Breakfast Club
An affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn.


The Knife & Fork


Breakfast Club Visits Tusayon/Grand Canyon Squire Inn

16 Sep 2006
by Warren McIlvoy

The September Breakfast Club event saw us traveling north again but this time we actually made it to the Grand Canyon (well almost). Last month, we flew into Valle Airport which is about 25-miles south of the Grand Canyon but this time we went a little further and all the way to the Grand Canyon Airport and the village of Tusayon.

While we were in the process of pushing the airplane out of its parking space we were greeted by Don Graminski (a.k.a. BC-16). He said that he was getting ready to head north to join the group at the Grand Canyon. No sooner had Don driven off and along came Richard Spiegel (a.k.a. BC-3). It seems that he was going solo for the
Breakfast Club event. I asked him if he would like to join with my wife and I since we had an extra seat available. Richard jumped at the opportunity to just be a sightseer for a change.
Our departure out of Deer Valley Airport was uneventful as we were able to evade the traffic jam caused by the local flight schools. Our northward journey would take us over the eastern portion of Mingus Mountain and the small towns of Jerome, Clarkdale, and Cottonwood. By this time the radio airways were abuzz with position reports from the
Breakfast Club gaggle. By the time that we crossed I-40 east of Williams, it appeared that we were "tail end turtle". When we passed over the little town of Valle, we started a gradual descent to the 7600' pattern altitude for the Grand Canyon Airport. We entered left downwind for runway 21 and had a moderate crosswind out of the west that made for a slightly challenging crosswind landing. The transient parking is in the last two rows at the north end of the ramp. We got the last parking slot as a plane that was not part of our group was departing. When I got the early morning weather briefing from the AOPA flight planning program, the 0600 temperatures at GCN indicated that it might be a bit chilly upon our arrival and to be on the safe side, we brought along some light jackets. The air temperature was only in the mid to upper 50's and bringing the jackets was a smart decision.

Grand Canyon Squire Inn is only about a ½ to 3/4 mile hike if you take the short cut through the woods that are off the approach end of runway 3. The trip through the woods required some minor gymnastics to get through a barbed wire fence that separated the private property from the airport property. One person would lift the upper wire and another would push down the next wire strand with their foot therefore expanding the gap to accommodate the contorted bodies as we slipped through the opening. The Squire Inn is the first building that you come to once you are off the airport property. The main entry is on the north side of the north building and after entering, a left turn will take you to the dining room. The motel does not have any sort of aviation motif but none-the-less, appears to be a very nice place to stay and for that matter, a great choice for our Breakfast Club event.

There were several long tables joined together that would accommodate the majority of the
Breakfast Club gang but the balance of our group occupied several booths that were right next to the long table. The motel had no warning of our arrival but in short order, they amassed the troops and the first order of business was getting coffee (or rocket fuel if you prefer) and other beverages to the starving hoard. For the most part, we received our orders in the normal amount of time but there were a few that folks that took on the role of "onlookers" while the rest of us, despite their drooling, enjoyed our meal. While we waited for our meals to be delivered, it gave me a chance to get some photos of the Breakfast Club group and also provided some time for sharing some good ole fashioned fellowship and the ever popular "hangar flying". The only downside was that there was only one check so everyone had to do some mental mathematical gymnastics to come-up with cost of their meals plus a tip.

After enjoying a leisurely repast at the
Squire Inn, we headed back to the airport for our flight back to the valley. The issue of traversing the barbed wire fence was just a tad bit more challenging after eating but, with just a barely audible groan, we slipped through the seemingly smaller opening to continue our hike. For some reason, the hike back seemed longer than the earlier trek to the motel. Maybe it was due to a portion of the hike that required an uphill course and the 6600' elevation. But despite some huffing and puffing and a wee bit of wheezing, we all made it back to the airport. Since it was now the late morning hour, the air had some light chop at 9500' while over the rim country but over the Verdi Valley and for the balance of the flight, it was smooth enough to enjoy some sightseeing.

The Grand Canyon Gang

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy and Richard Spiegel in 93MB, BC-1 & BC-3
  • Rob Mooers and Austin Erwin in 5327G, BC-27 & BC-86
  • Trent Heidtke and Tim & Ramona Yoder in 703CD, BC-112
  • Glen & Judy Yoder in 31TC, BC-007
  • Austin Erwin and Tom Roche in 4351X
  • Don Graminski in 9064V, BC-16
  • Larry & Sandy Jensen in 14LJ, BC-65
  • Paul Fortune in 31870, BC-201
  • Tom Northrop in 4089D
  • Ken and Jason Calman in 60372, BC-6

What's Next?

The October
Breakfast Club will see us traveling to a new location known as Benson, Arizona. That event will include a trip about 9-miles south to the Kartchner Caverns State Park and a tour of the Great Room. In November, we will be flying to Borrego Springs and the La Casa del Zorro Resort for a delightful morning breakfast in the Rose Garden. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

Click on the Grand Canyon link to view photos of this fly-in event.