Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rest Stop #2

The boys are safely on the ground in Lubbock, Texas. Another 2.5 hours completed, and this leg had its own fair share of adventure.

We took off -- if you can call it that -- from Santa Teresa at about 5:30 p.m. MS had to nurse 2MH off the ground. The airport is at 4110 MSL, and it was 91 degrees outside. You do the math to determine the density altitude of that!!! (About 7500.) MS did a fine job, but the climb rate was meager at best. Gingerly, we eventually climbed and headed for the Salt Flat VOR. Along the way, we transited through El Paso's airspace, and took in the view of El Paso to the left, Ciudad Juarez to the right. Here's a view out the left side window, showing El Paso International:

And here, you can see downtown El Paso, with Juarez just beyond:

From there, it was on to DILLI intersection, which took us around the Guadalupe Mountains. We rode some thermals up and down, and made it out relatively unscathed. The Guadalupes are spectacular, and if you've ever read Rinker Buck's Flight of Passage, you know that they can provide a wild ride. We chose not to cut through the pass, but instead to circle around the south end of them and avoid most of the mechanical turbulence that is generated inside the pass itself.

After the Guadalupes, there wasn't much scenery. About the only thing that broke up the scrub below us were the West Texas oil patches. They do make for an interesting patchwork on the ground, that's for sure.

We then hauled tail to Lubbock. We had some major-league tailwinds. At one point, we saw groundspeeds reach 180 knots. Couldn't get the camera going fast enough, but did manage to capture this shot of the MX-20 showing 170+ knots.

There was major convective activity off to the east, but we dodged it all. These pictures probably don't quite do it justice, but this baby was reaching 50,000 feet into the atmosphere and wasn't to be messed with. Our original destination was to be Slaton, TX (F49), just southeast of Lubbock. However, checking the AOPA Airport Directory showed that F49 was only attended during daylight hours on the weekend. Thus, rather than chance it, we diverted to Lubbock International. We tried raising Lubbock Aero on UNICOM, but couldn't get a response. Wanted to make sure that we could hangar Mike Hotel for the night, so that he wasn't treated to an overnight dose of West Texas sandstorms.

On right downwind for KLBB's runway 17R, ATC reported "winds 150 at 20, windshear alert, 20 knots on final approach." Well, that was certainly going to make MS's second landing of Mike Hotel a treat. And, to add to the excitement level, when the IFR Pilot decided to snap a picture on short final, the flash went off and made MS and AW jump. (MS later confessed that he thought we might have suffered a lightning strike!) Kudos to them for remaining calm and letting Mike Hotel onto the runway in great fashion. The fact that 17R is 11,500 feet long allowed us to keep large amounts of power on and use only 10 degrees of flaps. Even after we landed and requested a progressive taxi to Lubbock Aero, ATC said, "Taxi about another mile down and then turn right on Foxtrot." Now that's a progressive taxi instruction!

With 2MH safely ensconced in a hangar for the night, the boys caught the Holiday Inn shuttle van for the ride to the hotel. Much debauchery ensued later, but that's protected by the attorney-client privilege and therefore, the IFR Pilot may not comment any further....

Catch up with us later. We're making a beeline for Magnolia, Arkansas for MS to catch up with the wife and son for a few hours. Then, today's final destination: Nash-vegas (a/k/a Nashville).


Greybeard said...

Looks like you're following much the same path I use to bring the fling-wingers home.

Gonna have to read again to see if you mention it, but what happened to passing by the Grand Canyon?

Lubbock is an okay stop.....
Motels surprisingly far from the airport, and alcohol is available only with meals at get to a package store you have to go to the next county. Surprised me. (I avoid Lubbock now for the smaller airports a little farther along the route.)

And Guadelupe.....words cannot describe it, can they?
I have a pic taken just a week ago almost exactly like the one you took!

IFR Pilot said...

GB, we bailed on the Vegas adventure. Far too likely that it would result in our exceeding our personal budgets. Plus it really was out of the way, and we didn't relish the thought of flying the canyon in the heat of early summer. For MS, it'll have to wait till next time. As for me, been there, done that, two years ago.