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Rosie & Tuppergal?s Caribbean Trip 2013


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Ever since our first trip to the Caribbean in 2004 with mentor Jim "Jimmyb" Baker, I’ve made it a life-long-goal to try and get back every other year, and so far it’s still happening; 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and now 2013!!!!

Our one-month-long vacation started on Saturday, April 6th and will take Tuppergal & I to the Turks & Caicos where we'll continue on and fly around the Caribbean Islands (and fly within 20nm of South America). Why…because we can! Life is TOO SHORT, and I NEVER want to say, “I sure wish I would have……..”

After spending so much time vacationing on “Island Time”, I can see why people sell everything and move down there :D My retirement fantasy is to sell EVERYTHING, move to the Caribbean and work at Dive Shop or be a handyman!

My pictures start on page 4, and I hope to post each evening (when I have internet access).

Our group this year includes seasoned over-water veterans and a couple of newbies who I look forward to flying with;

Caribbean Trip Fliers (one month):
Paul (Rosie) & Victoria (Tuppergal) Rosales from California
Chris (Jailbird) & Indira Kleen from Washington
Andrew (Sharkbait) Brandt from California (will be splitting off from the BVI to fly below the equator)
Mike (Keys) Brewton from California

Grand Turk Fliers (one week on the island)
Scott (Scoot) & Tanya (Cookie) Card from Texas
Dave (Taco) & Alina (Belle) Bouno from Texas
Gene (Moody Blue) & Janet Larsen from Iowa and have flown EVERY trip with me!
Randy (Deuce) & Laura McFarland (1st timers) from California
John & Dani Wilson (My Skypark Neighbors flying a Bonanza) from California
Bill, Jody and baby Will Wootton (1st timers) from California
Greg & Robin Vouga (1st timers arriving April 13th) from North Carolina


Standing (L-R): Bill Wootton, Mike Brewton, Steph Hoke, Scott & Tanya Card, Andrew Brandt, Laura McFarland, Dani Wilson, Janet Larsen, Dave & Alina Bouno, Chris & Indira Kleen, Doug Dodson

Kneeling (L-R): Rosie, Tuppergal, Randy McFarland, John Wilson, Gene Larsen

Ten planes are starting out April 9th from Homestead to vacation on Grand Turk and one more RV will join the group on Grand Turk on April 13th. There is a chance my skypark neighbors Doug & Gail Dodson may join us for a short time as they are flying to Brazil so Doug can land his Glasair below the equator (with Sharkbait).

From Grand Turk, four RVs will depart on April 12th and continue to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Dominican Republic, Curaçao, Bonaire, Grenada and up the Lesser Antilles Island chain for ONE BIG MONTH-LONG LOOP around the Caribbean! I'm thinking we may take a day while in the BVI to clear Customs back to the USA at St. Thomas, and island-hop the USVI and Puerto Rico "just because it would be fun"!

Here's the Great Circle routing (not all landing destinations displayed as I used this for planning only):


Here's a better depiction of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. LOTS of water from the Dominican Republic to Curaçao and then Bonaire to Grenada (Bonaire is the small island to the right of Curaçao):


Here are the dates for the Caribbean Adventure, and by the way, we only have reservations set-in-stone for Grand Turk (my favorite hotel) and the British Virgin Islands (winging-it at its best!);

Grand Turk: April 9-12
Virgin Gorda (BVI): April 12-17
Dominican Republic : April 17-19
Bonaire: April 19-22
Grenada: April 22-23 (will meet up with Sharkbait after his ‘equator run’)
OPEN (Island hopping northbound up the Antilles - we have no reservations anywhere): April 23-May 1
Dominican Republic or Providenciales: By the evening of May 2
Florida: May 3
Texas: May 4
Home to California: May 5
Back to work: May 6 :eek:

I hope you all can follow along, especially on the two days of our biggest open water flights;

April 19: Dominican Republic to Curaçao to Bonaire (416nm)
April 22: Bonaire to Grenada (381nm)

If you are flying, fly safe!
And if you are building, “Keep poundin’ them rivets because it’s ALL WORTH IT!!!” Rosie & Tuppergal

PS: Planning will start during this trip for Cayman Islands/Belize 2015!

