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  #1  
Old 05-27-2018, 09:20 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Caribbean Adventure!

So, I had a friend who recently started flying helicopters/seaplanes on St Thomas in the U.S. VI's. He was joking around one day and said, "you should fly the -7 down!". I had been itching for a change of scenery. So, I decided to call his bluff and was like, "alright!". The next day I had the customs sticker on it's way in the mail.

While I was building the -7, I read the book 'Vegabonding' by Rolf Potts. It planted the idea that I'd like to do an extended, similar "vagabonding" style trip with the airplane once it was done. I'm in the fortunate position to be able to work from anywhere I have an internet connection. So, no excuses. This was a perfect opportunity.

The plan was to load up some backpacking gear and crash on friend's couches as much as possible.

Here's the story mostly in pictures...

All packed up. The little -7 can carry quite a bit. That's food/clothes/laptop/camping gear for the next couple months.



Taking off out of Boise I heard something rattling near the fwd left firewall. Thought about it for a second and flipped her around and landed to check it out. It ended up some tape that I had put on the inside of the upper intersection fairing to keep it from rubbing against the fues and come lose. Quick re-attach and we're on our way.

Here's crossing the mountains near SLC. That's Park City off my right wing.



Ended up staying in Grand Junction on night 1. I was going to try to make it to Telluride or Durango, but I ran out of daylight due to the late start. The FBO at Grand Junction is awesome, btw. Highly recommend them for an overnight if you're passing through.



Took off out of KGJT the next morning without a destination (I know, I know, downgrade me for planning). It was either going to be AR or TX depending on which friends got back to me first. Got the text over OK. San Marcos here we come!

Crossing the CO Rockies (non-issue from GJT heading SW).





The boring part of the country...



Heading into TX... (Austin area)



Stayed in San Marcos overnight. Gave my friend and his wife a ride in the -7 the next day. Ended up tying one on with them. So, stayed an extra day.

Last edited by Chattin35 : 05-27-2018 at 02:03 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2018, 09:21 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default On to FL!

Once again, the weather across the SE was awesome. So, I took off out of San Marcos with no plan.

The Mississippi River delta.



Flying across what is affectionately known as the Redneck Riviera.





Joining the 200kt club.





Decided to stop in Cedar Key for the night.





Camping out in Cedar Key...



Oops... Just a reminder that towing a plane, rebuilding an engine, dealing with insurance, the FAA, possibly losing your license, etc, is way more of an inconvenience than going around.



On to more happy pictures...

Next day was a short hop to Miami Homestead to camp out again and make sure all the docs, etc, were squared away for the ocean crossing.

Crossing the everglades.



Miami Homestead is an awesome place to stop, btw. Cheap fuel and the guys who run the FBO are incredibly warm and welcoming. True Southern Hospitality.

Next up, leaving the USA...
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  #3  
Old 05-27-2018, 09:31 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Bahamas!

Seeya!



I sure hope there's an island out there!



Land ho!


Last edited by Chattin35 : 05-27-2018 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Typos and sh*t
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  #4  
Old 05-27-2018, 09:47 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Dominican Republic

I spent the night in Exuma in the Bahamas. Pretty expensive place to stop. Actually had to get a hotel. Lame! But, the gal's were super friendly and helpful.

The customs guys were pretty funny too. They started acting all serious like I was in trouble, then looked over at his buddy and they both started laughing. We're just messing with you mahn! Enjoy the Bahamas. Lol.



The RV is an instant conversation starter. Made friends with a couple of the other pilots and ground crew guys.

A couple times Miami Center and/or another pilot would ask over the radio "What kind of experimental?". "It's an RV-7." "Nice!"

On to the Dominican Republic! Getting into more unknown territory. Followed the chain of islands down to Turks and Caicos and hopped across the pond from there.

Leaving Exuma.



Jumping the pond.



I can almost glide from here (not really).



