There's so much negativity here about the EAA's current direction, that I need some positivity because I still get PUMPED when I think about Oshkosh approaching!
We have lost track exactly, but this year (we think) will be the 15th year in a row that my dad and I travel to Oshkosh together and camp out for a week. This is usually the only vacation that I take throughout the year. In fact, as a pilot, I try to bid my schedule to have the last week of July off every year. If I can't bid it off, I save my sick time so I can call off! I go to Oshkosh no matter what!
I've flown to Oshkosh in 2004 and 2005 when I had my RANS S-10 Sakota, but every year but those two my dad and I have driven in. I live in MI and my dad lives in PA, so he drives to MI the day before we plan to leave. As silly as this sounds, just loading the car the day before with our camping gear is fun becaues the anticipation of the week ahead is so great. We depart my house at 6:00 am so we can arrive at Oshkosh early in the afternoon.
We have milestones on our way to Oshkosh. Leaving Michigan, getting through Chicago, entering WI ("wow we're almost there!"). Then there's the drive North on 41 and seeing other cars and RV's headed the same direction with airplane stickers on the windows. Yep, they're going to Oshkosh too! We've even seen airplanes on trailers being pulled to Oshkosh.
Once we arrive we meet up with a couple of other friends from Michigan that always fly their Kitfox's in. We camp together and usually get together throughout the day for the airshow and then dinner at Vicky's (by the ultralight area).
I'm just another one in the group of people waiting at the doors for the "big" hangars to open on Monday morning. Since I am usually the one with the car, it's tradition for us to take one day and go to town and get the buffet at Pizza Hut. How that started I have no idea, but it's what we do and it's part of what we look forward to each year.
This year I have a new RANS S-6S that my dad and I will be flying to Oshkosh. With no car, our tradition may change a little this year, but I do know that no matter how commercial it has become, no matter how many times I have to move off the road so a golf cart can pass, my dad and I are going to have a great time. We are already excited and already planning the flight in the airplane.
This year will be the start of new traditions for us since the days of driving to Oshkosh are past. We're flying now!
Sure my traditions don't mean anything to anybody else, but it's what makes Oshkosh so awesome for us.
What are your traditions for Oshkosh??