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2003 Rainy Lake Fly-In

Cubus Maximus

Registered User
The 2003 Rainy Lake, Seine Bay Fly-In: or How to buy an airplane from Customs for only $100.

Except for the occasional wolf howl and wind whistling in the pines, the bleak landscape is now silent where once it was alive with the snarling of aero-engines and billowing clouds of snow blasted back by C/S and Borer props.

Yes, another successful Rainy Lake Fly-In has come and gone. Those who were there now look back on it with fond memories of sitting by the fire and telling, "There I was..." stories :wink: as a snow squall dumped light fluffy (dry) flakes or watching our nearest cosmic neighbor rising over the bay and bathing the airplanes parked on the ice in moonlight, while digging into a steak sizzling hot from the grill.

How did we begin? Well, there's the usual last minute, whose all coming and what airplanes are going? hubbub of course but this got sorted out and I met Dave T. from Yankton and Steve from KC (yes, the famous: SJ) Thursday evening when they came into Brainerd, winging through the night in Dave's Super Cub on 29 inch tires. (Dave has an early model WIDE Cub Crafters pilot's seat and Steve, no shorty, was a bit vacuum-packed into the back. He emerged with a shake of the leg and a smile though so it couldn't have been TOO bad.) They were a little bit delayed by something called: RESTRICTED AIRSPACE above Camp Ripley and had to scoot north to avoid it. This is a good thing because Ripley is home to a 155mm artillery battalion (also 8 inch guns) and a pile of M-1 tanks. There's a lot of lead pouring through the air and much of it is at Super Cub altitudes.

We put the airplane in Jim's heated hangar next to Jerry's Super Cub and Jim's Husky, all three were pointed towards the door in eager anticipation of heading north (All true bush planes tend to fly better the farther north they go, it's like returning home.). Then we went out to dinner and discussed the upcoming flight where I propounded on the ease of cross-border operations like I knew what I was talking about...more on this later :roll: (notice the literary foreshadowing technique employed here). I then dropped the guys off at the Hawthorn and promised to be back at 8:00 AM.

8:03 I rolled to a stop, picked up our southern crew and headed for the airport to pack the airplanes for a tennish departure. In the meantime, Andy started pulling Lucky Rose out of her hibernation cave and fussing about trying to wake her from a drowsy winters sleep. Lucky Rose is a Franklin 6A-350 220 hp powered 1956 C-170B. She has a C/S prop, Horton STOL, C-180 gear and is currently on 8:50x6 tires.

The other planes leaving from BRD were now pretty much ready to go but Lucky Rose was still being obstinate and acting put out about being rudely yanked from her den in mid-winter. We told the gang to head on up without us and we'd catch them later. So:

Rory F. - PA-18-95
Dave T. & Steve J. - PA-18A-150
Brad W. & Doug M. - PA-18A-150
Jerry E. & his wife Verla - PA-18-150
Jim W. & his wife Diane - A1-B Husky

departed BRD and headed to Grand Rapids for a rest stop (ladies along you know!)

Jim's son, Spencer W. was with Andy and I in Lucky Rose and so we set about (We - I was taking pictures) digging up a Red Dragon pre-heater, isopropyl and spare battery. After a LOT of heat, we jumped it with the spare battery (an interesting procedure I'm not prepared to describe other than to say it works :eek: ) and woke the Franklin from cold storage. Alright! time to catch the rest of our crew. Andy had Spencer fly left seat to get some 170 and high performance engine time. Spence learned about torque steer rather quickly (I'll let him tell that story) and then we were climbing out in Saturn V fashion and headed North.

Ripping along at 145 mph cruise, we soon caught up to Dave, SJ and Rory near Grand Rapids and pulled alongside for some air to air footage before waving bye-bye and heading for the border. Lucky Rose has a wonderfully comfortable back seat that makes it easy to do camera work. It's like riding in a frozen First Class cabin with a low overhead, seat fabric of questionable heritage and no silverware with your inflight celery stick. Spence offered a Listerine patch over his shoulder and I took this as an intended complimentary mint rather than a comment on the smell of the steam wafting forward. 8)

Before going any further, I must say that while this run to Seine Bay is usually a ski-plane trip, there has been so little snow this year in Minnesota and the border country that many decided to just fly with tires. 8:00x6 worked but was a bit harder on the gear than tundra tires, which just floated over what snow there was. A few showed up with ski's or wheel-ski's but the guys with tires went everywhere with ease and landed on the ice or hard packed snow. The little tires sunk in maybe an inch and a half into the hard stuff and rolled through the powder snow that fell.

