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Been a long time since the last update. I’ve been busy with many things including: the annual condition inspection, getting the plane ready for a big trip to Tucson, and flying to Tucson for a week to visit my folks with my daughter.
The condition inspection went great. It took a lot longer than I expected, but I didn’t find anything major. I did a few other minor tasks while I was doing the inspection including installing the interior (finally) and putting some primer on the wheel pants and leg fairings. I was also trying out the Bruce’s Custom Cover in this picture.
Now for the interesting stuff. The trip to Tucson.
Here we are before launch in Renton.
We didn’t really take many pictures on the way down. It was pretty marginal weather through Oregon. We waited out a storm in Roseburg, and then forged on through the Siskiyous following I-5 all the way. Here’s all we saw of Mount Shasta.
This was a funky little hill to the west of Shasta.
Once we got through to Redding, it was clear skies the rest of the way. We overnighted in Bakersfield as we burned up too much time in Oregon. From Bakersfield to Tucson was a particularly boring stretch of flying. Lots of desert and not much else.
After some restful days in sunny Tucson, it was too quickly time to return home.
I’m glad I’m based out of a fairly sleepy airport. I’m not sure I’d want to deal with these commercial and Air National Guard guys on a regular basis.
We had to wait for about 8 F-16s to take off before crossing to the right runway. I was also a little worried the Southwest jet was going to light ‘em up while turning onto the runway, but thankfully he didn’t blast us. It was cool to see the afterburners light up as these guys made their noisy launch into the sky.
Again the stretch from Tucson to Bakersfield was long and boring and this time with a 30 knot headwind instead of tailwind. Lovely. Not much to see from 8500′. This was somewhere SW of Phoenix. Even though we were out in the middle of nowhere, there was usually always some sign of mankind on the horizon.
This was a weird little development SE of Blythe, CA. Not sure why these people want to be hours from civilization and yet right next to their neighbors.
These were some mountains in the San Bernardio National Forest.
We stopped in Lancaster, CA for comparatively cheap fuel and lunch. They have a couple of really nice covered picnic tables set up in the grass near the transient parking area. We watched a Caravan do several land-and-taxi-backs with a huge pattern in between. They got in about 3 in 20 minutes. That must be an expensive way to learn landings.
Hills outside of Bakersfield.
Mountains east of Fresno, and Fresno itself. After miles and miles of nothing, it was cool whenever we’d fly over a city.
One thing I noticed all along the route was the relatively low levels in the reservoirs. Hopefully that was just a seasonal thing. Here’s the New Don Pedro Reservoir.
On the ground, you never really notice mines. They sure are ugly from the sky. This is a mine outside of (appropriately named) Copperopolis.
We stopped again in Redding for (more expensive) fuel and a snack. Temp was in the upper 80s and the OAT read 108°F before take off. The take off roll was certainly longer than I’m used to because of the density altitude.
From this point on it was like the tour of the mountains. Mount Shasta put on a spectacular show as we flew right by it.
Here’s my co-pilot taking a break from the charts to play some Game Boy. She really did a great job comparing our progress on the charts to the GPS and I even taught her how to find ATIS and tower frequencies on the chart and plug them into the SL-40.
Mount Hood was a particularly welcoming sight, as it’s right outside Portland. Of course now I can’t remember which is Hood and which is Jefferson.
Flew directly over the Portland airport with a great view of downtown on the river.
Mount Rainier on the left and Mount Saint Helens on the right. The second picture adds Mount Adams on the far right. Not many days when you can see the entire chain of volcanoes from Rainier down to Shasta.
And finally our hometown volcano, Rainier.
We were on Flight Following for the entire trip from Tucson up to Renton. Joshua Approach dropped us, but it otherwise worked great all the way up.
It certainly felt great to fly into my home airport and make the final landing of the day. All in all, a fun trip. 8+ hours in a small plane makes for a long day. Not sure I’d do it again in one stretch, but I’m glad the whole trip went off without a hitch.