It is the World’s fastest motorsport. Of course, I am talking about the Reno Air Races. Each September for the last 55 years, pilots have been bringing planes to Reno Nevada to find out who had the fastest plane around. It is just our nature to have out who has the fastest, strongest, and prettiest or whatever it is to see who is the best.
I’ve been going out to the air races off and on since 1991. I don’t go every year. The good part about traveling to the races was the travel. I have been out on the airlines and flown myself. This allows for all sorts of other adventures. We originally start out with several of us going out on the airlines. We would go to a different city and then drive up to Reno. We would go to San Francisco and then drive down the ocean highway of California and cross the mountains into Reno. There are all sorts of things to see on the way. Yosemite National Forest and giant trees are truly awe-inspiring. Mono Lake and Lake Tahoe are unique and beautiful bodies of water. Mountains, lakes and beautiful scenery, what could be better? Well, what about going to Seattle and driving through the Columbia River Valley? The river on one side of the road and apple orchards on the other side of the road. Going to Yellowstone seeing bison and crossing the Great Salt Lake.
After all that traveling, we would get to hang around airplanes and watch races between all sorts of planes. It was a regular busman’s holiday.
This year was going to be a trip out flying ourselves. My friend Jamie was going to do most of the flying. We started out about 8 in the morning. We were flying a Beech Bonanza and expected an easy trip out to Reno. Most delays and troubles with flying have to do with weather. This year luck was with us. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We had clear skies and fair winds. It was wonderful.
We made the first leg of the trip out to Mississippi. We stopped for fuel and got on our way with minimal time on the ground. We kept on going with little trouble to our second fuel stop in Wichita Falls Texas.
Now we started seeing things differently. West Texas is a wonderland of big ranches, oil fields, windmill farms and deserted looking land. My wife says all that land is just around to keep the Atlantic and Pacific oceans apart.
All that land does provide interesting sight seeing. Now things are further away. The visibility is increased and the high desert of Texas gives way to the high desert of New Mexico. Even with all the open land, just about every place has an interstate highway running beside it. Where are all these people going? After about our tenth hour flying we land at Albuquerque New Mexico. We stop to spend the night and marvel at the amount of country we’ve crossed in just a day.
We make plans for an early start because there is still a lot of miles to cover and we have to pass by a few more states to get into California. If you make a trip this far, you have to get into California so you can say you’ve flown coast to coast.
More states and more adventure are coming in part II.