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Road trip part 2 - Santa Monica to Calgary

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Road trip part 2 - Santa Monica to Calgary

Old 10th Oct 2015, 13:40
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Road trip part 2 - Santa Monica to Calgary

What seems like eons ago but is only five weeks, I arrived in Santa Monica after a ten day road trip wandering over large parts of Utah, Arizona and California. Details here:
http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/566357-road-trip-calgary-santa-monica-2.html

The plan was to spend a couple of weeks in Santa Monica, visiting my daughter and playing with my granddaughter, before taking a leisurely drive up the west coast, seeing the sights and visiting friends in Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, Whitefish and Lethbridge, before returning home.

However, "best laid plans" and all that. I had a call from a colleague asking me to go to Saigon and help him out on a project. So I've just returned, terminally jet-lagged,from a three-week trip to Vietnam. I had been in touch with Jon, my old school friend and TAP, in Edmonds WA. He told me that he was going on vacation on the 13th, so I changed my plans. I decided to take a straight run up I-5 to McMinnville, where we would meet and go to the Evergreen Museum. Then if the weather was good, we would go to Mt. St. Helens and then on up to Edmonds.

I returned from Saigon on Wednesday night, one day later than originally planned, so my schedule was compressed. On Thursday, I had the brakes serviced on my car and spent some more time with my granddaughter. I planned to leave on Friday morning, take a couple of short "photo detours", before heading up I-5. According to Google maps, it's a 945 mile, 14 hour trip, so my plan was to stop overnight in Redding (just a mere jaunt at 545 miles) and then leave early on Saturday morning, to meet Jon at "a big pile of spruce".

Before I give the blow by blow account, I need to describe some of the interesting stuff I saw in and around Los Angeles. So bear with me, while I start "Photobucketing".
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Old 10th Oct 2015, 16:33
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The Englishman and the Scotsman - again

Back in March, I met piperboy84 in Santa Monica and we went for a jaunt around the Los Angeles Basin in a 172:

http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...-glens-la.html

This time our paths crossed again and he took me for a flight in his lovely M4:




We decided to go to Camarillo for lunch. So a westerly departure from SMO and a climb out over Santa Monica pier:



and a cruise along the coast, past expensive Malibu beach houses and then Malibu Colony:




before passing through Pt. Mugu NAS's zone (staying high because of an active small-arms range) and then descending towards Camarillo:


Taxying in, we passed the Camarillo CAF's hangar:




and then past this oddity, which I knew I had seen before, but couldn't place:


After a bit of research, I discovered it is the one and only 1984 Avtek 400. It looks like it hasn't been moved for a long time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avtek_400A

After lunch at the lovely Waypoint Cafe (no bacon sarnies here):


we walked back onto the ramp, admired the other aircraft, including these two immaculate Nanchangs:





and then departed. While taxying out, we heard ATC gave some avoidance instructions to a just-landed aircraft:

Ground: Cessna 1234, taxi behind the yellow Cub.
Cessna 1234: Taxi behind the, er, little yellow plane
Of course, what do you expect if you are flying a bright-yellow taildragger!

On the way back, we stayed inland and flew up the Simi Valley and over the Santa Susanna Pass into the San Fernando Valley. On the way, pb84 pointed out the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the rather incongruous F-14 in the grounds.

Last edited by India Four Two; 24th Feb 2022 at 10:27. Reason: Removed Photobucket logos
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Old 10th Oct 2015, 16:34
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The Englishman and the Scotsman - again (Part 2)

The San Fernando Valley is notorious for being much hotter than the coast and as we crossed over the pass, there was a sudden jolt and a very rapid rise in OAT. The cockpit became noticeably hot.

pb84 called up Van Nuys and we made a landing and take off there, just for fun. No PPR, no fuss, no landing fees - just do it.

While taxying back to the threshold, besides the usual boring biz-jets, we saw two CL 415s and a couple of Skycranes:




plus some oddly painted T-6s with Luftwaffe markings:


Did I mention it is hot in The Valley? It was over 40C on the ground at Van Nuys.


