Phoenix, Arizona to Houston, Texas
Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
38Trip End Mar 30, 2013
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It was cold that night in Phoenix, but I was still surprised to find the wings and tail covered with frost. Leaving KRDD a few days before I had a coating of ice on the wings overnight and spent some time with cardboard and a plastic card cleaning it off. While at my brother's place for Christmas, we tried to find a plastic ice scraper used on car windshields but with no luck. As I was leaving yesterday, my brother's partner Lois loaned me the one from her car. I put it to good use that morning in Phoenix. I guess that ice scraper has now earned a ride all the way to Antarctica.
I headed direct to the Stanfield VOR (TFD) after flying under sections of the Phoenix Class B airspace. KGYR apparently has a very large active flight school; before takeoff I had to hold short of the runway for nearly 10 minutes while a string of Bonanzas from the flight school came in to land, or do touch-and-go’s. I picked up flight following from Albuquerque Center. Flying VFR east at 9,500 feet was a pleasure. The sky was clear with a few clouds below, and occasionally I spotted interested terrain or other features that are only apparent from the air (like a large open pit mine). Passing El Paso, the vast flat plains of Texas stretched out in front of me. Occasionally there were bumpy spots, but not bad compared to crossings I’ve made of similar terrain in Wyoming. As I proceeded east the tailwind got stronger; by the time I got to Houston it was 35 to 50 knots so I got the quick trip the flight plan said I’d get. Flying VFR this way, I generally follow Victor airways to stay clear of restricted airspace, unless the airways are inefficient; in that case I’ll go direct between VOR’s.
As I crossed the Navasota VOR (TNV) to start my descent into Houston’s David Wayne Hooks Airport (KDWH), the broken layer of clouds below me had congealed into solid overcast. As I was handed off to Houston Approach, I asked for and got an IFR clearance into KDWH via radar vectors to get me below the layer
Gill Aviation, the FBO at KDWH, arranged a rental car since the hotel was some distance away without a shuttle. My stop in Houston was a good intermediate stop between the west and Florida. It also gave me a chance to have dinner with an old friend from my days in Quincy, Illinois, whom I hadn’t seen since 1983. Reminiscing is engaging but sometimes sad reflecting on all the years that have gone by.