It all started with a business trip to Reno, NV and then we thought, why not fly north to Seattle. __________________________________________________________________________________________
This was what our itinerary actually ended up being. Most of the second half of the trip was completely impromptu as we had planned on staying with a friend near Chico but when plans changed, we said, why not go to Seattle on our way home from Reno!
Monday: San Diego –> Kern Valley, CA (1 hr 45 mins) –> Reno, NV (2 hrs 11 mins)
Thursday: Reno –> Burns, OR (2 hrs 2 mins) –> Yakama, WA (1 hr 40 mins) –> Seattle, WA (1 hr 2 mins)
Friday: Seattle, WA –> Coos Bay, OR (2 hrs 36 mins)
Saturday: Coos Bay, OR –> Redding, CA (1 hr 59 mins –> Half Mood Bay (1 hr 56 mins) –> San Diego (3 hrs 22 mins)
Fly Day 1 – San Diego,CA –> Reno, NV
Here we are, Monday morning around 7:00 am getting ready for our 4 hour flight to Reno, NV.
Early bird gets the worm, it was an amazing flight out of Southern California where I got to fly a little bit towards Kern Valley Airport near Kernville.
As I was flying to Kern Valley, Tobias took a photo of my controls because I was actually holding them steady! This is huge progress towards becoming a pilot!
Landing into Kern Valley Airport for a pit stop and to grab a snack. At this little airport they actually have a campground so you can go fly camping… I’m thinking there might be another trip to this little airport.
Here is the cute little Kern Valley Airport Cafe which has wonderfully friendly staff and delicious home made hamburgers. Even though it was only 10 AM we still enjoyed one.
After our stop over in Kern Valley, we took off and had to climb up to around 15,000 ft to fly over the Sierra Nevadas and most notably, Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in continental United States.
Here is the view of Mt. Whitney from the south west where you can see the peak on the left, Keeler Needle, Crooks Needle and 3rd Needle. You can also still see the little hut on top of Whitney.
It was so cool to see this view of Whitney since I had been on top of it less than 2 weeks before when I completed the John Muir Trail.
This is the peak of Mt. Whitney at 14,505 ft. If you zoom in you can even see people on the summit.
This photo you can really see the PCT/JMT trail heading down after Forester pass which is at 13,200 ft. This was my favorite pass of the JMT as it was long and challenging with a beautiful view when you reached the pass.
As we approached Mammoth you can see the smoke getting worse. It was even worse in the Yosemite area.
On approach to Reno International Airport.
Flying into Reno International Airport, the smoke was so bad you can hardly see the end of the runway. On our approach, the flight controller asked several times for us to confirm our elevation and confirm that we could still see the ground. We were assuming they did this due to the heavy smoke and poor visibility.
After landing and parking the aircraft with the Atlantic FBO we were shuttled over to pick up the rental car. We unfortunately had to wait a little but it was worth the wait. We ended up getting a 4×4 F-150 with just over $2,000 miles on it. Tobias was THRILLED!
After getting the truck we headed out for a little drive down to Carson City where we found a wonderful Dutch bakery where we had these delicious pastries with a coffee for lunch.
Then we drove through the old town of Virginia City where we went back in time to the mid 1800’s during the gold rush days.
The next evening, we went back to Virginia City with Tobias’s coworkers Basil and Gerald. It was a ghost town in the evening as far a restaurants were concerned, but there were about 4 or 5 bars open.
The next night we walked around at North Lake Tahoe and went to Jason’s for dinner.
The sunset from the mountains on the way back to Reno.
Fly Day 2 – Reno, NV –> Seattle, WA
On Thursday, Tobias’s meeting was over! This meant were could head home but for some reason his flight planning took us north to Seattle. We had wheels up by 7:45 am headed towards Bend, OR to get fuel.
Luckily, over the last couple of days the smoke cleared out of the Reno so we had some blue skies as we climbed in elevation.
But then, there was heavy smoke headed up towards Bend which caused us to change our course and get fuel in Burns, OR instead of Bend.
