A long awaited trip to visit the sister in Yerington who cashed in on the real estate boom in Sacramento. She purchased a a fixer upper on main street and put as much in it as she paid for it. We have only seen the house in the fix up condition. Now that the extreme make over is complete, we can’t wait to see the results.
The weather conditions were near perfect for the short flight over the top of the Sierras. Just a slight head wind as we rumbled down the runway past the abandoned crop duster. We passed over Thunder Valley Casino as they were testing the lights for tonight’s out door concert. It looked like Disney Land on the fourth of July. South bound 65 was a parking lot from the 80 all the way to Blue Oaks.
As we gained altitude passing over Auburn, there was the odor of camp fire that replaced that hydrocarbon smell of Sacramento. Donner Lake looked like an artist rendition of a mirror lake. The sun was just about to break over the crest of the mountains, it cast an orange glow and looked like a Jack O’ Lantern. The deep orange color lightened quickly as we rose up to meet the blinding rays. The only visual contact with the earth was out the side windows. The shadows of the tall pines stretched across meadows like the fingers of a rubber glove.
Lake Tahoe looked like a skating rink just as smooth and flat not a ripple to be seen.
As the sun rose just enough for the pilot to see dead ahead through the propeller we realized the extent of the camp fire. There was a thick blanket of smoke covering the entire East slope of the Sierras. We were at maximum altitude for the Cessna and the smoke looked like it rose all the way to heaven and beyond. The flight commander requested a descending turn. As the morning sun came around to our back side, it pushed us to speeds we rarely see indicated in the 172.
In what seemed like a moment we were on final approach at Auburn. As we taxied to the tie downs in front of Wings restaurant we were greeted by the Ercoupe group we so often had breakfast with at several watering holes in the valley.
We will try another day for Yerington – this was not the first time we started out for Yerington and ended up at Auburn. The food was great and it was good to see friends we have not seen for some time. We made it back to Lincoln just in time to go to Pizza Round up with the braggers and liars for some tall tales over lunch.
It was another fun flight filled with good intentions and good judgement, can’t wait for another adventure.
Keep the props turning and hold that attitude.
Words by Dave Harris