Back to the story: As we approached the Canadian border, we thought, hey, why not Air-file a cross-border flight plan with Princeton Flight Service and ask the FBO at Fort Francis to alert Canadian Customs that we would like to piggy-back on the other planes inbound. That would sure be easier than landing at International Falls first and waiting around there while we Phone-filed a flight plan and called Customs. So we Air-filed the flight plan with Princeton Radio and then called Unicom at the Fort to alert Customs. "No problem" say the FBO guys, "they wont care" (Flashing Red Lights - EEP - EEP ). Ha...that was easy is now our thinking.

Lucky Rose happily sails on in to the Fort and cruises up to the terminal to await Customs. I call CANPASS just to make sure we're all set. They say, "wait for the Customs officer". OK, not a problem. We wait, Dave, SJ and Rory then land and we all sit and sit and sit. (engines cooling off) Finally a Customs guy walks up to the airplane and motions us to come in. No warning of what is to come is written on his face. This guy could clean up in Vegas (or the local Indian casino, it's closer). Dave and SJ, the INL border crossing rookies show their licenses and are told they're free to go. Then the guy looks at us and says, "Why didn't you call CANPASS before you crossed the border?" "THAT'S A RULE NOW??!!" I think. Before it was just an option if you wanted to be sped through Customs. We figured we could do it the old way and just spend a little more time kicking around waiting for the background checks to come through. We had no idea it was a RULE. The agent says, "oh it's been like that for 5 years" Yeah right... :-? Well, I'll not bore you with the details, but I could see Ottawa's desperate bid for more cash to feed the welfare state casting its malignant shadow on the wall of the office and that we were out of luck. Sure enough, the agent places a call to headquarters and we sit back to await their pre-determined doom. Phone rings (agent pretends he's sad and says, "They don't look like terrorists to me" HA!) and yes sir, I have to SEIZE YOUR AIRPLANE. :( Oh good grief! Well, after much wrangling and poor explanations as to the RULES, "It's confusing" the agent admits in the end but we are still charged $100 dollars CAN to ransom Lucky Rose from Ottawa's greedy clutches. I told Andy that's the cheapest 170B he's probably ever bought. All this time, others from our group are coming in and told to go away, you're free, by the Customs guy. This is nuts, OH well, one rolls with the punches and keeps one's mouth shut. :-?

Whew! We walk out poorer (or at least Andy does) but none-the-wiser due to thick bureaucratic fog still hanging in the air. Alright, let's head out to Dale's cabin and stack all the airplanes into the bay. I'm flying this leg and the wind is blowing right down Rwy 21 at a fairly brisk clip. I push in the power and drop 2 notches of flaps. WOW, Lucky Rose rockets off the ground in a couple lengths (didn't even get the tail up) and climbs out like the proverbial homesick angel. Cool! This is a performing airplane! 8)

Off we go, chasing the others (again) across Rainy Lake and heading for Seine Bay, Jerry is chatting with DNR guys on the Minnesota side while they are conducting a moose survey (they're dying off from some tick-borne disease it is thought) so we know he hasn't landed yet (he used to be the MN DNR's chief pilot). Then we see him turning for a final approach near the cabin and since we haven't tested the surface yet, watch where he sets it down. Jerry actually lands it on the outside of the cabin's cove (in what I thought would be harder and larger drifts) but the Cub settles in nicely on its 8:00x6's and plows on into the bay. I then set up a similar approach and soon join the throng by the cabin.

There is a neat line up of airplanes here (a big V with the cabin as the terminus) and we had 11 all together.

Five PA-18 Super Cubs
Two PA-11 Cub Specials
One PA-12 Super Cruiser
One A1-B Husky
One C-170B "Lucky Rose"
One Maule 235

As you can tell, Cub's are the aircraft of choice (and rightly so).
Everybody was milling about and talking airplanes (even the ladies were not immune to this delightful disease), examining the cabin's new addition and each others aircraft. Soon though with evening rapidly approaching, it was time for the gang staying at, "La Place de Rendezvous"; (Hotel, Conference Center and Hallway Hockey Arena) too depart. The next day we would meet and fly up the Seine River for dinner at Marr's Perch Lake Lodge.

