Home. Oklahoma to California.

We wake up with low clouds scudding across the sky but no thunder, lightning, hail or tornados. The airport manager shows up and says the closest tornado touched down two miles away. Maybe that is close or maybe in Oklahoma that is far, but either way we feel very fortunate.

It was a stupid plan, but it worked. The storms are now east of us.

We wait until the clouds lift a little, then fuel up and head west. There are storms, of course, and headwinds, of course, but we stay south and motor along for a long day. We plan to camp for the night at Kern Valley in southern California but no night approaches are allowed. The sun goes down on us as we approach the airport and we miss our chance, so we decide to make it a really long day and just go home.

Night flying is very peaceful and pleasant. Mark and I just fly along quietly, listening to music and reflecting on a truly great trip. We both agree it has been a trip of a lifetime. Which means it is really special but also means we will not be doing it again. Next time the tornados may not be so kind!

3 thoughts on “Home. Oklahoma to California.

  1. Brian Tucker May, 2019 — 4:02 pm

    an awesome adventure, thank you for sharing

  2. David Tenenbaum May, 2019 — 1:56 pm

    Ney,

    First, I am a big fan of your Flying Adventures, and appreciate the effort you take to so effectively present them to us!

    Your very recent series on the Cuba trip has me thinking about going there too. By way of introduction I am an ATP, fly a Twin Commander 980 (high wing turboprop) and we have taken it to Scotland (via Greenland–been there 4 times–Iceland, etc) Alaska up to King Salmon, and Costa Rica, so we like off the beaten path. I have a few questions about the Cuba trip:

    1) Any concerns about security of the airplane parked in Cuba in either of the two locations? We got, second hand, some warnings, and were told to go commercial instead. Of course we would much prefer to fly ourselves, so wondering what your thoughts/experiences were?

    2) I understand you have to meet some “criteria” for purpose of the trip, like “Support for the Cuban people”. Can you share how you accomplished that?

    3) Did you use a handler, or some other organization, either to guide you through the Cuban paperwork once you landed or for item 2 above? If so, were the charges reasonable, or exorbitant?

    4) Any “unusual” or unexpected charges to allow you to leave Cuba?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I did some preliminary research and the State Department documents are massively confusing, and my informal understanding is no one really checks this stuff. That said, I don’t want to run afoul of the US government. So apologies!

    I certainly understand if you do not have time to answer this, just thought I’d take a shot and ask! Either way, many thanks for sharing your trips!!

    Best,

    David

    David M. Tenenbaum CEO MerlinOne Inc. http://www.MerlinOne.com 781-799-5148

    1. Thank you David! Sounds like you get out there too, I love it. Baffin Island may be the trip next year.

      Cuba:

      1. Plane seemed totally safe, except for the bird’s nest. I don’t know at night, but during the day there are people everywhere, for one private plane. I don’t know how many are actual security but more than one. It seems unlikely something would happen. Not as many at Cienfuegos but enough, and the ramp was fenced and seemed secure. So although I don’t really know, the perception is that it is secure if that makes you feel better.

      2. Its our government and all I can say is USCBP didn’t say a thing. Yes, we were told to take some tours and keep receipts which we did, but it appears no one checks. Then again, the current administration has said Cuba will be locked down again and only family visits will be allowed, but no one knows when that will occur.

      3. We did use handler. Seemed expensive to me at about $450 but I’ve been told that is normal at big international airports. They were quite helpful as none of us spoke useful Spanish. The handler at Cienfuegos was much more reasonable but I forget how much. At both airports they really moved us through. Almost too fast as you are trying to juggle paperwork. At least I was expecting something more like Mexico where you wait around.

      4. There were lots of small charges but we were given a list. We used Rick at Caribbean Flying Adventures for the entry permit and he prepared us for the charges and he was pretty right on.

      Hope that helps!

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