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  #1  
Old 09-17-2009, 03:39 PM
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339A 339A is offline
 
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Default Scott & Deb's EXcellent RV Adventures: Twelve Days, Eleven Nights

Twelve Days, Eleven Nights – Part 1
by Deb Mills


Vacations are as varied as the activities they revolve around. Flying, driving, boating, water sports, socializing, barbeques, restaurants, amusement parks, bunking with friends, camping, hoteling, historic landmarks, scenic tours, dancing, parties, shopping, and live entertainment are standard leisure time faves. Whether you prefer to marvel at the natural beauty of God's creation or a popular tourist attraction, time constraints and logistics usually dictate that choices be made. Will you head for the coast, the mountains, the desert, or the bedazzling glitz of a destination like Vegas? While the average American holiday doesn't typically include all of the activities listed above, our most recent RV adventure was anything but average!

With myself and Paul "Rosie" Rosales reaching the half-century milestone in September, our spouses, Scott and Victoria, set about the task of planning a 50th Birthday Bash in our honor. The details had yet to be ironed out when they began strategizing back in February, but two things were certain--the shindig would be held in a hangar at the Boulder City Airport, and the Mills & Ziliks would be RVing to the Silver State together.

Early in the party-planning stage, Rosie and Tuppergal asked if we (and the Ziliks) would like to join them on a three-day primitive camping excursion on Lake Mohave. We would fly to the Boulder City Airport on Wednesday, where the RVs would be hangared until our flight home the following Monday. Paul and Victoria would make the four-hour drive with their Suburban and boat packed full of camping and party supplies. Following a stop at the airport to meet up with us and offload all but the camping and boating necessities, they/we would then make the one-hour drive to Cottonwood Cove for the boat launch.

Scott & I had planned to take a trip to the Northwest in June. Our two-fold mission was to stick a few more pins in our 339A Airport Landings Map and make a stop in Portland, Oregon to meet fellow RV builder Bruce Swayze and his wife Jamie. Just about the time we began firming up the details, Scott learned that he needed to be in Aruba on business during that same timeframe. While two weeks on a Caribbean island would certainly not be considered a hardship (even when it's work related), it did force us to put the Northwest tour on hold.

At some point, Rosie mentioned to Scott that he planned on flying to the Van's Homecoming at the end of August. Independence, Oregon, where the homecoming is now held, is just 61 miles (as the crow flies) from where Bruce & Jaime live. Since we probably wouldn't be making the LOE fly-in this year and had never been to the Van's event, we decided to work the homecoming, a mini Northwest tour, and a visit with the Swayzes into our travel plans.

This is when we began connecting the dots that would transform a three-day weekend in/around Vegas into twelve days and eleven nights of fun, fun, fun! If we left on the 27th, we could overnight with the Swayzes in Portland. Next day, after a bit of high altitude sightseeing, we'd fly 28 miles southwest to the Aurora State Airport and tour the Van's factory. A quick 20-minute hop and we'd be at the Independence State Airport for the homecoming festivities on the 28th and 29th. With the camping trip beginning on Wednesday, we'd head straight from Independence to Rosamond Skypark on Sunday to bunk at the “Dew Drop Inn” (aka Casa de Rosales) for a few days. While in SoCal, why not spend a day riding the coasters at Six Flags, Magic Mountain? On Wednesday, we'd be off to Boulder City and then Lake Mohave. Friday morning, back to Boulder City to pick up a rental car and drive 18 miles to Henderson where we'd stay at the Residence Inn Marriott for the remainder of our time in Nevada. It was doable.

Throw in a couple more scenic aerial tours (one of which was a 13-ship operation led by Mark "Dula" Dulaney), a bit of shopping for the ladies, the birthday bash, the Vegas strip, and Blue Man Group, and you've got one whopper of a vacation! If you substitute the word trip for the word ad, and delete all references to beer, this conveys the enormity of the Mills/Zilik expedition. OK ... a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. This vacation was B I G! In fact, it was so big that it’ll take several posts just to summarize it.


Trip Journal:

Day 1/Thursday, August 27th (scroll down for subsequent posts)

It was 63 degrees on the ground when the Mills/Zilik flight departed Front Range Airport at 6:55 a.m. MDT. Our eventual destination for the day was Troutdale Airport in Portland, Oregon, with three scheduled landings in between.




Bright morning sun captured through Deb’s canopy screen shortly after takeoff.



Stop #1 - Landed at the Laramie Regional Airport. The FBO’s name/sign are appropriate to the Cowboy State. After topping off our tanks (and collecting our virtual map pin), we departed KLAR at 8:10 and headed for our next scheduled stop in Gooding, Idaho.



We flew over a lush little oasis in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming that is appropriately named Eden.



