West Coast Trip Long Way around to RMRFI by Stu McCurdy
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My Cousin was having his bachelor party in Las Vegas on Friday night. So not letting a perfect opportunity slip away, my brother and I decided we should fly my RV-7A down instead taking a commercial jet. We left on Thursday late morning due poor visibility and low ceilings from Burlington, WI. We stopped in York, NB to fill up and headed straight to Colorado Springs, CO. Upon arriving at the airport and taking on some more fuel, I decided that since the weather was still good we should cross the mountains while we still had good light and weather. After climbing to 12,500’ we started west using some waypoints to get us around the peaks. I decided to climb to 14,500’ for a few minutes to give us some extra altitude for the last peak we needed to cross. My brother had gone backpacking in Colorado some years back and wanted to see the canyonlands national par, so we deviated and took a look. We finally ended up stopping that night in Page, AZ. What a long day.
We then had a short flight the next morning through the Grand Canyon on our way to North Las Vegas. We were there in plenty of time for the bachelor party. Had fun with our friends, gambled a little, lost a little, but all in all a great time. We slept in that next morning and had 40 knot winds in the afternoon with snow showers developing along the Rockies near Denver to deal with. After a quick call to Flight Weather, I plotted a course south down the Colorado river and then east to El Paso, Texas. We landed at dusk in El Paso. Used the courtesy car (55 cents a mile) and drove to our hotel.
The next morning was beautiful, so we took off and left for Oklahoma City. I was planning to go home to BUU and then fly out to Sun n Fun on Tuesday, but again due to the weather, I decided it would be best to head for Florida. We hit some marginal VFR weather going into KSWO but managed to get our tanks filled and continue on our way to St. Louis. My brother had his girlfriend driving from Little Rock, AR meet us there and drove with her the rest of the way home to Chicago. After refueling again, I continued on to stay ahead of the weather. I managed to reach Nashville, TN before dark.
On the final day, I woke up early, got a ride to the airport from the FBO and fueled up with the self serve pumps ($3.09/gal instead of 3.89) The self serve pump was across the field, but worth the savings. I flew to Crystal River, FL to keep over land, and then headed southbound to Clearwater.
I must say, that this was a long a taxing 4 days, but I enjoyed every minute of it. This is one great aircraft!!! I have included a map of my travels and waypoints. I hope to see everyone at Sun n Fun this week.
Day 1: Distance 1195 NM
Burlington,WI (KBUU) to York, NB (KJYR) ~432 NM & 22 Gal
York, NB (KJYR) to Colorado Springs, CO (KCOS) ~ 335 NM & 22 GAL
Colorado Springs, CO (A50) to Page, AZ (KPGA) ~ 428 NM & ?? Gal
Via: KPUB, 04V, KGUC, KCNY
Day 2: Distance 216 NM
Page, AZ (KPGA) to North Las Vegas (KVGT) ~ 216 NM
Via: Grand Canyon National Park
Day 3: Distance 578 NM
North Las Vegas (KVGT) to El Paso Texas (T27)
Via: PKE & KDMN
Day 4: Distance 1021 NM
El Paso (T27) to Stillwater, OK (KSWO) ~ 527 NM
Stillwater, OK (KSWO) to St. Louis, MS (KSUS) ~ 341 NM
St. Louis (KSUS) to Nashville, TN (KMQY) ~ 253
Day 5: Distance 527 NM
Nashville, TN (KMQY) to Clearwater, FL (KCLW) ~ 527 NM