the sawdust below the stump.

There are many theories online about bees being attracted by fresh sawdust.

They think it’s pollen. I find it difficult to believe animals that depend on pollen as a primary source of food would confuse the two substances.

They are finding sap/resin to use for propolis. This might be true if the tree hadn’t been dead for so long. But we could literally see daylight through the woodpeckers’ holes.

Lastly, and most most intriguingly was this theory: The bees were finding fungi spores which have a high protein content similar to pollen. Since the dead trees in our yard often sport a variety of mushrooms and fungi, this one seems possible. Click through for a blog post about the idea. http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Bees_gathering_fungal_spores_from_sawdust__63__/

Still, I really have no idea, so if you have other information on why bees might forage in sawdust, I’d love for you to share in a comment.

In other backyard developments, a raccoon apparently visited our suet feeder last night.

I glanced out of the window this morning as I drank my tea and saw a woodpecker calmly snacking on the suet in the feeder, which had been relocated to the roof. The intrepid nighttime thief hadn’t even knocked off the hook where the feeder normally hangs (yellow arrow).

We also went flying today. Sky was kind of bleah – not great for photos, but It brightened up briefly, and I shot this view of one of the islands.

And that’s all the news from The Byrd and the Bees. (And I use the term “news” in the loosest possible sense.)

My Unsolicited (and Opinionated) Advice on “How to Do Oshkosh”

So, you’re finally doing it. This year, you are going to be one of the 590,000 or so aviation enthusiasts at Airventure 2018.

Congratulations! Be warned, however, “doing Oshkosh” for the first time can be overwhelming. So, let me give you some advice. I’m good at giving it, and you’re going to need it.

