Yes, I already reported being at 3U2 and am now home. Allow me now to back up and explain the adventure in more detail.
My buddy flying his RV-4 and I departed New Mexico at the crack of dawn on Thursday and flew mostly towards Price, UT. We overflew the ruins at Pueblo Bonita in Chaco Canyon and a few Utah backcountry strips (Mineral Canyon for one) as well as a great little detour up the Colorado River for a few miles and then past the Caveman Ranch airstrip. Zipping along the river with red vertical cliff walls all around is nothing short of amazing. The CanyonLands National Park in Utah are AWESOME! In fact, pretty much the whole leg was AWESOME! 🙂 Being an early morning flight, we were able to stay pretty low and really enjoy the landscape and scenery. Some of the photos did not turn out well due to zipping over the ground at a good RV clip.
I added 22 gallons of fuel at Price and headed north. For some reason, my plane would just not accelerate and the temps were higher than normal. For the first time ever, I saw over 400 degrees CHT (415 CHT and 195 oil). Additionally, there was a “rough” or turbulent feeling. Ran this way at least 10 mins before my flight buddy asked if I had my flaps up. Ugh…. What an idiot. Yes, I was flying with one notch of flaps still down. I raised them and the plane lept forward, smoothed out, and temps started dropping nearly immediately. Silly, silly, silly… Lesson learned. It is amazing how one or two little things that are out of the norm distract you and cause big mistakes.
The trip proceeded up the east side of the Wasatch mountains and over Heber City, UT (near Salt Lake City) at above 10,000′. Then mostly direct to Gooding, ID for another 15.2 gallons of fuel. A short flight north and we entered the Idaho backcountry via Smiley Creek. We toured several backcountry strips while generally heading towards Johnson Creek.
Arriving at Johnson Creek was a shocker. The huge pieces of granite (mountains) are SO close, the valley is more like a ravine, and there were so many airplanes in the area – six or seven in the little crack in the earth called “the valley”. My eyes were WIDE OPEN!! My approach was classic newbie – high and fast. I tried to get right down on the tree tops but that is a hard thing for the brain to accept. However; the little RV is a wonderful aircraft in spite of me – I stuck it down and the grass slowed us down with plenty of room to spare. However; all the stress caused me to forget to turn on my video camera. GRRRrrrrr….
This was a VERY enjoyable flight of some 750 nautical miles. With my flight buddy doing all the navigating and radio work, I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. The United States is an awesome place. I can’t imagine the thoughts that the early settlers had traversing this area and seeing the many awe-inspiring sights. God is most certainly an artist!