Update: We completed the trip and arrived home safely on May 5th after flying 9405 nautical miles over 70 hours with landings on 23 islands :) Read on to see how much FUN we had!
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Have a great trip Rosie - and everyone! You know that there is a spot here in the Houston area if you need to stop on the way out or back.
Looks like Team Aerodynamix is paving the way for you today. They left KFPR this morning for Exuma and on to the Dominican Republic for an airshow.
Jealous I am............

Yeah, Mike B has been taunting us in the local RV group for a few days now.

You all fly safe, and have fun:D
Looks like a great trip. It is on our bucket list when the kids get older. Want to make sure they are strong swimmers first:eek:

The biggest flight challenge will likely be just getting to florida.

We are southbound to the SW in a few weeks.

Have fun.
Count me and Diane in 2015.

Hope to see Scott and Tanya as they pass through here this weekend.
Blue skies folks!!

Sorry I'm missing this one. First one since last trip to the Turks!

Next one for sure!
After spending so much time vacationing on ?Island Time?, I can see why people sell everything and move down there :D My retirement fantasy is to sell EVERYTHING, move to the Caribbean and work at Dive Shop or be a handyman!

Do it, Rosie! Why wait? I'll buy your -6 for Tyson (which was his first RV ride), so we'll have a way to get to the islands, you'll have a dusty couch we can sleep on when we visit, and I'm sure you'll be eager to give us your best discount on SCUBA rentals.


Travel safely, friends. Your trip reports always keep us motivated in the shop!

Cards are launching this Saturday. First stop is to see the mighty Horton, then Asheville, then on to Homestead on Monday. Let the adventure begin!
bon voyage to you all!! a trip of a life time. keep the pics and videos coming.

i just returned from the virgins last week and the wx was the best ever. the best part is you dont need to pack much cloths.

if anyone needs to deviate to stuart you know you are welcome to spend the night.

Where are you staying in BVI? I'm there 4/6-13. Might try to check you guys out.

From Rosie: We will be arriving Beef Island on 12 April (midday) and then take the ferry to Virgin Gorda (departing 17 April). This could work! Check back!
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Count me in for 2015. I love the Caribbean. Leaving for Cruise tomorrow out of San Juan. One of the stops is Barbados. Love that place.

Had a job offer about 10 years ago there and almost took it. Now I have no ties and make take a look to see if there are any tour operators needing a helicopter pilot.

There is serious money to be made!!!

Everyone have a great time. Can't wait to read the updates. Fly safe. 381NM over water ARGH........


I would stop at 2J9 (Quincy) instead of TLH while in north Florida. It will be much cheaper to buy fuel and no ramp fees, etc. [email protected] if I can help.

David Watson

From Rosie: I just use those identfiers to draw a line across the country. I have no plans to stop in either Addison or Tallahassee but now can add 2J9 as a cheap fuel stop. Thank you David :)
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Central Texas Airshow, 4 May


You will probably be in a rush to get home and not have the timing right, but the Central Texas Airshow will be ongoing at Temple (TPL) on Sat, 4 May. Falcon Flight will be performing. Drop in before TFR and enjoy the show.

From Rosie: I'll be departing from Fort Pierce (KFPR) on that Saturday morning Falcon and may be a bit late :)
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Alpha Flight?

What, no JB or Seismo? :)

Wishing we were on your wing again for the trip.

You guys have fun and be safe.

L and C

From Rosie: Jim "Jimmyb" Baker thought it best that I get out on my 'own' now that I'm all growed up. Seismo is in training for next Ironman! :)
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If you're over southwest MS around shut down time, drop in on T-36 we got cheap 100LL, ground transportation, close motel, and no fees.


From Rosie: Thanks for the invite Allen! Looks like we'll be landing Crystal Springs (M11) for our first fuel stop from Pecan Plantation (0TX1)
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Fly Bys..

Hey Rosie, you guys need to do a couple flybys next week, I should be on a dive boat somewhere off Provo in T&C!