Off goes Jerry (hmm, the sky has clouded over and the wind has switched?), next is Doug and then Jim. OK, enough pictures, time to get the 170 and blast out of here. (I'm staying at the Rendezvous tonight and better not miss my ride!) See ya' tomorrow guys. Spencer is flying and again learns quickly about torque steer as we zoom off the lake for the Fort. Roaring past the Scott Islands we look ahead and notice that the formerly visible paper mill smoke from International Falls is now obscured. What's this? We approach closer, oh rats! There's a snow squall coming in fast from the Northwest and covering the Fort's airport. :-? (Though on opposite sides of the border, KINL and CYAG are only about 4-5 miles apart from each other) Andy calls ahead and Unicom reports the visibility is still acceptable. So Lucky Rose drones on ever closer. Off to the right are some HIGH powerlines along the TransCanada Hwy and we DON'T want to turn out that way if we have to abort.

Now we're in it and the visibility is getting worse. We cross the shoreline but can't find the airport (it's only a few miles inland), it has to be there. Looking down we see the water treatment plant, it's got to be close now. THERE IT IS!! We immediately call downwind to Rwy 21 (yeah I know) :roll: and make a beeline in before it gets worse! I'll let Spencer tell you about the landing someday and we then taxi to the tie down area with only slightly ruffled feathers. (Now to be fair and not make it appear I'm harassing poor Spencer. He recently earned his wings in a 172 and then got his tailwheel endorsement in a Citabria. So, Lucky Rose was a strange new animal and a baptism by fire. Don't worry, this story has a good ending)

Putting on engine and wing covers was a chore in the now howling whiteout (dry fluffy snow) and the temps had started dropping below zero again. I got some good footage of the ladies helping to put on the covers but missed Diane chasing a stuff bag across the field. Nuts! :wink: Jim had rented a silver mini-van of indeterminate GM manufacture, so after securing (dragging multiple cement filled tires across the ramp, now I'm not cold!) and plugging in the birds, 9 of us and luggage squeezed into the van (clown car practice) and head off for La Place de Rendezvous along roads that if you've ever seen the beginning of the movie "Fargo", will look vaguely familiar.

Arriving at the Rendezvous, we got rooms and waded through pick-up hockey games being held in the halls by various Pee-Wee and junior teams. Hall hockey is played with a squash ball and midget sticks. Blank stares accompany any passers-by who break up a game while looking for their room. Out in the parking lot, a ball is also used but larger sticks are employed as there are no walls to confine your slapshot swing. We parked far enough away to stay out of trouble. After settling in and double-checking the ear plug supply, we set out for the dining room only to find that it was reserved. It was decided that the couples would eat at the restaurant bar and Doug, Brad W. Andy, Spencer and I would hop in the van and explore the Fort Francis eatery scene. Brad W. was all for trying a place named only: "Fully Licensed Lounge" :eek: but we settled instead on a Subway after cruising to a point where the next stop was probably Winnipeg.

That evening Andy, Spence and I trooped on down to Doug and Brad W's room and watched the first video that I had shot during the day. Time to insert ear plugs (the hallway was only halfway through the 2nd period) and call it a night. The guys at the cabin meanwhile sat around the fire pit and told stories while the snow and wind howled around in the dark night. Dale's cabin is in a little sheltered cove that unless the wind is directly from the southeast is almost perfectly calm. You don't need tie downs even if the wind is ripping at 40 mph + all around. A perfect location.

The next morning we ate breakfast with the whole gang in the now unreserved dining room overlooking the lake. Doug began to get the idea that he was going to bring his Cub in next to the dock (they had power for the Tanis heater) and park it there that evening. The ice is pretty bad near the Rendezvous due to the strong current where the Rainy River begins (you can see open water). If you carry power all the way into shore though and sneak around on the north side of the dock, then the ice is plenty strong and you don't have too many worries.

The troop then assembled for a final experience of circus life for the vertically challenged and made the trek back out to the airport. There was a 10 knot breeze out of the Northwest and the temps were around -6 to -10 F (I think, it might have been lower) and we set about starting up the equipment for the run out to the cabin and points East. The engine blanket had blown off of Lucky Rose so she was COLD despite the little oil heat patch (worthless in these conditions) :-? Andy and I spun her around into the wind, drooped the engine blanket back on and put a 1500 Watt space heater in the engine compartment. Meanwhile the line guys filled her up (took 88 liters, whatever that means) and the other airplanes started coming to life. We'll let Doug tell you about the tie downs later. :D

Soon the Husky and Cubs blasted off for the cabin and our Lucky Rose crew started the by now familiar booster battery routine. It would start and die, start and die etc etc... We kept this up until the booster battery gave up the ghost. So, it got hauled into the terminal and thrown on the charger while the space heater continued to crank away. Back at it...again, I wont describe this process in detail but it is interesting and quite cold. Andy cranked away again and by using minute chattering motions of the throttle, got a couple, then all the cylinders to fire, Whoopee! Scramble in and off we go!

