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Vlad 10-20-2012 05:34 PM

Don't Have 100 Roubles Have 100 Friends
"Don't have one hundred roubles better have one hundred friends" says old Russian proverb. It's surprisingly true on this side of the world. I doubt I could make this trip to South West without great camaraderie of RV folks.

Fair amount of thought and planning went into it. I had no doubt about the Diligence my RV is simple, still young and well trained. The driver with one-year old private pilot certificate has accumulated several hundred hours of flight time and was ready for next adventure. Weather looked legal for upcoming week.

160 ponies harnessed and up we go. Out of rain to brighter future. Plan was to get to Nebraska from New Jersey by twilights. Big Brother was watching.

Pennsylvania the beautiful.

Couple hours more

Another couple hours another airport. Top off.

Couple three hours more. Fill up.

Some funny boys on the way. Biiiig jets not sure they flew according to FARs and AIM. Approach called them Cobras and Snoopies.

Vlad 10-20-2012 05:50 PM

Time to get onboard ration. I wish there was a stewardess. Obligatory food picture.

Last fuel stop for the day. York not far from KGRI Grand Island, NE.

At Grand Island airport Dean Sombke was waiting for me. Dean is a busy executive and I was very lucky to fit into his schedule. He is strategically located in the middle of the country and maintains RV Hotel active.

Dean and his partner Bruce built and own beautiful RV-10. So we jumped in my 9 and Dean flew it to Aurora where he has large hangar. Dean flies fast and my thoughts were we definitely would go around. Not a case this time Dean was able to bring fixed pitch to approach speed easy :)

The evening was completed here. We sampled some wine and I ended with more.

Dean thank you very much for everything! Your RV Hotel reminds me of Turbo's place in Stuart, FL.

Vlad 10-20-2012 05:51 PM

Next morning direct Rocky Land. OAT was 32F and my RV woke up on second try without primer and preheater.

Still Nebraska. Terrain started to raise.

Looks like Picasso Black Square.

Now I know where this biscuit came from. Looks the same isn't it?

There were other blinzes shaped fields but with very strange paw marks around them. Man they got Big Bears there in Nebraska.

I hope those giant bears couldn't find this beef. You can smell it from 50 miles out though... :D

Vlad 10-20-2012 05:51 PM

Denver time! Airbuses whooshed under me in dozens.

I was droning peacefully for several hours then a satellite called with request. Make some pictures of Red Rock Park! And even pointed out exactly where the Park is. I have to wake up, go down and snap pictures of those rocks. What could I do? To refuse a relative? Here is your Rock Park buddy still intact. Did you visit it during high school or honeymoon?

Climb up to 17.5K was a bit bumpy.

Somewhere around here I reached maximum allowed VFR altitude.

I didn't like those still high clouds. Minutes later I was soaring in Class Alfa without even adding power. Had to climb down the ladder couple thousand feet back to legal altitude.

Are we there yet? Helllloooo Leadville!

fatherson 10-20-2012 06:06 PM

Oh, this is good. I've been looking forward to this write-up. Vlad, you're the antidote to whatever disease keeps me out of the shop!


tkatc 10-20-2012 08:30 PM

Hurry up and get to Rockwoods mansion! I wanna see it. Also am dying to hear about Vegas!!

humptybump 10-20-2012 08:53 PM

Vlad has nothing to say about Vegas because "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" :D

TroyBranch 10-20-2012 10:45 PM

We call those clouds a Chinook arch in Calgary. Wave clouds. I don't venture into the mountains on those days. You are a brave man. Wind must have been cranking out of the west. I bet your a bit bumpy was putting it lightly.:eek:

Keep it coming......

Bob Axsom 10-20-2012 11:04 PM

My feelings exactly

Originally Posted by fatherson (Post 709471)
Oh, this is good. I've been looking forward to this write-up. Vlad, you're the antidote to whatever disease keeps me out of the shop!


I haven't been building for 8 years but Vlad's 1000 word pictures with a few other words are always uplifting. This promises to be an exceptional experience.

Bob Axsom

Vlad 10-21-2012 06:03 PM


What an experience! Those who visited know and those who don't know have to visit.

There are some mountains like this in -stans but Colorado stands out.

The noon approach is so tricky sometimes I needed to add full power to counteract that Nature throw. Keep your ponies in great shape and have them plenty if you venture to LXV.

On the grounds new terminal, good fuel $$ and hospitable airport manager. There is always an RV to park by.

Got Certificate of Navigation, aeronautical chart and CO catalog and moved on.

By Aspen the luxurious

to Colorado Springs.

And that's how I met Rocky.

Vlad 10-21-2012 06:04 PM

Rocky is amazing fellow. He has that tsarist Russian grandeur in his lifestyle combined with a wit of Native American. Too bad he doesn't speak neither Russian nor Apachi.