From Rosie: Jim, let me know what side of the Island you might be on come Tuesday morning!
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Survival Gear

I have thought about doing this kind of a trip in my 8. Are you able to load up a raft and jackets along with your gear and 2 pax? My thoughts are "where do I put the raft so that I can get it out if I ditch the airplane"?

Sounds like a great time and I will be following you!

Be Safe out there!


From Rosie: No raft Dave, but I will have three aircraft off my wing :)
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Can't wait for the rest of the write up. Make sure you tell us how the wait was on re-entering the country. There seems to be a lot of thought that customs is making you wait for hours in your plane until they get to you. I know you have to stay in the plane just don't know how long...
Checked in on the biannual "Pirates of the Caribbean" adventure and notice after leaving California in the pre-dawn twilight and making their planned fuel stop at St. Johns, Az, Paul and Victoria are now over New Mexico approaching Texas. What a great day to fly across the southern half of this country! :) With tail winds and clear skies, it should be a great trip to Homestead. Surface winds are gusting at some locations out west, but I'm sure Paul and Victoria can handle 'em.

Best wishes for an enjoyable vacation, and thanks for allowing us to peek over your shoulders from time to time.

P.S. Photos, we need photos. ;)

P.P.S. Wow, I just noticed this thread already has over 2,800 views and Paul just started this thread two days ago! Paul and Victoria may have to give autographs at their stops because they're so famous. ;)
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Rosie has been in Texas for the past 7 minutes!!!! 5 hours and 2 minutes including a fuel stop.

Looks like he will be very close to his 15:00 TX arrival time at KSEP.
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Lunch at F49, Slaton, Tx. :)

And it looks like the Cards have successfully entered Alabama airspace and have landed at Hortonville, aka Whoville!

Buono's arrived in Alabama yesterday and are now near Cedar Key, FL. :)
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Day 1: Landed safely at Pecan Plantation (0TX1), TX

Hello to our 'RV family of Friends;

It's been a long but very nice day #1 of what I'm calling our 'Grand Adventure' since it's a trip we've not ever done before nor will ever do again! I can't put into words how excited we are that our trip is finally started and that we can fly with some of our closest friends: FRIENDS WE HAVE BECAUSE OF OUR RV!

We were awake at 0400 PDT with the plane packed the night before. Here's our cargo area full-o-stuff and Tuppergal ready to go:



We missed our 0500 departure time by 10 minutes due having to take a moment to take this picture for my (our) buddy Turbo! As you can see, the direct route from Rosamond (L00) to Providenciales (MBPV in the Turks & Caicos) is just over 2800nm...


Sunrise was a little over an hour after takeoff as we were crossing the Colorado River:


Here's Lake Havasu in the early morning light (looking south):


There is not a lot to see flying across the desert but for those who have never flown across the middle of Arizona and New Mexico, these pictures are for you…and what you don’t see is a picture of my hand blocking out the sun:



We made St. Johns (SJN), 437nm in ~2:40 at ~170 knots (I was hoping for more of a tailwind but did not see it):


These next two pictures are to show you what you see on XM weather and what you see out the window:


Once past Albuquerque, New Mexico is FLAT!

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Day 1: Landed safely at Pecan Plantation (0TX1), TX

I had to take this picture to show you the late 1990's panel we are still flying with (and which works perfectly fine for the flying we do :)



The flight from St. John took us east until we got around the corner of the restricted area then we 'turned the corner' southeast bound to Slaton Municipal (F49) for fuel, 390nm in ~2.5 hours:



One more leg to go (~1.5 hours) to get to the Hard 8 BBQ in Stephenville! I'd been waiting two years to get back there and eat REAL BBQ!

We climbed out to 9.5K, settled in at an easy 160 knot cruise....I'll be having BBQ soon....I call Forth Worth Center for flight following, life is good.

Here's another shot of the XM weather screen and 'out the window':



I failed to mention that for breakfast, we each had a powerbar and then had a couple of the 100 calorie snack bags to munch on....I was READY for a good meal at the Hard 8 BBQ, ~190nm away. I'm watching the gauges and thinking about what I was going order out of that big, roll-up smoker they have....

