Luscombe Road Trip—Wish me luck!

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by birdus, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yep. Listen to your body. Get the rest you need. Then, refreshed, carry on. This is an adventure, not a slog.

    Keep it enjoyable, you're not competing with anyone.

    It's a process...
     
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  2. perwahlen

    perwahlen Filing Flight Plan

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    make sure you are not too tired when you transfer those videos. I know from bitter experience many things that can go wrong when you do it when you're too exhausted! Take it easy! Don't rush and ENJOY the adventure!
     
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  3. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    You got out of the Northwest just in time.
    Thinking it should clear up a bit by this weekend, at least hoping it does, I want to fly my sailplane this weekend.

    Brian
     
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  4. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I do try to be methodical when copying the video files. A slip up can feel like a catastrophe if you lose footage or photos, even for just a hobbyist like me! Thanks for the encouragement.
     
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  5. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    This is absolutely amazing; what an adventure! I didn't know a luscombe could even get to 10000 feet. Thank you for sharing with us!
     
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  6. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    People seriously underestimate A65s... I flew most of the way back from Wisconsin in my A65 at 4500-6500' and ferried a Cub back from Florida once pretty high up there because I figured out the winds were great.
     
  7. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I actually got it up to 11,717 feet around Mt. Rainier while still a student. This plane has a C-85. Definitely doesn't climb too well at those altitudes, though.
     
  8. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    A few folks mentioned possibly flying in to San Marcos for a little meet up, so here's a guess at my schedule, barring any mechanical problems or flight-limiting weather.

    I'm in Alamogordo now and will spend a second night here with my friend. I'll plan on heading to Pecos tomorrow (Wednesday), spending one night there, and then on to San Marcos on Thursday. I'll plan on a leisurely lunch and then spending the night in San Marcos. It's 350 miles, or so, and I'll try to leave around 7:00. With a short stop along the way, I imagine I should get in close to lunch time.
     
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  9. david.h

    david.h Pre-takeoff checklist

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    While it should be spotty and not wide spread, we are in for some showers Wednesday and Thursday in central Texas. If you have to divert/set down for a bit, Llano (KAQO) has cheap fuel, courtesy car, and great BBQ (Cooper's) just a minute or two from the airport.
     
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  10. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    If you're stopping in Pecos, the cantaloupes were the best I've ever had this year! If planning on crossing near Guadalupe Peak to Pecos, cross about 20 south will reduce the turbulence or 10 north. If calm, get NEAR it and grab some great photos!
     
  11. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Yup. I'm going there because you recommended it. I'll be spending one night there. I'm looking forward to the cantaloupes. Thanks for the tip on flight path.
     
  12. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    It was a beautiful morning in Sedona for my departure, and some hot-air balloonists thought so, too. It was neat to fly past them after takeoff. I wished I had more time to explore there, but maybe next time. It’s a beautiful area, although, to be honest, most places I’m seeing have some beauty to them, in one form or another.

    I turned out to the east on a heading of around 110 degrees, a heading on which I would remain for the next few hours, until departing Truth or Consequences. I don’t get bored too easily and wasn’t bored on this flight, either. I thought about how, even though I was at 9,500 feet, the ground was never more than a couple thousand feet below me. I enjoyed the forests, occasional rocky canyons, the smallest towns that can be until they become merely someone’s house and a barn. I thought about where I would land if my engine quit, and I started and stopped cameras as I went. There was plenty to do and to think about.

    I got the living daylights scared out of me when the batteries in my Bose A20 died. I popped out the dead ones and put in fresh ones. Ahhh. Peace and quiet again. I find it odd that people listen to music while flying, one of the selling points of the A20. There are so many other things to ponder while up in the air. Besides, I constantly get bombarded by noise in the city. And, of course, when I’m still a ways out, I listen to the weather and begin considering how I’ll enter the pattern. Runway directions and entry patterns are extremely abstract and difficult for me to visualize, so that takes a lot of work.

    I refueled at Show Low, got a little junk food, and talked to another pilot about getting through the gazillion restricted area directly between Truth or Consequences and Alamogordo. I was still hopeful, but had planned a southerly route around them, just in case.