It was a beautiful day despite the cold (of course we could barely see it through the frost covered windscreen...defroster? What are you talking about?) and steaming breath filled the cockpit. Arriving overhead on station and at the appointed departure time we saw that nobody had left yet, much less got their airplanes ready. The Maule and a PA-11 had gone home earlier in the morning. The Maule guy didn't feel good (all those Cubs around couldn't have helped) and the PA-11 driver had a new grandbaby.

So, Andy decided that Carpe Diem was the order of the day and he started teaching Spence some bush flying techniques. How to approach around islands and in narrow confines, watch for obstacles and soft field operations. (all without shock cooling your Franklin engine) With each circuit Spence got better and better until he was handling it with aplomb and making excellent approaches/landings/takeoffs. Way to go! This motivated the cabin gang to get rolling and soon the Super Cruiser and two of the Super Cubs were off the ground and buzzing Northeast along the Seine River, heading for Marr's Perch Lake Lodge. We dropped into the tail-end-Charlie position and Spence now got to experience river running. Staying out of the wakes of the proceeding aircraft, watching for obstructions, looking for critters and general low-level work. The Husky and last two Super Cubs took off about 5 minutes later and followed us up there.

Perch Lake came into view at last and the approach was into a vast, hard-packed, white expanse. The lake only had a few inches of snow on it (probably 32 inches + of ice) and most of that was hard packed smooth with nary a drift (probably a half inch of fluffy dry stuff on top). Talk about land anywhere or anyway you want! I started to get some excellent footage of Jerry and Doug's Cubs taxiing in with snow billowing out behind but then (due to the wind and COLD) pretty much lost my ability to hold the camera. Watching the blood drain from your fingers in rapid fashion and the pain starting to set in makes cool Super Cub videos of secondary concern. :eek: Jim came to the rescue with hand warmers.

Enough filming (now with my brother's big chopper mitts on 8) , off to lunch with Marr at the lodge. She makes a mean hamburger and I wolfed mine down. After this we set off for the Castle on White Otter Lake. (Now this castle was hand built out of logs by an old Scots bachelor. It's a large 2 story house with a 4 story tower attached to it. He did it all by himself and had the roof on by 1914. After a massive amount of work he was able to move in but died 3 years later. Uff-da as we Swedes say, I suppose Scotch would be, "Hoots Mon".)

The cabin Cubs started off from Perch Lake first and we then tagged along with our Rendezvous group. It was really fun watching them leave the lake with billowing clouds of snow behind, their shadows slowly separating from the airplanes. Jerry had a stuck brake (comes from snow getting on a hot brake and freezing) and he jumped out to kick it a few times before rolling.

We followed the Cubs/Husky north to White Otter. Jim in the Husky led the group and Jerry and Doug followed with the Cubs in left echelon formation. (Jerry and Doug are military hands and love to keep a pretty formation.) They followed in perfect order as Jim led them all around the lakes. A really neat sight and I got some of it on film. They did however land crosswind on the lake by the Castle as one could see by the snow streaming sideways off the wings. Spence then elected to land into the wind and plopped us down with his by now accomplished 170 finesse. After everyone had climbed about the house and were satisfied it wasn't going to fall apart, I took a group photograph on the porch. Actually the place is kept up by a support group and the only markings on it are peoples names from all over carved or written on the wood.

After the picture, it was time to head back to the cabin on Rainy Lake. We Lucky Rose crew were staying there this night rather than at the hotel. Everybody started up except the Husky. What's this? It turned out to be a bad solenoid. Now, the Husky is a great airplane but it has one significant drawback. Ever try hand propping one? (on ice no less :-? With the high compression 180 AND the C/S prop always stopping at the vertical, it's really a trick. (And not very safe. I would guess that if you were operating solo in the bush this could be a potential trouble spot.) The saving grace here is that Andy was along. He is one of these mechanics with a glow about them. Airplanes grovel and offer profuse apologies for causing trouble when he appears on the horizon. Jerry and Doug were attempting to hand prop it but Andy jumped out of Lucky Rose, ran over and with the pull-it-part-way-through and bleed-off-the-compression technique (which seems to only work with a warm engine) got it going. There's also something weird about the mag impulse position on a Husky but I didn't hear exactly what it was in all the hubbub. He recommended that Jim engage the starter after shutting it down and that should fix the problem until he could get it into the shop.

