64 Chevy C10 Pickup 64 Chevy C10 Pickup Bud, Jack & Ted's Alaska Adventure
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First stop for fuel in Nebraska
Stopped for fuel at this small airport run by a married couple for the past few years, a noticeable cumulus development was seen to the north and we inquired about the weather on the DUAT prior to pressing on. The storms were to the north & we were headed more NE. Took on 30 gallons again to ensure we were not over gross weight. Departed on the north runway headed to Valentine, Nebraska to leave the birthday present for one of Jennifer's former classmates. No encounters with the weather on this leg of the journey.

Stormy weather as we leave Broken Bow
The landing here was also good cross-wind practice since the wind was blowing fairly briskly when we arrived. Using the courtesy car at this airport was very interesting since it had power steering but was inoperative. Quite a bit of muscle was required to turn and since we made 2 stops, each of us took a turn at driving. After stopping at a food store, we made our way to the local Pizza Hut for our "lunch" (approx 3:30?) This was to become a pattern since we developed a habit of flying late into the evening so the next morning had trouble getting started early. Sitting at the table waiting for the pizza, Jack once again took out the GPS and did some inquiries as to distance to Rapid City, S.D. Looked like we could make that for our first night even though we would be getting in kind of late. After a few phone calls, the present recipient was located but would be unable to meet us, so Jack left the gift with the manager of the Pizza Hut, and we were on our way back to the airport.

Thanks for being off to the side of our flight path
Even though Jack went through the checklist prior to takeoff, I apparently was not listening very well. Just as we lifted off, there was a bang on the fuselage just below me and I knew instantly that it was my seat-belt, unfastened and hanging out the door. With me pushing on the door and Bud holding it open, the belt was retrieved and I buckled up, embarrassed by such a "rookie" mistake.

This is why they call it the "Badlands"
The terrain began to change gradually as we continued northwest and before long we were flying over the badlands (which appear to be aptly named). Since there had been no one to pump fuel at Valentine, our interest turned to a discussion of the amount of fuel on-board. The fuel indicators on this 172 are located above the doors at the wing root and Jack had indicated that they were notoriously inaccurate. The right one would go to empty after about one & one-half hours of flying time and the left would fluctuate from 1/4 to 3/4. Since we knew that we might have to divert to another airport instead of continuing on to Rapid City, Jack switched to the right tank and started his stop-watch. His plan (a good one) was to run the right tank dry and then at that point, we would know exactly how much flying time (fuel) remained in the left tank. The 172 spends most of its life operating on "both" and feeds equally from each tank and this is what we had done all the way. By know it was dark & on the horizon we could see the lights of Rapid City and thought we saw the lights of the municipal airport. We were to discover later that we had been looking at the military airport to the north of our target. Descending for the landing, the fuel selector was switched back to both without ever having run the right tank dry. (This after having flown approximately 30 minutes on the right tank only. We taxied to Westjet Center for fuel and tie-down for the night. We telephoned family members to let them know that we had made our first stop. With the help of the attendant at Westjet, contact was made with a local motel and they send a van to pick us up. After arriving, I took a shower while Bud & Jack went to the store for a few groceries and of course some chocolate milk for Bud.
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Ancil T. (TED) Davis
Last Update 05/02/97