|Date||Aircraft||Route of Flight||Time (hrs)||Total (hrs)|
|04 Nov 2017||N21481||SDC (Sodus, NY) - OYM (St Mary's, PA) - DUJ (Dubois, PA) - SDC||3.3||1731.8|
A litany of NOTAMs for Williamsport Regional Airport (KIPT) represented a rotating closure of runways and taxiways that was carefully orchestrated to keep the airport open to landing traffic. Access to my favorite breakfast stop, Cloud 9, would not be affected by the ongoing runway and taxiway work. However, the closure of the east ramp to transient parking just might.
A call to the FBO that morning confirmed the problem. "They'll send you here for parking. If our courtesy car is available, you can use that to get to the other side of the airport for breakfast. Otherwise, you'll have to hoof it around the airport perimeter fence or call a taxi."
"So," I said, catching Tom's eye as I summarized the situation in my own words, "Getting to the restaurant will be a crap shoot depending on whether your courtesy car is available."
The fellow laughed. "Yup, that's pretty much it."
Scratch Cloud 9 for breakfast.
It was time for Plan B, The West Wind at St. Mary's (KOYM). While I did a last check of the weather, Tom called the restaurant. Though he did not speak to a live human being, a recording indicated that the restaurant opened at 8:00 am on Saturday.
Perfect. We were airborne minutes later.
As we flew high above the Southern Tier of New York, ground fog tenaciously clung to the low valleys below and made for a striking view.
Although there were airplanes parked on the ramp at St. Mary's, the CTAF (common traffic advisory frequency) was strikingly quiet for a popular breakfast destination. This was our first hint.
Taxiing to parking, we noticed that all of the airplanes parked on the ramp were tied down and covered. These were not breakfast transients; hint number two.
A piece of paper on the locked restaurant door indicating that The West Wind opened at 11:00 am was the final, and least subtle, of the hints that there would be no breakfast for me and Tom in St. Mary's. When Tom called the restaurant again, a live person confirmed that they did not open until lunchtime.
"Did you suggest that they change their outgoing voicemail greeting?" I asked. We suspect that we were caught by a recent transition from summer to winter hours for the airport diner.
On to Plan C.
The only problem with Plan C is that I did not already have one in mind.
I realized that The Flight Deck at Dubois ("Dew Boys") was not far from St. Mary's; just ten minutes in the air. I called the FBO at Dubois Regional Airport (DUJ) to verify that the restaurant was open. It was. Plan C was a go.
Breakfast at The Flight Deck was quite good, though we arrived late enough that the lunch crowd was coming in as we finished. Still, it was a beautiful day to fly and I was glad to be able to share it with another pilot. In November, a savvy pilot never ignores decent weather because there is no telling when it might return (incidentally, the same mindset applies to December, January, and February).
Who knew that finding breakfast would be so difficult? Maybe some things never change.