Getting closer...10 minutes out on the 'downline' at 180 knots indicated...the BBQ is calling my name....I swear I could smell the 'smokers'... and then...Fort Worth Center calls (I'm less than 10 minutes out):

"8PV...I just got a call that a plane has 'fouled' the runway. The Stephenville airport is closed".

"Can you call them and ask how long it might be? I'm trying to get over to the Hard 8 for a late lunch."

"Sure, let me call them back...........8PV, no answer at the airport".

I'm thought to myself, "Two years I've been planning this trip with a stop at the Hard 8 and I can't land!?!"

Ok, quick, zoom out...what airport is nearby, cursor over...ah! 9FD is nearby...

"Fort Worth, 8PV now landing 9FD"....silence...no reply...then...

"8PV, my system does not show 9FD"....

Hurry, cursor over 9FD, press enter, read "Dublin Muni"...

"8PV landing Dublin Muni"...

"8PV...that's 9F...0"

"Fort Worth, 8PV can't read when hungry. Dublin in sight."

"8PV, squawk 1200, frequency change approved"

Here's the screen shot where we 'dog-legged' slightly to the right of course to get to Dublin. So close yet so far:


We landed at Dublin and taxied to the ramp...this airport is barren, weeds coming up through the cracks of the runway and taxiway. Tuppergal keeps reading her Kindle (she loves to read)


I found the Hard 8 BBQ phone number in the Garmin 496 AOPA database page (thank you very much AOPA!). I dial the number.

"Hi, can I talk to a manager...no, nothing was wrong with the food...yes, I'll wait....Emily? Hi, I'm calling from Dublin airport. I'm flying from California and have been flying for about 7 hours. I can't land at Stephenville because the airport just closed to clear a plane off the runway. I've been waiting two years to get back here and eat at the Hard 8 BBQ. Is there ANY CHANCE you can send someone to come get me? PLEASE?...Oh yes, I can wait 20 minutes, thank you!" SCORE!!!!!!

A young man, Barrett Joiner shows up in a nice, big pickup, very friendly guy, 100% Texan. We pile in (forgot to bring the camera darn it) and we arrive to the Hard 8 in minutes. We get in line, the cook opens the smoker..."I'll have some of that, that, that, that, one of those, and a couple of Chicken Poppers".

Once inside, a small tub of Blackberry Cobbler, a coke and the free beans....I'm a REAL HAPPY GUY now! We enjoy the Angels-Texas game, finish up and Victoria then 'rolls me to the truck', I'm stuffed (and did I say I was happy). Barrett drives us back, and I ask him for the name of the Manager because I want to write a letter to thank 'his' boss for this...then Barrett says, "I'm the General Manager." Whoa, 29 years old and he's 'the man'! Thank you Barrett for taking time to ensure these Californians did not miss out on the great BBQ you have at the Hard 8!


We departed Dublin and landed Pecan Plantation (0TX1) around 1730 local time, maybe a 15 minute flight. We are staying with longtime friends Don & Shirley Saint at their beautiful skypark home. While out for a walk, we saw Claudia & Martin Sutter who are leaving with Tom & Bonnie Lewis in the morning for Sun 'n Fun. Their 2-ship will now be a 3-ship departure, ~0700 CDT.

We plan to fly to Daytona Beach (Spruce Creek Airpark) to visit/lunch with a longtime teacher-friend Barbara Rodriguez and then depart for Clearwater to overnight with my former Lockheed co-worker, Honeywell 'Navboy' Bob Coughlin and wife Vicki.

Here are the Day 1 flying stats: ~1015nm in 6:40...nice ride, no bumps...just wish I could have had more of a tailwind!


Thanks SO MUCH for following along and keep poundin' them rivets because it's ALL worth it!!! Rosie & Tuppergal
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Rosie, I'm glad you finally got off on your trip.the rv is the only way to go.

I can see by your numbers that when you get to your destination you're odometer will be the same as mine was last week.


These are good numbers when you're flying an rv6.

