Monthly Archives: July 2012

Today in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Today was great…. Pancakes at the KOA for breakfast, Mt. Rushmore in the AM, the Needles Highway in Custer National Forest midday and Crazy Horse in the afternoon.

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Got Out of Mississippi Just in Time!

First Stop KFLP… Well, we made it out before the storms hit the Jackson area and into Flippin before it started raining here. We started out from Raymond at 8500 feet and went to 10,500 and realized we could not get high enough to get over the buildups, so the last 30 minutes of the trip was “down and dirty” at 4500 over the Ozarks. The Foreflight screen shot below shows what it looked like about two hours after we landed:

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Clear Sailing, but HOT…  We should be out in front of all of the weather that will be affecting the south.  Tomorrow’s plan is to get up early and head to Grand Island, NE (KGRI) for gas and a stretch before the temps get so bad. Unfortunately, when we roll into Rapid City, it’s supposed to be 100+, but we should have clear skies most of the way. That’s all for tonight, we are in our “happy spot” in Arkansas with a nice bottle of wine and a cool place to sleep…

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica and now you can “TRACK US” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car “We’ll Pick You UP”… just not at an airport!

Another RANT

In the words of Earl Pitts…Ya’ Know what make me sick?” – Getting screwed by a rental car company!  While planning our trip to Oshkosh by way of Rapid City, SD (KRAP), I figured we needed a car for the four days we planned to be in KRAP.  So I called the FBO at KRAP and asked about rental cars.  The response was that we can get you a car from Hertz and have it here when you arrive or you can get one directly from Hertz.  So, I decided to go online with Hertz to see what their rates were and if maybe there was another option.  Sure enough, Hertz had a rate for the FBO delivery… $90 per day plus a multitude of taxes that amounted to a total over $450 for four days!  HOLY KRAP!

BTW… this is the reason we bought our ’97 Grand Marquis to keep in Arkansas.  The FBO at Mountain Home, Arkansas was charging us $65 + per day for an economy class car from Enterprise.  One day when I found a special deal on a car from Enterprise for $29, I asked if they would pick us up at the airport – the response – “Oh no, we can’t do that, the airport is a protected market.” – WTF – “So you’re telling me, if I walk down the road a mile or so to the fire station on the main highway, you’ll pick me up” – “I guess we could”… well that was “too much candy for a nickel” as my dad would say.  SO, we paid $1400 for a car of our own, in pretty good shape, and put it at a different airport (KFLP) that charged $0.80 less per gallon for 100LL.  Now, after 34 nights of use in less than a year, I have saved over $2,200 and the FBO at Mountain Home has gone out of business…

Back to KRAP… So I decided to give Enterprise another try, this time at Rapid City… imagine that, EXACTLY the same price (over $450 for 4 days) as Hertz but they were located at the airline terminal and did not provide service to the FBO.  So, I decided to look at their “in town” price since their slogan on TV is “we’ll pick you up”, WOW, you could get the same crappy economy car 7 miles away for LESS THAN $200 for the same 4 days!  Well, I may be stupid, but I’m still cheap…I rented the $190 car online just to see if they said anything about excluding delivery or pickup at the airport.  Sure enough, I get this quote printed on my receipt…

“THIS LOCATION IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE PICKUP OR RETURN SERVICE TO THE RAPID CITY AIRPORT. IF FLYING INTO THE AIRPORT PLEASE USE OUR BRANCH LOCATED AT 4550 TERMINAL ROAD. ”

What a racket… So much for their popular “pick you up” slogan.  I understand that there may be some additional cost of doing business at the airport, but to be able to charge 141% more for the same car – I gotta call blowing snow here.  So, I guess we will figure out a way to get into town, I’m sure I can get a cab to take me in for 20 bucks or so, which will still keep our rental cost below $250, that $200 saved will buy a lot of Leinenkugel’s when we get to Wisconsin!

