My weekend trip to the Mall Of America
My weekend trip to the Mall Of America
Last year after Christmas I took my wife and daughter to see the St. Louis Arch, this year I took them to the Mall of America in Minnesota. Here is a recount of my trip and expenses.
I call my FBO and asked that my plane be taken out of its hangar and placed in one of the heated ones so it would be warm when we got ready to depart and to top off the tanks. They said no problem; there was a spot waiting for me in the maintenance hangar.
I stopped by the airport in the evening after attending a Christmas get together and my plane was still in my hangar. I wasn't real happy with this as I expected it to be in a nice warm hangar by now. I also knew that the FBO was closed on the 25th.
Nothing aviation related happened; I opened presents with the family
8:00am: I got up and checked the weather; it looked good for the trip out and probably good for the trip home. I talked to my wife and we decided to go, if we had to stay an extra day due to weather that would not be a problem. I called the FBO to see why my plane wasn't in a heated hangar; the lineman said he was not told to put it in. He said he could get it up in a hangar now, I told him to go ahead, we'd be out in two hours or so.
10:15am: We got to the airport and loaded the plane, it was nice and warm in the hangar. I filed a flight plan and we were off. The trip up was at 7500' and the sky was clear, not a cloud in sight. This was MUCH better than forecasted. The plane just came out of an extensive annual and everything worked beautifully. The new door seals kept the cold air out and the warm air in. Even though it was 0 degree's outside, the cabin was warn enough that all I needed was a sweatshirt. The air was smooth and Minneapolis Center was great for flight following, cleared my right into the Class B airspace and we landed at St. Paul Downtown airport (STP). They had me fly a right base which put me VERY close to the edge of the class B airspace that by now I was asked to stay out of. Had I been in a faster/bigger plane I think I would have requested a left pattern to avoid the airspace, it was little tight to make a safe pattern in something faster. My GPS came in real handy to help keep me clear. Total flight time was 2.4 hours, 233 miles, 97mph average ground speed (darn headwinds), and fuel used was 19.4 gallons or 8 gallons per hour.
12:05pm: I parked at Millionaire and had the plane topped off with fuel at a cost of $56.07 ($2.89/gallon weekend rate). They asked if I wanted the plane hangared over night, I asked how much, they said $55, I accepted. I knew that my wife and daughter would enjoy this trip more if they weren't freezing in the plane. The FBO has a free shuttle service to the Country Inn & Suites hotel we were staying at (Millionaire recommended this hotel). The driver didn't have to do anything but drive us, he offered to carry our bags but we carried them. He was very talkative and we had a nice 10 minute ride to the hotel. I tipped the driver $5. I’m not sure if I should have or if that was an appropriate amount.
12:40pm: We checked into our room. This hotel has a free shuttle service to the Mall of America. We took advantage of that. The drive was kind of a maniac and played some awful music on the radio. The ride lasted about 15 minutes; I wasn’t real impressed so I did not tip him for the ride.
1:00pm: We spent the day at the mall doing a variety of things.
Camp Snoopy: The indoor amusement park, very cool! We spent $15 on tickets for Allison (my daughter). My wife and daughter rode to the log chute ride together, after the splash at the end of the ride a picture is taken; I bought it for them, $7.44 and $2.08 on snoopy playing cards.
Underwater Adventures: Worlds largest underground aquarium, very cool and a must do if you go to the mall, $30.85 & $1.87 for postcards.
6:00pm: We ate dinner at the mall, $18.92.
7:00pm: We spent $2.12 at the Dollar Store.
8:00pm: We spent $23.27 at the Disney store.
8:08pm: We spent $9.05 at Club Libby Lu.
8:10pm: We called the hotel to come and pick us up, the said it would be 20 - 25 minutes.
8:23pm: We spent $6.34 at the Mall of America Store.
8:35pm: The van showed up and took us back to the hotel. This driver was much better than the first. We got back to the hotel and I was so tired I didn’t even think to tip him.
9:00pm: We hit the pool; the water was too cold for me so I didn’t get in. My wife and daughter swam for about an hour and then we headed back up to the room for the night.
8:00am: I woke up, Terri and Allison we already awake. I showered and got dressed. They went and swam for a while and ate breakfast.
11:00am: The car from Millionaire arrives to take us back to the airport. This driver was very nice, although he didn’t say hardly anything during the drive. He dropped us off at the hangar where the plane was and left us the car. He said when we were ready we could drive across the ramp to the FBO; he disappeared before I could tip him. We spent $14.68 in the Millionaire pilot shop.
12:05pm: We took off and headed for home. Terri read a book on the flight home, Allison plugged her headphones into a portable DVD player we have and watched movies.
2:30pm: We land at Boone, IA, about 30 miles from our home airport. This is where Terri’s mom and dad live, we stopped in to see them before heading for the final leg home. I topped off the plane with 20.4 gallons of fuel for a cost of $58.14. Total flight time was 2.4 hours, 206 miles, 86mph average ground speed (darn headwinds), and fuel used was 20.4 gallons or 8.5 gallons per hour.
3:30pm: After visiting for an hour we decided it was time to head for home, Grandma wanted to come down for a day or two. I flew Terri and Alli home; they waited in the FBO’s office while I flew back to Boone to get my mother in law.
5:00am: I arrive back in Ankeny with my mother in law; we tuck the plane back into our hangar and go to Chili’s for dinner, $46.95.
6:30pm: We are done with dinner and drive home. It’s been a long two days, I am tired but we had a great time!
To recap the trip:
Total flight time was 4.8 hours, 439 miles, 91mph average ground speed (darn headwinds), and fuel used was 39.8 gallons or 8.3 gallons per hour.
Millionaire Aviation: $130.75
Mall of America: $116.94
CY Aviation: $58.14
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