From Rosie: Turbo, what's the trick to hacking a Garmin to beef up the numbers?
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Be safe and have a great trip

Sherri and I are bummed to be sitting this trip out, but as it turns out we would have had to cancel at the last minute regardless. Her mom had to have unexpected spinal surgery 4 days ago with 10 1/2 hours in the OR. Not a chance Sherri would have left her.

Heads up Rosie and Chris... I was at my hangar yesterday changing the tires on my plane when I saw the BH (Big Hammer) in one of the drawers in my tool box. Before we left Grand Exuma in 2011 Chris Kleen asked me to carry it home because he was severely weight restricted. I hope you have accounted for the BH sitting this trip out.

So keep checking in, and we'll be following along here with interest as well as a tad bit of envy. Everybody be safe and have a fantastic trip. Can't wait for some of the pictures to start coming in.

Bryan and Sherri

From Rosie: We sure miss you Brian & Sherri....and Jimmyb & Vicki...and Siesmo & Red...and Scott & Deb! And I am bringing the BH this trip :)
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Moody Blue will launch Sunday morning

Moody Blue (Gene and Janet) will be launching out of Atlantic, IA, stopping for fuel in Kennet, MO and Headland, AL (this could change) and RON at Ft Myers, FL on Sunday. Looks like about 7 1/2 hours flight time.
Might meet up with John and Dani there. We just need to know when to meet at Marathon for lunch on Monday before heading up the Keys to Homestead.
great write-up, excellent photos, and wonderful adventure! :). Thanks for sharing it with us.
Have fun! :D
P.S. I don't know what the VAF record is for most viewed thread, but this one is already over 3,900 and the main part of the trip hasn't even begun yet.
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What happens if you don't put the big n numbers on the aircraft?

From Rosie: You could be fined by Customs....I don't want to 'test' them!
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How are you handling the luggage/bags issue? Just travelling light, or shipping some stuff in/out?

From Rosie: We had about 20 lbs between our legs between the battery box and fuel selector, steel stakes along the floor rails at our feet, and the BH stuffed in the gear leg weldment. I have all my dive gear, clothes and tools in back. My clothes weighed 10 lbs but with the computer and other 'stuff', the bag came in at 28 lbs.
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What happens if you don't put the big n numbers on the aircraft?

That is a very good question.

I do know that if you do not have the 12" number you are in violation of FAR 45.29(h).

What happens when one violates this FAR?

Last time I flew through a ADIZ, I had a set of $35 12" N numbers that I purchased from Sporty's Pilot Shop. I removed them at the completion of my trip. I figured that $35 was cheaper than a fine or penalty.

Looks like FAR 13.15(b)(1)(iii) says that the fine will be $50,000.

From Rosie: I'd like to add that you do NOT want to peel off your temporary N numbers until AFTER you have taxied away from the Customs 'Penalty Box'. Jimmyb got an earful from the Customs Agent on the last pass through Fort Pierce!
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Day 2: Landed safely at Clearwater (CLW), FL

Hello to our 'RV family of Friends;

Can you believe that at the end of Day 2, we are here in Clearwater (CLW), Florida with friends who used to live in Palmdale?!? Yes, it’s true because we fly an RV!

And before I forget, Tuppergal was writing down the Hobbs meter reading for the day, and here’s what she saw… very cool!


Our day started at the Saint’s House at Pecan Plantation (0TX1) in Grandbury (TX) at 0545. Don had a great bacon and eggs breakfast ready for us by 0615, and a short time later, we were at the run-up with Martin & Claude Sutter and Tom & Bonnie Lewis who were heading out to Sun ‘n Fun.

We departed ~0700 and had to fly northwest for a short while until we could climb and turn on course. The sunrise was absolutely spectacular and even better with two RVs off the wing:



The overcast went on and on and on…and just when you think it’s going to end because the XM Weather picture shows you that it is going to end…. XM Weather LIES!