Rocky drove me through picturesque town to his favorite restaurant and fed me so good I could barely breath.

What happened next? You probably already know. FLYING!!!

He took over from right seat and showed me places.

The man lives in paradise. Do you see how happy he looks?

We browsed the vicinity for about an hour then landed tied the bird down for night

and switched to this.

Vlad 10-21-2012 06:05 PM

Rocky no poor fella. Rocky owns some land. Hundreds and hundreds of acres. I am not sure how he got it maybe through his native American connections. Roubles definitely are not enough for this type of property.

It took us close to an hour to inspect the territory.

Within the territory there is a water fall, a bridge and a brook full of trout.

There are some steep hills and colorful boulder valleys.

He singled a piece of land for conservancy. It's just by the river.

Often he carries his arquebus to shoot a bear or scare campers who somehow manage to get over high fence.

Believe me I know. I've been there. Soon there will be Garden of Eden on this land but he has to complete his RV-9A before he fully develops these hundreds acres. Right Rocky?

Rocky rocks!!!

Vlad 10-21-2012 06:20 PM

Castle where Rocky lives is located so high in the mountains I brought my oxygen bottle to sleep with. There is very nice addition where he keeps his newly purchased RV9 project. Exceptional craftsmanship by the way. He promised me a ride in 2014 in it. I am deadly serious Rocky I am coming.

There were no pictures allowed inside Rocky Castle because of security reasons. The chief security officer was grumpy and followed me everywhere. Eventually beer did the job

and I secretly took this picture.

We finished the day in hot springs athletic club and topped the evening with nice dinner in great Chinese restaurant.

Day was great! Top hotel chain can not beat the room I stayed in. Those who are still building stop reading now and go to the shop do some work on your RV! Come here tomorrow for more... :D

tkatc 10-21-2012 07:44 PM

I KNEW that was going to be a nice stop. Next time, I go too!

turbo 10-22-2012 09:26 AM

i think vman will retire and give rv tours to the 20,000 rvs that will be around by then.

heard thru the grape vine.......

Hey Turbo how you doin'. I still have couple ben$ to burn and three days left from vacation. Have crazy idea to zoom to Key West and back. Are you around? Can I book the Hotel? How 'bout car gas I promise not to spill anymore. Dinner by the yacht club on me.

looks like lunch at another island. :):)

carlrai 10-22-2012 10:16 AM

Include me if he shows up in Florida
At least get him to stop in at KZPH on the way back for cheap fuel. Lots of folks here have never met a Russian RV driver.....

We can add Cedar Key to his island list if your cousin can make it over to this side of the state.

Louise Hose 10-22-2012 01:22 PM

Great use of a new RV, Vlad. Keep the photos coming.

However, you might want to change this statement....


Originally Posted by Vlad (Post 709708)
to Colorado Springs.

And that's how I met Rocky.

I was really confused for a minute or two until I realized that you meant to say "to Glenwood Springs", on the other side of the continental divide.

Fly safe!

Vlad 10-22-2012 03:40 PM

Good catch Louise! Glad there is a geography expert here.

... The morning after next Rocky packed me with calories, briefed on the state of local ravines and sent my way.


Other prominent tectonite.

Disturbed sleepy tower. Request granted back to sleep.

Some really cool places by Colorado National Monument. I didn't go there it's dotted on sectional.

Instead I ventured farther where Colorado River cuts deeper into red rocks.

It was still early morning the air smooth and undisturbed. Somewhere here I entered my first iron corridor.

Believe me there is no time to sleep here. What if other Slavic nut appears out of there at the same altitude? Canyon is too narrow for two. Man I was glad I did some training learning those commercial wingovers.

After couple 180s in the canyon it gets better.

Vlad 10-22-2012 04:00 PM

Two turns ahead a stone mushroom garden.

Another turn and I can see the Magnificent Trail famous RV pathfinder trod.

Somewhere here he fell off his bike...

Wait a second! Can I fit there? No, I can't the other rock is on the way. Need Piper Cub to go under.

A mine where they dig some plutonium. My Bear Clock started glowing that's how I figured out the radio activity. Run Forrest run!

I have no idea why they obliterated perfectly shaped stones.

Let me get outta here before I go crazy.

Vlad 10-22-2012 04:17 PM

Out of there.

Past buried dinosaurs.

What state am I in? Time to land and figure out.

Utah! Wow never been here.

Back from dreams to reality pilot. Take the crew car and go find something to eat.

Crew car was half dead check engine light was on last two years.

At a gas station several miles away there was not a big choice. The kid at the counter had last egg sandwich for sale and something non digestible else. Even with local newspaper I couldn't finish half a sandwich. I wish I ate everything Rocky had on table :)

A Dinosaur Museum on the way out. I skipped it.

Fired up and run south.