FAST FORWARD 24 HOURS…  After stewing over this CRAP @ KRAP, I got to thinking that maybe there was a local alternative to the national rent-a-car companies and the whole airport price fixing thing and after a quick Google search, I found several local companies that WOULD pick you up at the airport.  I ended up calling Black Hills Car Rentals and talked to John, who said he would pick us up at the FBO for no extra charge and the rate was $37.95 / day plus tax!  For a total of $193, we can be picked up at the FBO when we arrive and can leave the car at the FBO when we get ready to depart… now that’s customer service!  So, I quickly cancelled the Enterprise contract and I will post our experience with the local company after we return the car, but I am confident, at this point, it will be a good one.

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica and now you can “TRACK US” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

Track Our Progress with SPOT…

See Spot Run… or better yet, see Paul & Beth fly!  We have had our Spot Satellite Messenger in the plane since our first flight almost two years ago.  While we rarely use the tracking feature, it is nice to have the peace of mind that we could get a message through to the authorities from a remote location if needed.  This handy little device keeps up with where you are and has the ability to transmit your location automatically for tracking purposes or in the case of an emergency, we can push the red help button and the unit will contact search and rescue, giving them your exact coordinates for a speedy rescue.  Spot’s website boasts almost 2,000 rescues initiated by the device with 314 rescues in 2012 alone.  I hope we don’t need it, but like insurance, it is a good thing to have, especially since our trip will take us over “The Badlands” – not a place I want to spend much time in.

New “TRACK US” Link… If you’ll notice at the top of the page, I have put a “TRACK US” tab.  This will take you directly to our Spot Messenger publicly shared page.  I will “try” to remember to turn the unit on when we take off (yes, it is on the checklist) so that those interested can see where we are and where we have been.  Just a note… if you see it just stop tracking in mid-air, don’t be alarmed, it runs on 3 little AAA lithium batteries that will die without warning and I do have a handful of replacements.  I had hoped to embed the linked page into our site, but apparently WordPress does not allow embedded links due to web security concerns, so for now you will just have to hit the “TRACK US” link and be routed to Spot’s shared site.

The plane is packed… the GPS databases are updated, the oil has been changed and we are ready to go!  Plans now are to leave after work on Thursday, weather permitting and fly to Flippin, AR and stay in the camper Thursday night.  Friday morning, we will head to Rapid City, SD with probably one stop around Grand Island, NE for fuel and a potty break.  After a few days tent camping in the Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore, we will head on over to Oshkosh to enjoy the rest of the week at AIRVENTURE! – can’t wait…

And as always… You can subscribe to our blog by entering your  e-mail address in the box to the right or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

Mississippi to Oshkosh via Rapid City & Night Wall of Fire Video from Airventure…

Let the packing begin…  We have started getting things ready for our annual trip to Airventure in Oshkosh, WI.  For 5 years we pulled our camper for the 2,000 mile round trip to the mecca of aviation and last year we were able to fly our newly built RV-9A.  This year we are planning a little “side trip” to the Black Hills area of western South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and the Custer National Forest.

Dining room table overload… So, about two weeks before we take a big trip, we start setting things on the dining room table, “so we don’t forget anything”.  Yes, we do have a list, but this just seems to work well in organizing the packing.  First a few towels and hats, then the sleeping bags, mats, tent, rain gear… you get the point.  We figure, once the table is full, thats it – it probably will not fit in the plane!  Luckily, most of the stuff we have is VERY light weight and we only carry five days worth of clothes since we plan to hit the laundry mat when we transit from Rapid City to Oshkosh.  Our biggest issue is the volume of stuff that goes in the plane not the weight… the baggage area in a RV-9A is not very big!

Wall of Fire…  Two years ago, while at Airventure, I took the short video below on my iPhone.  It was very exciting and since it was the first night airshow at Oshkosh, I’m not sure any of us were prepared for what we saw – enjoy, and I apologize in advance for the “S” word and yea, I know I sound a little like Larry the Cable Guy…

Tracking our progress… In an effort to keep family and friends up-to-date with where we are and how things are going, I plan to put a link on the blog next week to our SPOT emergency locator tracking page. I just bought $20 worth of the required Lithium batteries to keep it going while we are moving around.  We also plan to “live blog” with the iPhone & iPad and will try to push a few postcard pictures up when we get near some wifi.  So, to keep up with the trip’s progress, please enter your e-mail address in the box to the right of the page  or “LIKE” our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/2FlyAmerica.

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