NEVER (ever) depend on the picture you see on the screen to match the real world as shown in these two pictures taken seconds apart. Notice the XM WX picture shows the cloud deck 'ending' just off the nose of the aircraft icon:



Tom & Martin had planned their first fuel stop at Vidalia (0R4), LA and a quick calculation showed I would have to stop again for fuel so I bid them goodbye, and we continued another hour into Bay Minette (1R8).

Here’s the downline that we were able to fly to get under the broken to overcast layer we’d been flying over for ~510nm in 3.5 hours.



Looking south towards the bay that borders Mobile:


Left base to Final at Bay Minette (1R8):


The girl who greeted us told us the airport had been pretty 'quiet' all morning. I fueled the plane, had a couple of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and smiled for the camera:

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Day 2: Landed safely at Clearwater (CLW), FL

Following takeoff from Bay Minette, we had to get back on top of the cloud deck (~5.5K MSL) and here?s the direction we were heading:


After takeoff, I ?spied? a nice opening that would be no problem for the RV:



Here?s the same opening looking down (once on top):


Back on top, we climbed to 9.5K for the flight to Spruce Creek (7FL6) with more of the same?lots of clouds to look down on. Our flight path was to Crestview (CEW) the direct to Spruce Creek:


There was a bit of clearing past Tallahassee, and here are the matching pictures for XM and out-the-window:



Then, once again, more clouds?


After ~370nm and 2.5 hours, it was time to let down into the Daytona Beach area;


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Day 2: Landed safely at Clearwater (CLW), FL

Spruce Creek has ?Private? (spelled out) at both ends of the runway, but as long as you have friends who live in the community, you are allowed to land there. We landed Rwy 05, followed the blue line to the transient parking near the ?Tree?.



Of course, I HAD to park between the two cool planes!


We had a very enjoyable visit AND lunch with Barbara, her husband Eddie and son Eddie-Christoph. Before we knew it, it was time to get back to the airport. After refueling (and photo with Barbara Rodriguez), we departed direct to Clearwater and leveled at 4.5K for the less than an hour flight ~111nm flight:


We headed toward Clearwater, and stayed east (and under) the Orlando Class B airspace:


I had flight following with Tampa and was given a Tampa Class B clearance 60nm out of Clearwater. The controller said he was going to vector me into CLW directly over Tampa International?no problem here!

?RV 8PV, turn to heading 2-0-0, descend to 3,500?
?RV 8PV heading 2-0-0 down to 3,500?

Here?s the turn south versus the direct line to CLW:


Once abeam the airport, the controller called out,
?RV 8PV, turn to heading 2-8-0?
?RV 8PV heading 2-8-0?

?RV 8PV, report Tampa Int'l in sight?
?RV 8PV, Tampa in sight, and I?m looking straight down runway 2-8?
?RV 8PV, Due to my EXCELLENT vectoring, you are looking down runway 2-8, maintain slight course left of runway centerline, maintain 3,500?.
?RV 8PV, maintain EXCELLENT course left of runway centerline, heading 3, 500?

Controllers are good people!

His vectoring took us right past downtown Tampa, VERY COOL!


This picture does not do justice to the sunlight shining through the clouds and outlining the Clearwater Coastline Hotels:


Final approach into CLW:


Here's a summary of our travels over two days: 2158nm from Rosamond, CA to Clearwater FL (I'm gonna' catch you Turbo!)

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Day 2: Landed safely at Clearwater (CLW), FL

Here's the flight path for Day 2: ~1000nm in 7.8 hours:


The plane is tied down for the night and we are glad to be in Clearwater!



We plan to meet up with some of the group at 0900 on Monday at Venice (VNC) airport for lunch then fly to Key West to meet up with Randy & Laura McFarland. I will also get to visit with the Mom of a longtime friend.

Keep poundin' them rivets because it's ALL worth it! Rosie & Tuppergal
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I think a familiar plane may be parked next to you ...

Remember the last time they were parked and/or flying together? :)

Wanted to call but could not find your number.

Was too dark for me to get a photo. :-(


From Rosie: I got ya' covered James! Here's the Rock Star I was parked with...and, yes, I remember: Parkersburg, Rockford then flying into OSH (2003) in formation!

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Just a little side trip...to Key West!

