We've moved! That is, this blog has moved. We started a WordPress blog, and find the interface much better in most ways. Please drop by our new blog and say hi! Let us know what you think. You'll notice that I imported this blog complete onto that one, though so far it's easier to read the Big Adventure in sequence here (I'll work on a fix for that if/when there's time, but meanwhile I've just put a link there to the sequential story here).

Do you like that new blog as well as this one? Do you find it easier to make Comments? Do you like the larger photos? Do you find it any easier to navigate there? Please post your answers to these questions, and any other Comments, THERE rather than here because I don't check this blog very often nowadays. Once we start taking new Adventure flights, you'll see stories and photos about them there on our new blog.


Time Flies

I get an image of flies buzzing around, as we sit in wait of weather. The title of this post though, is about how quickly things are moving since we bought Tripp! We've been futzing with lots of mostly cosmetic projects, and flying mostly short local flights getting to know her. The furthest we've gone so far was up to San Luis Obispo for a new backup battery in the Garmin 430 (what a nuisance that routine chore is!).

It's simply amazing to us how much difference 20hp makes! See, nearly all Cessna 172s have 160hp. We chose Tripp largely because the 172Q model has 180hp. When we flew 160hp Flash across and back in our Big Adventure last Fall, she struggled to reach 9,000 feet around Santa Fe. She pretty much levels off there, give or take 200 feet per minute. A few weeks ago we took Tripp up to 10,500 feet with a similar load, and she was still climbing at 850 feet per minute! I love my Q!

Since buying her we've flown in between storms, and got some magnificent aerial photos of the local (mostly temporary) waterfalls and other attractions between here and Oceano (see Photo Page). Having our very own Tripp waiting at the airport, it was relatively easy to pick a break in the clouds for a quick flight most days. But for the last few days it's been crazy windy! Every time we think it's calming down, the trees outside start wipping around and the house creaks (I even felt it move once!). At least whenever it stops blowing we might have exceptionally clear air for half a day before agro burning and LA smog conspire to replenish the haze. Of course, this time of year it could also change in a few hours to low clouds and fog. Guess before long we'll start flying further to get better weather, and maybe parking Tripp in Santa Ynez so we don't get grounded by low clouds.

We're starting to dream about longer trips, and tagging some new states for our collection too. Any ideas or suggestions?



We have just joined a very small group. We heard recently that 0.2% of people have ever piloted an airplane. Few of those ever owned one. We just did something that until recently seemed impossible: we bought an airplane!

One way we bond to things we enjoy is by naming them, and since she's certainly no exception our 1983 Cessna 172Q is now named Tripp. If you'd like to guess how we came up with that name, post a Comment.

Soon we'll remove the ropes tying her wings to the ground, and the three of us will ride the skies together. We'll also sometimes bring one or two other people along (you're invited). Stay tuned for some new Adventures!


Around Home

We've been home for almost a month today, and still seem to be resting around home a lot. Gradually though, we're putting the house back together and getting out more. For a variety of reasons, before our Big Adventure we'd made quite a mess of our place. When we returned and added a plane-load of stuff, it was almost overwhelming.

Happily, we've not only put it all back together but done some cleaning and organizing chores we'd been putting off for years - and we seem to still be going. We've hosted several visitors and more are headed our way. In between, we've been taking drives including one along El Camino Cielo from Montecito to Hwy. 154 - one of our favorite perspectives on home because you get spectacular views in every direction.

We even took a short local flight just before Thanksgiving, landing at Santa Ynez and Santa Paula. It felt like "home" in a strange way, to climb into Flash and take off with only a general idea of where we'd go. We saw familiar territory with fresh eyes, and discovered things like this barn that's obviously many years old.
How then had neither of us ever noticed it after descending low over it for hundreds of landings at the Santa Ynez airport perhaps a quarter-mile away?

Taking off again we noticed a bridge or dam across the river flying from this familiar airport past the familiar Lake Cachuma.

Continuing up the valley, at Gibraltar Lake we noticed for the first time that there are small trees growing from that dam's concrete shoulder.

By the time we approached SBA at sunset, it felt as though we'd been gone several weeks again. Familiar places within a mile or two of home looked different, like peaceful Laguna Blanca in Hope Ranch where the shadows of night settled beneath us.

As the start of 2010 approaches, we have refreshed yet again our sense that "there's no place like home."


The Other Third

Update 12/02/2009: This is the last post about our 5-week flight across the U.S., and to read it in sequence you can click here.
This is an approximation of the other third of our path on this Big Adventure, the part from Maine down to Florida and to Mississippi where the actual GPS track starts. You'll notice we backtracked a bit in the Northeast by going to CT for a few days (and two different airports in Waterbury), then back up to MA, down to RI, across to Martha's Vineyard (MA again), out to Nantucket and back, up to Hyannis and then down to Long Island. For simplicity our three jaunts along the Hudson (down and back one evening, then back down the next day on our way to DE) are shown with just one line.

