The Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn.


The Knife & Fork

Breakfast Club Visits Payson, Crosswinds Restaurant

11 Aug 2007
by Warren McIlvoy

The August
Breakfast Club event was to an old favorite, as airplanes go, close by. Payson is much like an old shoe, very comfortable, not far away, and any enthusiast of aviation can go there and feel right at home. In the "olden days" the restaurant was not much to look at. It was made-up of two small trailers jointed together at right angles. The "chef" was in charge of flipping flapjacks and responding to radio calls on the unicom frequency. The radio was located right above the grille in the "back room" and it was a common practice to have the mike on one hand and a pancake turner in the other.

Somewhere around 15-years or so ago, this was all replaced by a more modern, modular constructed, restaurant. The new restaurant has considerably more seating and the north wall is dominated by large picture windows that allow for a panoramic view of the ramp activities and also an unforgettable view of the Mogollon Rim that spans the northern horizon. They have also added additional seating by adding an addition to the west end of the main seating area that essentially doubled the restaurant capacity. Although the cuisine may not win any five-star awards, it is tasty, in ample portions, and most of all, reasonably priced. Just the place for a group of starving aviators.  The unicom duties have been relocated to an office adjacent to the ramp that also handles fuel sales.

Payson is close enough that you will hardly get to cruise altitude and heat the oil before beginning your descent to pattern altitude. But that 50 or so Miles brings you to what is often called the "gateway to the high country". At more than 5200', Payson is the place where you might choose to head east on route 260 for the drive to the Rim country and beyond or head north to the small "get-a-way" communities of Pine and Strawberry. A 1-hour plus 30-minute drive (not on Friday afternoons) up the Beeline highway will get you into the pines and cooler temperatures. A 25-minute flight will get to the same place without the hassle of the highway traffic.

After landing, I had planed on using the ramp that is just to the east of the Crosswinds Restaurant but I noticed that there were two parking spaces right in front of the restaurant. I secured the aircraft and grabbed my handheld radio to direct some of our folks to the east parking as there where about 6 parking spaces left. The balance of our group had to park on the west ramp that is nearer the camp ground.

Breakfast Club group used all but one table in the west seating area (a.k.a., the back room) so we just found an empty seat and sat down. I walked around the room taking some photos and greeting many of our members as well as meeting some new folks.

History of Payson

Payson considers its founding year as 1882, at which time it was known as Green Valley or Union Park. On March 3, 1884, the town officially established a post office. Postmaster Frank C. Hise recommended that the town be named after a man named Louis Edwin Payson. Senator Payson was very instrumental in the establishment of the Post Office. In honor of Payson's help, the town (or quite possibly merely Hise) decided to change the name to Payson.

Payson had its first rodeo in 1884, with Charlie Meadows being one of the founders. Payson considers its rodeo the "world's oldest continuous" as it has been held every year since.

In 1918 author Zane Grey made his first trip to the area surrounding Payson. He would come back with regularity through 1929, and would purchase two plots of land near Tonto Creek, including 120 acres from Sampson Elam Boles under Myrtle Point. Grey wrote numerous books about the area and also filmed some movies, such as "To the Last Man", in the Payson area in the 1920s.

During prohibition the manufacture, sale, and distribution of liquor was plentiful. The transactions took place on historic Bootleg Alley.

During the 1930s an effort began to try to get Payson a better road to connect it to the outside world. At that time Payson was very isolated with a trip from Phoenix to Payson taking four to five hours. Throughout the 1950s work on a paved road from Phoenix to Payson progressed and the paving was completed in 1959. A few years ago this highway, Arizona State Route 87 (also known as the "Beeline Highway"), was expanded to four lanes.

The weather was much too nice to leave but leaving due to the short nature of the flight but all good things must end. Payson is always a lunch option and I can guarantee that we will be back.

The Payson Gang.

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 93MB, BC-1 and 1.5
  • Ken Calman in 686US, BC-6
  • Steve Bass and Ron Meyers in 5520R, BC-51
  • Brian Briggerman in 601AZ
  • Al & Adele Feldner in 33RX
  • Bob & Dalia Bureker (by auto)
  • Austin Goodwin in 4351X, BC-317
  • Glen Yoder and Allen Wallace in 31TC, BC-007 & BC-39
  • Dave Khingensmith in 2236E
  • Trent Heidtke and Tim Yoder in 703CD, BC-112
  • Larry & Sandy Jensen in 14LJ
  • Austin Erwin, Rob Mooers, and Rich Kupiec in 6693M, BC-86 & BC-27
  • Bob Jackson and Craig Albright in 857CD
  • Jerry & Diane Kapp, Ruth Wallace, and Roy Colliette in 5658K
  • Tom & Kathy Northrop in 4089D
  • Paul Fortune, Bob & Mertha Tambini in 31870, BC-201


What's Next?

The September Breakfast Club fly-in will feature a combo fly-in and weekend overnighter. We will be traveling to Page, Arizona and dinning at the Ranch House Grille. After breakfast, we will drive our rental cars to the Grand Canyon, North Rim for 3-days and 2-nights at the North Rim Lodge. The North Rim is like no other place on earth and offers views of the Grand Canyon that will never be forgotten. Our October fly-in is slated for Lave Havasu but is subject to change. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

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