Plane Camping


N9472C parked on the side
of the strip
N9472C parked on the side of the strip
(click to enlarge)

This weekend, my wife Lynne and I and our two good friends Steve and Jenny Fulling went camping--with our plane. This is easily the funnest thing I've done with a plane in all the time we've owned one. I enjoy camping and love flying, so put them together with a beautiful spot and you can't get much better than that.

We flew to a little place called Garden Valley Idaho, about 300NM northwest Salt Lake City. They have a nice grass strip (U88) that's nearly 3000 feet long with camping facilities right on the airport. When I first described this to my wife, she thought of a typical asphalt tarmac, but with the grass strip and the Payette River flowing right next to the airport, it's very nice.

My first landing on a grass
strip
My first landing on a grass strip
(click to enlarge)

We left early Friday morning and enjoyed a pretty nice flight all the way--although we did have to dodge some clouds near the Utah/Idaho border. Getting four people, enough fuel, and all our gear in the plane took some careful planning, but we managed to do it and meet our weight restrictions after leaving out a few chairs.

Landing on a grass strip is a little disconcerting because it just doesn't seem right. The airport is beautiful and the camping spots were great--grass, tables, and grills. There was a 180/185 fly-in at the airport, so it was fairly crowded, but it was fun to have some activity and lots of beautiful planes to watch.

Causeway in the Great Salt
Lake
Causeway in the Great Salt Lake
(click to enlarge)

Camping was just plain, fun: lots of good food and relaxation. Saturday after we broke camp, I went up in the plane to practice my own first grass strip take-off and landing.

We stopped in Mountain Home for fuel on the way home. Despite it's name, Mountain Home isn't in the mountains, but rather the desert. We flew west of the Salt Lake Class B airspace on our way back to Spanish Fork Airport (U77) which takes you right over the Great Salt Lake. Flying over the Salt Lake is pretty interesting--lots of weird colors.

I've got more pictures of the trip in my gallery.