Back to the Bay Area

Brenda and I made a return trip to the Bay Area this week to attend the nuptials of our friends Hal Pearlman and Andrea Leonard. This was basically a party celebrating their marriage, and like most things they do was focussed on the fun stuff.
Having just made the trip last week, the route was fresh in my mind. However, it’s a trip one can make with much more piece of mind when one has full tanks. I like having more gas than I need. The flight out was IFR, but over the top in clear blue skies. We passed through a thin layer going out and maybe penetrated one thin cloud coming into SQL. Brenda was knitting, I was picking out airports and it was a nice trip. We did get asked to confirm and ELT, which we unfortunately did. I’ll have to check the NTSB reports now for someone down near PRB that day.

We stayed up in Pacifica, where Andrea and Hal have a place. Pacifica’s a strange and wonderful place. It’s a really small town that’s right next door to San Francisco, but they’ve managed to keep development all but absent from the area. We didn’t see a house more than 3 stories, and the streets were quiet and pedestrian friendly. We did some shopping, mostly nosing around antique stores and thrift shops, walked the pier and hung out at Nick’s Sea Breeze Motel until the reception. I was delighted to have the room in the plane to bring home furniture for Brenda. (OK, a small knitting cubby…)

The reception was fun with good food, good friends and a goofy and fun band. It was great to hang out and enjoy the evening.

The next day we had time to stop by the Hiller Aviation Museum and check out the displays. It was a well run interesting museum, but didn’t have the more rough and ready charm of, say, Chino’s Planes of Fame. There was much to see and enjoy, though. I found the flying platform displays especially interesting. They also have a great collection of restored very early (even pre-Wright Bros.) aircraft. Great to see that old stuff.

The flight back looked like it would be VFR, and the pre-flight briefing sounded that way, too. We squeezed out of the SQL airspace, and south out of the Bay Area, enjoying a beautiful view of Monterey Bay. However, I heard another aircraft looking for a pop-up IFR into Van Nuys (VNY), which prompted me to check the weather. Sure enough, SMO was IFR. I got a clearance still northwest of Santa Barbara and we settled in for an instrument landing at SMO. It wasn’t an approach to minimums, but was one of the lower ones Brenda’s done with me, so it was interesting for her and fun for me.

All in all a good weekend of flying.

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