Wayside Inn, Alamo Lake, Arizona
By Ron Kilber
March 4, 2001
After entering the front door of the Wayside Inn at Alamo Lake, a guy can't help ignoring everything except the eye-catching clock on the wall behind the bar. It's pictured with the Snap On Tools lady, decked out with the right cloths and tools for some serious mechanical work. Certainly, life'd be a lot better if every man had a mechanic like this for every car problem -- imagined or real. What moron would complain about how long it'd take to get the car fixed, let along how much it might cost?
As the Snap On clock shows, we arrived here just before 10 a.m. after flying about forty miles north from the Indian Hills Airpark (2AZ1) and landing on the road in front of the Wayside Inn. Ernie "Luscombe" Wright, Den "Fast-ship Champ" Peck, Red "C-150" Selover and me, flying my Cessna 150, managed to brave the meteorological bumps of two mountain ranges to get here (in front of a good storm on the way in from the Pacific Ocean). There's no other place to land, the old landing strip nearby having returned to earth some time ago.
The Wayside Inn looking east southeast. Land on the east-west road well east of the RV residents, to keep the dust down -- and get invited back! Plus, there's less road traffic. Oh, don't knock down the road signs with your wings!
The great thing about a place like the Wayside Inn is that it ain't no Sedona or other Sunday morning trough where city slickers congregate en masse on top of each other just for vittles. No, this place isn't even on the chart, virtually guaranteeing that the Sedona-bound pilot will never end up out here. Only the adventure-spirited pilot with wits and know-how to discover this place will ever drop into the Wayside Inn. The same pilot isn't worried about getting a citation for landing on the road. The experience alone is worth the risk.
The Wayside Inn looking west northwest towards Alamo Lake.
I can't vouch for the food as I'm not eating (I already had breakfast earlier), but Selover loves his bigger-than-plate flapjack. And Wright isn't complaining about his omelet while wolfing on it. More than one pilot has suggested the famous chili burger that is served here. The way they talked, it's to die for.
Landing out here is no big deal. Even if someone'd complain for landing on the all-weather, dirt/gravel road, it'd take a deputy more time to get here than is required to eat and run. The closest Sheriff's substation is fifty miles away. That is, if a deputy would even respond. The Arizona Outback is like Alaska where just about anything goes as long as you're not hurting someone. And even if you are, the Outback isn't populated enough for bureaucrats to take root yet and come after you.
Flying home in formation is as much fun as getting here. First, we skirt the Buckskin Mountains, traverse the Butler Valley with its Hil-Pat Field, cross over the Harcuvar Mountains and, finally, enter the McMullen Valley to find our home at the Indian Hills Airpark.
Copyright (C) 2001 Ron Kilber All rights reserved.
Non-commercial reproduction permitted in its entirety with this copyright notice intact.