“Blue and white Cessna rock your wings…”

North 40For most folks, Oshkosh, Wisconsin is best know for bib overalls, fire trucks and artery-clogging food. However, if you’re into things that fly, your most likely association with the place is the annual EAA flyin. For one week each year, beginning in late July, OSH becomes the busiest airport on the planet and doing a VFR arrival during the air show is something no pilot will ever forget. Fly to Ripon, get visually identified by controllers on the ground, follow the railroad tracks, monitor tower frequency, land on the assigned colored dot, stomp on the brakes and head for the grass and follow the flag men to parking–all without keying the mike once.

OSH Tower
OSH Tower

And for my dough, the only real way to do OSH is to fly in and camp with your bird, preferably in the north 40 (pix above).  And with the exception of an ocassional shuttle bus trip to the airport terminal saloon for a beverage, it is 100% all airplanes, all the time. A sign of the tight economy: the show starts tomorrow (7/27) and as of tonight, aircraft camping is estimated to be 98% full.

OSH happens to be the only place we’ve ever been rescued by the Red Cross. One of those classic late afternoon mid-west thunderstorms really trashed the field. We returned from dinner with friends to find a.) good news; airplane still shiny side up and greasy side down and b.) bad news; tent & contents floating in about 6″ of water. Cots & wool blankets in a school gym worked quite well.

The finishing line.

Podium GirlsSince what we’re really about here is the finishing line, let’s explore. Most sports have protocols associated with selecting the people handing out the prizes. In the world of dirt track motor sport, they’re often called ‘trophy trolls.’  In velocipede racing, the presenters are called ‘podium girls’, and when it comes to the TDF, they seem to be selected primarily from the ranks of runway models.

Spending some time at a few finishing lines is definitely on the list.

Minnie?Hint to anyone aspiring to be a TDF podium gal: Stay away from the maillot à pois rouges (polka dot jersey). The frocks these gals are wearing this year all look something ripped straight from the back of Minnie Mouse. They’re even doing the red hair bow thing.