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American Scrapbook April 2002

A few words of explanation about the photos in the American Scrapbook.

These shots were taken during my recent trip to Ca, I hired a Cessna 172, a four place light airplane from an operator based at Van Nuys airport near Burbank LA.

Van Nuys claims to be the 6th busiest airport in the US, and the busiest catering purely for General Aviation, mind you what they call general aviation included Gulf Steams and other exotic jet aircraft which would normally carry up to 200 people on their way to Spain however this is Hollywood!

Madge and I left Van Nuys and headed up the Ca coast via Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Morrow Bay (the place with the rock) Hurst Castle at San Simeon, Piedras Blancas (old light house) the pacific highway to Bug Sur (large mountain on the coast) over the Carmel Highlands into Monterey total flight time just over 2 hours for 230 nautical miles.

We spent the night in Carmel, visiting "The Post" the US equivalent of "The British Legion" same set up pretty grotty bar and cheap drink, complete with country and western singer!

Next morning it was off to San Francisco, flight time about 40 minutes, routing across Monterey Bay and believe it or not over a little airport called Bonny Doon perched on the side of a mountain called Ben Lomond. landing at San Carlos a couple of miles south of San Francisco International we caught the train/taxi to Fisherman's Wharf, hence all the shots of San Francisco and Alcatraz.

Back to Carmel before dusk and a quick call to Rae she's the white haired lady in the restaurant photo. She left Scotland in her early teens when her family immigrated to Canada, I really enjoyed her company, she works as a court stenographer, remember Perry Mason, I had never met a real live stenographer it was a privilege, and she insisted on treating us, Scot's abroad and all that!

Next morning it was back to LA, Madge had to go back to work, but we did get some good shots of the trip back, flying above the clouds with the Coastal Mountains on our left.

Moreland and I set of from Van Nuys the next morning for Vegas, it poured with rain on the way there. Which is why there are not too many shots of the Mojave Desert, I was a bit busy trying to keep clear of Edwards Air Force Base, the yanks are a bit touchy after September 11th.

About an hour into the flight the weather improved and under a somewhat leaden sky we approached Las Vegas North airport. After touch down the FBO (that's what they call the chaps who fuel and park your plane) arranged a stretched Limo (complete with blacked out windows) to take us to the Bellagio. The Bellagio is the big hotel in the photos with the dancing fountains which were switched off each time I took a shot but as you can see out of this world.

Vegas is somewhere everyone should go just once, its Vulgar, Brash, Noisy, but it's fun. Moreland and I took in a show, George the production is awe-inspiring, like something from a '30s Hollywood film.

From Vegas it was off to Plan Springs a two hour flight over the desert, I have included a couple of shots. The view which I tried to capture but failed to do it justice was that approaching Plan Springs over the Joshua Tree National Park (the Taylor girls have been there) with the desert below and an eleven thousand foot mountain capped with snow filling the windscreen.

Palm Springs is a complete contrast to Vegas, restrained gentility, not a blade of immaculate grass out of place, with irrigation systems which seem to sense you walking down the pavement (not many Americans do that) only to spring into life as you draw abeam the water jets.

We spent the afternoon in Palm Springs with a couple of hours in the Air Museum, a private collection owned by a guy called Pond. The Flying Fortress which you see in some of the shots is still operational, I spent time talking to some guys who had flown them in Europe during WW11, they were the lucky ones!

A quick 30 minute flip to a small airport called Redlands, little more than a Tarmac Strip in an orange grove, however I had called ahead, and a guy called Bertram Crosbie arrived to collect us. Bert is another ex Troonie again his family immigrated in the 50's, I had contacted him as I had Rae via the Jeanie's Jotter site and asked if he would like to meet up. He and his wife Julie fed us and gave us a bed for the night, Scot's, wha's like us!

Bert spent 20 years in the LAPD, and his dad ran a ex pat pub in Santa Monica, before retiring to Palm Springs, the pub trade in the US must be a deal more profitable than in Kilwinning!

Friday was our last day, and on the way back to Van Nuys we stopped in at Chino (who's other claim to fame is a large prison), but I called in to visit a couple of famous aircraft collections, again numerous pictures of aircraft on the site. All these airplanes are kept in operational condition and many are privately owned.

That was it, about 1500 miles in 5days, 13 hours in the air, it's the way to see America.

Please enjoy my photos.

Grahame Taylor

June 2002

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos


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