Try2Fly 10-22-2012 10:19 PM

Don't Have 100 Roubles Have 100 Friends
Great photos!! this is what I picture when I think of flying as a newbie pilot wanna be.

Dang I gotta go learn how to fly for real now lol!

Btw did I read correctly that you are in NJ? If so that is a whole lotta flying in the good ship Vlad

From a fellow NJ resident.

Keep flying for us dreamers!!


Vlad 10-26-2012 12:35 PM

100 saga continues
... trip south planned to be terminated at Spaceport America or in close proximity. But first let's get there.

Weather shiny terrain spectacular life joyous.

On my way to Spaceport I had to visit Red Square.

It's very unique place. In 2 minutes according to turn and bank indicator you visit FOUR states. Still not believing? Go and check don't forget your chronometer.

From Red Square you can see The Rock "THE" being the key word.

It's so captivating I don't remember how many circles I did around it.

One can get closer unlike Devil's Tower there are no Indian army with spears.

An hour or so later, passed those stone poles I landed somewhere. To say the airport was so so means to say nothing. It was fenced and secured but hostile. Dogs were running around like crazy. I had to deplane far away, walk to the terminal, (paragraph empty insert your quotes) then depart within minutes.

Vlad 10-26-2012 12:37 PM

From unfriendly airport I picked up a road

and it brought me very close to Spaceport.

Restricted were still hot and I waited a bit. By the time they cooled the weather moved in. Don Jones, a CFI and fellow RV-9A builder told me about it couple hours ago. No joy this time. Heading north. Will be back in couple days.

Vlad 10-26-2012 12:39 PM

From Truth or Consequences up to Albuquerque the home of Balloon Fiesta. I had solid connection there made via the very VAF forum.

Some say there is nothing to see on the grounds in New Mexico. They are wrong.

Landed at Double Eagle Airport and was met by Carl Martin, a NASA engineer, a Balloon Fiesta Command Center volunteer and overall nice guy. Do you see brand named jacket? Tomorrow it will be mine :D

Carl set everything for me so perfect I couldn't even do it myself. Part of his success was knowing a guy. No, not this one

the other guy. Guy Feltman, an Enterprising Guy.

This day ended at VIP banquet the above gents had access to. I didn't bring my camera this time. There was good company, fireworks, plenty of drinks and tons of quality foods. I was shocked when I saw the value of that free for me pass. Thank you Carl and Guy. Now I know why French ladies are always around you :D

Vlad 10-26-2012 12:40 PM

This was my limo for two days.

We were invited to a house warming the night before. So we jumped into Guy's pickup, bought huge stack of peppers (forgot the name for it) and headed to an address well off Albuquerque.

We religiously followed a track by an Apple product and ended up in the boonies of NM far from civilization. A NASA engineer, a retired ATC guru and a Russian who practiced navigation for more then a decade.

After NASA rep figured out the glitch in iMaps we turned around and headed back. The house being warmed was not far from here.

The hostess was cool and chilly hot. Or vice versa :D

pmccoy 10-26-2012 02:12 PM

Great Photo Journal!
Guess I am off to the airport... I have work to do... can't wait to go on my own adventures.

Thanks Vlad!

gtmule 10-27-2012 04:20 PM

Looks like a great trip, I hope to do a similar one next year. Need to make more VAF friends to mooch spare bedrooms off of first... :)

Lycosaurus 10-27-2012 05:19 PM

Great photos Vlad, and a wonderful trip. Keep posting.

Vlad 10-27-2012 06:54 PM


Originally Posted by pmccoy (Post 711199)
Guess I am off to the airport... I have work to do... can't wait to go on my own adventures.

Thanks Vlad!

Peter when I was building my wings I kept your website bookmarked. Then you slowed down a bit...

Anyway it's Fiesta Time! What an incredible event! Morning glow.

Dawn patrol.

Guy and Carl got me in sequence for a ride. I was lucky a gent from Friendly Administration missed his slot I filled right in. The pilot was Ralph Kayser the Chief of all balloonist things at the Fiesta. They have a position for that I forgot which one.

It's a lot of work to assemble, stretch and inflate the craft. But it was rewarding experience.

Three of us pilot Ralph, Carl and I got inside the basket and prepared to ascend. Zebra, an event official, did his theater.

Up and up we go. Complete silence only dragon breath of burners once in a while.

Vlad 10-27-2012 07:06 PM

Ralph Kayser the long time balloon pilot was also a CFI. I got 15 minutes of dual in hot air balloon. I have to send my logbook to Ralph to fill for those minutes. It's very very unusual operation who has flown hot air balloon knows.

Thanks Carl for pictures.

We spent more then one hour in the air thoroughly enjoying it.

Time to land. Good morning people!

Boy it's a lot work deflating and packing that big balloon. No wonder the chase crew consists two dozen people.

