California Week

Spent more time flying last week than doing anything else, it was fun to go up just on a whim, also felt like I was pushing my luck a little on the flying side of things.  I’m in a partnership plane,  last week I was a passenger taking pictures with 2 of the partners and a few landings I could have done without.  We went Palo Alto, then Half Moon Bay before heading back to Concord.

Golden Gate, Downtown San Francisco & Alcatraz through a plane window.

Because I didn’t fly that day,  I scheduled just a quick trip to lunch the next and invited another pilot to join.  That turned out great!  The weather never cleared up at the original lunch destination, so we headed North instead for lunch with one of his students to Petaluma.  My H was out of town, the pilot friend said he was flying to Palm Springs at 4p that afternoon to pick someone up & after a few phone calls he asked if I wanted to ride along.  Sure!!

Not great, full moon iPhone shots.  Gorgeous full moon over the Sierra’s and an impromptu fireworks show walking back from dinner.

I jammed home to get my toothbrush, then off we went to Palm Springs for the night.  To be clear, it was separate rooms.  There was some involved before I could commit.  A Saturday night, peak season in Palm Springs was pricey.  We ended up at a Red Lion, my room overlooked a trailer park.


This pilot is only 21, younger than my boys.  I have good boundaries on who I fly or sail with solo;  Young enough to be my kids, gay, or not hot.  I know guys think a little differently about that.

He timed our flight back to get out of there before the storms came, but we had to deal with the winds on the other side of that.  It was a narrow window, the incoming storm would have grounded us there.  It was pretty uneventful, not even turbulence the whole way there, but those winds!!  I kept checking my Garmin for updates and found an airport with lower winds about 50 miles South.  The plan was to try and land at the designated airport, worse case go around back to the airport with less winds and Uber it.

He crabbed all the way to the runway, right on the center line, then was low enough that I wasn’t worried at all after my passenger chop & drops from the few days before.  Dang if he didn’t get that plane down in 35 knot gusts!!  Phew!!

The next day I was supposed to fly up to Mendocino in the partnership plane.  How that works is I book it on the scheduler, call the FBO to have it ready and fueled up.  Somehow they didn’t get my message?  I was waiting around for them to pull it out, then I just decided I’d had enough air time for the week and cancelled to hop in my car for the drive.  In Mendocino, it’s impossible to get around without a car.  There’s no cell, no Uber, you can’t even walk that hwy because it’s so narrow.  Then there’s the bad guy vans slowing down to check you out if you attempt it (I’ve done it before).

Last trip here I flew in, took the hotel shuttle, then walked downtown.  As always, looked at the bus schedule then looked at who was hanging out in the bus stop…another no go.  I went into one more shop before the bus came and was talking to this woman who worked there telling her what my transportation options were.  The woman said to come back at closing, she gave me a ride back.  The next day I paid the extra to get a taxi from Fort Bragg.

All this was going through my head as I waited for the plane to be pulled out…

Now that I’m here, very glad I have a car to get me around.  Mendocino is about 2.5 miles from the Little River Inn where I’ve stayed a few times.  My trips are always off-season to get the best rates.  The Motel 6 in Palm Springs on a Saturday night was as much as this was.   The Red Lion view was a little more.  Seems to be AARP season, one of the youngest people here.

That’s OK though, a young friend said “Age is just a number, look at you!”  Haha, yeah, to him I might as well be 80.  It’s all relative, time is more fluid to me now.  While I’m here, reading the New Yorker, there’s an article on the oldest known living woman being a hoax – Her daughter might have taken over her identity when she actually died a lot younger.  It’s kind of the Cyborg issue, living as long as possible.  If they were anywhere near that Steve Jobs would still be alive.

My philosophy is more get as much in as you can while you’re here and take a few pictures for the kids along the way.  Living to prevent dying seems like a terrible way to look at life.  I will say this, as much as I take risks it’s as safe as it can possibly be – very quick with a no-go.

Dedication to Beth, who lived to be 57

Sorry to be so morbid, just an event filled flying week where I had to question who and what conditions I’ll fly in.  It’s a perfect flying day to get back, it’s also a good day to drive down along the coast which I haven’t done in quite some time.  This part of California’s coast line is some of the most beautiful in the world to me.



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