    As I approached Truth or Consequences, I announced I was going to orbit the airport above pattern altitude. I like to get some video off the wingtip camera of the airport and I also like to take a look at the windsock just to verify what the AWOS says. I also announced I would probably land runway 4 due to wind direction. A second later a guy come on the radio and said that runway 13/31 (7200 feet long) was the primary runway, but that all the gravel strips (4 of them!) were in good condition, too. Although the winds were mild—5 knots—and I easily could’ve landed on the main strip, I landed on runway 4, a gravel strip crossing almost perpendicular to the main runway, for best wind alignment, and, mostly, just for fun. I came in a bit fast and high and so slipped on final. I was a little long, and, when I got to the main strip, was launched back into the air. It was definitely an entertaining landing, almost as entertaining as Randy, the guy manning the UNICOM radio.

    Randy, buff, bearded, and x-military, came out to meet me when I pulled up to the gas pump. He was chatty and we had a nice conversation. We talked about “Anquifa,” rioters and looters (known as “peaceful protesters” to leftists), hacking Wi-Fi, computer programming, action cams, x-wives, and various and sundry other topics.

    After topping up, I went into the FBO, looked over my flight plan, called FSS, then departed. After airborne, I called Albuquerque Center, telling her I’d like to go direct to Alamogordo and asking if there was any chance of that happening today. Withing approximately 40 milliseconds, a “no” came back over the radio. I stayed with her for flight following, however. A guy took over at some point, and, around the southernmost point of my detour, he handed me off to El Paso. After I began heading north up the corridor to KALM, I cancelled flight following and dropped down from 7,500 to 6,000. At that point, I just followed the highway north up to the airport.

    The weather for the day averaged hazy with some clouds above. Flying was from smooth to light turbulence off and on over the course of the flight. I probably would’ve called it moderate turbulence when I started on this trip almost a week ago, but I could be getting slightly acclimated to it, although there was the occasional larger blast of air. By the way, my friend Dave, with whom I’m staying here, said he loves turbulence (think a baby being rocked to sleep). He was a C-141 pilot at McChord and has instructed in the T-37, T-1, T-6 Texan II, Jetstream 31/32, and Dash-8. He is currently an instructor at Holloman AFB. The worst turbulence he’s experienced (which he did not enjoy) was in the C-141 over the Cascades. The wings were flapping up and down like those of a bird, and he couldn’t even see the instruments.

    As I approached KALM, there wasn’t another plane on frequency. I overflew the airport, then flew a teardrop, a 45, and entered a right downwind for runway 4. My approach was okay. When I was about to touch down, I felt like I was going to cap off my long day with a greaser. However, for reasons which I cannot yet explain (we’ll see if video sheds any light on the situation), I ended up riding a bucking bronco. Thankfully, no one was watching. I have no idea what happened, but the landing was an embarrassment. (NOTE: I watched the video. Conclusion: I suck. Looks like I touched mains first a bit hard and bounced and the stick must’ve been jolted forward a bit—after I’d bounced into the air—throwing me back down. No good. No good at all.)

    The airport was like a ghost town. There was, however, a beautiful FBO. They traded me a gallon of 100LL for just shy of 5 greenbacks. I called to let my friend know I was there. He was at work still which is fine since it takes me quite a while to un-camera my plane and get other things buttoned up. I added a quart of oil and looked over the engine just to reduce my pre-flight time later on.

    And so, while long, the day actually went by relatively quickly and uneventfully. Another one down.

    Sedona
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    Sedona
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    Sedona
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    Sedona
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    Sedona
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    En Route (eastern AZ or western NM)
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    Truth or Consequences (KTCS)
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    Truth or Consequences (KTCS)
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    Truth or Consequences (KTCS)
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    New Mexico Museum of Space History
    10.jpg
     
  13. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    Must've been the same guy I met when I visited T or C.
    I'd done the "we'll just land and wander in and see what's what" thing, figuring we'd stay and do the 15 minutes of chat with whoever was around and then take off again. There were two guys hanging out at UNICOM, and the chatting ended up lasting at least an hour and a half. Enough time passed that Paul (with whom I'd filed my "wife plan") had started to worry and wonder whether I was OK.
    Our topics included: things to do around T or C, why a particular restaurant won't deliver food to the airport anymore, and why San Francisco is the worst city ever (a topic on which there was disagreement).

