As is becoming the
norm, I didn't make it as far as I wanted. The weather
turned crappy and it started to get very bumpy so I decided to
call it a day in the popcorn popper. This was the day
there were severe storms in Denver and strong winds were feeding
this thunderstorm complex from New Mexico.
There are not a lot of airports
in eastern New Mexico so my options were limited. I ended up in Santa
Rosa. As you can see, the airport is completely deserted except for
one small building with a toilet and a telephone.
I went in and called a local
hotel and they sent out a kid to pick me up. The hotel was super nice,
the Mexican restaurant across Route 66 from the hotel was very good and
overall, it was a pleasant stay. I was a little worried about leaving
the airplane unattended out in the middle of nowhere, but it turned out
okay. Seems Santa Rosa is popular with Hollywood, as a number of
westerns and other movies were shot there.
I got up early the next morning,
hitched a ride out to the airport and headed for California. There was
a low cloud deck and the early morning sun glistened off of it.
I don't know what it is, but
there's something magical about the sunrise in the desert. I can see
why people love it out here, although I am a tree lover and there's not many
of those in these parts.
You see some very interesting
mountains and bluffs from the air. This is somewhere in western
I landed in Winslow, AZ. for
fuel and also Needles, CA. I had to plan my entry into the LA basin
because the weather this time of the year can be difficult. With the
help of the local flight instructor in Needles, I decided to run up the
central valley and hop over the Santa Monica mountains near Thousand Oaks to
see if I could make it into Santa Paula, the closest airport to my sister's
home in Ventura. As I got into the valley, I found a lot of scattered
rain showers around. Santa Paula was getting hit with a downpour so I
proceeded to dial up the Camarillo airport and land there among splatters of
rain drops on my canopy.
I spent the next 4 days visiting
with my sister and my neices and nephews, whom I haven't seen for a couple
I went down to the pier to take
a few pictures to prove I was here.
Most days in June are overcast.
They call it the "June Gloom" when warm air moves in off the Pacific Ocean
and creates an overcast layer. But as you can see in this picture, we
got a little break from the gloom.
Not wanting to waste the
opportunity to get out from the overcast, I prepared to leave on Sunday for
Oregon. I watched the beginning of the Indy 500 on TV (the first time
I've seen it live on TV), and then had my sister take me to the airport.
I immediately launched for the central valley of California and ultimately,
After clearing the
foothills around Ventura, I broke out into sever clear skies all the way.
Here's a screen shot of me heading up the valley just west of Bakersfield.
The other traffic on the display are crop dusters.
It's easy to see why most
of America's produce comes from California. Fields as far as the eye
can see. I made a quick fuel stop just east of Fresno and continued
In the distance, you can just
start to make out Mt. Shasta. Basically there are two mountain ranges
that run up California and they come together at the northern border with
Oregon, where Mt. Shasta sits.
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