We headed out West September 3 to establish the temporary outpost. AA and SW each have a northern route to the SF Bay area, and a southern route. The northern route goes from Dallas to Amarillo, north of ABQ over the 4 corners, Monument Valley AZ/UT, North of Bryce Canyon UT, Across the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Yosemite NP with the initial descent over the Central California Valley (Modesto), over the San Luis Reservoir (bring your seatback and tray table up), over Gilroy CA then a hard right turn to line up with SJC runway 31. It is usually in the turn that the pilot dumps the flaps from 0 to 40 degrees in one abrupt motion. I’ve enjoyed this flight once a month for 3 years and for the 2 years prior to that, about 4 times a year ~ 40 times. I’d guesstimate I’ve been on the Northern route 30 times. I can tell when we are about halfway there when we fly over Shiprock, NM. Google Shiprock. It is about a 2,000 foot spire in the middle of the desert East of Monument Valley. It is easily spotted from 32,000 feet. Settlers in the 1800s thought it looked like a massive, ghostly sailing ship churning through the soft desert sands.
This time in we took the southern route which parallels I-40 until around Flagstaff AZ, than with a slight jog to the right over Las Vegas NV, across the Mojave/Death Valley and what is left of the southern Sierra Nevada’s, cutting the corner of the NE corner of the LA metro area with a slow turn to the Northwest and into SJC. Red Rock Canyon just NW of Las Vegas is much more impressive from ground level than from the air, btw. Usually, the pilots are relaxed and ease the flaps out with a nice decent as we parallel the Pacific Coast along an Eastern track from Pismo Beach to Santa Cruz. The RV was left in Texas, hooked up to the 20 Amp electrical. The TMS upon our return Sept. 11 showed no loss in air pressure. The tires facing south (tracking the Sun) get about 20-25 degrees hotter than the tires in the shade.
Being in the Bay area required a change to our usual training.
Sept 13: 5.25 Miles on the McKinney Northwest path up Ridge Rd. to Virginia Pkway to Stonebridge Ranch and back around.
Sept: 12: Rest Day in Austin. Cheered loudly for Texas Longhorns and DKR Memorial Stadium.
Sept 11, Fri.: 4.5 Miles Along the Guadalupe River, Lost DL and Debit card. This path behind the Western Outpost goes very close to the new SF 49’ers stadium, Levis Stadium. If your team happens to make it to Super Bowl 50 and you have the cash, the Western Outpost might be available on Airbnb. Flight to DFW
Sept 10: Thurs. Cross training Elliptical
Sept 9: Wed. 4 Miles Along SJ Guadalupe River
Sept 8: Tues. Cross training Elliptical
Sept 7: Mon. 3 Miles Along SJ Guadalupe River
Sept 6: Sun. Cross training Elliptical. Also, drove PCH from SJ to Monterey to PCH, and south, hanging onto the side of the mountains to about 10 miles S of Big Sur. On the way back, we stopped at the iconic Bixby Bridge when S realized she had to get some code into production. So we hightailed it back to the Western Outpost just in time for her not to meet her deadline. But since Monday was Labor Day, it was not as critical as it might otherwise have been. Photos: 1. Pacific Coast near Big Sur, 2. Bixby Bridge, 3. Just what one would expect in Big Sur.
Sept 5: Sat. Training blur. Probably had something to do with wrestling with AT&T Uverse.
Sept 4: Fri. Training blur. (Means I did something, but don’t recall what)
Sept 3: Thurs. Flight to Western Outpost.
Over this last weekend, we returned to Dallas to collect the ERA70X for its trip out west. We first took a quick trip to Austin for the first Home Game, and were pleased to see Texas get back on track: Texas 42, Rice 28. Actually, the last 2 Rice TDs were garbage TDs, so the actual score was Texas 42, Rice 14.
Tomorrow, Sept. 14, begins the trip out west. So far, we know 2 things for sure: we’ll hit Manitou Springs CO and climb the 2000 steps of the incline. We also know that we probably need to be back in SJ next Sunday. What we do, or the route we take is still to be determined. Whether we make it to Yellowstone is TBD.
I installed a QuickLink ODBII scanner to watch more engine and performance parameters than what the idiot lights in the MB Sprinter chassis provide. It is a module that plugs into the ODB Interface and then there is an iPhone App that is coupled via Bluetooth to watch things like real time MPG, EGT, Intake Air Temp., etc. Unfortunately, the ODB II Interface is near the breaker box and requires the removal of the cover.
We have further improved the sound quality of the Xite by adding a 10″ Kicker Woofer in a box behind the Drivers’ seat and a Subwoofer amplifier to drive it. Car Toys also went behind the dash and optimized some of amp parameters–I think they messed that up when they first put it in, because although the sub helps direct a lot of the low frequency energy to the Center channel, the midrange and highs from the door and dash speakers are sounding much better also. So by effectively adding as much in add-ons as what I paid for the Xite unit, we finally have the high quality sound one would expect from a MB based vehicle. I paid Car Toys $109 for the Subwoofer. I could have gotten it for $89 across the street at Best Buy.