Eastbound, but first Down (South)

For the forty-first crossing I was trying to get through the northern Rockies between Seattle and Billings, Montana. This was the view on ForeFlight on the morning I was departing. That storm, which stubbornly sat over the Rockies for three days, dumped so much rain on the Yosemite Valley that it washed away a bridge and did historic damage. As far as I could tell the weather was stopped there by the heat wave that was covering the inland portions of the nation.

There was nothing terrible in that forecast. It was a four hours flight and it looked like three hours would be in the clouds. the plane has two and a half hours of protection from icing, and this looks like it would have exhausted the supply. The plane was most likely capable (and there are places to land if I felt continuing was unwise), but I couldn’t get excited about doing flying into it. So I headed south. This sort of entry is more like the Photographic Logbook that my friend Chris keeps. I should have taken more pictures.

After a dinner with Rudy the night before, I flew out of San Carlos to Las Vegas (Henderson) for breakfast, on to Albuquerque for a nap. Wichita for an early supper and pressed on to St. Louis for the night. The plane flew an excellent GPS approach to landing that night, in VFR conditions, but the help was appreciated. That is now our longest day of flying, almost 1,600 nautical miles from 7am to 10pm (local times, but still 11 hours is a long duty day).

In the morning hopped to Dayton for a Cinnabon, Scranton for fuel, and then landed (current) home field at Norwood, Massachusetts. Great weather all the way and usually a tailwind better than 15 knots.

Possible flight to Billings on Monday morning; that’s a no-go
Mount Shasta, old friend, as we head south.
I like a good tailwind and we had this as we exited the Rogue Valley southbound.
Offshore after a fuel stop at Santa Rose, N972RD offshore on an IFR flight. That lets us avoid all that traffic in the Bay Area. My glide ring says if I lost both engines I wouldn’t need to swim.
Still feels far off the shore and the water looks cold, the waves high. In ten minutes I was on the ground for the night in San Carlos (KSQL).
A 7:30am departure from San Carlos was a good start. We were cleared through R-2505, a restricted area north of Edwards Air Force Base, which was a first for me.
I have so many landings at KHND, Henderson, Nevada. This one was for fuel, both pilot and plane. The Landings didn’t have the Belgian waffle I wanted, but it was a fine plate of eggs and bacon. In less than an hour we were back in that big blue sky.
When we landed at 10pm in St. Louis I didn’t notice this rampmate back there. That is one of only three flying Beech Starships.
A heat wave that was blotting out the entire middle of the nation’s map and that meant that, even at 8am, the haze was too dense to get a good look at the St.Louis Arch, between those two bridges and on the left shore.
Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright Bros. figured out this powered flight thing over a hundred years ago. Thanks, Orville & Wilbur. The FBO let me borrow a car to fetch a Cinnabon. Again, not a waffle, but a fine breakfast for the ride home. Next to the FBO is a huge hangar and entirely private little FBO for a local business leader. His heirs apparently don’t know what to do with it.
Scranton, Pennsylvania, last fuel stop before home. Ninety more minutes of flying and Nell would be there waiting in Norwood.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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