This is slightly modified from postings made on the Cessna 150-152 Club Forum Sept. 17-20, 2016.


My wife and I just returned from an Oregon to Maine trip in my 150. And what a trip it was! In 83 hours of logged flying time over 22 days we made 49 landings in 32 states and overflew several others. We stopped to visit friends and relatives in CO, NY, ME, and WV. One day we landed in 6 states (taking off from a seventh) and on another we landed in 5. Our route to Maine was relatively direct, OR-ID-WY-CO-NE-IA-IL-IN-OH-PA-NY but with a one day New England detour to VT-MA-CT-RI-NH and finally to Maine. We decided to return by a more southerly route with a detour to visit relatives and see a few more states, NY-PA-NJ-DE-MD-WV-VA-KY-TN-AR-OK-TX-NM-AZ-UT-NV and home to Oregon.

I've set foot in all 50 states (48 before this trip) and flown over them many times in commercial planes. But seeing the country from a few thousand feet gives a whole new perspective. We'll never forget the vast deciduous forests of New England, Finger Lakes of New York, feed lots of Nebraska, corn fields of Iowa, chicken farms of Arkansas, oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas, isolated ranches of Nevada, the wide green Shenandoah Valley and other green valleys of the Appalachians, the countless farms and ranches, the granite quarries of New England, huge strip coal mines of the Appalachians that remove whole mountain tops, gigantic pit gold mine in Nevada that encompassed a large mountain, huge mines or quarries in Wyoming, and countless other fascinating features that attracted our attention and wonder daily. Among the scenes we've seen before but never tire of were Monument Valley, the outskirts of the Grand Canyon, and the beautiful brilliantly colored rock formations of northern Arizona and southern Utah.

We landed on one runway (KSJS, Big Sandy KY) built on a reclaimed coal mine, where the FBO manager explained that the areas filled and re-vegetated after mining are the only flat areas available for building in this mountainous country. Another runway (KSXU, Route 66 Airport, Santa Rosa NM) where we landed is built on top of a stretch of the original Route 66 roadway. Class D KRME, Griffiss International Airport, Rome NY had an 11821 x 200 ft runway, which I speculated was big enough to land a B-52 on. Then it occurred to us that it was the site of the former Griffiss AFB, where my wife's brother in law was once stationed and that he actually did fly B-52s from that runway.

One of the best parts of the trip is that we got to meet a large number of incredibly friendly, interesting, and helpful people at every stage along the way. One of the most memorable was a gentleman we met at an FBO south of Portland, Maine who spent three hours driving us to the famous lighthouse and old fort where we walked around sightseeing, then a driving tour of downtown Portland, and finally to a hotel where he waited to make sure our reservation was good. When I finally asked for his name, he gave it only as "Bruce".

A 150 or 152 is ideal for this kind of "road trip". If you have the time and means, I highly recommend stretching your horizons. Always keep aware of density altitude and weather, and never, never, set a firm schedule. We got lucky and only had to wait out weather for a total of 4 - 5 days, but you've got to be willing to take as long as needed. Stay safe, and have fun!

Roy


Here are the first few photos. . .

At Rocky Mountain airport in Denver we got to watch "Fifi" land. It's the only flying B-29.


Then it parked right in front of my 150, "Peggy Sue". We had to hold her down.


The Big Sandy KY airport is built on top of a reclaimed coal mine. Those big chunks on each side of the sign are solid blocks of coal.


We flew over Four Corners where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. The monument is in the center of the red square. My GPS shows the junction to be about a half mile from the marker.


And here's something you won't see when you fly commercial. Praying Mantises are rarely seen at my home location so it was a treat to see one. . no, two. . no, it's a ménage à trois!

(Santa Rosa NM, on the fueling ladder)

More pics to follow.

Roy


Here are a few more pix:

Here's the route, downloaded from the GPS


We wanted to tour northern Maine and the coast, but the remains of tropical storm Hermine were spinning off New England. We just managed to get out to the west after being pinned down in the Portland area by fog and low ceilings for three days. The Maine coast was unflyable for several more days.

Crossing the Mississippi


We saw some impressive rail yards in the Midwest, but this one at Bellevue, Ohio won the prize


We saw a lot of quarries in New England. This one is near Adams, MA. The Internet says they're extracting calcium carbonate and lime.


Sunset at Canandaigua Lake, one of the Finger Lakes of New York, where we stopped to visit a friend


Proof that we made it to Maine


The Shenandoah Valley


That's enough for this post. More to come.

Roy


There were some incredible mines several places along the route. It's impossible to convey with our snapshots just how absolutely huge and extensive they are, but you can get some idea by locating a vehicle or building for comparison. Any trucks you see are likely gigantic but still look like ants.

Coal mines in Appalachia






Reclaimed coal mine. The terraced hill was a valley before it was filled and heaped with rock extracted by the mining process. The new hill was covered with several feet of dirt, then vegetation was planted. This was taken at the Big Sandy, KY airport which is built on reclaimed ground.


Gold mine NE of Ely, NV. This is the Bald Mountain Mine, one of the largest gold mines in the U.S. We flew right over it and had to get right over the pits to see the bottoms. I estimate that each of the terrace steps is 100 - 200 feet high, and the pits are at least a half mile deep. These three photos show only a part of the operation -- there are huge pits all over the mountain. It's easy to find this on Google Earth, about 30 miles northeast of the town of Eureka, NV.






We also flew over a monstrous series of mines in Wyoming, but didn't think to take a picture. There were also a lot of quarries south of the Great Lakes extracting something light colored, perhaps lime or something similar, and quarries in New England that we speculated were the source of the granite giving the Granite State (Maine) its name.

Just to acknowledge that the Pacific Northwest isn't at all free of the scars left by exploiting resources. . .


I've reached some kind of limit with this posting and the last few photos aren't showing up. So I'll split it into two. To be continued. . .

Roy


Here are the final few photos.

We sure saw spectacularly beautiful scenery, too. Of all the sights in the U.S. (at least the conterminous U.S.), to my mind the most strikingly beautiful are in the Southwest, particularly southern Utah and vicinity. A couple of years ago my wife and I went to a fly-in at Santa Fe, NM and spent 13 days touring the area in my 150. On this trip we went pretty much straight across, but happened to fly over Monument Valley and part of Lake Powell.

On our way I had to dodge around this storm cell west of Santa Fe. Echo top was 35,000 feet and it was producing plenty of lightning. We had landed early the day before when there were some blocking our way with tops to 50,000.


Monument Valley was unfortunately in the shadows of thickening clouds so wasn't as photogenic as usual. Here's just one spire.


And this picture of Lake Powell captures the general scenery


And, finally, HOME!


I regret that neither I nor my wife are among those talented and skilled people able to take photos that are works of art and strikingly convey a story or concept. But I hope these few cellphone snapshots will at least nudge some of you to take greater advantage of the wonder of flight and the marvelous machines we're so lucky to fly.

Roy