Saturday, March 17, 2012

Heading West from New Mexico

Before leaving Alamagordo, I wanted to go check out the Space History museum it's quite distinctive from the air, and has lots of fascinating details inside. It also had an IMAX cinema showing 9 planets and counting. My mind was overwelmed by all the interesting facts, then I was given a tour of the theater itself. The film real system mechanism is amazing.
 From Alamagordo I headed north through a lava field and then west upto the VLA Telescope on Hiway 60. I would like to have taken a tour, but time was lacking for that. It was also getting dark and cold. I stopped for the night up on the central divide. When I woke in the morning, in my 5 sleeping bags, It had gotten down to 23'F. It had also snowed a bit ontop of black ice, which made driving my overloaded truck with the trailer ... interesting.
 Through Flagstaff and a few snowstorms later I made Vegas, suprizingly on time. I met Lisa and Kim there and we took a tour of Mt Charleston wilderness, made very pretty by a good dusting of snow. From there We traveled into Death Valley, a national park I hadn't been to before.
 The lowest place in the US at 282 feet (86m) below Mean Sea Level is covered in salt.
Up the road into "Artist Drive" area - pretty road :)
 This is where the rock turns to incredible colors.
 It just doesn't look real.

 The dunes area is something most everyone has seen or heard about. Fun to run around on.

From there we stopped in Lone pine Movie museum and saw an old 1926 western, entertaining in a cringe kind of way. Next day we headed north and found some hotsprings to relax in. The view from there was Spectacular! 

From there it was up over the Sierra mountains and back to San Francisco, where we went our separate ways. From New Mexico on it was one of the most spectacular drives I have done.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Long story short I left Texas for a few reasons, business wasn't happening fast enough, though I think it will pick up eventually, just not on a timescale that worked for me. I also missed my west coast friends and mountains too. And not wanting to jinx anything a certain female too ;)

And so it was a week ago I headed back west. About 5 hours later I ran out of gas! A strong headwind killed my range and I went 60 miles without seeing a gas station. Fortunately I just needed 61miles. Phew! One mile is so much better than Two, and even with a short walk I was picked u by a friendly Sheriff, and given a ride, what luck!

But enough of that, I was lucky enough to fly a couple of days in Alamagordo on the way through New Mexico. It has caught my eye before, but weather and schedule hadn't worked out. Lucky this time, it is February after all.
 Dry canyon is the launch name, the site and a few others are administered by Rio Grande Soaring Association. RGSA I was very lucky to get a ride up with Dave C. Thank you ! I got to fly with both him and Lee B. It had been a while for me, and I happily twirled around for two and a half hours between 5k and 9k.
The next day, I met up with Robin, the current president. The opportunity to give a local student a Tandem that had volunteered to drive came up. I couldn't not do it!
 I swapped out all my flying gear for tandem stuff. Up we went. Such a fun day! Sharing the dream of flight really is a great thing.
 Shamek got a good 10 mins at the controls, then we had a pretty long glide into a headwind to make the LZ. We made it with 20ft after 2 miles? Landing in even knee high cactus isn't fun, so I was happy to make the manicured grass field.
What a great site and club ! Thank you RGSA :)