Leaving the sandy beaches of San Diego today. We are heading for Las Vegas. There is a cold front coming through producing strong winds. Plans are to get on the ground before it gets to bad. Weather is suppose to go VFR by noon here. We plan to be ready to go by then.
Runways are all north south, north of Las Vegas so an emergency pee stop will not be an option. Good reason to tour Vegas again. Winds are forecasted to be strong again tomorrow but at least we will be flying out of it. They will be out of the north, it will be a slow bumpy ride tomorrow.
We flew out of Fullerton today around noon. We had to make a left turn to 120 on departure and then get in touch with SoCal approach. It wasn’t long they had us resume our own navigation and we went direct to Dana Point, which they were aware of. They approved our cruising altitude of 3500 ft. After Dana Point we turned down the coast. We stayed out over the ocean to be clear of the restricted. It was topped at 2000ft but it felt better staying clear. We switch to many different frequencies for the short 30 min flight. This part of the country has very busy airspace. I have to silence the kids most of the time as it is very important not to miss an instruction.
Once over Carlsbad we got cleared through the Bravo airspace. We made a slight deviation over Carlsbad so my wife could pictures of the flower fields. Approach allowed us to do so. We were soon on an unrestricted descend to a cross on a mountain before inbound to Montgomery . Unfortunately all the looking for the cross had me miss looking at Torrey Pines soaring site. We flew right over it. Some time there is just no time for site seeing.
We landed at Montgomery Field, the service was great. They were beside us before we even got the plane shut down and the rental car was a minute later.
We are here for a few days on the beach before heading north some time mid next week. So far the trip could not be better.
Landed at Fullerton today. We left Redding direct to the Golden Gate Bridge. Once past the bridge we got approval for a climb. Shortly after we were told to stop the climb and turn to 240. We headed out to sea. He soon turned us south bound. A minute later we had to turn to 270. That was basically a 180. There was a heavy with flap problems and basically wanted everyone out of the way. I finally got going south and back over land. The ride got rather bumpy until we got back over the valley. We got really beat up passing the last pass before the LA basin. We stayed clear of the Bravo and worked are way through with SoCal approach. Wow is LA ever big. I was glad to land, as it was a long flight with several high work load portions. I think we were airborne for about 3.5 hrs. I have to check. 3 days here then off to San diego.
Update from Troy – Apr 23, 2013 06:00
Round trip flight from Calgary, AB to Los Angeles, CA
What a great airplane, worked most of the day, airborne at 4:00 and still make 700nm trip and land at sunset. The trip over the rock pile at 10,500 had virtually no wind. We descended into Spokane and met with customs. First thing he said when I opened the door, you off to Connecticut! I prepped them when I booked, so glad they played along, great bunch. Kids don’t know we are going to Disney Land!
After that we climbed to 10,500 and the wind gradually got stronger. About 20kts on the tail. I expected more. The ground had lots of dust getting kicked up though. The ride was relatively smooth. The flight past mount Shasta at sunset was beautiful.
We got rewarded with a 21kt 45 degree cross wind in Redding. All and all an easy run. Kids were great, hopefully LA tomorrow afternoon.
We made it to San Francisco in these little, but oh, so capable airplanes!
I’ll do a longer and more complete message later, but I just wanted to let you know we’re here. Yee ha!
Our day started out to be very warm and we had to make a detour to avoid a fire that the bombers were working south of Redding. We had to divert around the east end of the city and airport. It added maybe 15 minutes to the first leg.
The Sacramento Valley we flew south through was nothing short of stunning. This flight was easily one of the most incredible flights I’ve had in twenty-six years of flying. It was smooth with no wind and the temperature was perfect.
We landed at a place called Colusa to get some gas and take a short break. Then we headed south to Napa where we turned southwest for Gnoss. Again, it was nearly perfectly smooth and incredibly scenic.
We landed at Gnoss, tied down and got our car organized. The rental company, Enterprise, upgraded us to a Chrysler 300 for no charge. We’ve had exceptional service from them the whole way.
We headed to the hotel in San Rafael that I booked a couple of months ago and discovered that it was, in fact, a flea bag shit hole located right beside another flea bag shithole, which was located on the same block as their local homeless shelter! We cancelled our reservation.
With the help of my Anywhere Map GPS, which also has a ground nav GPS mode, we located another hotel in Gnoss and booked in there. A much better choice, for sure.
We grabbed a bite at a local restaurant that was only so-so, and headed into San Francisco to do a little exploring.
What an experience to be on the Golden Gate Bridge at the edge of the Pacific Ocean on a beautiful summer evening after having flown our little airplanes – an ultralight and a 66-year old Champ – all the way there from Calgary! How am I going to top, or even match, something like this?
We spent an hour, or so, driving around and exploring the heart of the city and some of the suburbs. This place is so alive and just teeming with people out and about. The architecture is beautiful and classic. There were moments I thought I’d stepped into a Humphrey Bogart movie. At other times I wondered how we found ourselves in such a ghetto. This city is extremely diverse and absolutely iconic.
We came back to the hotel and made plans for all the stuff we’re going to see in the next couple of days.
Here are a few photos; a cockpit shot of me, a shot of Geoff’s Champ over the Sacramento Valley.