Puerto Plata for a fuel stop and to clear customs. Nobody spoke English. So, I had to dust off the rusty Spanish (8 years since I'd spoken it). Got some funny looks. But, it started coming back to me.



Got gassed up and on to Punta Cana. Here's leaving Puerto Plata.



Flying over the D.R.



On the ground in Punta Cana.

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  #5  
Old 05-27-2018, 09:55 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Punta Cana

Pretty sweet open air FBO.



The security guys were kind of confused. I guess I didn't look like the normal pilot they're used to seeing, haha. A couple of them came out to check out the plane. The mood was pretty tense until I told them "Hecho en mi garaje". "!?Que!?" Then, it was all laughing and joking after that.

Leaving Punta Cana a couple days later (which is a pretty wild and fun place, btw).


Last edited by Chattin35 : 05-27-2018 at 11:27 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:01 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Puerto Rico and St Thomas

Crossing another mini-pond towards Puerto Rico.



West Coast of Puerto Rico.



Overflying the north side of PR.



Decided to skip Puerto Rico and fly straight on to St Thomas.

Approach into St Thomas.



Made it!



This was my office for the next couple weeks/months. Don't be jelly.

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  #7  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:11 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default On Island

These little RV's are such great airplanes it's hard to put it into words. The longest leg on the trip was 750 miles non-stop from Grand Junction to San Marcos. I have much more to say about the RV (glowing appreciate for the design). But, I'll leave that for another thread.

I had a blast on island. Having the RV down there was a novelty. I gave just about everyone I met from friends of my friend, boat captains, mechanics on the field, to guys at the FBO a ride. Prob about 14 people in all.

I love sharing the RV with people because it's a type of flying that you just don't get to experience any other way. I can show them what it feels like to pull G's and not be limited by which direction the ground is in the wind screen. Plus, seeing their reactions re-lights the joy of flying for me. One of the reasons I built this plane was to share the experience with as many people as possible.

Anyway, here are some pics of flying around the various islands.



Rincon, Puerto Rico



3 ship to Anegada.



More formation flying.



Formation flying with friends over Puerto Rico.



Culebra



Looping over the BVI's. The grins are real.



Over Puerto Rico.



Approach into San Juan.


Last edited by Chattin35 : 05-27-2018 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Added more pics.
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:40 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Journey Home

Fast forward 2.5 months and it's time to leave. Bummer.

All packed up.



Rainbows over Puerto Rico.



Over San Juan. ATC asked if I was a canard type experimental. Must be getting some good ground speeds .



Stopped for fuel in Puerto Plata.



Haiti off in the distance.



Had to dodge some weather over the Bahamas which put me out over the ocean way longer than I would have liked in a single engine plane. But, the trusty Lycoming was purring away.



Here's arriving back into Exuma in the Bahamas. Fuel stop #2 of the day.



Leaving the Bahamas. This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.



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  #9  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:47 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Back to the USA

Flying into Exuma.



Here's crossing the ADIZ.



Stopped in Key West to clear customs.



Then, flew up the causeway to Miami Homestead to camp for the night.



End of a long day. Slept well that night. Until it unexpectedly rained on me and I had to grab the rain flap out of the plane, haha!



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  #10  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:59 AM
Chattin35 Chattin35 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 227
Default Daytona Beach and Westbound

Gator country down there!



What's up NASA! Was going to try to catch the SpaceX launch from the air, but they delayed at T-minus 1 min.



Stayed with a friend near Daytona Beach. Sketchy WX on the approach, but we made it.



Much better the next morning.



Stopped in LA for some gas where I got some gouge about a hotel built from an old hangar right on the airport in Fredericksburg, TX. Perfect spot to spend the night. Although hotels are lame, I made an exception.

Sorry forgot to take pics.

Next day, headed west. Here's the Laughlin MOAs. That's where I learned to fly. Great memories.



What's up Mexico!



Crashed for the night with a buddy in Las Cruces.
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