Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

By Rick Mercil
Ricks Aviation Adventures 

Family flying adventure


September 1, 2018

Photo courtesy of Rick Mercil

Rick and Hayden Mercil with Director Emiratis Jerry Cain in front of Cain's Husky.

Thanks to Minnesota Flyer reader, Rick Mercil, owner of Ricks Aviation Adventures for sharing his adventure of beating the crowds to share time exclusively with his family.

In the middle of a hot summer, what's better than sneaking away to the Mountains of Montana with the family in the Cessna 185? If your answer is "nothing" you'd be right. That's just what my wife, Rosa and son, Hayden did the weekend of July 26-29. When everyone else was fighting the heat and lines at Oshkosh, we decided to go west.

Our first day took us out to Bozeman, via White Sulfur Springs where we found $4.09 dollar 100LL. Once in Bozeman, we went to a concert at the football stadium and had a blast.

Friday morning we woke up and decided to drive down to Yellowstone Park via the North entrance. There were very few visitors. We were able to enjoy the park at our leisure for the day. We saw Antelope, Elk and Bison.

Exploring the Mammoth Springs, the Ranger Museum, and a enjoying a Huckleberry ice cream cone in Gardiner Montana were the highlights. Not once did Hayden ask for a phone or IPad...priceless.

On Saturday we started off with a real cowboy breakfast at a local breakfast joint. With full bellies, we climbed into the C185 and headed north to Lincoln, Montana. Nestled in the Scapegoat Mountains, the short, fortyfive minute trip was filled with majestic views of a rugged landscape.

Once there, we enjoyed a BBQ, hosted by The RAF Director Emeritus, Jerry Cain. We walked the mile or so into town and stayed at the historic Lincoln Log Hotel. It is said to be haunted but that will be another story for the Minnesota Flyer.

Photo courtesy of Rick Mercil

Rosa and Hayden with Naval Aviators who flew in to Bozeman for lunch.

On Sunday morning, we woke early and made the trek back out to the airport to takeoff and head home. As I was preforming my pre-flight, John Mckenna, the current Director of the RAF who was camping at the airport, came over for a visit. He complimented on our nice Cessna 185.

We took off at 8:45 a.m. We worked our way through the saddles and seams of the mountain ranges as we headed east. It wasn't long before we were over the plains of eastern Montana, heading into North Dakota.

Pesky Thunderstorms populated our path but we were not deterred. We made it into Crookston around 3:30pm. As always, we all pitched in to get the bugs off, clean the interior, and put N926HM to rest in her hangar.

It was a great family whirl wind weekend. It is just another example of how great life can be when it includes aviation.


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