By Mark Spencer
While challenging weather scuttled our monthly fly in BBQ at Grapevine for January, several folks did fly in. Because of their hard work, along with a ground crew, a small tractor and 40 additional tons of fill, the airstrip has never looked better. Anyone that has visited Grapevine understands the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert that we are so privileged to enjoy. Taking care of this incredible gift has been a passion of local pilots and even those from across the country. Shoring up the edges, providing a smoother transition for aircraft exiting the runway at midfield, has been a priority since we finished the crack seal and resurfacing.
APA and RAF members from Colorado and Arizona were there, 4 aircraft in all, two camp hosts who drove a long way to support the planned BBQ and work, and even a family from Benson.
Paul Pitkin was, as always, up to the charge, and has arranged for this additional 40 tons of material to be delivered the week before. Jeff Wilson brought out his tractor and ALL material is now completely spread. Let’s not forget the group of hard working member/pilots who spread nearly the entire first 40 ton of material by hand! The project is now complete and it is a beautiful finishing touch to the midfield runway edges along both sides.
Concrete parking curbs, donated by the Forest Service, were also placed at the aircraft tie down area at the approach end of runway 35. Man, those things are heavy! Speaking of the Forest Service, our friend, District Ranger Kelly Jardine, stopped in for lunch on Saturday to say hello and let us know of the government shutdown. He looked over what we had done and Jim Knapp drove him around too. It was another friendly visit.
A couple of reminders for those visiting Grapevine: The Grapevine airstrip area is completely closed to automobile access from highway 88 to the airport. This was the condition before we restored the runway and our agreement with the USFS. Only support vehicles are permitted past the gate at the highway (the camp host and support needed by the host). Of course we have permission to bring vehicles in for maintenance activities from time to time. Please help us keep our commitment, and keep the Grapevine airstrip the special experience it is intended to be, by not attempting to drive past the gate. This site is special and is to be accessed by noncommercial aircraft, not automobiles. Also, the APA provides a donation based lunch each third Saturday of the month, but we need your help! These generous donations pay not only for the good food provided by our monthly volunteer hosts, but also for the portable bathroom the APA has rented.
Hope to see you at Grapevine the weekend of February 17th!