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2005 - Death Valley Trip to Furnace Creek
Date: December 11, 2005
So after a couple of weeks of not flying, Deanie and I
decided to take a short hop over to Death
Valley. The flight would also be a test of the "Clarity
Aloft" headset that I bought for Deanie for her birthday.
She had been complaining (now that she's flying with me on a regular basis) that
the Lightspeed 15XL ANR
headsets she's usually worn are too bulky and bother her ears and get in the way
of head movement.
From Tehachapi, we
climbed up to 7500 ft. and headed northeast towards
and the Trona gap between
The weather was great - scattered cirrus up high, bright sun, no wind to speak
of, and no turbulence. We wiggled our way through the
Trona gap and turned east at
Trona to get to the southern end of
Death Valley. We then flew
the 35 NM north up the valley to
(L06) - a 3000 ft. runway
at an elevation of -210 ft.
Visibility throughout the flight was well over 100 miles - we could see
Mt. Whitney and the
Sierras up to
the north northwest, the mountains near
Las Vegas to the east, the
Gabriels to the south, and LOTS of nothing below us :-). It
took about 50 minutes to get there - it's about a 3 hour drive.
We landed on runway 15, back taxied, and parked on the ramp (which seems to have
been designed by someone with delusions of grandeur - I think you could park 75
planes there at a time - there were 5 when we arrived). There's not a lot
there - a small room with a sign-in sheet, a telephone, and a bathroom. It
was dead calm there, and about 65 degrees with clear skies - absolutely
Peak towers to the west 11,000 ft. above the floor of the valley, and
there are mountains all around.
We walked the mile down the airport access road to the visitor's center, looked
at the exhibits, watched a slide show, and vowed to come back with a car and
camp out for a long weekend so that we can take some of the hikes and see some
of the cool stuff.
We the walked over to the hotel and had a light lunch in the restaurant.
We then walked back to the airport and got ready for the
flight home. After taking off in 1600 ft (they had a marking on the 3K ft.
runway saying "there are 1500 ft. to the end of the runway", so I knew about
where I was), we started a cruise climb to the south. There's no cell
phone service in the valley, and you can't pick up Joshua Approach below about
10K ft due to the mountains, until you get to the southern end of the valley.
We got Flight
Following, and headed back west through the
Trona gap at 8500 ft. Joshua
was busy, but no one was anywhere near us, so we had an uneventful flight,
pointing straight into the sun, for the 45 minute ride back to
beautiful, though :-). An uneventful landing on Runway 11, and another
good afternoon, thanks to the plane. 332 hours and counting.
N83MZ parked at the Furnace Creek Airport Ramp, looking East NorthEast
Marc and N83MZ, with Telescope Peak visible just to right (or left?) of left winglet tip
Deanie and N83MZ looking SouthWest, toward "town" of Furnace Creek, golf course, and Visitor's Center
Looking North from the road leading to the airport from the "town".
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Copyright © 2005, All Rights Reserved, Marc J. Zeitlin