Western US Loop: Part 7
posted Jul 14, 2001
Sedona, AZ to Boise, ID
After a great week of flying and visiting places around the western US, it was time to finally come home. Our original plan was to return on Sunday, but a forecast cold front prompted us to head for home on Saturday.
Since we were leaving a day early, we thought we’d do some more sightseeing from the air. We decided to fly over the eastern end of the Grand Canyon, then to nearby Lake Powell, and then over Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah. Both of these are future destinations for us. After that (about 3:30 of flight time), we’d stop in Elko, NV for lunch and then continue on to Boise (about one hour from Elko).
Mother nature decided that we didn’t need to do all that sightseeing, and should start heading right for home. At 8am there were already thunderstorms brewing over Lake Powell and near Bryce Canyon. Not so good for sightseeing, and pretty unusual for this early in the morning. We picked another route that took us over the western part of the Grand Canyon, and also gave us nice views of Lake Meade. Most importantly, the weather was very clear going this way.
This flight was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the great views of the Grand Canyon (which we’d visited twice before) and Lake Meade. We could also see the building thunderstorms in the distance to the east, and were glad we decided not to go that way.
We’d never landed in Elko, but our handy Flight Guide said there was a fuel and a courtesy car available. A courtesy car is typically an old junker that the folks who run the airport let you borrow (no charge, but you get what you pay for). The woman at the airport gave us directions to a good lunch spot and the keys to the car. She was very apologetic about the state of the car, but it was actually the nicest airport car we’d ever driven. It was a 1970-something Crown Victoria, light yellow, leather interior, power steering (that worked), power windows (that worked), and clean inside. It was one of the biggest cars on the road and was pretty fun to drive. Apparently the airport car was too nice, since a few weeks ago someone “borrowed” it for about 5 days. They returned it when the police gave them a friendly phone call.
After lunch there were a few more clouds rolling into the Elko area from the east. We called the Flight Service Station to get a weather update, and were told everything was clear between Elko and Boise. The forecast was spot on, we had no problems (and a pretty good tailwind) on the way home.
Home At Last
When we got home, we found our neighbors had decorated our driveway with chalk to welcome us home. It was a really nice touch, so I climbed up on the roof to snap this picture. My favorite part was the little footsteps leading to the door and the accompanying instructions.
It was a great honeymoon and we may make it an annual event to fly off somewhere for a week or so at a time.