Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Road Trip: Part 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I would probably soon be posting something completely un-aviation related. And this is it.
But the photos are pretty good and most readers can relate to a road trip. So thanks for reading.

My knee surgery last month was the result of a fall down some wet boarding stairs as I was helping an elderly lady off a flight in Mexico. We had parked on the ramp and no jetbridge was available so a set of portable boarding stairs was being used. It had just rained and they were wet... .I slipped and ended up at the base of the stairs with a damaged knee. She didn't fall...just me.

Because it was a work related injury, I was forced to jump through several hoops to get permission to non-rev on my airline while I'm on sick status. It was a hassle getting the associated doctors to send their letters of approval to the workers compensation people at AA but eventually it got done and I had the OK from everyone.

Why was I non-revving?.....For the road trip!

BD, my roommate/girlfriend, has family in Livermore, California. It's not too far from San Jose. There was some antique furniture at her family's home there that she needed to transport to her home in Texas. About the only way to get this stuff home to Texas was to do it ourselves with either a small cargo van or a large SUV. The professional movers wanted a small fortune for this and she didn't trust them with her antiques anyhow. So we went the way of a large SUV and planned for the long drive to Texas.

The flight from DFW to San Jose went right over Northern Arizona. The Grand Canyon was looking pretty good this day.

San Jose was
reporting some fog with low ceilings but our crew today was able to find the airport with no trouble.....They did a nice job.

We rented a fully loaded GMC Yukon for the road trip. It was very nice. At least we would be comfortable on the road.

I can't
go to California without visiting my favorite burger joint in the country. In-N-Out. Darren can attest to their goodness!! I even display their bumper sticker on my flight case at work!
After a day and a half in Livermore getting stuff ready and refueling with In-N-Out burgers, it was time to head for Texas.

We launched from Livermore at 5 AM and headed towards Arizona. The route took us down Interstate 5 through the San Joaquin valley where the thousands of trees and crops were showing off their colors.

Passing Tehachapi
pass we could see the hundreds of windmills on the hills. It's a great place for them...the wind was howling this day.

On past Barstow joining Interstate 40, the Hector (HEC) VOR went by
on our left. Then came Needles, the Colorado River and then the Arizona State line.

Dinner would come in Kingman, Arizona. After a short drive through town and a shot of the old Santa Fe locomotive in a city park, guess what we found? In-N-Out Burger!! I sure wish they would expand to the rest of this country.

After that fine meal we pressed on past Williams, Flagstaff, Winslow and finally after a day of driving, it was time to stop. Our home for the night would be in Holbrook, Arizona.

Our accommodations for the night could be a story all by itself so I'll save it for the next installment. Stay tuned.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple


mlesser said...

Haha, road trips are good, but i have done way to many in the past month driving up and down the east coast doing my instrument rating. Was well worth it and all is done now, but nearly 5000km of driving says i dont want to drive again anytime soon.. however im soon to drive 4000km to the Australian outback..

Always a good read,


(this week i have to watch the paint dry in my house while painters are here)

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Mike,

Congrats on the new rating. I wonder if the requirements are similar to the instrument rating in the states?
So what's going on in the Outback that you have to drive there? Why not fly?


mlesser said...

Choosing to drive so i can have my car once there. Not sure where i will end up and if i dont have my car might make it tricky to get around places. Most have recommended i take my car there.

The instrument rating was good fun. I didnt get ILS, or LLZ, just DGA VOR and NDB. Basically easier than VFR flying i thought except for some of the calls. The planes we used had GPS's so it made life easier. Was done in a Baron.


ProPilots said...

Len I had a ticket in seat 24D on your type of jet this morning from KEWR to KDFW. Thought about yelling for Barfbag as I entered the airplane before turning right down the isle but I figured you weren't back on the line yet so I just did the usual. I glanced in the cockpit and asked if they knew what they were doing before heading to the back. I know you guys like that from an earlier post of yours. Had the usual wait at EWR but made up some time on the way and got home just a few minutes late. All in all a good experience. Finished my book even.


Len (Barfbag) said...


24D? That's a good seat! Luckily you didn't get 33F right next to the engine.

Another thing we like is when passengers joke about a bomb on board. I had that happen one time.

What were you doing riding on the airlines? Slumming?


ProPilots said...

Yea right I was slumming it home. I couldn't understand why the flight attendant wasn't bringing me a warm cookie. I needed something to get the funny taste of the ice out of my mouth or was it the old can of diet coke. Not sure.

I definately try to stay as far away from those motors as I can. I figure if I'm around the area of the wing it will be fine. At least I had an open seat between me and the big guy next to me. The cute blonds never seem to sit next to me. Is it me?

Oh yes the fun I've got a bomb on board comment. I imagine that actually requires some action on your part.

We airlined home because the jet was going on an oversees trip later this week with another crew.

Howz the knee?


Len (Barfbag) said...


I had almost forgotten about those cookies. Now I almost want to get back to work! Not really....

The knee is almost back to normal....should be good to go next week. Thanks for asking.