    Glad you got to try out one of those gravel runways! They looked interesting, but I stuck to the pavement. Like you do when you're trying to impress a first-time passenger.

    Amazing pictures! I'm really enjoying this narrative.
    What the heck is that place with the rocket ship?
     
  14. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo.
     
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  15. Dave Binkley

    Dave Binkley Filing Flight Plan

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    Jay, this trip report is the best thing on the internet. Thanks.

    I was born on Holloman Air Force Base a long, long, time ago. Any pics of that area would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  16. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Wow! Thanks! Hardly anyone clicks "Like" on the posts, so I don't really know how many are reading. Sometimes I wonder. Thanks for the encouraging comment! I'll try to keep it up. Also, after the trip, I plan creating a series of videos of the trip for YouTube. I plan on making one video for each day of the trip (approximately).

    I'll try to do that.
     
  17. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route

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    From Sedona to Show Low, did you fly over the meteor crater?
     
  18. Jill

    Jill Filing Flight Plan

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    Agree!
    I’m with Dave on liking turbulence; in moderation, it is definitely like being rocked.
     
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  19. perwahlen

    perwahlen Filing Flight Plan

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    Jay, I really can't wait for the video series to come out. Your trip reports are awesome and I bet the video series will be even better! I wish I had the time to fly down to San Marcos for the meet up but sadly real life, work etc. won't allow it. Good luck and fly safe!
     
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  20. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    No. I was actually planning on it, but decided not to on the day of the flight, just because I knew I was already in for a long day.
     
  21. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Pattern Altitude

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    Here you go:
    IMG_0995.jpg IMG_1001.jpg IMG_1005.jpg
     
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  22. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry about that , "Like".
    Enjoying the trip vicariously .
     
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  23. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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  24. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I don't feel bad at all! I feel proud! How many total hours flying did you have when you began that trip? I'll definitely check out your write up.
     
  25. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    This made me laugh. After I got my private, I took my oldest daughter as my first passenger. I let her try the controls for a bit, and while she was 'flying', suddenly it got loud. I thought she had hit the throttle. Then I thought the exhaust had fallen off. I was thinking about what the NTSB report would say when I figured it out.... the batteries in my Zulus last about 30 hours....

    Those pictures of Sedona are stunning. I can't wait to make the trip out there myself; that southwest swing with Sedona, the GC, etc are my biggest motivation to buy my own airplane. I'm looking forward to seeing your videos.
     
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  26. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Didn't want to bust your bubble, but they never allow E-W or vice versa traffic over White Sands Missile Range ... the last one where you U-turned to go up the corridor *SOMETIMES* is listed cold and you can shave a couple of miles, but they want you in the corridor (like you did). Be careful on weekends as there are many that don't understand the hemispheric altitude rules in that corridor. Also KALM has sky dive activity ...

    Randy is a hoot, and you can blow an hour easy in that FBO if he's around;) Surprised you didn't fly over the lake there ...

    When you fly back into TX, there will be a LONG dirt road next to HWY 180 which goes to Guadalupe Peak ... the dirt road diverges away (good if there is turbulence) and goes STRAIGHT to Pecos as it is the gas line road, after Pecos it goes to near San Angelo and then there is a paved highway same orientation that NEVER has traffic all the way to Llano TX. We joke that these are the two LONGEST runways in the world for an engine out;):p

    Gas gets cheap again as you approach Llano ...

    Also heads up ... Pecos has fuel, Van Horn officially doesn't (see sectional no tick marks).
     
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  27. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Me: I hear the cantaloupes here are super awesome. Where can I get them?
    Hotel Front Desk Girl: I think they're out of season. They grow them in the summer.
    Me: Someone just told me they're in season and I can get some.
    Hotel Girl: Oh. You can probably get them in Coyanosa.
    Me: Where?
    Girl: Coyanosa.
    Me: Where's Coyanosa?
    Girl: 20 or 25 minutes away. (looked it up: it's 32 minutes from the hotel)

    Me to self while sitting on the bed in my room: I'm not going to drive an hour to buy a cantaloupe.

    On the other hand, Dickey's Barbecue Pit was excellent!
     