If you're interested in the larger-size versions of these three maps, download them because I'll be deleting them from the Photo page in a few days (these smaller versions will still be here on the blog, but you can't really see much at this size). If you don't know how to download them, I put directions in the description for this most recent one on the Photo Page (click the thumbnail photo to see the medium size with the directions, then click the "All Sizes" icon at the top margin of the medium pic to see the full size one and download it per the directions that you read on the medium size one - Won't it be nice when computers can talk like on Star Trek?)


Hops To Maine

The white line is an approximation of our track from Santa Barbara to Bar Harbor, ME. The red dots are airports. From Prescott we went toward Chaco Cyn before turning direct to Santa Fe even though that leg shows as a straight line, and of course there were plenty of other places where we wandered to look at stuff that caught our fancy. I did include the major detours to look at Pittsburgh and the Fall colors in northern New Hampshire.

Partial Return Track

Above is a track from the GPS that shows part of our return path from MS to CA. Unfortunately, most of the trip was lost due to the GPS only holding the most recent portion and deleting the rest. Had I but remembered this "feature" it would have been easy to create a new track every day or two and have the whole trip. I'd planned to use the GPS track for figuring out where each photo was taken, but that's not going to happen. Instead we just have our fading memory of where each place was. I can figure out some stuff based on written records and the time stamps on our photos. sigh...

Airports Visited

Here are the places we landed after leaving Santa Barbara, in sequence. First is the airport code, for example SBA, then the airport name, Santa Barbara in this example. In cases where the city name isn't clear from the airport name, like Love in Prescott, I've added the city name in parentheses. As you might guess, we chose some airports just for their fun names such as Las Vegas in New Mexico.


CMA - Camarillo, MYF - Montgomery (San Diego), RNM - Ramona


PRC - Love (Prescott)

New Mexico:

SAF - Santa Fe, LVS - Las Vegas


DHT - Dalhart


O45 - Hooker


LBL - Liberal, 9K8 - Kingman


EVU - Northwest MO Rgnl (Maryville)


FNB - Brenner (Falls City)


IOW - Iowa City, DBQ - Dubuque Rgnl


CHU - Houston County (Caledonia)


JVL - Southern WI Rgnl (Janesville)


PWK - Chicago Executive


3HO - Hobart


BEH - SW Michigan Rgnl (Benton Harbor)


AKR - Akron Fulton


BFD - Bradford Rgnl


DDH - Morse State (Bennington)

New Hampshire:

EEN - Dillant-Hopkins (Keene)


BHB - Hancock County (Bar Harbor)

New Hampshire:

PSM - Portsmouth Intl


ORH - Worchester Rgnl


OXC - Waterbury-Oxford

MMK - Meriden Markham


6B6 - Minute Man (Stow)

Rhode Island:

PVD - Green State (Providence)


MVY - Martha's Vineyard

New York:

ISP - Long Island Macarthur

HPN - Westchester Co (White Plains)

New Jersey:

VAY - South Jersey Rgnl (Mount Holly/Lumberton)


ILG - New Castle (Wilmington/Newark)


2W6 - St. Mary's (Leonardtown)


RIC - Richmond Int'l

West Virginia:

BKW - Raleigh County (Beckley)


PBX - Pikeville


0A9 - Elizabethton

North Carolina:

AVL - Asheville

South Carolina:

GMU - Greenville, 99N - Bamberg County


09J - Jeckyll Island


7FL6 - Spruce Creek, MLB - Melbourne, TLH - Tallahassee, PNS - Pensacola


2R5 - St. Elmo


DRI - Beauregard Rgnl (De Ridder)

NEW - New Orleans


MCB - McComb


AUS - Austin, SAT - San Antonio, MRF - Marfa, ELP - El Paso


MZJ - Pinal (Marana), E60 - Eloy


BLH - Blythe, IZA - Santa Ynez, SBA - Santa Barbara


Numbers Game

We've started counting things, and as of tonight here are a few numbers:
  • Days away from Santa Barbara on this trip: 35.
  • States where we landed at least once on this trip: 37.
  • Airports landed on at least once: 60.
  • Most hours flown without landing: 3-1/2.
  • Most hours flown in one day (with breaks): 6.
  • Fastest speed (with tailwind): 180 mph.
  • Approximate hours flown at maximum speed: 18.
  • Approximate hours with headwind: 1-1/2.
  • Approximate hours with tailwind: 80.
  • Hotels used at least one night: 20.
  • Nights in tent: 0.
  • Nights in accommodations provided by friends & family: 14.
  • Approximate number of miles we flew on this trip: 9,100.
  • Approximate number of photos taken with two cameras: 9,500.
  • Miles covered by bicycle: 7.
  • Days bicycle used: 2.
  • Countries visible (not counting Oz): 3.
  • Number of U.S. states where we haven't flown a small plane: 7.
  • Number of countries where we've flown a small plane: 2.
  • Number of posts to this blog about this trip so far: 46.
Things I'd like to figure out (but probably won't):
  • Months, miles & expenses required to roughly duplicate this trip by car.
  • Number of people who have ever flown in a small plane.
  • Number who have landed in more than one state or province in a small plane.
  • Number of people who saw at least one page of this blog.
  • Hours invested in editing and posting words and pictures.
  • Number of photos anyone else will ever see.
  • Number of photos we will ever look at again.
  • Number of times one or both of us exclaimed in wonder and/or delight.