Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day 1: Santa Monica, CA to Bullhead, AZ (523 nm)

Palo Alto to Santa Monica:
333 statute miles (289 nm)
time enroute: 2:39

I'm on my way. I left Palo Alto this morning around 10:00. I managed to fit everything in the plane with room to spare (except Sarah, she was just there to see me off). After getting everything set, I discovered where the plastic nut I found on my floor yesterday came from. It was part of the bracket that mounts my portable GPS to the window screen. Lisa was still on her way home from the airport when I found it, she graciously made another trip to bring it by. The only other thing missing so far is my little homemade "Scott Stauter altitude reminder". I can live without it.

The flight from PAO to SMO was routine. I've done it about five or so times by now, I'm starting to recognize the landmarks. The one thing that was interesting today was the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for brushfires north of Santa Barbara. Confession to those who know better: I didn't get a briefing before leaving. Luckily, I thought to check for TFRs using the satellite weather on the Garmin. I just had a small deviation around the edge.

In Santa Monica, I landed and parked, so that I could declare this the official start of the trip. I even filled out the landing registration, which will earn me a six dollar bill from the airport months from now.

Santa Monica, CA to Bullhead, AZ
270 statute miles (234 nm)
time enroute: 2:08

In a perfect world, I would be able to avoid flying between noon and evening, but not today. I left Santa Monica at a little after 2:00. I flew out along the I-10 to San Bernardino and then made a hard left up along the I-15 through the Cajon Pass toward Victorville and Barstow. Low and slow wasn't a good option. I needed to get up high to stay out of the rocks, so I flew this leg at 7500 feet and later up at 9500. After Barstow, I deviated a little from the historic route. My final destination was Bullhead, AZ (although I didn't realize it was Arizona until I landed there), which is a bit north of the route. It didn't make too much sense to fly to Needles and then back again, so I shaved an edge off the route. In the morning, I will head southeast to reconnect with the route somewhere before Kingman.

It's fun to look at the route and see how it really does come prety close to the highway. I want to load it in GoogleEarth, but for some reason it won't let me at the moment.

The purple line is the route I entered in the Garmin ahead of time. The blue lines are Garmin's version of highways. I-40 is the lower line going east and runs along the route. The green line is my actual track.

Bullhead is a small city that seems nowadays to exist as the Arizona base for a fast-growing gambling city across the Colorado River in Laughlin, NV. I ate dinner at Earl's at the Castle, an outpost of local home cooking. Now I'm back at the room and feeling just tired enough to get a good night's sleep and an early start tomorrow.


Anonymous Arlynda said...

You write very well.

2:57 AM  

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