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Flying N206JD Around the USA
On June 29th, we began the flying portion of our Sabbatical. The plan comprised of Jim and Greg flying cross country to Orlando Florida, where they met Debbie, Jennifer, and Kimberly who flew commercial. After their vacation in Florida, Jenn and Kim returned to Portland, and Debbie joined Jim and Greg for the remainder of the trip. In preparation for the trip we made several enhancements to our plane, a Cessna P206, including installing a new autopilot, and a new paintjob. Click here to see the details of that project.
Jim and Greg had a great time on their flight to Orlando. Because of predicted morning overcast weather in Portland, the guys left a night early and after just a one hour flight, spent the night in Sunriver, OR at Ron and Michelle Mosgrove's house. The Bend sky was thick with smoke from forest fires burning further south, causing IFR conditions in some locations, but the worse conditions were easily avoided. As we flew south, it was interesting to fly over Crater Lake, and look down on the route that Debbie drove the previous day as part of the Crater Cruize.
The flight to Orlando was over the following route: Hillsboro Oregon (HIO), Sunriver (S21), Hawthorne Nevada (HTH), overnight in Las Vegas Nevada (LAS), a sightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon (GCN), Santa Fe New Mexico (SAF), an overnight in Oklahoma City (FWA), Tupelo MS (TUP), Columbus Ga (CSG), and on to our first major destination Kissimmee Florida (ISM). The flight was uneventful, and relatively stress free. We only flew a maximum of two legs each day, the longest being about four hours. We should have been able to arrive in Florida a day earlier, but we stopped 2.5 hours short in Columbus GA because "Tropical Storm Bill" left a band of thunderstorms from the Panhandle of Florida, across to the Atlantic, effectively blocking all routes into central Florida. By leaving very early the following morning, we were able to cross into Florida before the next band of thunderstorms formed, getting us into Orlando just 1/2 day late, and still in plenty of time to relax prior the girl's arrival later that evening.
The highlight of the flight to Florida was flying over the Grand Canyon. We departed Las Vegas in the very early hours, and first flew over the Hoover Dam, then Lake Mead, and then followed the Colorado River upstream to the Grand Canyon. It was spectacular to watch the sun rise, and watch the morning rays find their way deeper into the canyon as the sun rose. After two full crossings of the Canyon, the GPS was set direct to Santa Fe NM, and we continued the trip.
All five of us had a great vacation in Florida. Our first 3 nights were at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, after which we moved into a condo near to the parks. Our family has always enjoyed visiting Walt Disney World, and this was the one sabbatical request from the kids.
From Florida, Jim, Debbie and Greg flew to Massachusetts on July 18th & 19th. Because of thunderstorms up north, we decided to land in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and spend the night. The following morning, we had an easy and smooth 2.5 hour flight to Massachusetts. There, we spent a nice week with our entire family including our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles etc. This was be Greg's first trip back to Massachusetts in several years, and he was barely recognized.
From New England, we flew to the world's biggest air show which is located in Oshkosh WI where we we stayed with Jim's cousin's Christy and Tim. EAA Airventure is really unique. The sky is always buzzing with the 14,000 airplanes that fly in... making OSH the worlds busiest airport for that week. There is really nothing comparable to Oshkosh anywhere in the world... it is the Mecca of aviation.
We returned to Portland on August, 6th after flying for two days back to our home. We really had a great time on this trip... but we were ready to be home again... The goal of a sabbatical is to totally get away from work, so that you are ready to return all recharged! I think that we accomplished our goal... many times over!!!
Click here for pics of trip from Oregon Eastward
Click here for pictures of Florida
Click here for pics of trip to Oshkosh Wi
Photos by: Jim Pappas, Deb
Pappas and Tom
Pappas. Arial photo of Oshkosh taken without permission from Chuck
Copyright © 2003 by Jim Pappas