Jeff celebrated his flying license renewal with a flight from Paradise to Mendocino.Joe and I joined him on the runway as Barbara clicked our picture. We filled the three seat Cessna 172, so she decided to wait for another day.


As we sped down the runway we could see a collection of RVs near the hangers. Maybe these were Camp Fire survivors' temporary shelters.



We took off and headed west following the Skyway and saw some homes overlooking Honey Run. Mount Shasta was far off on the horizon to the east, a spectacular clear day in the valley.



Soon we were flying over Chico with views of the city below, with the Sacramento River further west and the Sutter Buttes to the south. Jeff continued on his course across the foothills towards Lake Berryessa, the coastal range, and Willits.



The clouds were thick over Mendocino, so Jeff searched for a hole in the clouds to drop down to the Little River airport below Mendocino. Through the clouds we could see the coast, some farmland, and the airport. It was a welcome sight, a smooth landing, and a chance to stretch and take a potty break.




After a few minutes we were back in the air checking out the coastline. We saw Mendocino, Little River, Albion, and the Novarro River outlet and beach before circling back and landing at the Little River airport waiting for the clouds to clear.



It was amazing to be have reached the coast and seen many of our favorite sights in a few hours instead of the usual several days of driving the curvy mountain roads. As soon as the clouds cleared a bit, we took off climbing to nearly 9,000 feet and crossing Snow Mountain and nearby lakes, before dropping back down to the foothills and valley.



Then we landed at the Willows airport for a lunch break before return flight to Paradise.



The trip back to Paradise took us over farms and flooded rice fields, then over the housing area on Tuscan Ridge where the workers who had cleared the debris from the Camp Fire in Paradise had stayed. Jeff plotted a bee line to the Paradise airport, made a textbook landing and taxied back to the hangar for another flight some other day. For me it was a great adventure and an early Christmas present. Thanks, Jeff, for a Merry Christmas.




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