John & Anne Wiley

2014/05/05

4C Review

Today we’re settled back into Home life enough that I can begin a review of pix from our amazing Four Corners (4C) Adventure. This phase of Remembering our trip is fun, because so many things we’ve now forgotten are refreshed by reviewing the pix. For example, the weather we flew into that first day.

6051 Coastal?

6051 Coastal?

From the forecasts and satellite views, I’d expected coastal low clouds. But by the time we’d found a large hole in the overcast and climbed to this spot somewhere over Carp, it was clear to me that it wouldn’t be clear. Far into our track, I could see fairly solid clouds and some ominously taller ones. While we’re ok to fly over, under or around clouds, we don’t fly in them. Being retired and flying for the views, we don’t need or want to. So, ready to change plans and detour or land at a moment’s notice if clouds didn’t cooperate, we continued on a changed course that kept us closer to airports and highways.

6055 Sun On Stone

6055 Sun On Stone

We were happy to be in bright sunshine by the time we reached this popular rock formation between Santa Clarita and Aqua Dulce. But just as it foreshadowed the much more remarkable formations in the 4C region, that moment in the sun also provided our last bright sky of the day. When we passed the Granite Mountains just past Ludlow, the sky was dark enough that over every airport we passed I was dialing in the next one, ready to abandon our goal of Sedona for the night.

6058 Granite Gloom

6058 Granite Gloom

As we passed the five bridges south of Needles, the afternoon sky looked like dusk.

9633 CO River 5 Bridges

9633 CO River 5 Bridges

But as followers of this blog already know, we did make it to Sedona that first day. After so much zig and zag to stay near roads and airports and to avoid the heavier and lower of the clouds, we got there just at the time dusk did indeed begin to arrive and reach my personal limit of flying when clouds are about. We very nearly stopped in Prescott, but found a small road along a route around the lowest clouds for a shortcut to Sedona. By the time we’d tucked Tripp in and found our way to the fancy restaurant adjacent to the airport, we were well ready to relax, celebrate and enjoy a romantic meal.

191312 Sedona Sunset

191312 Sedona Sunset

Postscript: Often when people see a jet like the one parked behind us, they’ll make some joke about that being our plane (Tripp’s off to the right of Anne in this pic, swapping tales with the other small planes). It’s funny to imagine we’d afford a jet, but I often ruin the joke by explaining what I’d do if given one and the significant cash required to fly and maintain it: Spend a small fraction of that money spiffing up Tripp; maybe buy a Grumman Tiger for the times we’d like to fly a bit higher and faster; set aside a few thousand for Adventures like this; and donate the rest to charity. Like airliners, jets fly far too high and fast for our liking. Tripp lets us dreamily explore our planet in that magical way that only low and slow flight can provide.

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