October 2016 - Trip West - Eastern/Southern Utah, Western Colorado

Ten years ago I flew the Oregon Trail in the Citabria.  I finished the RV-7 in 2009, and flew the Missouri River (Lewis & Clark) in 2010, the Sante Fe Trail in 2011, the Bahamas in 2013 and the Green River/Gulf Coast in 2014.  I love flying the long cross-countires and felt the need to do another one.  I was awestruck by the scenary along the Green River two years ago but it was only a taste.  I decided to go back and really do it right this time.  I'd explore some places I'd already been in greater depth, and check out some new places.  I'd visit some friends I hadn't seen in a long time along the way.

Originally, I'd planned to do the trip in August but for a variety of reasons I couldn't do it.  Then some time opened up in early October.  I wasn't sure about the weather out west that late in the season.  But when an entire ten day forecast looked outstanding for flying in Colorado and Utah, I decided to go for it.

I dusted off the flight plan Word document I had put together in August, changed the dates to October, and flew the plan!

Once out west, each day I tried to take off early in the morning, just after daybreak, when the lighting was good for photography and the air was smooth.  I'd fly for two and a half hours or so, land, top off with fuel and stretch my legs, then do another two and a half hour flight.  Generally I'd be done flying by around 2PM or so.  It would get bumpy in the afternoons and the lighting wasn't good so there was no point in flying then.


Click on the following links to see what I saw:


As with all my previous two long trips, I was lucky with the weather, and able to fly the plan just as I had planned it.

The RV's speed allowed me to get out west in less than two days and move between the highlight spots quickly.  The RV's climb performance made all but the highest mountains a non-factor.  I was impressed by the RV's climb performance even above 12,000 feet.  I did have a portable oxygen bottle with me for those occasions I had to go high.

The on-board XM-Satellite weather was mission-essential during the transits to and from the west.  The SPOT breadcrumb tracking device allowed family and friends to know where I was at all times. I also had a portable satellite personal locator beacon.  All these technologies were extremely nice to have and made the flight much more pleasurable.   On the ground, I used weathermeister.com  for weather briefs.  For the first time, I used ForeFlight flight planning software.  Each night I would plan the next day's flight in detail with ForeFlight.  And, of course, AirNav.com was always very useful.

Although you want to travel light as possible, I did take tools and survival equipment with me.  I also flew on the top half of my fuel tanks.  There are a lot of remote places out west and my motto is:  it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.