Second Trip to Bakersfield

My sister, who lives in New Orleans, LA, came over to Bakersfield for a visit with our parents, so we decided to go see her. We wanted to fly, since it would be a lot shorter flight than drive. Plus gas prices have been jacked up artifically high, just like they are every Labor Day. But hey, they won't get away with it, right? :-|

Anyway, editorial comments aside, the flight is a lot quicker than the drive. So we got ready to fly down Friday night, since I had just gotten current at night again. But it turned out Chase, our son, had a birthday party to go to on Saturday, so we decided to leave right after he was done. So it was about 3:00 on Saturday when we took off from Rancho Murieta in the Warrior.

The flight down was pretty nice. We got to 5500 feet, and it was kind of hazy and dirty, so we went on up to 7500 feet to get over it. That made it a pretty nice flight. But slow, it took us 2.6 hours to get to Meadows Field in Bakersfield, when I was expecting just over 2 based on my last flight in a 172. But it was hot, and we had three people, not just two, so that all factored in. Didn't matter, it was nice.

Then on Sunday we left at a little after 1:00 pm. Nice and toasty in Bakersfield, we couldn't wait to get the plane moving and up in the cooler air. We took off, and climbed up to 6500 feet. That was fine, though it took forever to get there (again, due to heat and weight). Around Fresno, though, it started getting kind of bumpy, so we climbed on up to 8500 feet. It was ok there.

Then I did something I've always wanted to do but never have, I called Flight Watch, which is a group that monitors weather and flying conditions all over the US. I gave them a PIREP (pilot report), there was slight turbulance at 6500 feet about 15 miles west of Fresno. Which is probably no big shock at 2:00 in the afternoon, but mostly I wanted the experience of calling Flight Watch. Now I'll be more comfortable doing it if I ever NEED their services for something.

We got back to around Rancho Seco without incident, and descended to about 2000 feet. THEN it got bumpy. But around Rancho Murieta is a lot of low hills, and since it was hot, it was bumpy. We made it back to Rancho Murieta and I did a mediocre ok landing, and went around to do one more, so I'd have three landings and be current for another 2 months. So I went around and made a really crappy landing and we called it a day. :-)

The trip back only took 2.2 hours, so we either had more of a head wind going down than I thought, or more of a tail wind coming back. But I got another 4.8 hours of cross-country time in my log book!

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