Birthday Ride

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Other than being halfway to my death in terms of years now, today was pretty darn awesome.

On my todo list for where to go once I got my pilot’s license, was to visit Santa Cruz, then head north, and follow the coast, up past Golden Gate. The conditions were ripe to do it today - bday vacation day, blue skies, zero fog, kids in school, and wife AFK. To help sweeten the pot, my normal ride at the flying club had no reservations today.

It is nearly a straight line from Sacramento to Santa Cruz, even accounting for the terrain. With the wind, it was only about an hour to make the trek, too. Through the delta, over Livermore, and through the Sunol Pass. Once towards the Silicon Valley, air traffic control had me stay to the side for a few minutes, before allowing me to cross at a 90º angle across San Jose International. Onto the west side of the valley, back into the hills, and over them until I came to the Pacific Coast. At this point, I turned to Watsonville to the south to land. Watsonville is a pretty busy airport!

After a lunch break, I headed north, following the coast. No flight following here, at least not down at 2500 feet. Emergency options out here are limited (you watch for fields, decent but empty beaches, and plan “C” - the ocean). Fairly quickly I was up to San Francisco, and opted to stay below SFO’s “class bravo” airspace. Hopefully a few pictures came out of the Golden Gate bridge - I was more busy flying than photo taking. I’ll have to take this trip again again when I have a passenger, and let them take photos.

After flying over the GG bridge, it was then over Alcatraz, then San Pablo bay, Carquinez Bridg, and then into the Concord area. The mothball fleet is still out there (you can see it when you’re driving on 680) - I flew right over it. From there, it was back through the delta, and home sweet home.

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