Independence Day is already here again. Seems like it was just yesterday. Our yearly ritual is to walk down to our neighbors two doors down and set off fireworks with them. Seems like we only really get to see them on the 4th of July. Every year we laugh and say, “Is it the 4th of July already?” And when we’re done “Well, see you next year!” Then it seems like a few weeks go by and it’s 4th of July again!
I decided to start my celebration by taking a flight with my flying buddy Jordan. I had the plane scheduled for today and asked him if he wanted to come along. He got permission from the home office so we made a plan to fly to Hollister. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating. Right after we took off from Oakdale I could see some wisps of fog on the hills on the west side of the valley. As we got closer it became more and more apparent that everything west of the Diablo Range was fogged in.
We overflew the range just to be sure but… we were pretty sure.
So for the second flight in a row we landed at Los Banos to swap seats. Jordan flew the outbound leg this time so it was up to me to fly us home. Before we left we walked around the ramp and checked out a really cool P210 with a turbine engine. This thing was loaded for bear!
On the way back to the airplane we decided that we would head to a non-foggy destination next time. Auburn! It’s a nice flight over the foothills. Auburn has a slightly challenging downhill runway and a great restaurant on the field. I have to admit looking forward to flying there because I never thought I’d fly an airplane in to Auburn again.
It was a little breezy in Lost Bananas (Los Banos) but we got off the ground just fine. We climbed up above the mechanical turbulence from the hills and found silky smooth air at 2500 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level, that’s how pilots usually measure altitude) (but not always). We tracked northbound over Gustine, Crows Landing Airport, Patterson, and Westley. We overflew a friend’s strip in Grayson called DelMar.
It was getting close to the end of our rental window so I turned eastward and flew just north of Modesto’s airspace (the dotted blue circle around Modesto). Then we flew a nice easy pattern into Oakdale at 1100 MSL! (That’s an inside joke between Jordan and I.)
All in all it was a great morning and a great flight. Jordan’s an excellent pilot so it gives me time to relax and really look around, something I can’t normally do. Can’t wait for the next flight!