On Saturday evening, as everything was wrapping up I folded up my tent, packed up the car with my gear/stuff I bought (the long spars I bought from the factory just fitting from trunk to dash through the folded down back seat!) and headed to a local hotel for the night after saying my goodbyes to the Zenith staff, William and Dan from the Corvair group and the innumerable new freinds I have made . It had been a very long couple of days and a cheap hotel stay helped me catch up on some needed sleep and a hot shower felt good!
I was up (fairly) early Sunday morning, having enjoyed my stay but anxious to get on the long road home. I wanted to make it back to Kevin's in order to have a bit more time to visit with him and the family.
On my way east again, I tried again to get some pictures where I could but the drive to get back to Ann Arbor kept me focused on destination and less on the scenery. Other than gas and food, I had little reason to stop..... and it is just as flat and full of corn rows coming from the other direction too!
On the way down, I found Illinois less than convenient when it came to catching visitor centre entrances. They aren't very well marked and I found I was past them before realizing I did. So on the way back I tried to grab a photo:
After a stop for gas and a bite to eat for lunch (Arby's in the states is SO different than here in Canada), I was across the flat corn views of Illinois and into Indiana. I promised Kevin to keep him up to date with my ETA and decided to stop at the next convenient spot where free WiFi was available and a good spot to stretch my legs. By the time I got on Interstate 94 south of Chicago I was ready for break. A very well placed highway sign for the Indiana Visitors Welcome Centre at Hammond beckoned with the promise of washrooms, WiFi and good parking.
The first impression of this visitor centre is WOW! A very interesting architectural design:
As I walk up, I see a little bronze statue of a boy with his tongue stuck to a pole and I think, "Ha! That's a funny thing to put there!"
It never even donned on me, but Indiana is the state where a famous movie was filmed - this art was a tribute to a favorite family film:
I went inside and discovered that this building was also the Christmas Story Museum. I didn't have time to explore much, but the curator gave me quick run down of local sites that were used in the movie, all within a couple of miles of here. He was surprised at my level of knowledge about the film and really pleased to meet someone with a connection to Vincent Massey school in Etobicoke Ontario where the famous school and flag pole scenes were filmed (my Mom and her siblings went to grade school there). wish I could have explored more locally, but time was ticking and I wanted to get through more of the traffic before rush hour got into full swing.
My next washroom break was at the Michigan visitor centre.... almost felt like I was home, until I remembered I still had two and half hours to go.....
The rest of the last leg went without a hitch and I arrived in time for dinner and longer visit at Ann Arbor and a good night sleep.
Monday came early and I did my best to stay out of the way as Kevin, Wei and the kids prepped for their day. I had a shower, packed up my overnight bag and left mid morning, hoping to miss the inbound morning traffic through Detroit. I made a good choice and the drive to the crossing at Port Huron was good. I grabbed gas just north of Detroit and headed for the border.
When I purchased the spars at Zenith, I asked about bringing them across the border. The admin staff at Zenith issued me a customs declaration form which identified the items as aircraft parts that are exempt from duties under NAFTA (now called USMCA apparently).
When I approached the Canada Customs booth, the agent asked the normal gamut of questions (where, when, what, etc) and then peered into my window, looking directly at the wrapped spars sticking out across the back seat and up onto the dash.
"Anything to declare sir, particularly in the plain brown wrapper?" he asks - staring intently at the spars with a sly grin on his face.
"Aircraft parts, here is the documentation" I smile back.
We laughed a bit and I was on my way home.
A couple of stops for lunch and some more gas and I was finally home.
Here is a pic of the spars I bought. The camera doesn't do length of these justice and in hindsight I wish I had taken a picture of them in the car. I'll unwrap these in a future post, probably when I start the horizontal tail build:
I continue to be busy in the shop and I do have some pictures to share on a coming blog post that will catch me up to where we are today. Thanks for staying with me :)
Time until takeoff
Husband, father and 911 dispatcher. Long time pilot with a licence that burns a hole in my pocket where my student loan money used to be. First time aircraft builder. Looking to fly my own airplane.