John & Anne Wiley

2014/04/16

Plan?

Big News! :)

I’ll say it again, for us there are Five Trips in every Big Adventure. The trip you Dream, Plan, Take, Remember, and Dream. Yes, we Dream them twice, because the dreams before it happens are powerful yet distinct from the powerful dreams we have after every Big Adventure. So the news is, we’ve just advanced from Dream to Plan on a new Big Adventure: “4C.” That is, the Four Corners region of the great American Southwest. Maybe this will clarify for you:

4C 1st Plan: Avare

4C 1st Plan: Avare

Maybe not? Well, this is from a screen capture in the free Avare aviation app I helped develop with my good friend Zubair (more on that later). The little red “airplane” icon at bottom-left shows where we are in SB. The purple line from there is vaguely our route flying four hours or so to Sedona. There we might tent but however we sleep, the next day we’ll meet up with Zubair and his family of four who will have flown commercial from Boston and rented a plane in the Phoenix area. Then we’ll set off in loose formation to explore the Four Corners, vaguely on an initial route we dreamed something like this:

4C Trip Drive Map

4C Trip Drive Map

There was a line in Back To The Future something like, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Well, we’ll be fine with roads, but as you can imagine we’ll be going places roads don’t reach and seeing marvels invisible to all but those who fly as we do. We’ll probably enjoy about 2 hours a day or so of flying around, punctuated with some drives and hikes and maybe short boat trips. Even so, that dreamy magic carpet ride will probably be less than half of the 22 grueling hours gMaps estimated it would take to roughly drive that route with no detours. I love to fly! :)

So if you’d like to “fly along” with us, stay tuned to this blog for more on our Plan and our Trip as it unfolds. I’m hoping to have more ease with posting updates along the way, because this year Verizon has seen fit to allow us access to the cellphone data we’re paying for, on our laptops.

In case you’re wondering about that green line at the lower-right of the top pic, that’s where we’re heading after Zubair and family head back to Phoenix for their return jet to Boston. We’ll then carry on into Phase Two of 4C: our first adventure into the high Rockies and more detailed exploration of Colorado!

2014/04/05

Fly Over

We learned the difference between a fly-in and a fly-out: A fly-in is where people fly their assorted collection of people and airplanes to a destination. An example of a fly-out is where several airplane loads of people flew to the Sierra foothills for much merriment at Lynne and Ken’s unusual piece of paradise. Since we had Tripp parked at Oakland for our Whimsy at Mt. Tam. & SF, we flew over to join the gang. On the way I liked this scene of an open shelter in the rolling green hills. In such an overload of green hues, my eye shelters on that rusty red roof.

4798 Shelter In Green

4798 Shelter In Green

Then on to Pine Mountain Lake (E45), where people have built their dream homes with two “garages” each: one for their car(s) and one for their plane(s). Several of the roads double as taxiways residents use for driving to town or getting their airplanes to and from the runway. These are happy aviators, and we’re very happy to join them.

4823 Pine Mountain Airpark

4823 Pine Mountain Airpark

2014/03/29

Temptation

This first pic shows a temptation pilots see often, and the last pic in this post shows something that adds to it in this particular spot just as other spots often have their own special cases.

1567 Teasing Tripp

1567 Teasing Tripp

It’s as if Tripp’s cousin here is saying, “I’m happy to be here, but you’re not invited.” But of course the plane’s not saying that. That message is spelled out in the little letter “R” at the top-left. That means despite looking so tempting this is a Restricted landing strip, only to be used by invitation or in emergencies. Flying over such spots, a few times friends have jokingly asked, “Doesn’t the engine sound a little rough to you?” But pilots respect the privacy of private airstrips, and have even dreamed of one day having one though with our meager funds that’s never going to happen. So instead I just take it all in from a respectful distance, and dream of living in a place like this just minutes by air from Santa Barbara.

1559 Airstrip Owner

1559 Airstrip Owner

The beautiful grass strip where Tripp’s cousin is parked, is just off the bottom-right end of this pic. There’s an old building that looks like a church and/or schoolhouse with a cemetery, so this was probably at one time a small town. It’s out on Santa Cruz Island, and across a ridge to the North is this smaller settlement that’s presumably related.

1561 North Shore Dock

1561 North Shore Dock

As I said, many private and Restricted airports have additional temptations nearby. In this case, not just the little communities and the many hiking trails. There are also many sea caves nearby on the South shore of the island where raging storms carve the shore and giant waves nibble at the feet of tall cliffs.

1577 South Shore Cave

1577 South Shore Cave

2014/03/27

Cloudscapes

Clouds are like rocks, perhaps. Just as I’m fascinated by the glorious rock formations in our mountains, I love watching the clouds dance with the mountains as they thrill to the setting sun.

1457 Mountain Wave

1457 Mountain Wave

The show often begins with a cloud like this waving at the mountains. The aviator in me also knows that it signals an interesting ride for planes crossing the mountains, because of the wave of air uplifted to create those lenticular clouds. Then looking West, the cloud shapes and textures are completely different as the day continues fading.

1447 Texture

1447 Texture

Just before the colors begin to magically drain away, darkening edges sound a final pipe organ chord of deeper blue and brassy orange announcing the coming enchantments of Night.

1454 Final Notes

1454 Final Notes

2013/12/22

Home Lights

Old stories of flying sometimes touched on the heartwarming sight of lights burning to guide pilots home at night. With considerable skill and a good helping of luck, they’d navigate rickety and unreliable biplanes across empty darkness for hours. Literally kept alive as night descended by brief glimpses at compass and chart by a tiny red light kept dim to preserve night vision, and self-checking constantly without allowing fear of being lost as night crept in.

0037 Creeping Night

0037 Creeping Night

So very different for us winging home in Trusty Tripp from San Diego across the LA basin tonight, with familiar lights and myriad crowded freeways to guide us safely on past enchanted cloudscapes. Not to mention radio naviation aids those early pilots could only dream of. But even those are now far obsolete as we enjoy the latest GPS devices that turn night to day, in terms of knowing exactly where we are. So we have plenty of relaxed time to enjoy the sights, as Hwy.1 to Malibu slips twinkling past.

0039 You Are Here

0039 You Are Here

After the last light fades, we’re treated to the lights of home as we look across downtown Santa Barbara with the colors of business accented here and there by especially bright seasonal home lights.

0070 Santa Barbara Sparkle

0070 Santa Barbara Sparkle

But even without mentally traveling back a century to an open cockpit over a lonely black expanse, lining up to land at SBA brings a warm rush of comfort with her home lights burning brightly.

0073 Home Lights

0073 Home Lights

 

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