Here is a classic shot of Tobias filling up the Cessna with fuel. You can still see the smoke.
Coming into Yakama area with all the vineyards and other agriculture activity.
And of course, since we were in Yakama we had to visit the Cub Crafters manufacturing facility for Tobias to take a look at panel installations to get a better idea of how everything is supposed to fit together.
Here is a completed X Cub which is similar to the plane that Tobias is building.
Then we went to the McAllister Air Museum where we saw this 28 cylinder aircraft engine.
Then we met another Swiss, named Tom, in Yakama at his hanger where he houses his beautiful old P3. We had a great time enjoying a coffee in his hanger and chatting about airplanes and flying.
From there we had an hour or so flight to Seattle where we had to sneak through under the clouds through the valley to get to Boeing Field.
Where we flew over one of Boeing’s manufacturing facilities for the narrow body aircrafts. (B737)
And there is Boeing Field.
Where we had a smooth landing and parked the plane with the Kenmore FBO. They have great and friendly service. They even had freshly baked cookies.
Fly Day 3 – Seattle, WA –> Coos Bay, OR
Since we were in Seattle we HAD to go to the Market.
It was jam packed with people but we got a nice table for lunch at Lowell’s Restaurant. It was delicious as I had the Dungeness crab sandwich. I will definitely be coming back to this place when I’m up in Seattle again.
Since Seafair was going on while we were there we wanted to watch the famous Blue Angels perform. We were going to head over to the Gennesse Park to see the performance but we were running short on time. Instead, when we got to Kenmore FBO we saw people sitting out on the tarmac and inquired if the airplanes were going to be taking off from Boeing Field. Sure enough, they were. So we got to skip the crowds and admission and enjoy a free show. We even got to see them take off in formation and land.
VIDEO –> Blue Angels take off in formation
Legendary P-51 and two A-10’s
Shortly after the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was lifted at Boeing field we took off and had a beautiful city tour of Seattle.
Then we had a wonderful tour of the coast of Washington and Oregon on our way to Coos Bay. We had wanted to go over Olympic National Park but the clouds were too low.
The lumber industry is alive and well in the North West.
Landing into Coos Bay.
The Coos Bay FBO is nice and quiet. We were the only ones in there.
Tobias enjoying a little Mirror Pond at the Little Italy restaurant in Coos Bay. The restaurant had great ambiance and great food! Definitely worth going to this place.
The Little Italy Ossobuco was SO good!
With their home made Tiramisu!
Fly Day 4 – Coos Bay, OR –> San Diego, CA
After waiting about an hour for the fog to clear in Coos Bay we were able to take off but had to fly inland for visibility.
Unfortunately, by going in land we found smoke from the fires. With these tricky conditions we decided to land in Redding to get fuel as we were running very low…
Even though the Redding airport reported VFR conditions we found the conditions to be somewhat different with having to carefully navigate over the mountains. Here is a photo of Lake Shasta. You can barely see the bridge due to the smoke.
And you can’t even see the end of the runway. Luckily we were able to find the airport in this dense smoke.
Here we are getting fuel at the Redding Jet Center.
And then the conditions changed from VFR to IFR which meant that we couldn’t take off since Tobias isn’t IFR trained, at least not yet. So we had to wait over 3 hours at the FBO before the conditions were changed back to marginal VFR which meant we could take off.
After finally getting out of Redding we headed back to the coast. Here you can clearly see the Mendocino fire which is one of many fires going on in California during this time.
Then we got amazing weather in San Francisco for a tour of the city.
Landed into Half Moon Bay for a quick bite before we headed down to San Diego. We had planned to go to San Louis Obispo, but with the fires going on and it being a Saturday night all the hotels were booked! So we decided just to head down to San Diego. It was going to be a long night!
A light house at dusk.
Time to remove the sun glasses!
Monterey Bay Area with the sun setting under the wing.
We landed safely in San Diego after an 8 hour flying day from Coos Bay, OR.