We climbed the fence of a major league ball park Sunday and flew within twenty miles of Canada while doing it! At a point 145 air miles east of Warsaw you are just 20 miles south of Canada.
For Sunday, Irvin Hoff, that North Manchester young man who brings you the news each day over WRSW, my son Kenny, and I headed east toward Cleveland, where the Boston Braves were to play in the World Series against the home team.
Historic countryside and interesting views were ours all the way.
It was nearly seven o'clock when Joe Carlin waved us off Municipal Airport at Warsaw. Instead of starting directly for the Ohio city, we detoured north of Dewart lake, where I had promised George Everetts of the state police and Sheriff Ray Henderson, that we would make a search for those two unfortunate young people who drowned there Saturday.
After circling, watching and hunting for 30 minutes, we gave up. As much as I think of airplanes, a 100 m.p.h. machine isn't the gadget from which to spot a tiny object under water.
At 7:35 Sunday morning, we left Dewart lake and pointed the ship nearly due east. Our course took us on a line over Kimmell, Avilla and Auburn. by then we knew we had a tailwind and were averaging 118 mph. It's a lovely thing to see the countryside roll by smoothly, each town coming up over the horizon new and different. The trees are just beginning to turn color in northern Indiana and Ohio, and I imagine it will be probably two weeks yet before we are ready for our southern Indiana flight over those painted hills.
Defiance was to our right and perhaps 10 miles distant when we spotted Napoleon, Ohio, ahead. The city lies in a bend of the historic Maumee river, whose valley was freely used back in 1793 and 1794 by General "Mad Anthony" Wayne. General Wayne roamed the Maumee, from Fort Wayne, which was then really a fort, north and east to Lake Ontario, securing the infant nation against the Indians.
Bowling Green, Ohio was our next check point and we did some easy navigating by simply following U.S. Highway 6 straight through. One of the largest catsup-making plants in the world is located there.
We had scheduled a breakfast stop at Fremont, Ohio. Just one hour and 15 minutes after we started east from Dewart lake we were circling the airport at Fremont, 162 miles from home. Over this section of the trip, our plane was averaging 115 mph.
You know, Fremont is the home of President Rutherford B. Hayes, and site of an obscure battle of the War of 1812, when a staunch United States army officer, 21-year old Major George Crogan, and only 150 American soldiers, successfully defended pioneer Fort Stephenson against a force of 700 British troops and recruited red men.
Leaving Fremont, we altered our course slightly toward the north in order to hit Lake Erie at Sandusky Bay, near the Crystal Rock Caverns. As a pilot approaches Sandusky Bay, following the course of the Sandusky river, it appears that the great lake is spilling or rather seeping out the end, slowly being absorbed by the surrounding farmlands. Actually the drainage runs the other way, into the lake, I guess, but miles of lowlands are under water. The iron-ore city of Sandusky guards the right flank of the bay, while Marblehead light and radio is directly across the water to the north. We could pour all the lakes of Kosciusko county into one hole, and I don't believe they would be as large as this Great Lakes bay.
Two causeways cross the mouth of the bay, one supporting a highway to Port Clinton, and the other a railroad. The city of Sandusky, as we looked at it appears to be one of the finest freshwater ports on the Great Lakes. Tremendous piles of coal mark it as a busy place.
We entered into a little venture at Sandusky, deciding to make a 15-mile over-water hop, maybe twenty miles to Lorain, Ohio
We felt really daring when we poked the nose of our tiny craft into the lake five miles from shore, with land at the other end just barely visible. I kept a weather-eye cocked for the shoreline, all the way across. About 10 miles out a big flying boat pulled up along side us and gave friendly escort until we crossed dry land again. It's a thrill of its own to be flying along and suddenly see another airman winging his way at your altitude. We snuggled up really close to him in our loneliness while over the water.
Lorain must handle a great amount of ore, for we could see acres of the reddish stuff neatly heaped all around the town. Lorain, too, has a very fine seaport at the mouth of the Black river.
Our straight line of flight brought us over land again for the rest of the way to Cleveland, and I was glad. The coast line at this point is pretty rugged. High bluffs line the lake and drop steeply several hundred feet to water's edge, with no place for a crippled plane to go.
As the city of Cleveland began to unfold before us, we spotted the giant municipal airport, off to the right. It is on the southwest corner of the town. First thing that Irvin saw to comment upon were the overhead super highways of Cleveland, skirting the lakefront park system. It looked from the air as if they had built one road right on top of another, just like the elevated railways in Chicago. Only in Cleveland they drive cars upon them.
I guess we saw the Cleveland lakefront landing strip about as soon as we saw the big municipal stadium for they are right together. All a pilot had to do was land at the waterfront airplane stand and walk a block east to the stadium. Maybe it's a little farther than that, but from the air it looked very close. There were perhaps 100 planes parked along the runway at 10 o'clock Sunday morning.
Sunday morning the baseball fans had beat the pilots to the seats, however, for at 10 o'clock all the bleacher seats were full of people and the stands appeared to be about half full.
Cleveland stadium is big and it reminds me of the Coliseum in Rome. It is built in almost a perfect circle, maybe just a little wider than it is long, and is double-tiered with covered stands almost completely around the entire field. Only a short section, from halfway between first and second base and extending half way to third, was open. This short space had the only bleacher seats.
Homeward bound, with Kenny hollering his head off for Sunday dinner, we cut southeast at Auburn, directly toward Warsaw, crossing Garrett, and Merriam, with Churubusco and Wolf Lake to our left and right. It was just 1:30 when we rolled to a stop at Warsaw Municipal Airport. We had been in the air for five hours and twenty minutes, with time out for breakfast and two fuel stops.
Warsaw Daily Times Tues. October 12, 1948