I flew us back to Seine Bay on Rainy and we got there ahead of everyone (the Rendezvous Cubs flew straight back to the Fort while the cabin Cubs flew over a bunch of moose and had to check 'em out for a bit) so I was able to get a good video of SJ landing Dave's Cub in the bay. The snow was curling up behind the airplane like the pictures you see from time to time of jets leaving wingtip vortices in the tops of the clouds. Very pretty and nicely done!

After putting away the airplanes, we trooped up to the cabin to relax and make supper. Dale and Steve threw a bunch of steaks on the grill, buttered up the garlic French bread and baked the potatoes. What a great supper! We dug into it with a will. In the meantime, a nearly full moon was rising in the evening gloaming and starting to bath the airplanes in a soft glow. Thank you Lord, that's beautiful! The fire was burning happily in the fire ring and the two cheery stoves in the cabin were doing likewise. We settled back to watch a video of Steve & Dale's trip to Newfoundland in Dale's 185 on floats and talked shop until the generator went out and the gas lamps were lit. Off to bed for a pre-dawn rise to get everything thawed out and rolling.

About O-Dark thirty the bare bulb light snaps on (Dale fired up the generator :eek: and instantly one is awake. Ouch! OK...OK...time to get up and start packing. Glancing outside, I saw that a fluffy snow blanket had fallen during the night and lay undisturbed on the airplanes, yet around the corner of the cabin cove, the snow was streaming across the entrance at high velocity in a ground blizzard. Spencer had a portable wind anometer and went with a group over to the main lake to see what kind of storm we were facing and if we were going to be there yet another day. They trudged back all windblown and Spence said the velocity was 32 mph. This gave us a morning windchill of about -36 F. Dale kicked on the weather radio so that we could listen to IGOR's forecast. Patiently we waited while he gave us the record high and low for today (in his halting Swedish/Computer accent). Finally he got around to the important stuff and rattled off the current conditions and forecast. Looks like we should get out of here no problem if we can get the birds started. Dale felt the prop on Lucky Rose and uh huh...time to get out the hot fire. The Cubs had Tanis heaters and were plugged into the generator. They were cooking along nicely by this time.

After breakfast (consisting of coffee, ham, eggs and pancakes. Traditional good cabin fare) and cleaning up, I started sweeping snow off Lucky Rose while the Cub drivers leisurely pulled their wing covers off and were done. Andy put in a few gallons of what we assume was 100LL stored at the cabin to give us a safe margin back to the Falls (it worked at any rate). Then Dale brought out the BURNER. It looked a bit like a WW2 flame-thrower. He put the nozzle into a flexible metal heat duct and lit it off. WHOOSH! Wow does that ever put out the BTU's! In not very long at all, the Franklin was hot enough to fire without even going through our practiced booster battery routine. Cool! However, I think Spence was a bit bummed-out as this was his favorite thing about the whole trip.

While we were waiting for Lucky Rose to warm up, Dave and SJ left in Dave's Cub and headed for the Falls. The weather had cleared off and though the wind was still strong, visibilities were good. The Super Cub was lit in brilliant light and when he hit the power, a beautiful long streamer of powder snow kicked out behind sparkling in the sunshine. It leapt off the ground a zipped towards the West. Of course I didn't have my camera out, but that's the way it goes. Rory had his 90hp Cub turning over and was waiting for Dale and Steve who were about ready to go.

Andy, Spence and I got in the 170B and I taxied out for departure. OK, wait a minute...the visibilities had again dropped and the snow was being whipped up by the strong Northwest wind (some falling as well). We couldn't see across the lake but there was daylight directly above us. What to do? :-? I had just filed a flight plan and the briefer indicated that the Falls was clear and 10 miles. I know it gets better the farther West we go. We sat and looked at it for a while formulating a plan. We could see down the lake a bit to our immediate West (taking off into a NW wind) so the decision was to launch and if it did not begin to get better right away we'd circle back in to the cabin's cove and wait to try it again later. OK, Andy took the airplane, put the power in and off we went banking left along the shore. Almost immediately things begin to improve, soon it was 15 miles visibility and better. All right!

I called Flight Service and activated our flight plan for the cross border run after hearing Doug in his Cub call ahead of me on his way in. He and Brad W. had left the Rendezvous a minute before. (kept the tires light on the suspect ice). The approach in to Rwy 31 was super easy, the wind was thundering steady right down the runway and I put on 3 notches with power at 15 MP most of the way. It came down nice and slow then plop, we were there and turning off heading for another dreaded appointment with the Customs gang.