From VNY to SMO, the VFR route follows I-405 through the Sepulveda Pass and past the Getty Museum:


Shortly after this flight, pb84 had his inadvertent, night IMC experience at the same location:
http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...l-day-2-a.html

I like to think that if I had been doing the flying, I wouldn't have flown straight into the cloud. My SOP would be: "pb84, stop messing about with your maps. You have control!"

It was early afternoon as we arrived back, so there was just the normal, light freeway traffic :


That was my first flight in a Maule. A delightful aircraft and so much more sociable than a tandem taildragger, although the shoulder room is a bit lacking for big lads like us! Thanks again, pb84, for a great flight.

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Old 10th Oct 2015, 19:26
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I saw a Vee Twin in Los Angeles

A Vee Twin? Not very unusual in Los Angeles, I hear you say. However, this was not a Harley. This was an 8.5 litre Vee Twin. Read on.
I always tell people, if you have only one day in Los Angeles, make it a train day. The fun starts with brunch at Carney’s in Studio City, a hot dog stand in a converted railroad dining car. Next stop, Travel Town, an outdoor museum featuring 43 railroad engines, cars and other rolling stock from the 1880s to the 1930s. Finally, we’re off to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for dinner at, that’s right, the Hollywood Carney’s, a hot dog stand in a different converted railroad dining car.
Sheldon Cooper - Big Bang Theory (Series 4 Episode 6)
Well, how could I resist? I didn't have time for brunch, so I went straight to Travel Town. It was a Friday, so not busy, but it also meant that the narrow-gauge steam trains were not running. A lot of very interesting locomotives and rolling stock. None of the full-size locos are live and never will be, but worth a visit.








And here's the Vee Twin - a Shay forestry locomotive:


I had never heard of it before. The cranks drive three prop shafts through reduction gears. The prop shafts are connected via bevel gears to the three trucks. The advantage is that the gearing allows the pistons to operate at a higher, more efficient RPM while the loco is moving slowly. The short wheelbase of the trucks allows operation on tight curves.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shay_locomotive

Geared Locomotives For Log Roads

I then went to the Hollywood Carney's for a late lunch:




I was served by the grandson of the original owner. He told me that they often get customers following Sheldon's advice!

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Old 10th Oct 2015, 20:14
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Fantastic! Keep it coming!

The Avtek was sat in what looks like the same spot when I visited Camarillo in 1999 - it seems to have acquired some greenery since then.

Interesting airfield with the CAF contingent, plus two Connies there in '99 both flew out eventually, one is the well-known Breitling aeroplane in Europe, the other is now at Chino.
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Old 10th Oct 2015, 21:55
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Yer, wot he said! You have a casual talent there mr 42, more please!


SHJ
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 08:32
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India Four Two,
here you go again racking up the envy index ! Many thanks for the latest pics and keep them coming.
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Old 12th Oct 2015, 21:13
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Enjoyable reading and the Shay engine info answered a few questions.
There is one on display at the entrance of the BC Forest Museum on Vancouver Island just north of Duncan. I believe they have a couple more elsewhere. A fascinating design along with the diesel "Steam Donkey" they have set up.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 00:04
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Chino - planes, planes and more planes!

Thanks for the compliments, chaps. I'm a few days behind and I need to do some catching up!

Chino - the short version. If you are ever in Los Angeles and have a day to spare, rent a car and go to Chino! Two world-class museums almost side-by-side with over three hundred aircraft - Planes of Fame and Yanks Air Museum.

Chino - the longer version. I drove from Santa Monica to Chino - 60 miles and about one hour, if you avoid the rush hour. I went to Planes of Fame first. As I drove in, I noticed flags at half-mast. Then I realized it was Sept. 11 - being on holiday, I hadn't been paying attention to dates.

There are 147 aircraft listed on their web page - I'll post pictures of the ones that most appealed to me.

Boeing P-26A


Seversky AT-12


Heinkel He-100D replica


RAF nostalgia


Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden (Jack)


An airworthy 1/3 scale test aircraft for the Northrop XB-34


Bell YP-59A Airacomet - the first US jet, being restored to airworthiness


B-50 Lucky Lady II forward fuselage - I saw the aft fuselage at Valle.