  1. First of all, no one but EAA officials call the event “Airventure.” It’s “Oshkosh,” plain and simple. Yes, I know EAA’s first fly-in was in 1953 at Timmerman Field, and it moved to Rockford, IL in 1959 before settling in Oshkosh in 1970. I understand non-aviators associate Oshkosh with overalls. Doesn’t matter. To those who love planes, Oshkosh = Airventure, and vice versa. (This may not be fair to Oshkosh residents, but they do benefit to the tune of $110 million economic impact from a single (crazy) week.)
  2. Even if you make use of the trams, you will be walking. A lot. Wear comfortable shoes. I always pack my Keen sandals. As The Engineer said when I finally bought him a pair, “They feel like real shoes.” (Note: Although I mention specific brands and link to their sites, these are merely my favorites. I have no connection with any of these companies.)
  3. And speaking of trams — they get crowded, especially on the weekend, and often there’s someone who seems to think their packages or the airing out of their groin deserves space more than the attendees waiting for a ride. Don’t be that person. Smile and scoot over.
  4. I always wear my FitBit or other activity tracker. This enables to say to myself at the end of the day, “Wow! I walked 7 miles today. I deserve this ________.” I then fill in the blank with “beer,” “ice cream,” “new t-shirt,” or whatever else I’m trying to convince myself I need. At Oshkosh, you can rationalize almost anything if you try hard enough.
  5. Bring a water bottle and an easy means of carrying it, but try not to weigh yourself down with too much stuff. Things grow heavier toward the end of the day after you’ve walked miles in the sun. (See #2.) It’s a good idea to keep your electrolytes replenished, so I add Nuun tablets to my bottle.
  6. Wear sunscreen. There are very few trees. (This is #1 in my list of reasons why high-wing aircraft are better than low-wing [they provide shade], but that’s a blog post for another day.)
  7. In your daypack, you might pack a few snacks. Choose healthy ones that won’t melt, and you won’t be tempted to shell out megabucks at the snack bars. My favorite snack bars are made from nut butter, so not a good option. This year, I’m trying One bars. Low in sugar, high in protein, and the ingredients seem reasonably clean. Other options: beef jerky, dried fruit, nuts. And low sugar, high protein drinks might deserve a place in your cooler back at camp or your motel fridge. Iconic is my current favorite.
  8. You may also want to bring earplugs, especially if you’re camping. Plane noise starts early and goes late. Throw in an eye mask too so you can rest up for the next days walking.
  9. For heaven’s sake, wear a hat! (See #6.)
  10. Bring a chair. I love my Tommy Bahama beach chair. It has a head rest, drink holder, and a mini cooler and deep pocket on the back, as well as straps to carry it like a backpack — everything I need when settling in on the flight line to watch the show. Others prefer those camp chairs that fold into bags or stools that double as a cane/walking stick. Find one that works for you.
  11. We camp in a tent under the wing of a plane. If you’re doing the same, I recommend the best camp mattress you can afford. A few years ago, we splurged (and I do mean splurged) on a pair of Nemo Cosmo air mattresses and never looked back.
  12. I also recommend a PackTowel, rather than one from your bathroom. These towels wring nearly dry so you can pack them away almost immediately, an important feature if/when it rains during the week. Get the largest size you can find, and you can laugh at me cowering in the shower truck behind my tiny, ancient one. While we’re on the subject of showers, you’ll probably want some kind of small bag to carry your toiletries and clean/dirty clothing from the shower buildings/trucks.
  13. You’ll also need some kind of light, mostly for use in your tent at night. I take about three flashlights (solar-powered) because at least one goes missing in the tent on the first night. Last year, I added a couple of Luci lamps to our gear. They’re also solar-powered, and store flat until you need them. Get this, you blow them up like a beach ball when you’re ready to use them. Perfect for plane trips because they are so lightweight.
  14. While we’re talking lightweight items, one of the best purchases I ever made was my plastic mallet. I think I got it at K-Mart for under $20, and we’ve used it for years to put in (and pull out) tent pegs. Much better than the bowling pin one acquaintance used to bring every year for this purpose. (Not a joke.)
  15. Clothespins weight next to nothing and have a way of coming in very handy. Likewise, plastic bags and Ziplocs.
  16. Possibly my most important piece of advice has to do with planes, and it’s something that shouldn’t need saying. Unfortunately, it still does. Don’t touch another person’s plane unless you have their express permission!!! It’s okay to admire a plane, maybe even peek through the window at the avionics. It’s not okay to lean on, sit on, pull on, or press your greasy nose or fingers on someone else’s plane. Look, Oshkosh is all about planes, and we all find aircraft we’d like to inspect more closely. But it is possible to look without touching. If the owner is around, engage her or him in a conversation about the plane. Chances are they’d be happy to tell you more about it.
  17. Lastly, please don’t assume the pilot and/or owner of the plane is always a man. Women fly. Women own aircraft, and have done so from the start, yet women pilots still struggle for recognition. If you’re scoffing at my statement, perhaps you’d like to read the story of Elaine Danforth Harmon, a WWII military pilot, whose family had to fight to earn what should have been the right to inter Elaine’s ashes at Arlington. That was just two years ago.

So, have fun, don’t be a sexist, and share your tram seat. Don’t try to fit everything into one day, one week, or even one year. I know I haven’t touched the subject of what to see, where to go, or what you can learn. Frankly, that task is just too daunting even for someone as opinionated as me. 🙂

Feel free to add your own advice by commenting!

Trip to Oshkosh — Photos

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We call our friends’ grass air strip “The Field of Dreams.”

 

En route to Oshkosh.

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Flooded fields on our way to Oshkosh from Illinois.

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View through the back window of our Cessna.

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Part of the Airventure 2017 NOTAM (NOtice to AirMen) for Flying into the “World’s Busiest Airport”

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When I put this photo on Instagram, it was cropped to a square, which made it look like the “7” was a cropped off “T.” As one friend remarked, “You read it your way. I’ll read it mine.”

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Sunset at camp on a cloudy evening in Oshkosh.

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Panorama view of our camp with two rows of planes.

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Back seat and cargo area on return trip