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Fly High and Fast – Vol II Chapter 17: Western Half of the USA – Part 2

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JJ Meehan
The Meehan Family

The first part of my adventure of flying the Western Half of the United States started in Cedar Rapids and ended in Reno Nevada USA in the summer of 1986.  I had spent 5 days in Reno renewing my Certified Flight Instructor Certificate (CFI).  I had spent a lot of time in class renewing my certificate but also at the gambling tables and I also enjoyed driving down to Lake Tahoe through Carson City Nevada.  The drive was very beautiful.

It may have been the desert scenery as I flow over the eastern half of Nevada but Lake Tahoe was and is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve been given the privilege to visit.  The water in Lake Tahoe has a very dark blue color that gives it a very majestic appearance.

I departed Reno for San Jose, and 3 days with my wife’s cousin John Terlisner, who was a teaching brother with the Holy Cross.  At the time he was stationed at high school in Mountain View, California.  As I departed Reno, I flow over Lake Tahoe for one last time.  What a beautiful place.

San Jose, CA USA was just about 1 and a half hours from Reno by air.  Brother (Br) John Terlisner was a great host and  treated me to a tour of San Francisco, CA USA that I will never forget.  We spent the next 3 days touring San Francisco.  We rode on Cable Cars, the BART, ate in Fishman’s Wharf, went up in the Trans-America Tower, visited and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, toured Point Look out shopped in the Embarcadero Center and much more.




After three days, I departed for Long Beach, CA USA.  Flight time would be about 1 and a half hours.  I would spend a lot of time in the Long Beach area a few years later when I worked for Rockwell Collins.  Jeannie, my wife and I also spent several vacations touring the Missions of California and also Hearst Castle which is south of San Jose, CA USA in Cambria, CA USA.

The California Missions are the source of California’s history in the 1800’s.  The Spanish Missionaries were the first to truly document the history of the area.

Los Angles Approach took me over Catalina Island, CA USA on the way into Long Beach, CA USA.


Long Beach, Los Angles, Riverside, San Diego California USA are fantastic for visitors.  You have Disneyland, the Pacific Ocean, and more activities that you can cover in a few days or even months.  We have made several trips to California and each time we find something new e.g., The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  On this trip, I arrived the day before my wife, Jeannie and our daughter Jenny.  They would fly out the next day and we would spend 3 days together visiting Disneyland, Sea World, Mexico, and several other places.  We also went back to Catalina Island for a day.  The following are pictures of a few of the places.

After three days of fun in the Los Angles, CA area, Jeannie and Jenny headed home and I took off for San Diego to see the grandson of Bob Kaldenberg from Albia, IA and then headed for Las Vegas, NV USA.  It was September 5th and the temperature in Las Vegas when I landed was 103 F (39 C) degrees.

The next day I was in the air at 7:00 am.  My flight plan took me over the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, though the Rocky Mountains to Pablo, Colorado, USA.  At the time it was still legal to fly down into the Grand Canyon.


After a late lunch in Pablo, Colorado, I was on the way home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa over Kansas, and Missouri.  The only violent weather that I experienced on the trip was just southeast of Des Moines Iowa near Albia, Iowa.  There was a cold front moving through and I had to detour north to Newton, Iowa before heading to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I landed just after 6:00 pm local time.  Total Flight Time was 26. 5 hours.  It was good to be home.

Please visit my Web Site for flying at “FLY HIGH AND FAST”.


Written by jjmeehan13

February 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Posted in Flying

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