This aircraft made a non-stop round the world flight in 1949. The museum plans an airworthy restoration by reuniting the fuselage halves and mating them with the wings of a KC-97

Anyone need some Gnat spares?


After leaving Planes of Fame, I had lunch at Flo's Airport Cafe and then went to Yanks Air Museum

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Old 13th Oct 2015, 00:27
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Chino - yet more planes

Yanks Air Museum - they have more than 130 aircraft. Like Planes of Fame, it's hard to do it justice in a short post - you have to go there.

Ryan B-1 Brougham


Kellet KD-1A Autogyro


Here's one example from a room full of biplanes, most of which I had never seen before and some I had never even heard of! I chose the NAF N3N-3 Yellow Peril, because I like floatplanes.


Curtis O-52 Owl



McCulloch HUM-1, the first certified twin-rotor helicopter


Model 11 Ohka


Grumman Widgeon


The Widgeon's big brother - the Grumman Albatross


Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer


A Bell SK-5 (SR.N5)

Built under licence by Bell, the main changes consisted of substituting a GE LM-100 turbine for the Gnome and changing all the fasteners to American ones. I'm not sure if this is a PACV (Navy) or ACV (Army). Correction: it appears to be a PACV. I have a personal interest in hovercraft, because my dad used to work for Hovertravel in Ryde.
PACV / ACV (Pac-Vee / Monster) - Air Cushioned Patrol Boat / Hovercraft - History, Specs and Pictures - Navy Ships



Warning - thread drift.
On the way home, I made a detour to Jurassic Garden near Chatsworth (Visit the Jurassic Garden -- A&A Cycads Nursery) to have a look at their Cycads. Being a geologist, I've always had an interest in "living fossils". Don't laugh, lots of people have weird hobbies - some people I know like steam locomotives and old aeroplanes.

I met the owner, a really interesting fellow, who showed me around. As I suspected, he knew the late Dr. Oliver Sacks, who, besides his many other interests, was also a cycad expert.

All of this is a preamble to a comment he made just before I left. He told me that his nursery was on part of what used to be the Iverson movie ranch and that the rock behind his office was the "Lone Ranger rock".



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Old 14th Oct 2015, 07:57
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Day 1 Leaving LA - "On the road again"

And I can't wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again

Willie Nelson
So the plan was to leave Santa Monica on Friday morning, take a couple of photos and then drive north on I-5 to Redding, overnight there and then get up early on Saturday and drive to McMinnville to meet my friend, Jon, at the Evergreen Museum.

However, my jet lag intervened and I was awake at 2 am. After tossing and turning for a while, I decided I might as well make an early start. So after packing the car and visiting a 24 hour supermarket for some snacks, I was on the road by 3:30 am.

I had planned to go to the "missile park" at Pt. Mugu NAS and the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain, west of Bakersfield, but since it was dark, there was no point. So here are a couple of images from the web:




The aerial picture is probably better than any picture I could have taken on the ground. I've been there before and stood astride the fault, which is a bizarre feeling, since in a big earthquake, one side can move horizontally by several metres, relative to the other side!

The I-5 passes through the San Fernando Valley, before climbing to the Tejon pass and then descending into the Central Valley. This is a unique topographic feature, about 500 miles long and very flat and fertile. I've driven the southern half before and it is very boring - an essentially straight and flat four-lane divided highway, with fields on either side. What surprised me was the amount of traffic at this early hour - headlights and taillights as far as I could see.

I reached the San Francisco turn-off at about sunrise and started on what was for me, new countryside. Still agricultural, but with more variety and some towns and cities.

I was driving through Stockton, when I had to do a double-take. I saw two, large ocean-going freighters moored at a wharf in the river, 80 miles inland! It turns out that there is a dredged-channel through the San Joaquin delta, to allow access to this significant inland port:


Later I drove through Sacramento, the state capital and saw my first aircraft of the day - a CRJ departing the airport.

After 545 miles,I reached Redding, my erstwhile overnight stop, at 11:30am. So I had a late breakfast and decided to carry on to McMinnville. Just north of Redding, the road climbs into the hills and passes Mt. Shasta, the southernmost Cascade volcano (14,179'):


A cap cloud developed while I watched, indicative of a strong westerly flow aloft. This presaged the cold front that came through McMinnville the next day.

