Just the facts:
- 4 weeks wandering around the Continental U.S. in a small airplane
- July 26 to August 25, 2003
- could have made the entire trip under visual flight rules (VFR) but
found it more convenient to get two instrument clearances, both on the
very last day of the trip
11,000 airplanes, 770,000 attendees over 7 days. Joris, my helicopter
instructor, and I fought headwinds for 8 hours to get there from
Boston. We flew over Canada and across Lake Michigan before lining up
behind some really slow antique airplanes at Ripon, Wisconsin. We
pitched tents next to my Diamond Star DA40.
On our first day we wandered up the flight line to look at old and
Every day at 3:30 pm there is an airshow.
At night we'd come back to our campsite briefly and then either go out
to dinner with our friend David who had rented a car or walk to the
adjacent Hilton Garden Inn and enjoy 120V power, high-speed Internet
jacks next to the restaurant tables, and "fresh peach cobbler" (made
with canned peaches).
On our third day we made it over to the EAA's museum and took a ride in
a Bell 47 helicopter, the first mass market helicopter and a staple of
the Korean and Vietnam wars. The blades are wooden and there is no life
limit. You're allowed up to 10 cracks up to 12 inches long before
replacing them. Our helicopter ride revealed the vastness of the RV and
tent camping areas. We might have seen these on our way in for landing
if not for the constant terror of colliding with another airplane.
Across the mighty Mississippi to the next stop in Omaha, Nebraska where
people are so happy that they dance in the streets...
Western Nebraska is home to Carhenge (www.carhenge.com).
The Carhenge area also contains other car-based sculpture.
On to beautiful Reno, an income tax-free retirement haven for Californians...
Stopped at the Napa airport and relaxed in the hot tub and pool on Peter
and Faith's estate. Moved the plane to the Oakland airport and stayed
with Joel and Karen. Much eating, seeing friends, sitting in traffic,
plus the occasional scenic flight over the Golden Gate and some service
on the airplane at Hayward airport.
Bryce Canyon, Utah Area
blog entry to find out just how much luck I had driving the back
roads. I started off in Cedar City, Utah where a great Shakespeare
festival was happening, then drove up past Cedar Breaks National
Monument to Bryce Canyon.
Here are some pix:
On to Bryce, where the National Park Service has invested in a forest of
"no dogs allowed signs"...
fortunately tours in turbine-powered helicopters are allowed...
back roads excusion to Grand Staircase Escalante ...
Salt Lake City
As soon as Paul and Jenny have them scanned, there will be some great
air-to-air photos of my Diamond Star over the
Spiral Jetty artwork in the Great Salt Lake (out of the water for
the first time in about 30 years).
The Road Home
Salt Lake across I-80 through southern Wyoming, fuel stop in Ogalala, NE
and shut down for the night in Omaha (dinner with Wendy, Kent, and
friends). Omaha to Stratford, Ontario, stopping for fuel in South Bend,
Indiana and to clear customs in London, Ontario, where my plane was built
back in 2002. Met the parents at the Stratford theater festival for a
modern Elektra and Shakespeare's Troilus and
Cressida. Stratford to Rochester, NY to clear customs then
through the clouds at 9000' to Martha's Vineyard where Alex, a.k.a. "Sea
Dog", had been summering.
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