Now in the normal experience of life, Canadian Customs has been the easier experience and the US guys are the badge wearers ("if you want in to the US you must be some sort of criminal", is usually written on their faces). But talk about a boomerang, this time the Gov. Issue parka-bundled US agent walked up to the airplane and very pleasantly asked the questions he needed to while taking our pre-filled out arrival form. That was it, have a nice day. We'll I guess we will! Hooray, free at last. :D

Dave and SJ were just leaving so I got a picture of them, the wind streaming snow past the Cub and generally making it look like they were in Point Barrow rather than International Falls. Dave made an intersection departure and the Cub levitated into the air immediately. Then it was away and racing south for Yankton and Kansas City. They made Yankton in 4 hours. That's MOVING in a Cub folks! Fabulous tailwind! After again emerging accordian-like from the back of Dave's airplane, SJ hopped into his own 170B and landed in Kansas City just as the sun was setting. 8)

I then paparazzi'd the Customs arrival of Jerry & Verla in their Cub and Jim and Diane in the Husky while running into the terminal to splash hot water on my hands every few minutes. Said high to Thor Einerson and then the Rendezvous group went out to lunch with Thor's dad, Francis Einerson. (Jerry used to work for Francis when he was a teenager. He spent many a happy hour flying Francis' Cubs and getting paid for it.) Jerry showed Francis on the Rainy area map a new wolf kill he came across and they talked shop.

Dale called from the cabin to ask about the weather along the lake and Andy told him it was OK to launch. Spence, Andy and I then said our goodbyes and headed for home. Whilst scrambling into the 170, I noticed there was a new Mercedes running up and down the taxiway and generally behaving like it was being driven by a 16 year old kid out for a joy ride. (Probably was) A number of manufacturers test their new models in International Falls, it's cold and for the most part, out of the public view. How often do you see car spies this far North in the winter? Right. :wink:

Spence was flying this leg and soon we were winging south towards Brainerd. The left door popped open due to a broken spring (a lousy design that Cessna didn't fix until the 185 came along) so I held it shut to keep out the worst of the cold wind (sitting in the First Class exit row has its price you know). We passed through some marginal VFR (the sun was always shining through overhead) broke out into severe clear, then marginal VFR and again clear. Snow was pouring off the Red Lakes over to the West but only once did Spence have to call upon his unusual attitude training when a rogue turbulence bump tried to determine if 170B's can handle inverted flight. After that, my First Class Cabin filet mignon dinner was suddenly put on hold. :-? Sniffing the barn, Lucky Rose sped past Bowstring, Winnie, Cohasset, Remer and Longville in turn. Things then began to look very familiar and we were soon entering a downwind for Rwy 30 at BRD (after avoiding the 172 in the pattern who wasn't talking to anybody). Spence, now an old hand at 220 hp 170B flying, set us down in fine fashion and we turned off at the first exit and taxied to parking. We're home!

Lucky Rose went gratefully back into her hibernation cave quite aware she was going to be getting a few more winter mods and other things tweaked. But for now we left her dreaming of the northern lakes and all the fun she had playing in the ice and snow. I swept some frozen white stuff away from Jim's hangar so that the sun would melt the remainder (it's on a slope and if there's any ice, it's a chore getting up the hill and in the door.) and then headed for home.

Except for the occasional passerby, the lakes North of the border are again alone for another 3-4 months. Then the float flying season will begin as owners head up to their remote cabins in Ontario's sunset country. The sounds of Cub and 180/185 engines will snap and bark in an urgency to get further north just like sled dogs eager to be on the trail. It was a great trip with good friends and I thank God for His awesome and beautiful creation that we are privileged to be alive and enjoy. The viewpoint the aviator has of His handiwork is something quite special.

Thanks Dale and Steve!

See you next year!

Brad Thornberg

Great recounting of the events of the long weekend. We may have to fill in a little that you missed while you were in Fort Francis, like when Cubdrvr and I got up too early and Dale warmly greeted me with the name "Cookie"...


Like the old joke goes, nobody complained since they knew if they did, they would be next!


P.S. Yes, I am sporting a Cessna 170 Association pocket T-shirt in this picture...

Thanks for the great story and pictures on the photo page. Looks like you folks really had some good times. I remember back in the old days when it used to snow here in Wisconsin that white stuff was fun to play in.
Great account of your trip, Brad.

Thanks for sharing it with those of us in the warmer climes.