North of Mt. Shasta is the oddly named town of Weed, where I saw a Twin Otter and a retired Tracker water-bomber and then drove into Oregon, where there was some lovely rugged scenery, reminiscent of Scotland. I passed a sign for Umpqua Community College, which made me reflect on the recent shooting tragedy.

I eventually reached Salem, where I turned off I-5 and headed towards McMinnville. Unfortunately, by this time it was dark, Google Maps was not working and the roads were badly sign-posted. I got lost and ended up driving for an extra 20 miles or so. As a consequence of this, I came very close to clocking up 1000 miles - about 980 miles. This was an all-time one-day record for me and one that I don't intend to break in the future.

PS I was surprised at how relatively fresh I felt after that marathon effort. After making allowances for my stops, I calculated an average speed of about 70 mph!

A couple of days later, I saw this very impressive hill-shaded topo map which shows the unique nature of the Central Valley:

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Old 15th Oct 2015, 04:16
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Day 2 - The Spruce Goose

My friend Jon drove down from Seattle, hampered by heavy rain from the front that was passing through. Not much rain in McMinnville, but low cloud and strong winds. He arrived about noon, after a 230 mile trip.

We went to the Evergreen Museum to see the star attraction. I knew it was big, but the reality is overwhelming:








Auster AOP6


Curtiss Falcon


Bell HTL-3


Hiller YROE-1 - a minimalist helicopter:



Unfortunately the museum is in dire straits, so I'm glad I was able to go there:
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum | Wings & Waves Waterpark | McMinnville Oregon

We then left McMinnville and drove 100 miles north to overnight at Castle Rock, before driving up to Mt. St. Helens.

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Old 15th Oct 2015, 04:33
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Day 3 - Mt. St. Helens

We awoke in Castle Rock to find thick fog, but as we climbed eastwards out of the valley, we broke out of the fog into blue skies and sunshine. After a 50 mile drive, we reached the Visitor Center at Johnston Ridge, named after Daniel A. Johnston, a USGS geologist, who was camped here when the mountain exploded on 18 May 1980. His body was never found.

This photo shows the assymetric crater from the explosion and the new lava dome, steaming slightly. The mountain lost over 1200' in height. The energy of the initial blast was estimated at 24 megatons.


The frontal passage from the day before had left a colder airmass in the valley to the east (left) and a slight east wind was pushing the clouds over the ridge, where they subsided and evaporated in the warmer airmass in the Toutle River valley in front of us.

We then drove to Jon's home in Edmonds, just north of Seattle.

I've been using my SPOT Tracker again. You can see my route here, if interested: http://tinyurl.com/p6ffdzl
It's currently on page 10. The earlier pages can be accessed at the bottom left of the page.

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Old 15th Oct 2015, 08:39
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India Four Two,
I have been following your complete journey on my old USA atlas. Must try the electronic method.
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 16:16
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aa62,

There is a drawback to the electronic method. The earlier part of my journey has disappeared. I must find out if it is archived somewhere.
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 20:59
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Thanks for post this journey as it brings back many fond memories.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 07:04
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Day 4

Day 1 was my longest trip ever. Day 4 was a short one.

After a very pleasant evening with Jon and Lindsay in Edmonds, with a nice dinner and way too much red wine, I left them to next day to get on with the packing for their holiday and headed to Paine Field to visit the museums. I didn't bother with the Boeing factory tour, as I had done that before.

So I arrived there and discovered that the museums were shut on Monday. My initial reaction was to continue my trip, but then I thought "I'm on holiday - why not stay the night?" Peering through the window at Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection, just confirmed my decision:


This wasn't a deliberate attempt at an artistic shot - I just forgot the autofocus!

So I spent the night in Everett at a Holiday Inn Express - do I feel smarter? I'm not sure!

