The Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn


The Knife & Fork



Breakfast Club Visits Valle, Grand Canyon Inn



11 Sept 04
by Warren McIlvoy

The September Breakfast Club event saw the group travel a bit further north this time to a place called Valle. Valle is about 20 miles or so south of Tusyan the "gateway to the Grand Canyon". The town, if you can call it that, is about 120 miles northwest of the Phoenix metro area and just a tad over a one hour flight.

We departed Scottsdale to the northwest and climbed to our cruise altitude of 8500' where the air was cool the ride was smooth as glass. I heard chatter on our group flight following frequency that indicated that we would have a sizable turn-out for this event. Our route took us right over the Cottonwood airport and eventually over the
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area that is on the northern edge of the Verde Valley. After that, the terrain turns into dense forest land dotted with stock ponds until you reach I-40 just east of Williams. Once past Sitgraves Peak the geographic scene turns into a high plateau panorama with few large trees.

The traffic pattern of the day was right downwind for runway 19 and after turning-off at the mid field taxiway, I parked in one of the few remaining spaces that was available. The Breakfast Club folks were gathering in small groups waiting for the last of the masses to arrive. The Grand Canyon Inn was about a half mile hike down the road and in all, there were about three waves of
Breakfast Club folks making the short trek.

Valle is somewhat of an enigmatic place in that I could not really discern why it exists. I could not find any printed history in any of the web search engines and other than the fact that it is located at the highway junctions of US 180 and Arizona 64, why would someone choose to settle here. The only items of note are the airport and a branch of the Planes of Fame Aircraft Museum which in itself would make the trip worthwhile. Just north of the airport is Bed Rock City which is fashioned after the TV series the Flintstones and offers "dinosaur burgers" (I believe that the odds favor them being made from beef). There are also two motels and at least one trading post. And, oh yeah, there was a place where one could buy rocks (must be one of those unlisted tourist attractions).

Meanwhile back at the Grand Canyon Inn, the size of the
Breakfast Club group dictated that we would be seated at a number of different tables. This allowed for a wide variety of hangar flying and swapping of tall tales and lies. The food was typical of a motel dinning room and acceptable for a fly-in but remember, it is the journey not the destination. We had in attendance some folks that I had not seen for some time and then there were some who have been on the email list for a while but this was their first experience with a group fly-in.

After our breakfast and the mandatory tour of the motel gift shop, it was back to the airport to take a gander at some of the old fighter aircraft that are part of the Planes of Fame Museum. Since our last visit several years ago, the Museum had constructed a new building to the south of the terminal. From the outside, it looked larger than the old facility that is north of the terminal. Outside of the new building stands the Lockheed Constellation that was used by General Douglas MacArthur during his Pacific campaign when it had the military designation of C-121. We took the tour through it the last time that we were here but not this time. Another interesting change from our last visit was the antique car collection that is housed in the terminal building. They are all Fords ranging in vintage from the mid teens to the early 30's. All are in excellent condition rivaling those on the showroom floor in their day. I have included a few of the pictures at the end of this story.

Fuel at Valle was listed at $3.10 and more than we pay at Scottsdale (that's almost unbelievable) but Williams is a mere 25 miles to the south and virtually right on our way home. So with that in mind, we departed Valle runway 19 and headed due south. I called Williams UNICOM about 10 miles out and several times after that but could not get a response. As I rounded a hill that is about 5-miles north of Williams, I could clearly see the runway at Clark Memorial and lined-up for a straight-in on runway 18. As I rolled-out and exited the runway, I could see one of the windsocks and the winds were light out of the southwest. Fuel at Williams is $2.65 a gallon and since we would be light even with full fuel, I topped-off for our return trip.

After fueling-up, we walked over to the new terminal building to check into transportation on the 24th when we will take the Grand Canyon Railroad up to the Canyon for the weekend. There was not a soul in sight and only the office door was open. After "casing the joint" looking for a card with the office phone number on it, and finding none, we exited the office and began the short walk back to our aircraft. But just then a truck pulled-up and an elderly gentleman greeted us. He said that he was the airport manager and I inquired of him about getting a ride into town on the 24th. He said that they have two "airport limos" for our use. I told him that we would need it for the three days that we would be up there and he said that would not be a problem. He said to "just leave the keys over the sun visor and if they need the car, that they would know where to find it". That works for me. So, with everything all squared away in Williams, it was back into the air for the ride home. A great day for aviating, meeting new friends and some old ones, and a plan coming together, what more could you ask for?

The Valle Gang

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 4544X, BC-1 & 1.5
    Richard Azimov and Jordan Ross in 6864Q, BC-2 & 11
    Roger and Travis Whittier with Ashley & Blair Martinez in 706CD, BC-122
    Bob Jackson and George Hemminger in 66CW
    Joe & Diane Stockwell in 843CD
    Richard Spiegel and Sam Foote in 901KA, BC-3
    Bob & Bobbie Sternfels in 8100P
    Chuck & Irene Graves in 944G
    Asa & Cheryl Dean in 48803, BC-52
    George Wilen in 5734B, BC-34
    Don Graminski in 9064V, BC-16
    Glen & Judy Yoder and Rick & Becky in 31TC, BC-007
    Larry & Sandy Jensen


What's Next?

The October Breakfast Club event will see us making an encore visit to Page and the Wahweep Marina. In November, we will be returning to Douglas, Arizona and the Gadsden Hotel. If you like old, historic places, then our November event is just right. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

Click on the Valle link to view photos of the fly-in event.