Rosie & Tuppergal's Colorado Whitewater Rafting Trip 2010
With a flying RV (keep poundin' rivets builders...), a three-day weekend can take you half way across the country if you are up for it
(and have good weather)! Tuppergal and I have always wanted to go whitewater rafting, and we decided to combine it with a trip to
visit Scott & Deb Mills and Gary & Carolyn Zilik who are based at Front Range (FTG) airport just southeast of Denver.
I took a few hours of vacation on Friday, 2 July 2010 and we departed the Rosamond Skypark (L00) around 1300 local. Our route at
13.5K (on O2) took us past Edwards AFB, over Las Vegas (with a view of Lake Mead) and into Bryce Canyon (BCE) for fuel, landing
after 2.4 hours;
We knew we'd have a little bit of weather (WX) west of Denver and started seeing some clouds shortly after departing Bryce Canyon.
Our planned routing was direct Grand Junction (GJT), Eagle VOR (DBL) then into FTG. This routing pretty much follows Interstate 70 (I-70).
As we neared DBL, the XM radio WX showed some showers over the area though the METARs were VFR for Eagle (EGE) and
I could either fly left or right of Eagle.... and decided on left as the terrain was 'flatter' rather than fly over the high terrain near Aspen.
The following pictures show the map course we took followed by a picture of what we saw once we made a right turn near Kremmling
VOR (RLG). Having XM Weather in the cockpit is well-worth the $$$!
As you can see from the difference in the TRACK, we turned about 066deg (and groundspeed also decreased). In this (85meg) clip,
you will see the picture below that shows you what it looks like in the real world). Note that 20V and RLG are both at Kremmling and EGE and DBL
are both at Eagle to match up the maps (they show different data at different scales);
The XM WX showed a 'window of opportunity' ahead past Kremmling airport (20V) so that's where we flew to (and as recommended
by Denver Center);
We continued on a ground track of ~100deg and the WX kept getting better (as we expected from the XM WX depiction :-) Once clear of the WX,
we turned direct Buckley (BKF) on an 087deg heading with a nice downhill speed (descending to get below the Denver Class B airpace).
A slight left turn had us 'around the corner' of the WX and had us flying just south of Denver, still direct to BKF;
Talking with approach, they directed us through BKF airspace but included 'Remain Clear Class B": Wilco! We continued around the corner at
BKF (at 7K' MSL) and were on the ground at Front Range in no time at all;
Flight time from Bryce Canyon was 2.1 hours. Check out the FTG Welcoming Committee ;-)
Left to Right: Ron Duren, Scott Mills, Gary Zilik, Jim "Jimmyb" Baker and Chuck Spaur;
There was a special movie night in the Zilik/Mills Hangar with a showing of "The Red Baron". Jimmyb and his wife Vicki flew in from Goodland (KS)
for the movie and flew home at O'dark thirty. It was GREAT seeing them, and thank you very much for coming!
We finally hit the pillow around 0030 and were back at the hangar on Saturday morning for an 0800 take off to Fort Morgan (FMM) for breakfast.
I forgot the camera so no pics but wecdid have a GREAT time with a total of 5 fellow RVers who flew in. After returning from breakfast, we hung
around the hangar for awhile then ended up at the Ziliks house (Elevation 8.5K) where we had a great BBQ dinner followed by a sit around Gary's
5-star Campfire ;-)
On Sunday morning, July 4th, we loaded up the van for the 1.5 hour drive to Buena Vista for our rafting trip with Buffalo Joe's Whitewater Rafting Co.
Deb Mills has the pics from the waterproof camera but here are two that I have;
Our Guide Katharyn was in back and kept us safe!
Here are some pics that Deb Mills posted.
On the ride home, I asked if they'd like to join Tuppergal and I on a flight to Telluride (TEX) in the morning as we'd planned to stop there on
the way home. I called Mercedes and Sean to see if they'd join us as they were in Grand Junction visiting friends. Eulitt, Mills and Ziliks
said yes, they'd all go to TEX!
We spent another night at the Zilik's home (along with another sit by the campfire making S'mores). Before lights out, I called Mercedes
to set up a meet-time at TEX, and she said, "We're already here!" That was easy! Here's the place that Mercedes and Sean stayed at, a VERY NICE PLACE!