Just checked in on the SPOT tracking of Rosie and the APRS tracking of the Cards. Looks like the Cards got to Homestead about an hour ahead of Paul and Victoria...BUT Paul and Victoria took a little side trip to Key West! :cool:

What is a little side trip for sightseeing and perhaps lunch for Rosie and Tuppergal would be a major trip for me! :eek:

What amazing machines these RV's are, especially in the hands of capable pilots who plan their work and work their plan. (I feel so inadequate! :eek: )

Thanks for sharing your tracking information. :)
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Spruce Creek! My old stomping grounds when I went to Riddle for college.

Hope the trip is going well, I'm envious.

Fly safe,

From Rosie: SPLINTER!! My Skypark Flying Buddy!!!! One day you need to join us!
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Nice write up, I'll be following you guys on your trip, looks like a lot of fun.
Day 3: We are in Homestead (FL)

Rosie here.....I asked Scoot to put some placeholders for me (thank you... he got me fixed up on the FTP issue!)

Our day started at 0630, and we arrived to the airport at 0800. As we walked to the plane, we could see that a 'Rock Star' had arrived after dark and parked next to us. I've flown the Oshkosh arrival to RIPON and FISK with this guy, something that is just not allowed (but the OSH controller blessed Rick Gray, our lead, Robert 'Subie' Paisley filled out the 4-ship). You just can't buy those memories! James "Tuskegee" Clark of Team Aerodynamix has arrived in the middle of the night:


We loaded up the plane and departed for Venice (VNC), and we met up with Dave (Taco) & Alina (Belle) Bouno. Once inside the cafe, I found Alina sitting with RVer Tom Olsen, who drove 45 minutes from Punta Gorda. He was there to join us for breakfast! Thanks so much for coming Tom! Oh yea...he's wearing a hat that I sent him after he sent me an 'islands' flag for my hangar from the Bahamas 2011 trip :)


From there, Dave and I were a 2-ship to Fort Myers (FMY) to meet up with Gene & Janet Larsen and John & Dani Wilson. Gene had told me to ask for Base Operations after landing, so on the first call to approach, the controller asked me which Fort Myers I wanted to land at....I stare at my GPS and say "FMY" and then thought to myself, "There sure better be a Base Ops there"...and there was!


We departed a 4-ship to Everglades (X01) then stayed inside the ADIZ as we turned on-course to Key West (EYW) at 4,500'. The tower gave us a 3-mile left base to landing and got us on the ground quickly.


Randy & Laura McFarland had spent the night in Key West, and they were there to greet us along with Chris & Indira Kleen (they slept in just a tad bit longer than us so they saw us depart Clearwater as they pulled into the parking lot).

We all ate at the airport restaurant and a good time was had by all. We departed a 4-ship and a 2-ship for the ~90nm flight to Homestead (X51). Here's Randy (with Laura on-board).


Lots of flight training going on there and we managed to get everyone on the ground safely. I was able to get a quick oil change while the others fueled and tied-down.

Skypark neighbor Doug Dodson was there at Roberts Air South FBO in his Glasair along with Andrew Brandt & friend Steph, Scott & Tanya Card, Mike Brewton and Bill Wooton.


"Turbo" Ed D'Arcy showed up in his RV-6A to say hello but I think he was trying to make up some hours on me so I don't catch him! On his way out, Turbo's throttle cable was sticking so here he is working on it with FBO owner John Roberts.


Everyone had about 2 hours before arriving for the evening flight brief on the hotel patio. During the briefing, Pizza arrived and we 'munched' down till it hurt!

Here's Tuppergal and Belle:


Dani & John Wilson with Gene Larsen


Doug "Opie" Dodson, Laura & Randy "Deuce" McFarland


Briefing complete for the group, I briefed the flight leads on last minute items and then the leads filed the flight plans for their flight.

Alpha flight is planning an 0730 local takeoff X51 direct Providenciales (MBPV), and we are expecting a 3.5 hours 'easy' cruise at 9,500'.

Thank you all so much for following along and keep poundin' them rivets because it's ALL worth it! Rosie & Tuppergal
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