Stop #2 - Four hours after departing KFTG, we landed at Gooding Airport to collect an Idaho pin, fuel up, and eat lunch. The courtesy car was unavailable, so we took to the skies toward Nampa Municipal in search of food. As it turned out, the payoff for making an unscheduled stop was a very tasty lunch at the Runway Café.

Crossing over the Columbia River at the Dalles Bridge/Dam



Stop #4 - After landing at the picturesque Columbia Gorge Regional/Dalles Municipal Airport, we collected our Washington pin and enjoyed a cold drink at the Full Stop Café.



En route to Troutdale, we flew the Columbia River gorge at an altitude of about 1,000'. It was absolutely beautiful. Click here to see a short video clip.



At 3:17 PDT, we touched down at Troutdale where it was a toasty 98 degrees. Wheels up to wheels down for the first day of our journey came in at 9:20, with flight time at around 6:30. We had landed in four states and traveled 1,067 miles.

Changing landscapes …







Bruce Swayze picked us up, chauffeured us around a bit, and then took us to his home about 20 minutes from the airport. We sure did appreciate Bruce & Jamie’s graciousness in giving us a place to lay our heads for the night even though they already had a full house. They and their family welcomed us with open arms, fed us like kings, and treated us like royalty!

More to follow …
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Scott Mills, Front Range, CO
N339A - 1680 Hours!! since 9/11/05
Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottandDeb...tures/timeline
Airport Landings

"In order to discover new lands one must have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

"Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane" Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) in The Edge

"There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation - a state of bliss"

Last edited by 339A : 09-30-2009 at 11:59 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2009, 04:05 PM
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Default Great stuff...

...looking forward to reading more! Glad to see you guys are back safe.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2009, 06:50 PM
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Scott & Deb,
It was great having you here, and hosting you & the Zilik's for the night. Thanks for posting the pictures. I especially liked the video of the flight through the Gorge! Can't wait to get my plane finished so we can join you. Please come stay with us again!
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2009, 09:10 AM
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339A 339A is offline
 
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Default Twelve Days, Eleven Nights - Part 2

Day 2/Friday, August 28th

The guys spent a fair amount of time in the garage checking out Bruce’s RV-7A project. He’s making good progress and they are quite impressed with his workmanship. (L-R Carolyn, Gary, Bruce, Scott, Deb)



After departing Troutdale at 10:30, we flew back up the gorge and then north to Mt. Saint Helens for a look-see. The old gal is still smoldering.



Next stop, Aurora State Airport for lunch and a Van’s tour. Although circumstances prevented us from taking the formal tour, we were able to poke around inside the facility. It’s interesting to see the machinery do its thing.



Although there are no on-field restaurants, the folks at the Aurora Jet Center were hosting their last free Friday BBQ of the summer. We enjoyed a nice little lunch of burgers, sausages, salads, chips, & corn. Can’t beat a free lunch!



MVFR conditions in the direction of Independence forced even the coolest of aviators, the Flying Ace, to turn tail back to Aurora.



At about 3:40 PDT, we taxied to runway 35 for the second time. While still in the traffic pattern, we heard Richard VanGrunsven announce his departure from KUAO. Scott quipped about having the man himself flying right behind us and this started an amusing discussion about the scene in Top Gun where Goose says, “Oh great, Jester’s up.”



The flight to Independence was quite scenic. By 4:20 we had landed, registered, met our hosts John & Shirley Horn, and were stowing our planes at their lovely home not far from the ramp. They are hospitable folks, and we thank them for having us!



There was a looooong line for the homecoming BBQ on Friday night.



Shootin’ the breeze with the Ziliks, Mr. VAF , and our SoCal friends



After the BBQ, we put on our dancing shoes and headed to Dennis & Eileen Krummel’s for a hangar party. Former Vegas performer Dave Upton provided the musical entertainment. Some of us danced, some of us socialized, all of us had a lot of fun! We’d like to post some of the dancing photos but they’ve been classified.



(L-R Paul “Rosie” Rosales, Bruce Swayze, Doug Reeves)

More to follow ...
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Scott Mills, Front Range, CO
N339A - 1680 Hours!! since 9/11/05
Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottandDeb...tures/timeline
Airport Landings

"In order to discover new lands one must have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

"Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane" Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) in The Edge

"There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation - a state of bliss"

Last edited by 339A : 09-30-2009 at 12:05 PM.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2009, 02:43 PM
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roadrunner20 roadrunner20 is offline
 
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Scott,
Great photos!
Makes me wish I was still based out west so I could take in some of those flying adventures.

Let me know when you all start your caribbean plans. I'd like to join you all next year.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2009, 08:22 AM
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Talking You two have to much fun!