Total distance for the day - about 20 miles!
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 07:47
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Day 5 - Paine Field, Flying Heritage Collection

I arrived at FHC just after their 10am opening time and discovered that I had been pipped at the post by three German enthusiasts. However, given the amount of German hardware, it was an obvious choice for them. Going from memory, there is a 109, two 190s, a Komet, V-1, V-2, a self-propelled anti-tank gun, an aircraft tractor and three Flak 88s!

Stepping into the first hall, it was hard to know where to look first. A P-51D on my right, a Zero on my left and a B-25 straight ahead! Also, straight ahead was a group of docents, just starting their shift. After chatting with them for a while, one of them asked if I would like a guided tour. He was extremely knowledgeable and I learnt a lot more about the collection than I would have going round on my own. Thanks, Jon.

The exhibits are immaculate - probably better than they were when they left their factories. Drip trays under most of them, which is always a good sign in an aircraft museum. I was surprised to learn that FHC only does maintenance. All restoration work is farmed out to specialists all over the world. A couple of years ago in Ardmore, I saw the fuselage of FHC's future Mosquito.

Here's my selection.

Polikarpov I-16:


Next to it, another Polikarpov - the PO-2:


Bf-109 E3 - an "Emil":


Messerschmitt 163B Komet:


This one does NOT fly. I wonder why?

An Fw 190 D-13 - a "Dora":




Definitely worth two photos - my favourite in the whole museum. The only one flying in the world. I want to go back and see her flying.

An Fw 190 A5:




Ilyushin Li-2M3 Sturmovik:



Again, the only one flying in the world. Much bigger than I expected. Note the really heavy duty gear legs.

A nice surprise at the end of my tour - a uniform worn by James Mason as Rommel in "The Desert Fox" and a uniform worn by George C. Scott in "Patton":


http://www.flyingheritage.com/

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Old 16th Oct 2015, 08:14
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Day 5 - Paine Field, Museum of Flight - Restoration Center and Reserve Collection

This was next on my agenda. A complete contrast to FHC - a working restoration workshop, that you can wander round on your own - "if you go out onto the ramp, don't go beyond the nose of the 727."

I came here to see this - a Comet 4C being restored:












The cockpit is completely restored, the cabin is nearly done, but there is still a lot of work to do on the wings and engines.

It is an ex-Mexicana aircraft that sat derelict at Paine Field for many years and was used by the fire section for practice! I was told that when they were fixing the corroded belly skins, they had to put a wooden beam inside the cabin to prevent the aircraft breaking its back!

Twenty years of work so far!

Lots of other interesting stuff there.

Boeing SST mockup:


Bowlus Baby glider:


Prototype Lockheed Jetstar:


Pratt and Read PR-G1 two-place glider:




Boeing 247D:


Boeing Hydrofoil test craft:


I walked past this initially without realizing what it was. Boeing eventually produced this:


I had a ride on one belonging to the Indonesian Navy, when I lived in Jakarta. It had been chartered out for passenger operations!

In the lobby, there were several aero engines, including this beautifully sectioned R-4360:


28 cylinders, 71.5 litres, 3500 HP. There are eight of these engines on the Spruce Goose!

http://www.museumofflight.org/restoration

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Old 16th Oct 2015, 08:28
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Day 5 - Paine Field,

Historic Flight - my last museum visit at Paine Field. Another pristine hangar with airworthy aircraft. I showed around by a charming, very knowledgeable lady.

A two-seat GeeBee:


One of the two aircraft I have absolutely no desire to fly. The other is an ASW-12 glider.

An immaculate Waco UPF-7:


A DC-3 that I was able to go inside and sit in the cockpit:




A Mitchell that I was also able to go inside:




A Tigercat - one of my favourites:


It has a back-seat that you can ride in. $3500, but no controls! Decisions, decisions.

A very nice L-20/U-6A in an SAR colour-scheme:


A P-51B with a Malcolm hood:


I then left Everett and drove 60 miles to Bellingham to have a look at the PACV hovercraft in the Maritime Museum, only to discover it is only open on Saturdays. So I continued to the Canadian border at Blaine and then raced through Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay to catch the 7pm ferry - 66 miles. Made it in time and then waited until the ferry left half-an-hour late! Spent the night in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Historic Flight

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