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California and Nevada: Salinas - Palo Alto - Dayton - San Diego 
24 - 30 March


The US is still the same flyer-friendly country it was ten years ago when we lived in California for a year. Avgas is cheap at US$ 0.50 a litre and there are no landing fees. The other side of the coin is that a flyer-friendly country generates more pilots with small planes and therefore more traffic. You constantly have to keep on the lookout for little Cessnas and other Mooneys, etc.

We fully profited from this flyer-friendly environment by making all the flights VFR except the second half of the flight from Dayton to San Diego which was done IFR. This simplified the transit through the busy and smog-infested airspace around Los Angeles and San Diego. It also made the approach through low stratus and haze into San Diego a piece of cake. Although the NOTAM's (NOTices to Air Men) prohibiting all foreign aircrafts (except Canadian and Mexican) from operating in the US since 11 September 2001 are still in effect, we were free to operate thanks to the Air Traffic Waiver we obtained from the FAA shortly before we left New Zealand.

After staying two nights with Jonathan in Salinas, our next port of call in California was Palo Alto, which was our home base for the year from 1991 to ´92. Our Geneva friends Neil and Camilla Calder moved to Palo Alto a few months ago. Camilla and son Ben came to pick us up at the airport and drove us to the Dutch Goose where we had lunch with all our friends and Flemming´s former colleagues from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Our friend Patrick Krejcik took Flemming to the Dutch Goose on his first day there in 1991 and it has become a kind of tradition for Flemming to lunch there whenever he's on a visit. The décor is ´wild west´ and they produce the best hamburgers and beer in town.

Flemming´s cousin Kirsten lives with her husband Bill Kinas in Tiburon, just north of the Golden Gate. Bill joined the party at the Dutch Goose and drove us to their house. He took us on a scenic route that also avoids the worst of the heavy traffic. It was a splendid day in San Francisco with none of the mist that is common in the summer months.

Kirsten and her daughter Inga have the same birthday (with a gap of a number of years of course!) and we timed our visit to be able to celebrate it with them on 27th March. Inga and her brother Kaj joined us on both our evenings there. Bill is a keen and excellent cook, and he and Kirsten prepared some delicious dinners for us all. Flemming and I had a number of duties to attend to on the computer, such as completing our tax declaration (something we had been dreading, especially since we discovered that 30 MB of new software was needed!!) but we did manage to fit in a clam chowder lunch at an English pub near Muir Beach followed by a stroll on the beach.

Bill and Kirsten saw us off at Palo Alto airport on the morning of 28th March. Our destination was about an hour and a half to the north-east at Dayton, Nevada - home to more Mooney pilot friends, Don and Carolyn Luschar. Dayton village is built around a runway, so we were able to taxi straight over to the Luschar´s hangar, just next to their house. A superb welcome party awaited us. Naturally, most of their neighbours are also into flying, although a number of them apparently spend more time building planes than flying them.

Carolyn and Don treated us royally. I am only sorry that we had to devote so much of our short time with them on more ´computer´ duties such as applying for authorization to land in Cuba. The e-mail address we had for Cuba's civil aviation authorities didn't work and it took 13 attempts to send a fax before the transmission went through successfully!

Our next port of call was San Diego where I have an old friend Stephanie, who also worked for IOM in Geneva in 1984. The last time we saw Steph was in 1992. At that time she was already married to Gary and they had one child (Lauren) with another (Ashley) on the way. The family has since grown to four children, and they all came to meet us at San Diego Montgomery airport. We spent a wonderful evening with them and then they all came to see us off at the airport the next morning, when we headed southeast into Mexico.

It's a shame we couldn't spend more time with our friends in California and Nevada. Unfortunately, though, time is running out for us. We have to be back in Geneva at the end of May and we still have a long way to go…


Jonathan Paul, Camilla Calder, Patrick Krejcik, Kirsten and Bill Kinas, Carolyn and Don Luschar, Stephanie and Gary Wells

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On the approach to Palo Alto

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Lunch with friends at the Dutch Goose, Menlo Park: Patrick pours some of the local brew
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Dutch Goose: Bill Kinas, Flemming and Camilla Calder
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Flemming and Bill near the Golden Gate
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Bill and Angela with the Alcatraz in background
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Angela, cousin Kirsten and Bill at Muir Beach
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Departure from Palo Alto: Bill was allowed to park his car next to our plane
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Flying over Lake Tahoe: looking north from South Lake Tahoe
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On final for Dayton, Nevada.  Don and Carolyn's hangar and house is in the middle of the group of buildings
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Flemming at the Dayton welcome party with Jorge and Marion from Mexico
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At Carson City for refuelling. Flemming, Angela and Don with the nose of Don's  Mooney on left
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Flying over the Sierra Nevada
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San Diego: The Wells family with Flemming
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Departure from San Diego Montgomery Airport. Lauren and Katie on left of Flemming, Gary and Alex on right.
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