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Christmas Shopping Via Cessna 150 in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

By Ron Kilber

Sunday, December 17, 2000

When I woke today, I wasn't feeling ready for any group fly-out for breakfast, which had been planned by some Indian Hills Airpark (IHA) residents. Suspecting that I was coming down with something, I decided to take it easy by just watching the seven airplanes depart with a dozen or more neighbors on the way to the beautiful Blythe truck stop on I-10 in California.

By noon, it was a different story. I was feeling energetic enough to desire some adventure. I hadn't completed my Christmas shopping yet, So I had this idea to fly up to Lake Havasu (HII), where I could not only buy a few things but figure out the feasibility of making Lake Havasu a regular destination on the outing venue (for those of us in airpark Heaven who are junkies for this sort of thing).

On my way

Inasmuch as it will be dark in only six more hours, I better hustle if I want to avoid landing in the dark when I return. The landing lights at IHA are in dismal condition. It would be courtesy to say they suck.

While I'm refilling the petrol tanks on my Cessna 150, I run into good-old-boy Scotty Griffin at our portable fuel farm, which just so happens to be parked on his property. It's always nice to be greeted by a fellow airpark neighbor, even if he approaches to give you hell for screwing up.

Turns out that the last time I refueled, I departed the fuel farm with the tail of my C-150 to Griffin's closed hangar door. The same as I always do in front of my hangar door and the same as many other airpark residents do, too. Only he's afraid that I might blast dust into his hangar if he happens to open his door at the same time. I agree.

After a pleasant exchange of words for awhile, I push my airplane to the taxi way. I'm airborne a few minutes after noon, taking up a heading of 300 degrees compass.

By 1 p.m. -- headwind and all -- my airplane is already tied to the ramp, and I'm in the offices of Sun Western Flyers, the FBO at the Lake Havasu City Airport. A very pleasant receptionist greets me, suggesting I use City Transit Services to get to a large strip mall about five miles south in town. She even phones the shuttle people for me, then shares conversation while I wait.

Wally-Wally World

At 1:30 p.m., my cheerful driver drops me off in front of Wal-Mart -- for only three bucks.

Had I elected to drive here, instead, I'd still be slugging rats on what is in my opinion the worst stretch of highway in Arizona -- maybe in North America. The two-lane road between Parker and Lake Havasu City is so slow-going that impatient motorists risk not only their lives but ours, too, by crossing all the solid-yellow lines to pass vehicles. All those times I've used that stretch of highway, there have always been brainless idiots coming towards me -- in my lane for chrissakes. Sure, they want to get around those gutless motorhomes, which always have about a hundred cars in tow behind, even if at the risk of a head-on collision. I've been forced to the shoulder many times, not only by on-coming passers but those passing me when I've been stuck behind a slow-mover with too much on-coming traffic.

Many are to blame for all the slow-moving traffic, including the state of Arizona for building only a single-lane road to travel north and south in an area where you can't do so for two hundred miles east and west. In other words, to get from Parker to Lake Havasu City otherwise, it's a hundred-mile trip out of the way. It's why I elected to fly here today.

None, however, are at fault as much as those who cross the solid-yellow lines. Persecutors should lie-in-wait so they can bring them up on "attempted manslaughter charges". I'm that ugly towards their actions.

By 4 p.m., I've shopped at Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware, J C Penny and Food Mart, all next door to each other. If I had more time, I'd visit many more stores, maybe even take in some food at the Mexican restaurant, which my driver gave two-thumbs-up.

You won't believe this

An half-hour later, the same shuttle driver delivers me and my goods -- get this -- right onto the ramp in front of my airplane. What a riot! And what convenience when transporting four bags of stuff like I'm doing now.

Step aside, Parker Safeway!

The wind has picked up a bit since I arrived. At fifteen knots, it's blowing from 300-degrees compass. Perfect! My exact course home.

Thirty minutes later, I land with a perfect 290-degree headwind on Runway 29, well before dark.

Looking back, today has been an excellent adventure. Lake Havasu is a great place to fly for the day. Less than 70 air miles from IHA, it's only ten minutes farther than Parker. Better, it offers far more shopping and entertainment options. I plan to divide my time to include HII more from now on.


Copyright (C) 2000 Ron Kilber Non-commercial reproduction permitted in its entirety with this copyright notice intact.

7:14PM 12/17/00

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