In aviation, a basic survival rule is not to be tempted by “get-home-itis,” a condition that lures you into flying into weather conditions you’re not equipped to handle. It can, and often does, lead to a terrifying death. Staying on the ground, instead, invites delightful adventures.
When you see a front looming, towering on the route ahead of you – land and see what’s there. The adventure begins. It’s all in your frame of mind. In flying, always be ready to slide into Plan B.
I’ll tell you about Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital. Its airport was our escape hatch.
We were headed northeast in June across the continent to vacation with family and friends, a flight of at least two days. We did country exit procedures through Chihuahua MX; border-crossed at Del Rio TX; flew in beautiful VFR to perch mid-continent at Wichita for an overnight. We like to stop there for the Kansas steaks.
Next morning, things looked ugly up ahead on the weather chart. Beyond Kentucky, our planned refueling stop, Mother Nature was boiling up a nasty, long, deep wall of weather, a bulging arc of impressive thunderstorms, lying north-south across our path. We would overnight in Frankfort after our top-off and wait it out.
We rented a car, headed to a nice clean chain motel, and followed the registrar’s directions to dine at Serafini’s in historic downtown Frankfort. Whooo, a five-star gourmet dinner. Serafini’s booths and bar under an embossed tin ceiling, chic and historic, produced succulence and important information about what to do while unavoidably detained.
It was Kentucky bluegrass country. Gravesite of Daniel Boone, home of bourbons, breeding ground of frolicking derby hopefuls. Sweeping green hills lie over a limestone substratum, the secret to strong-boned horses and superb whiskies.
Many zzzzs that night, then off we went for an interesting morning tour of special, famous distilleries nestled in the famous countryside. Our waiter said the Woodford Reserve was a don’t-miss.
Fathers’ Day was coming up. We bought a bottle, liked it so much we went back the next day to get some for house gifts. And what’s this? While we weren’t looking, the Woodford Reserve Distillery had brought in an etching machine to engrave purchases. We rolled out with bottles of the finest, nicely etched with our hosts’ names and dates. What a coup!
Interestingly enough, the rolling green countryside gave us a déjà vu. Except for the white fences and picturesque Churchill Downs type turreted barns and stables, we could have been in Vermont.
That’s the other thing about being unavoidably detained. Sight-seeing can be amazing.
The front inevitably swept along into the Atlantic; we packed the plane with the beautifully etched bottles, and soared out.
It had been quite a Plan B.