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Thanksgiving: I'm thankful for my Mooney


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On this Thanksgiving, as on every Thanksgiving since 1999, I'm thankful to own a Mooney. It allowed me to fly to Tulsa this past weekend from the California Bay Area, run a marathon, and then fly to Thanksgiving week with my parents in LA, with amazing scenery and fun flying and without the commercial airline at Thanksgiving hassles and the TSA annoyances. I could and did change my travel plans at the last minute. I could and did reschedule so I could be on the ground when I needed to be on a Zoom conference for work. And I got to fly a Mooney. 17.5 hours of engine time. Six landings. KSQL-KPGA-KRVS-KBGD-KABQ-KPRC-KSMO.

I left Friday night from San Carlos, California for a 3.5-hour flight to Page, Ariz., where I had a hotel reservation a five-minute walk from the airport. The only IMC of the whole trip was in the first 25 minutes. Canceled IFR and used flight following the rest of the trip. CAVU for almost the entire trip to Tulsa and back. Landed Friday night/Saturday morning 1 a.m. MST. All was well until I couldn't get the pedestrian gate to open. Had thoughts of hopping the fence but soon found another gate. Launched the next morning into the fantastic scenery of the Glen Canyon/Rainbow Bridge area, then through Monument Valley and on to Tulsa. 4 hours 40 minutes.

Plan was to run the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa on Sunday and fly to Tucson for dinner with a dear friend on Sunday night. Unfortunately, she was under the weather and had to cancel. If I'd been flying the airlines, I would have had to scramble to re-book. In my Mooney, no problem. Ran the marathon Sunday a.m.; Tulsa is hilly, and Sunday was windy, but I got a decent result in my 40th marathon and my 36th marathon state. (I ran 26.2 miles in several minutes longer than it took my plane to get from SQL to PGA two nights before.) Back to RVS for a 2 p.m. CST launch. Planned a stop in Borger, Texas rather than straight to ABQ, because BGD fuel is almost $2 per gallon cheaper than ABQ fuel and I thought I might want to stretch my legs in the middle of my post-marathon flight and because KBGD is one of my favorite fuel stops, a real friendly place with character. Turbulence was not bad, but even the light stuff in the two hours between Tulsa and Borger convinced me that I should scrap my ambitions of flying all the way to SMO on Sunday night. I would probably have arrived after midnight CST, and I'd been up since 5 a.m. CST and run a race. Doable perhaps. Smart? No. 

Two more hours to ABQ, where night had fallen and the valley was all lit up to welcome me. I enjoy landing on the super-wide runways of the major metro airports every now and then, especially at night. Cutter at ABQ had no rental cars but gave me a lift to the rental car center, where Enterprise told me I could rent a car for $125 for one day. I'd heard about rental car price increases, but this seemed ridiculous, so I Ubered my way around town: to Frontier Restaurant to buy tortillas, to Sadie's for the carne advovada ribs and then to the Hampton Inn at the airport, from which a shuttle delivered me back to Cutter before 6 a.m. MST for my flight to SMO. Unfortunately, I had a work Zoom at 7:30 a.m., PST, so I landed at Prescott to do that. Legend FBO was very accommodating, but don't do a fuel stop in Prescott unless you're willing to wait for 15 minutes to launch behind all the Embry Riddle students ahead of you in line. Landed at SMO at 11 a.m. Monday. I fly back home sometime Sunday afternoon or evening.

Be thankful this Thanksgiving that you are a Mooney pilot. We are a fortu nate bunch. Here's a photo of Sedona I took Monday a.m.

 

IMG_2787.jpg

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I agree. I said to my wife, "what would we do without this airplane?". This year alone, I was able to attend my mother's funeral when the airlines were all booked up over Easte., I flew from ATL to SJC in a day if I wanted to, (I took it easy and made it two). I was able to gather the grand kids for their annual summer on the lake with us. One of our kids has serious health challenges and we are able to assist them being only 3 Mooney hours away on a regular basis. It's all good.

 

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