June 21, 2006 - Seattle to Sacramento, California

I took off from Whidbey Island around 6:30AM and headed south.  There was a broken layer of cumulous clouds but nothing to worry about.  Today would be a long haul as I was trying to make it all the way to Sacramento, California. 

Since I had already flown along the coast of northern Oregon and southern Washington, I decided to fly inland down the length of the Willamette Valley before cutting to the coast of southern Oregon. 

I stopped at Corvallis Municipal Airport (KCVO) - elevation 246 feet - for fuel.  Corvallis is a college town, home of Oregon State University.  I flew over the football stadium inbound to the airport.  There were a number of college students taking helicopter and airplane lessons.   It looked like the terminal building had once had a restaurant but if so, it had long since closed.  I had a lot of flying ahead of me and I didn't want to spend the time going into town, so I pressed on.
 
The Willamette Valley is famous for clouding up and trapping pilots on the ground for days.  But, my luck with the weather held, I just cruised right on through. 
I continued south until Eugene, Oregon, then I turned west and followed a road over the coastal mountains to the coast at Florence.   There were some scattered cumulous clouds below me;  I always enjoy flying over them.
A look down at the coastal mountains. 
There was this huge sand dune area when I reached the coast. 
 
The next thirty miles of coast were almost completely unpopulated.  It wasn't a Wildlife Refuge, National Park or anything else like that.  Just this big wide beach and me and my Citabria.  Yes, it's fly down the beach at low-level time!
Here we go!  The Citabria is really stable down at low level.  It's like driving down the highway in your car -- only safer. 
If I came to a populated area, I just popped up to 500 feet and moved out over the Ocean a little bit.
 
Around North Bend Oregon, the beach gave way to rocky shore. 
But it was very beautiful scenery. 
Talk about a house with a water-view...
This golf course was awesome.  It's out in the middle of nowhere. 
It's hard to see in this picture, but there were three para-windsurfers doing their thing on that inlet. 
Following Highway 101 on the southern Oregon coast.
Arcata Airport near Eureka, California (ACV) - elevation 221 feet.  I stopped here for gas but that was all they had.  There wasn't even a terminal building.  It was really surprising considering the two big runways.  I rang a  buzzer on the side of a shack, and two guys showed up and fueled the Citabria.  There wasn't even a phone.  There was a porta-potty, thankfully.  I really wanted to file a flight plan for the next leg, so I flew about ten miles south to Murray Airport (EKA) - elevation 7 feet- and landed there.

They had a nice terminal building which was staffed and had all the usual amenities.  It also had a restaurant!  I had a big cheeseburger and lots of lemonade.  Take my advice, if you're in the area, stop at Murray and not Arcata. 

I left Murray around 1:40 PM and turned inland to follow Highway 101.  On the chart, the coast looked very unpopulated, with no road alongside, no beach, and 5,000 feet mountains right at the edge.  I really didn't want to fly there for any length of time, although later on the coastal route improved and I could have cut back over fairly easily. 
 
I took this picture to show the gravel beds that are formed at the river bends.  I think Bush Pilots routinely land on gravel beds up in Alaska. 
Flying over Highway 101, I can see the coast through a gap in the mountains.
I came to Clear Lake.  Although I grew up in California, I have never seen this lake before. 
It was getting a little warm in the afternoon, so I slowed the Citabria down, opened the side window, and just cruises over the lake at 80 mph with my left elbow sticking out the plane. 
At the southern end of Clear Lake, I turned east.  I had only one last mountain ridge to get across and I would be in the famed California Central Valley.
Almost there.
zzz
Coming down out of the mountains, looking north.
Soon I was over lush, green, irrigated fields.
The Central Valley was hot, though.  I slowed down and opened the side window again.  I was only 30 minutes away from my destination at this point.
Flat, farm country. 
Like everywhere else, Sacramento is expanding.  These suburbs are on Sacramento's north side.  Notice how brown things are when they aren't irrigated.
Today's destination, Cameron Airpark (O61) -- elevation 1,286 feet -- about 30 miles west of where my parents live in Sacramento.  I landed around 4:15PM.  I had made excellent time, thanks to a nice 10-20 mph tailwind almost the entire way.  Sacramento was hot, though.  It never got below 100 degrees the three days I was there.
Cameron Airpark Terminal.  It was always locked during the three days.  But they had a self-service Avgas pump with the lowest prices in Sacramento and that was all I needed. 
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