How I wish I could go on an adventure like this
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  #7  
Old 09-22-2009, 05:23 PM
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339A 339A is offline
 
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Default Twelve Days, Eleven Nights - Part 3

Day 3/ Saturday, August 29th

Our first order of business at Independence State Airport on Saturday morning was a good feed at the pancake breakfast hosted by EAA Chapter 292.



It’s a pretty sweet deal when the drive from your home to the airport involves nothing more than a short taxi from your driveway to the ramp.



Our five-ship gaggle (Mills, Zilik, Rosales, Sousa, Eulitt/Farrell) was wheels up toward Pacific City State Airport at 12:20 PDT. Shortly after takeoff, we were joined by another flyer whose name was Jerry (before landing we were also joined by Denny & Kirk). Jerry was quite familiar with the area and willingly accepted Rosie’s invitation to assume the lead position. The cloud cover, interspersed with patches of bright blue sky and spotty showers, made for a real pretty flight toward the coast.



As we approached our destination, there was back and forth chatter about weather over the field at KPFC. Perhaps conditions were more favorable for landing at McMinnville or Tillamook? Ultimately, the broken cloud cover continued to shift til the skies over Pacific Coast allowed for safe VFR landing. The views along the coastline were absolutely spectacular. Some of the most scenic flying we’ve done. The pics just don’t do justice to the beauty we saw that day.







Upon landing we learned that the last name of our capable gaggle leader was VanGrunsven.



By the time we had finished our leisurely hour-long lunch at The Grateful Bread Restaurant and Bakery, sky conditions had worsened to the point that a VFR departure was out of the question.



About an hour later, those big blue spots that would prompt our speedy departure began to reappear. Once topside of the broken cloud deck, it was smooth sailing back to Independence.


(click here for more flying photos - best viewed in slideshow mode)

The culmination of the Van’s Homecoming festivities was a delicious prime rib/chicken banquet later that evening. We ate a good meal, listened to keynote speakers, watched a beautiful sunset, and sat around enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances until we were all but kicked out of the tent.



More to follow ...
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Scott Mills, Front Range, CO
N339A - 1680 Hours!! since 9/11/05
Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottandDeb...tures/timeline
Airport Landings

"In order to discover new lands one must have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

"Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane" Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) in The Edge

"There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation - a state of bliss"

Last edited by 339A : 09-22-2009 at 05:30 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:07 AM
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Default Nice pic's!

WOW, looks like a lot of fun. I think you really captured the essence of experimental/sport aviation with that trip (planes, friends, family). Can't wait to get started on my project!
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2009, 01:28 PM
BruceS BruceS is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 339A View Post
Day 2/Friday, August 28th
... By 4:00 we had landed, registered, met our hosts John & Shirley Horn, and were stowing our planes at their lovely home not far from the ramp. They are hospitable folks, and we thank them for having us!

...
I guess their home is a popular one for pictures... here's a couple that will go in the Coffee table book.



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  #10  
Old 09-24-2009, 03:12 PM
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339A 339A is offline
 
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Default Sorry...

... it's taken so long to reply. I'm busy trying to get ready for a work trip to VA this weekend. Hope to take the plane, looks like we might be able to make it in there Sunday.

Deb still has 9 more days to sort through with lots of flying left to summarize. She will keep updating the post as time permits.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BSwayze View Post
Scott & Deb,
It was great having you here, and hosting you & the Zilik's for the night. Thanks for posting the pictures.

Thanks again for putting up with us.... Oh, I mean putting us up. BTW, I love the look of the anodized canopy rails. You've got the right idea there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanLandry View Post
Scott,
Great photos!
Makes me wish I was still based out west so I could take in some of those flying adventures.

Let me know when you all start your Caribbean plans. I'd like to join you all next year.
Dan, we have no trip planned to the Caribbean for next year, but there is one being planned for Puerto Rico in 2011. E-mail Rosie if you are interested, he has a list going. This will make sure that you stay up-to-date with trip info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarvig View Post
WOW, looks like a lot of fun. I think you really captured the essence of experimental/sport aviation with that trip (planes, friends, family). Can't wait to get started on my project!
You've got that right. We have really enjoyed all the places the plane takes us. We plan to continue that trend as long as possible. The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll be flying with us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceS View Post
I guess their home is a popular one for pictures... here's a couple that will go in the Coffee table book.



I knew I should have left my plane outside. That's what I get for being selfish and trying to keep it dry. Beautiful pictures Bruce, we are looking forward to the book. Deb keeps bugging me for a better camera. Looks like I have a Christmas present for her.
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Scott Mills, Front Range, CO
N339A - 1680 Hours!! since 9/11/05
Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottandDeb...tures/timeline
Airport Landings

"In order to discover new lands one must have the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

"Never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane" Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) in The Edge

"There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation - a state of bliss"

Last edited by 339A : 09-24-2009 at 08:58 PM.
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