Monday morning, we got the planes out of the hangar and preflighted for the ~190nm flight to Telluride (via Salina, Monarch Pass, Gunnison);
We departed a 3-ship with Gary in the lead. I was able to get a nice picture of his plane and downtown Denver;
Here are the Mills following the Ziliks in trail flying the beautiful Colorado Rockies and a short clip (75meg) of our gaggle over the Blue Mesa Resevoir,
just west of Gunnison (GUC);
In the picture below, Telluride Airport is around the corner to the left of the green (not snow lined) ridgeline you see off to the left of the
tip of the prop blade. We are on a 180deg flying south;
Once you turn the corner (90degs left), here's what you see on final to runway 9 looking east into the canyon. The town of Telluride lies
at the end of the runway, in the 'bowl', about 300' lower;
Here's a short clip (26meg) Tuppergal took on final (look
for the runway).
If you do a go-around, here's what you'd see on the downwind (looking west).
Flight time to Telluride was 1.5 hours. We've been into TEX three times now but this is the first time we landed at the airport since
they had the runway re-worked. I talked to the manager and he told me they lowered the RWY 9 approach end 35', lowered the RWY 27
approach end 14' and added 16' feet to the center of the runway.
The elevation of the airport went from 9078' to 9070' feet. Tuppergal and I have (now vintage) sweatshirts that say, "Some people fly
at 9078', we land!" Now they sell shirts that show 9070' ;-) RVs on any ramp always look good!
We met Mercedes and Sean (along with their friends Travis & Elizabeth) after a short ride into town, and we had breakfast at an old
hotel called the Sheridan (very nice).
The camera does not capture the absolute beauty of the canyon that Telluride lies in... you just need to fly-in and see it for yourself!
Click here for the full-size picture of the picture below.
After breakfast, we walked around town a bit then took the free tram up and over to Mountain Village;
Here's a higher vantage point view of the airport (looking west) and the town of Telluride. Note that the town is at
8.7K' and the surrounding mountains are at 13K+... WOW!;
Click here for the full size picture of the
Here are a couple of pics from Mountain Village;
Left to Right: Rosales, Mills, Zilik, Sean & Mercedes, Travis & Elizabeth (who, by the way, flew here in a J-4!)
All good things must come to an end, and we (and Mercedes/Sean) needed to start flying back to California. We got
a ride back to the airport, fueled and lined the planes up for one last picture;
We said our goodbyes and took-off (as a 4-ship) on RWY 27 with the SoCALers continuing west and Mills/Ziliks heading east. Here we
are back-taxiing on RWY 27;
The picture below was taken moments after takeoff;
Our route took us over Lake Powell and then into Henderson (HND) south of Las Vegas; a 2.6 hour flight from TEX;
After fueling and a late lunch, we departed for home in a nice cruise spread;
We landed at the Rosamond Skypark about 1.3 hours later (1745 local time), and I had Mercedes/Sean stop for a picture;
Here's a summary of the trip...all possible because we built this great plane called an RV :)
L00 to FTG (via I-70): 4.5 hrs (had a nice tailwind)
FTG to L00 (via TEX): 5.4 hrs (light headwind)
Miles Traveled: ~1500nm averaging ~150 nm/hr
Cost to visit friends and go rafting: Well worth it!
July 4th, 2010 was the 10th Anniverary of my first flight. With nearly 3200 hours on the hobbs, we are looking forward to many,
many more years of flying and meeting new friends along the way! Keep poundin' them rivets because it's ALL worth it! :D Rosie & Tuppergal
PS: I'm planning a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana for the Labor Day weekend!
Now THAT'S a weekend!! Lookign at all thoe pictures really makes me ask what the heck I am still doing in Houston....Great write-up Rosie.
It is amazing how COLD the mountain water is!
Good write up!
Great pics and a nice writeup Rosie, it was nice to finally meet you. You'll need to come visit the Rocky Mts more often!
Rosie and Victoria,
Sorry Peggy and I didn't join you for breakfast at TEX. It's only fifteen minutes from Durango, but I didn't see your post until it was too late. We haven't been there since they took the big dip out of the runway. Your writeup was great and I know it inspires the group to get out more. Thanks!
From Rosie: And I'm feeling even worse Jim since I have your number in my phone...
Missing the West
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