Tomorrow, we’re going to an airfield at Sonoma because on Saturday morning they roll out all their vintage planes, their classics, and some warbirds. I’ll send some photos if I get any good ones.
It’s been another extremely memorable day of flying. We launched out of Bend this morning with light winds but high temperatures and a 4100’ field elevation. Very busy there with everything from business jets to homebuilts and a trike.
We had a terrible climb rate because of the density altitude, and we really did need to climb because the terrain between there and Klamath Falls was no less than 4500’ and sometimes up around 5000’ at road level. We had to follow the road because the area is a protected one that allows no development. Thus, if we were to go down, we’d likely never be seen again, and might even be adopted by a family of Sasquatches.
It’s very heavily wooded and high terrain there. Pretty challenging stuff for a couple of heavily loaded little airplanes flying in such warm weather.
We made it to Klamath Falls, which has a really nice and really busy airport that features an Air National Guard squadron of F-15s. And while we were eating, a pair of Navy F/A-18s landed and taxied in. Just before we left, six F-15′s taxied past our planes and took off nearly vertically.
Avgas is really expensive right now at around 6 bucks a gallon down here. Nearly twice the price of car gas in some places. Klamath was really expensive at $6.20 gal.
We left Klamath in the heat of the afternoon, which actually turned out well for us because we could take advantage of the thermals and ridge lift. We used that get up to 8700’ at one point. We flew past Mt. Shasta, which is 14.000 and change, and once we got past it, we got caught in a perpetual down draft for the next 20 miles or so. It was all just from the wind coming off the mountain.
We flew past a town called Weed, which meant we were in California. It was all downhill from there to Redding, but still pretty rough in places with lots of downdrafts that were more annoying than anything. The valley was about 45 miles long and pretty tight in places. It would be a pretty neat drive, but it’s still a better flight.
And what sensational scenery! I know that we have equally fantastic mountains in Alberta and BC, but these are of a different nature, probably due to their volcanic origins. We flew over lava beds on a few occasions today. The Shasta reservoir is nothing short of stunning, with deep green water, red dirt beaches and even deeper green mountains and hills sticking out of the water.
We ended the day at Redding Benton Field after nearly 4 hours of tough flying time today.
Tomorrow we head south over some really easy, low flat terrain to get to Novato, which is the nearest field we could find to San Francisco. It’s about 20 miles north of San Francisco. We’ll spend a few days on the ground touring around and then start back northward.
I’ve attached a few pictures, one of Mt Shasta from 8500’, and one of Geoff and me with actual palm trees in the background taken about an hour ago (~21:20). One is of the F-18′s on the ramp at Klamath as we taxied out.
What an incredible adventure this is turning into. It’s tougher than I anticipated, but also more rewarding because of the challenges we’ve overcome.
I’ll give another update tomorrow.
As our SPOT page indicates, we made it to Bend, Oregon today, but it was with a fair bit of drama and excitement.
First, the day dawned beautifully clear and stayed that way all day with nice light winds. We left Coeur d’ Alene around 0930 this morning and soon after we were airborne, I noticed a hot oil smell. Not unusual, but not really normal, either. Then it got worse. I had a suspicion what it was, and didn’t really enjoy what I was thinking. I told Geoff we needed to return to the airport immediately.
We made the 180 and landed on runway 05, since there was no wind and I really needed to be on the ground.
When I landed, the front right side of my plane was covered in oil! Distracted by the wind and weather yesterday, I had neglected to put the oil filler cap back on. The oil had been pissing out all over the engine bay and the side of the plane. The flight only lasted about 9 minutes, but it sure messed up the plane. It’s a really good thing I hadn’t gone any farther away from the airport than I did.
It is extremely embarrassing and it took about 45 minutes to clean up all the oil. What a mess!
We launched again and headed out over central Washington, which quickly turns into a desert. We had a good lunch at Richland, which borders the Hanford nuclear power facilities. Hopefully, we won’t start glowing in the dark.
We flew out of Richland headed south to avoid the MOA near there, and the weapons depot that borders it. Northern Oregon is a stunning place to see and we were about halfway to Bend when more trouble struck.
Geoff called and said he had engine troubles and his engine was running really roughly. We immediately started looking for a place to set down. There were plenty of places for a safe landing, since we were still over farm land. Another 5 minutes would have put us over some of the roughest terrain I’ve ever seen; canyons and gorges that were incredibly deep, steep and rugged.
Geoff tried adding carb heat and that seemed to help the problem – for a few minutes. Then it happened again, and Geoff again added carb heat. This seemed to fix the problem for good, but a new one had arisen. We couldn’t find eachother. If he went down, I needed to be right there to spot him and help.
It took some time, but after two course changes and some aerial sleuthing by matching positions to landmarks, I finally spotted Geoff about 2 miles ahead. We were starting to run a little bit shy of fuel, so we decided to divert to Madras, Oregon, about 35 miles north of Bend.
We landed there and added gas and then flew the remaining half hour to Bend. It seems I’m having some radio issues, but it may just be that I need to switch to my headset. I’ll try that tomorrow. Tomorrow we fly to Klamath Falls, Oregon, then on to Redding, California. Two easy legs of about 135 miles each.