|Major Trips in N25485|
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Bringing It Home
After closing the deal to buy the airplane, it took a month or two for schedules to work out for a few familiarization flights with the former owner. After these flights I flew the plane home to Renton in September. To get to Santa Paula, where 485 was formerly located, I hopped a ride in my friend Mike Anguilo's C-182, who was going to California to watch a friend drive in a race at Laguna Seca. After the race we pushed on southward and spent the night in Oxnard.
A word of warning - make reservations in advance for hotels near the Oxnard airport. After landing we were calling every hotel in town to find a room. We finally got the last room available at the Radisson. Unfortunately the entire hotel was rudely awakened and turned out into the parking lot at 4 am by the fire alarm, apparently pulled by drunken revelers from a wedding party.
After cabbing out to Santa Paula, making one more dual flight with the former owner, and packing up all the spare parts, I launched northbound. GIven a new airplane and midday turbulence, I was looking for about a two hour flight. Merced was in the right general vicinity, and since it is also the home of an antique airplane fly-in I wanted to check it out. Upon arrival the wind was a little stronger than I expected, but one go-around later due to a large bounce everything was safely on the ground.
The final flight of the day was from Merced to Redding. Redding is a nice place to stop for the day when going northbound because it is located just before the mountains, isn't very busy, and has good FBO service, and has Horizon Airlines commercial service in case the weather caves in. I had called ahead to Redding Tower because 485's built-in radio wasn't working, and my handheld radio was being overpowered by engine ignition noise and static. The tower staff was quite accommodating, and the landing was uneventful.
After tying down and getting gas, I went inside to get a hotel room. While waiting for the van to arrive, I notice these two people walking around my airplane and looking excited. They walk a little closer to the FBO and it turns out to be Mike Angiulo, also on his way northbound. Of course he got to Redding in one stop and considerably faster than I did. We shared a van to the hotel, and the driver for La Quinta Inn was relaxed enough to stop and wait for us at the new In-n-Out Burger recently opened in Redding. What service!
Next day was also severe-clear weather. I had arranged to meet with a friend who was visiting Hood River, Oregon, so went to Hood River in one hop from Redding. Long range tanks come in handy. This was an easy flight with little turbulence since I got off early. At Hood River, though, the wind was already kicking up. Hood River is known for its wind, and in retrospect this was a dumb place to land in a new unfamiliar taildragger. My landing was seriously not pretty. The line gal at the gas pumps commiserated with the comment "don't worry, everybody has bad landings here."
Hood River has a good FBO and a loaner airport car for jaunts into town. If you want any kind of wind surfing gear and apparel this is your place. Be careful to feed the meters, though - the meter maids in downtown were very fast on the draw.
The takeoff wasn't pretty either, and it was slow going through the gorge bucking a headwind until the Vancouver area. The Chehalis area was clear, though, and it was an easy remaining flight northward to Renton.