I was lucky in that I recently made the trek to Oshkosh which in magnitude is shorter but the complexity and prep was similar. Since I made it there and back I figured I could make it to California. I was close on oil change time so I did that early. This gave me the ability to look over the FWF really well. I went out and bought a new seat cushion from bed bath and beyond as I my butt was hurting a bit from the Oshkosh trip (I love this seat cushion by the way). I did a prep pack to make sure all the stuff I wanted to bring would A) Fit and B) make weight. I wanted the C.G. back to increase the cruise true airspeed a bit so I loaded the baggage compartment such that I was near the aft line on the plot. I took plenty of tools since I was going to be out of my tools for the better part of 30-45 days once I got there till the house closed and the movers could deliver my stuff (included tools). I planned out my flight using Foreflight and 1:20 – 1:40 min legs (~160-195 nm at my cruise speed of 155 MPH). The 1:40 min legs typically left me with 6.5 to 7 gallons of gas on landing during my trip to Oshkosh. I really wanted out of the plane to stretch anyway. I did the great circle route from 2W6 to KDWA and using the ruler tool I started picking airports along the route. I really didn’t try to find cheap fuel as it really only complicated efforts and didn’t save much money for the effort. I planned on going the northern route following I-80 once I got to Nebraska. I watched the weather patterns like a hawk the week prior and also looked at the freezing levels (I have no heat) as I was thinking I would need to go to at least 11,000 ft to get over the continental divide. This all worked out to be about 13 airports and about 17.5 hours of actual flight time (not to include taxi just flight time FAR 1.1 for those inquisitive minds). So to add to all the fun I didn’t exactly have all the time in the world. I needed to be back to meet the movers by Wednesday midday ( I was leaving on a Saturday) So I had time but not oodles of it.
Day 1 2W6 – KLWB – KIOB
I woke up day 1 which is Sep 19th to Low IFR all over DELMARVA area. It was forecasted to lift by about 1100. So already I was going to behind my time line. Also there was a cold front heading across the Midwest that had influences all the way down to Texas so no going around it. There were some areas that looked like I could thread the needle down by Louisville so I adjusted my route some to try and get around it. I left by 1230 and my first stop of Lewisberg, West Virgina. The flight out was uneventful but long 1.5 hour in flight 13.8 gallons. I landed in Lewisberg and the nice FBO line guy came over and asked me what he could do for me. I told him just need some fuel and I’ll be on my way. He looked at me and said we don’t have any 100LL. With a dumbfounded look I said “well you got to be ****ting me?” he said his fuel supplier dropped the ball and they were on low reserves for the next few days. They said they were low on the truck but had some and I said I would take what I could get. I only needed 14 gal so he had to have enough. I got my gas and went on my way.
Next stop was KIOB Mt Sterling, Kentucky. Nice airport and FBO. The cold front was moving faster than I had hoped and it was 1530 by the time I got there. They said they had a hangar and courtesy car so I opted to for the known versus the unknown and called it quits for the day as the forecast looked really good for the next few days.
Total for the day was 2.9 hour and 26.2 gallons
Day 2 KIOB – KRSV – KUIN – KEVU – KEAR – KSNY
I woke up in my Days Inn room to a bright orange cloudless sky. I got to the airport about 0800 as I was told that no one would be there until then. On my way to the airport I got a sandwich so I wouldn’t have to go out in town somewhere to find food (gas stops take long enough) I got my plane out and on my way. I made 5 stops totaling 6.6 hours of flight time and 60.6 gallons of fuel. Each stop was good and my final stop KSNY (Sidney, NE) was home of Cabelas. The super nice guy George owner operator of the FBO hooked me up with a really nice hangar a ride to the Hampton Inn as his courtesy car was down. He even picked me up in the morning. I highly recommend stopping there if your in the area nice small town and super friendly airport.
Day 3 KSNY – KLAR – KRKS – KOGD – KEKO – KRTS
Another absolutely wonderful flying day super huge high pressure in the area and the winds weren’t terrible. This day is when I needed to climb high to get over the continental divide. My first stop was Larmie, WY up at 7,284 ft. My plane would pretty much not idle here as it was set at sea level. I even lean aggressively but not enough air here. I believe this is the highest airport I have ever landed at to date. Out of Larmie I climbed up to 11,500 ft to keep a decent distance from the terra firma. I decided early on in the planning that I would try to stay below 12,000 ft and would follow I-80 fairly closely from this point on. Rocksprings was next and it was absolutely calm and a 10,000 ft long runway up at 6,200 ft. Ogden, UT was next this is where I deviated from the I-80 to avoid the Class A. I got to do this really cool canyon run that popped out right at the Class D for Ogden. I then went on to Elko Nevada. My next stop was Reno Stead my home town and all of my family still live there. This was the longest flight at 200 nm and 1.6 hours. I landed there about 1800 sunset was 1900. The Reno Air Races had just finished the day before and there was still stuff everywhere. My cousin met me out there to let me put my plane in his hangar for the evening. I stayed with my sister that night and my Aunt took me to the airport the next morning (see my whole family lives there)
Total flight time was 6.7 hours 57.5 gallons of fuel.
Day 4 KRTS – KDWA.
Final day. I had my wife book me a cheap flight out of Sacramento at 1400 so as long as I made it down there to make my flight I was good. Easy flight over the Sierra’s at 10,500 about 55 min enroute. I landed at Yolo County Airport put my plane in it’s new temp hangar and my real estate agent came and picked me up to take me by the house we are buying. Then she took me to the airport (really great Lady BTW). I made my flight and was back in Maryland by 2345 that evening. Sheesh.
Total flight time this day was 1.0 hours 8.9 gallons of fuel.
Grand Total was 17.2 hours of actual flight time 19.4 logged (FAR 1.1 flight time move under own power for flight…) 153.2 gallons of fuel. 2,165 nm, 12 states, 13 airports (14 if you count my starting airport).