I skipped church on Sunday to fly to Lewiston (KLEW), Maine, in the morning and drive down to Boston for a concert by the Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms Society in the afternoon. What a day.

This was a couple days after a minor “nor’easter” had dumped heavy, rain-soaked snow on the region, so I showed up with heavy boots and brooms, shovels, and ice chippers to get the plane out of the ridges of snow left behind by airport snow plows. Indeed, I arrived to find the tarmac… clear. Not a trace of snow on the plane or in the tie down areas. The plane started on the third blade after a good preheat, and climbed like a rocket in the cold, dense air.

The visibility was so clear that I could see the snowy peaks of Mount Washington blazing in the sun from 40 miles away. Visibility was so good that I ended up navigating the entire flight via two large lakes, a familiar smoke stack, and an extremely large ocean off the right side of the cockpit. The weather was generally high overcast with light wind, some of the smoothest conditions I’ve experienced recently. The plane nearly flew itself to Maine.

The draw to Lewiston was word of a new restaurant on the airport property: Mike’s Runway Diner served up one of the best airport cheese burgers I’ve had in a while. Lewiston was also one of my first cross-country flights as a student. I walked into an FBO to have my log book signed, and the woman behind the desk wrote, “Arrived Alive, Lewiston, Maine.”

But best of all was an orange-and-white Cessna 180 parked on the ramp, one of the most perfect examples of that aeronautical station wagon I’ve ever seen. That plane radiates it’s own kind of religious experience.

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