blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer outing in a Cessna 172

Monday afternoon, 27th June

We are home again from Kingston. PTN made an untoward noise of protest on start-up, which means we'll probably have to replace her starter soon, but there was no problem with our take-off on Runway 19. At 1200ft asl we were already in cloud, first flying above the dazzling white clouds at 5000ft, then in and out, then more in than out (too bouncy for my liking), then over the top again as we reached the Ottawa Valley, finally doing a "vectored LPV approach" towards Gatineau. Chris said he'd never practised one of those before and that it was interesting to be doing it for the first time "in real IMC," not breaking out of cloud until we'd dropped to about 1200ft, during a long final on the "suspended / unsuspended" RNAV approach to Runway 27, when we cancelled our IFR flight plan, able to change our destination to Rockcliffe because the morning mist had been broken up by the sun into scattered cumulus. We had been warned of windshear on the descent and Chris told me to stop fussing because we were up here now and had to land the [insert emphatic adjective] aeroplane somehow, we didn't have any choice. In the event the expected turbulence wasn't too noticeable and we landed safely at Rockcliffe in a crosswind from the south that suddenly disappeared as we passed the aviation museum, so the plane bounced a little along the runway. Lots of anecdotal material here for future groundschool classes! 

 The rest of this post was written yesterday.


Sunday evening, 26th June

We had a plan to go away today, to spend a night or two on the Isle aux Grues in the St. Lawrence river, northeast of Quebec. When I rang the hotel on the island I found they had no vacancies, and I was reminded that it was the St-Jean-Baptiste weekend, when Quebeckers traditionally take a holiday. I also noticed that the weather forecast for Quebec wasn't good. Onto Plan B therefore, a flight in the other direction. We have never been to Owen Sound which looks like a nice place to stay and has an airport, so I booked a room at the Great Western hotel on the waterfront.

Weather systems in North America, 2016-06-26
This morning we looked at the aviation weather pages and Chris declared that he was not willing to fly towards a huge frontal system stretching from Hudson Bay to the mid-western States, generating a line of heavy thunderstorms, associated with a low level jet stream with 60 knot winds. The thunderstorms were forecast to reach Owen Sound at about the same time as we would: not good! So I cancelled the hotel booking and we flew to Kingston instead. (This is the second time we have been thwarted by rough weather from visiting Owen Sound. We shall try again before long.)

The Wolfe Island ferry
All the same, we had a very pleasant day today, a calm flight, a pause by the lake near the airport where a mother duck was watching her ducklings bounce through the little waves breaking on the shore, a fish and chip lunch followed by a visit to a 2nd hand bookshop, then a ride on the free ferry to Wolfe Island where we sauntered around before sailing back to town again an hour later.

The island is named after General Wolfe who is adulated in this part of the world (the historic plaque on Main Street describing him as a paragon of virtue), though not in Quebec. There's a General Wolfe Hotel, too. At first glance the island has a rather lazy, old fashioned atmosphere, as if we'd floated back to the 1960s, with hippy types living in one of the run-down roadside cottages. We bought drinks at a roadside shack with plastic tables on a shady lawn and I found a local art show at the information centre. I was interested to discover that you can rent bikes on the island and spend the day touring around it that way. It's an appealing suggestion. Not today though, too hot. It was too hot to move at times; the breeze as we crossed the water on the jam-packed ferry was a great relief.

Abandoned marina on Wolfe Island

Local art exhibition at the Wolfe Island Information Centre

View from our hotel room: Kingston's market square
Once back in Kingston we checked in at the Sheraton Four Points and lay on our comfy bed, where we both immediately fell asleep.

It had cooled down by the evening so we walked along the paths by the water as far as the yacht club and back; for supper we found a flowery outdoor patio at an Asian restaurant on Ontario Street. I ate an excellent Cambodian wonton soup followed by a blackcurrent ice at the gelato place opposite. We did some more sitting and gazing in the park where young couples were energetically practising swing dance in the park pavilion near Queen's University and saw the sunset and the many wind turbines turning on Wolfe Island, a light coming on at the axis of each one as night approached.

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