Taos to Palo Alto
Day 28. Thursday, 25 July. Taos to Carlsbad, New Mexico. 2 hours, 10 minutes - IFR.
It was a fine-weather flight apart from the descent through rain showers. The
ceiling was only 700 feet above the runway at Carlsbad City and it was pouring with rain
on arrival. We ran to the terminal, hired a car and headed for White's City. Hardly a city
- more like a collection of motels, chain restaurants and gift shops. Light entertainment
is provided at a small theatre called Granny's Opera House. Although we were still in the
State of New Mexico, no alcoholic beverages were to be had at lunch time. We ate tacos at
a self-service and drove to the caverns.
Day 29. Friday, 26 July. Carlsbad to Holbrook, Arizona. 2 hours 48 minutes - IFR.
We departed IFR due to weather at Carlsbad, but it soon cleared and there were
no challenges for Flemming (poor thing!).
Day 30. Saturday, 27 July. Holbrook to Blanding, Utah, via Monument Valley. One hour 19 minutes - VFR.
After a hearty American breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes with maple syrup,
we took off for Blanding. There wasn't a cloud in the sky... just a lot of thermals! I
wasn't enjoying the bumpy ride until we reached Monument Valley which was so outstanding
that I forgot to be anxious.
Day 31. Sunday, 28 July. Blanding to Moab, Utah, via Canyonlands National Park. 36 minutes - VFR.
There was little turbulence in spite of the scorching hot weather and flying over Canyonlands was an experience only to be rivaled by Monument Valley. We drove to Arches National Park in an air conditioned car. It was hot - in the 100s - dry, and dusty. Thankfully, many of the interesting rock formations could be seen from our car seat. We reserved our walks to the less accessible arches for the 2 hours before sunset.
Day 32. Monday, 29 July. Moab to Bryce Canyon, Utah. One hour, 7 minutes - VFR.
We made a short drive to Canyonlands before leaving for Bryce. There were some
splendid views but you need a four-wheel drive vehicle if you want to descend into the
valleys below the high plateau. Perhaps we'll return one day to do some rafting along the
Day 33. Tuesday, 30 July. Bryce Canyon.
There are many hiking trails in the park. We chose the Fairyland Loop Trail, a five-hour walk in a magic world of pink columns which owe their existence to erosion. However, the Canyon's magic seems to have been lost on Ebenezer Bryce who raised livestock there in the 19th century. He just said "It's a helluva place to lose a cow."
Day 34. Wednesday, 31 July. Bryce Canyon to Palo Alto, California. 3 hours 35 minutes - VFR.
We took off early, not just to avoid thunderstorms, but to get airborne before
it got too hot. Actually, it was 25 C at take-off. That, coupled with the 7600 feet
elevation of Bryce Canyon, translates into a 10,400 feet density altitude. Flemming says
"Don't take off in a fully loaded Cherokee 140 or Cessna 150! It won't work, even
with a runway more than 7000 feet long." In fact, a guy in a Cherokee 140 had crashed
on take-off just two weeks previously.
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Departure from Holbrook
Canyonlands National Park
Arches National Park
"It's a helluva place to lose a cow."
Finally Palo Alto, California. Honey Mooney deserves a spinner kiss.