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  28. SoCal 182 Driver

    SoCal 182 Driver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wait. Let me see if I have this right. You're in Texas and you had BBQ at Dickey's??? I suspect you're going to hear from some Texans on this list about your choice of BBQ. Better get your flame suit ready...:incazzato::incazzato:
     
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  29. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Im not a Texan, but I seriously question his judgment on BBQ if Dickey's is what passes for good, much less excellent, lol.
     
  30. SoCal 182 Driver

    SoCal 182 Driver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ...and so it begins.
     
  31. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I had a nice relaxing time with my friend Dave and his wife, Eve. On the way to the airport this morning, I told them my batteries were recharged to about 90%. Another night and they would’ve been 100%. However, 90% isn’t bad considering they’d been at about 60% the day I arrived.

    Dave had watched the YouTube video where I introduced the Luscombe after buying it and discussed the various updates I wanted to make to it. He seemed to know as much about my plane as I did. He watched as I prepped the plane, set up cameras, and put my things in it. I showed him my hand held radio, showed him how I used it to double check that I hadn’t tripped the ELT while loading or unloading (easy to do!), and explained how I would use it in case the primary radio failed in flight. I also explained how I would switch over to my cell phone as a backup in case the iPad failed. None of these events would be likely, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

    I took off runway 2-2 just before the sun came up over the Sacramento Mountains, flew south briefly, then turned west and called Holloman AFB tower. I told them I’d like to head west and fly north just east of the restricted area (R-5107D), and he cleared me to transit his class-Delta airspace. I’d introduced myself as “Luscombe 1-8-1-3-KILO” and he inquired as to the type. I told him it was a LIMA-8. He asked if it was a taildragger, and I told him it was, and that’d I’d bought it in the fall and gotten my private pilot certificate in it. I explained that it was just about the same as a Cessna 120. He then invited me to enter the restricted airspace and fly west of and parallel to runway 3-4 near the tower. I verified that I’d heard right and I had.

    As I was nearing the tower, I was transmitting on the radio when my voice went silent. I keyed the mic button again, but nothing. I looked down and the radio and Stratus ADBS were dead. I grabbed my Icom and tuned it to Holloman tower’s frequency. I told them my radio died. He said something, but I couldn’t hear it, as I’d removed my headset and the plane is loud without a headset and modern noise cancellation technology. I turned up the volume, asked him to repeat what he’d said and held the radio against my ear. He said I was coming in loud and clear, so maybe it was just my receive that had failed. I told him that the panel mounted radio and ADSB were dead, and that I was using my handheld. He cleared me to change frequencies. I switched back to 122.8 and announced I was on an extended right base for runway 2-2 at Alamogordo. I knew it was pretty dead at this early hour, so I didn’t worry about anyone responding. Long story short, I was able to determine pretty easily that a fuse had blown. I replaced it with one from the glove box and was back in business.

    My friend Dave and Eve had left the airport and gone home by then. I called Dave from the air and told him all that had happened. He said he’d seen me heading back to the airport, but didn’t know why. I told him I’d flown into restricted airspace and over the runway at Holloman AFB and he thought that was pretty cool, even though he goes to work there every day. I asked him to vector me over his house and he very succinctly and precisely did so. I orbited his house, aiming my wingtip camera at him. We both got a kick out of that. We said our goodbyes—again—and I headed up the mountains. About halfway up, I added a 360 to gain altitude and then, as I was nearing Cloudcroft, I did one more.

    Next point of interest? Guadalupe Peak. I approached it at 9,500 and was planning on circling it counter-clockwise, then, if I felt good about it, again clockwise. On the first pass, I ran into some pretty serious downdrafts going up the valley, but I had plenty of altitude, so I went ahead and descended as I came back over the ridgeline in the other direction. I dropped down the valley at about 2,000 feet per minute. The air was pretty smooth, however, so I quite enjoyed it. Very rugged and beautiful.