Some younger balloonists were not so lucky. Chase crew walked them out of a ditch.

Vlad 10-27-2012 07:12 PM

After the ride there was a ceremony.

Great custom! Sworn to Balloonism! New Mongolfier Brother!!!

Thank you ATC and NASA!

Vlad 10-27-2012 07:15 PM

Balloon Fiesta continued for three more days but my time was up. It looks like Guy fits well in my RV. He looks like Ted Turner doesn't he? There is no time for ride today they have a Command Center to run.

Happy and still under impression I set course to the northwest.

Peace around no humans no animals total bliss.

Occasional coal mine. There is an ATT bar or two. Enough to check on VAF no need for weather it's always sunny in NM.

Entering Country of Red Rocks. Monument Valley is an hour away.

Vlad 10-27-2012 07:15 PM

All my life I was fascinated with Monumental Rocks. Always dreamed to visit. And day has come.

Vlad 10-27-2012 07:38 PM

No words needed I guess.

Looks very tempting.

Couple circles looking for watchmen with bows and arrows. Will I fit?

Plenty of room on both sides.

Famous private airport. I didn't landed on it. Instead I did low pass and you can guess the rest. There is a picturesque valley right around the corner.

Vlad 10-27-2012 08:16 PM

After Monument Valley I headed to Page, AZ.

Went high this time and picked up a lot of chat on Page frequency.

They indeed flew a lot that day. An air/car/food show was just wrapping up.

I fueled at promotional rate, grabbed a cup of cold coffee and flew out of that heaven.

Vlad 10-27-2012 08:16 PM

Next stop was Boulder City, NV. Passed Grand Canyon. Didn't do any scenic routes on this leg.

Hoover Dam and newly constructed engineering marvel by it. Nothing was here in 2004.

KBVU approach.

Lots of colorful helicopters there. All professional, courteous on frequency and respectful. Different from Hudson River gang.

Road to Vegas starts from here. I will tell you little secret how to get VFR to Big Vegas. First you land at Boulder City, find a yellow RV owner and do exactly what he tells you. He tells you what point to appear over what freq to dial what to say and possible route you will be vectored. Easy as one-too-tree right Seb? :D

flytoday 10-27-2012 10:45 PM

Vlad in Albuquerque
Vlad's visit made this year's Fiesta extra special. When he is present the Fun Meter gets pegged!

Can you imagine picking a random table to sit and enjoy a coffee and doughnut, and the balloonist to your left is a nuclear physicist who speaks Russian to Vlad and they discuss a "secret city"? :eek:

Vlad isn't difficult to feed when there is a good buffet! And his pictures and captions inspire us all to fly cross-country and enjoy the VAF friendships! Personally I want to get out and fly by the Arches, Monuments, and Canyons!


Vlad 10-28-2012 10:33 AM


Originally Posted by flytoday (Post 711574)

Can you imagine picking a random table to sit and enjoy a coffee and doughnut, and the balloonist to your left is a nuclear physicist who speaks Russian to Vlad and they discuss a "secret city"?


Carl I am convinced you preset the situation.

... I surfaced at right waypoint, dialed right frequency and told them what Sebastian taught me. Sin City Bravo clearance followed a second later.

Wohoo big tarmac bigger then Plattsburgh. Where are those road signs?

All markings at KLAS are for big guys. I hesitated a bit then turned in right direction. "Here we go" chuckled ground control. Then I saw a yellow car. I might get me one of them fancy airport driving gpses after I retire.

Parking at McCarran couldn't be better. Fits $40 facility fee and $60 overnight parking.

I booked a room at Motel 6 just across the road. This was the view from my window. Do you see that unpainted RV in the corner?

There was a networking event at Cosmopolitan I attended that night. After only two drinks I was on verge of collapse and asked "staff" to escort me out of premises. What kind of Russian are you? - everybody joked: - you can not survive couple drinks and good company? Little they knew I flew balloon in the morning dodged hundred stones afternoon and still arrived in style in my own plane.

Somehow I got inside my room looked out of the window and dropped dead for 10 hours.

Next day my RV was waiting to share next part of the adventure. She liked Vegas very much and wanted to come back.

pmccoy 10-29-2012 12:04 PM


Peter when I was building my wings I kept your website bookmarked. Then you slowed down a bit...
Now I really feel slow. You were watching my website, and now you have 600 hours of flying. Yep, I did slow down.

Moving from the garage to an airport an hour away was a mixed blessing. Lots of new friends. Ability to acquire a great hangar. Started flying rental aircraft again, after 20+ year break... however, all at the cost of one or two days a week of building and the years slipping by on the building hobbs meter.

lucaperazzolli 10-29-2012 02:55 PM

..for sharing that experience, grat photos that gives me a new dream, another bucket list item.

'Flying in Usa with my 8'

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