Making an aviation buff’s pilgrimage


In Islam, each member of the faithful must make the hadj or pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

I have been a faithful aviation buff for lo these 50 years, and the time has come for me to make the hadj to aviation Mecca – the annual Experimental Aviation Association fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We depart Lansing at 4:00 a.m. Sunday, destination Ludington, and the good ship Badger, one of the last coal-fired steamers in the world. It will transport Kate, me and nephew Lucas on a breathtakingly beautiful journey across Lake Michigan at it’s widest point, around 100 miles.

A bit more than four hours after sailing we three and the trusty Taurus wagon (loaded to the gills with bikes, camping gear, cooler, etc.) debark in Manitowoc, and 90 minutes later arrive in Mecca.

The trip came about a few weeks ago when I was telling 9-year-old Lucas about the EAA Oshkosh event. I mentioned the ferry, and the WWII submarine parked at the dock in Manitowoc, and he said, “We should go.” From the mouths of babes . . .

So, I anticipate a stiff neck the next few days from looking up, and a sore back from salaaming before holy temples of flight – Spitfires, Mustangs, B-17s, F-18s, and Lord knows what else. We have tickets and are camping right on site, but as for what exactly to expect I’m mostly walking in cold. The one thing I do know is that there will be far more than we can possibly absorb in three days, meaning that perhaps future pilgrimages will be in order.

[I did read one cute thing – near the camping area they have an outdoor theater with a drive-in movie type screen, and every night at 8:30 show a movie. Guess what kind? Right! Airplane movies!   :-)  ]


2 Responses to “Making an aviation buff’s pilgrimage”

  1. linda fox Says:

    It sounds so beautiful! Have a wonderful, memorable time.
    Love, Linda

  2. Jason Gillman Jr. Says:

    You, good sir, have made me jelous!

    Oh well, I get to play with aircraft every month ;)

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