    I did a mental review of my remaining distance and fuel remaining and determined I was in good shape. Next stop was Jal, the southeastern-most town in New Mexico. When my sister and I were kids, my dad had landed there with the family when we ran into bad weather. That’s not why I landed there, but that added to the interest. It was dead. There was a nice, air-conditioned pilot’s lounge and I used the bathroom and relaxed for a few minutes. I also called my sister and chatted for a bit. Besides a wind sock, there was a fascinating wind indicator. It had a big rudder and was made of corrugated metal and galvanized electrical conduit and fittings. It moved very smoothly and easily with light winds and small changes in wind direction. There was also an oil well just off the end of the runway. Of course, the Permian Basin is in this neck of the woods, so there are oil wells everywhere. It was fascinating to see the infrastructure scattered in every direction for miles and miles.

    Last stop, Pecos. There were a few planes coming and going, but I flew over the field above pattern altitude, took a look at the windsock, and picked a runway, and by then, I was the only guy around. The wind had been variable, but was favoring runway 9 at the time, so that’s the one I used. The last few planes had used 1-4.

    I taxied up to the self-serve pump, and introduced myself to a guy fueling a truck nearby. Ace, an excessively polite guy, was the brand new airport manager. His dad had 40,000 hours flying bush planes and crop dusters, and their family had lived all over the U.S. as part of his dad’s flying career. Although Ace wasn’t a pilot, he’d been around planes his whole life, so managing an airport was a natural career move. He probably couldn’t have said “yessir” more if he’d tried. He gave me a very nice courtesy car, a Chevy Tahoe. I asked what time he came in to the airport and he said around 8:00. I asked him if I could leave the keys somewhere, as I wanted to get an early start tomorrow. He asked how early and said he’d be there. I said that wasn’t necessary as I could just drop the keys, but he insisted it was about good service. I don’t think there exists a more courteous, polite human being. I actually prefer someone who’s not quite so nice, as it puts too much pressure on me to be nice, but what’re you gonna do?

    Tomorrow? Pecos -> Castroville -> San Marcos.

    Holloman AFB (Restricted Airspace)
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    Holloman AFB (Restricted Airspace)
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    Cloudcrest
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    Jal (E26)
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    Jal (E26)
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    Jal (E26)
    Jal3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  32. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Guadalupe Mountains/Guadalupe Peak

    Guadalupe 7.jpg

    Guadalupe1.jpg

    Guadalupe2.jpg

    Guadalupe3.jpg

    Guadalupe5.jpg

    Guadalupe6.jpg
     
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  33. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I'm very unsophisticated when it comes to food and couldn't care less about the declarations of food snobs, although I'm certainly open to suggestions of new places to try out.
     
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  34. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Lol, I'm just ribbing you a bit. Dickey's is to BBQ what Wendy's is to hamburgers. It's not the worst choice for BBQ but it's nothing to write home about.
     
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  35. Bender Aviation

    Bender Aviation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nice pictures!
     
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  36. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    I am from Texas and I encourage everyone to enjoy some barbecue, whether it's good or bad. I know where the really good places are and I even had some outstanding Q in Maryland!

    Life is full of surprises. Any day that includes barbecue is better than one without, IMJO.
     
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  37. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
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    2,135
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    Copperas Cove, Texas
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    Display name:
    LNXGUY
    Oh, somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 hours total time. I don't keep track any more...
     
  38. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
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    456
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    Display name:
    Jay Williams
    I figured. It doesn't really make sense to compare your having 0 hours in a plane and 10,000 total time with my having 38 total flying time.
     
  39. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,189
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
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    Display name:
    danhagan
    They were just picked, that girl isn't a farmer. Usually will have people selling them out of trucks off the side of the road...

    No sweat about the BBQ Jay ... if you came to El Paso, there'd be the same warfare regarding which Mexican restaurant is the best ... I've head people plug some that I thought were complete donkey dung, but I don't respond;)
     
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  40. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2017
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    336
    Location:
    Longview, TX
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    Display name:
    sshore
    Great pictures. Guadalupe Peak at 8,750' is the highest point in Texas. Beautiful area.

    Jal, NM - wow, I have been there. I won't say anything about it. There may be some Jal locals on the board.

    Also - for a chain, Dickey's is not bad BBQ. Now, when you are in San Marcus you will be in the middle of some of the BEST BBQ in the world, so find a local to guide you. Don't leave the area without sampling some. But I have definitively had a few meals at a Dickey's and it is not bad at all.
     
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