Weekend Getaway: A 3-month Outlook!

Monument Valley, Pagosa, and Bryce Canyon

by Craig Albright, Cirrus N857CD @ KCHD, CFI/II


It’s been quite awhile since our last Weekend Getaway.  Although we don’t lack for interesting destinations, we have a dearth of Trip Leaders!  It seems that my retirement schedule is busier that it ever was while I was working.  Periodically, my wife remarks that I’m “failing retirement”.  Hmmmm…  What’s the solution?  We need some additional Trip Leaders.  Folks, planning these things isn’t particularly difficult.  Unfortunately, I simply don’t have nearly enough free weekends to dedicate to the flights, themselves.  So, I have a proposition for you.  If you are interested in going on the trip, how about being “lead bird” in the gaggle?  I’ll do the preflight coordination and planning, and if I can’t go, you take lead position in the flock while in the air and on the ground.  Together we can create more aviation fun for more people.  And, that’s what Weekend Getaways are all about!  If you’re interested, please contact me:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 480-776-9358 (cell).


Since I’m already busy in April, I’ve mapped out three consecutive months of Getaway events starting in May.  I bet that everyone can find something that piques their interest!


May 17-18:  Monument Valley, UT  (UT25)

Would you like to see some of the most majestic scenery in the southwest?  Join us for a flight up to Monument Valley.  It’s a story-book location, well-known for its famous Southwestern landscape and Navajo Indian culture.  Monument Valley was the setting for many of Hollywood’s classic western movies – think John Ford/John Wayne era of movie-making.

2014-04-10 monument-valley


Just over the AZ border in southern Utah, Gouldings Lodge and Trading Post were the only nearby “civilization” back in the day.  When I first visited there, the runway was half dirt/half asphalt.  Now, the 4,000’ runway is plenty long.  And, it appears that meals no longer limited to a small café.  Although I have to work out the details, I expect that we’ll stay at Gouldings.  (From the various websites, it looks like the entire place has had a facelift since my wife and I visited there many years ago.)  This trip is only 238 nm. from Chandler Municipal.  But, because of the timing, I expect most of us will stay overnight.  There are guided ground tours we can take (in large vans).  And, after arrival (over lunch?), we can brief our own “flightseeing” tour (e.g., aircraft sequencing, comm. frequency, specific sites/locations to be seen, etc.)  The airport, itself, is private but readily accessible to the public by sending them some advance information.  They don’t have fuel; plan accordingly.


June 21-22:  Pagosa Springs, CO  (KPSO)

 There’s nothing like soaking in some mineral hot springs to relax away your aches and pains!  And, Pagosa Springs, 35 nm. ENE of Durango in SW Colorado, is a great place to do it.  When my wife and I were there a few years ago, we thought Pagosa Springs was a funky little community with the potential for a weekend of fun.  You can see a few of the possibilities at this website:  http://www.visitpagosasprings.com.  Admittedly, I think one of the best times to enjoy natural hot springs (courtesy of Mother Nature) is in the winter, tip-toeing over snow-covered ground to peer into a steaming pool.  However, we need to arrange our Getaway trips a month or two in advance, and planning winter flights in mountainous areas is always subject to last minute changes!  So, we’ll shoot for a Getaway visit in late June.  Being at 7600’ MSL, Pagosa Springs should be a wonderful escape from the AZ heat.  Since this destination is 335 nm. from Chandler, AZ (KCHD), this will be a 2-day trip.  We’ll fly up in the morning on Saturday, and spend the remainder of the day (and evening) enjoying what Pagosa Springs has to offer.  Your departure time on Sunday is up to you and something we can discuss as the planning evolves.


2014-04-10 pagosa


July 26-27:  Bryce Canyon, UT  (KBCE)

 What’s a “hoodo”?  Sure, you could look it up on Wikipedia, but why not fly up to Bryce Canyon with your APA friends and find out for yourself?  As you can see from the photo below, the place is a photographer’s paradise!  So, bring a fully charged camera with lots of digital media to capture some of the incredible vistas.

2014-04-10 bryce

Although our more adventurous (and physically fit) members would certainly enjoy hiking down into the canyon, itself, I’m looking forward to a more casual walk along the rim trail.  Bring a daypack!  We’ll buy some box lunches and enjoy eating outside with the breeze on our faces.  And, since we’re not flying until the next day, a little wine with lunch is always a possibility…


If you’re interested in joining us on any of these Weekend Getaway trips, please send me an email ASAP.  I need to get an idea of how many people are interested in which trips.  Plus, these trips require overnight accommodations that will need to be made in advance.  (I’ll attempt to negotiate a group rate; you are responsible for making your own reservation at the selected lodging.)  Of course, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’ll post additional, trip-specific information as we get closer to each event.  For now, just reserve the time on your calendar and let me know of your intention!


Small caveat…  As is the case on all of our Weekend Getaway Flights, you are PIC and responsible for all aspects of flight planning, including (but not limited to) weather, routing, and aircraft performance.  The go/no-go decision is entirely yours!  As volunteer trip leader, I’ve selected a destination and will arrange a few details like ground transportation and possible restaurant (or lodging) reservations that do not involve money.


An aside…  Remember that APA events like this are tax-deductible!  And, membership is only $25/year!  So, if you have a pilot friend who would also like to join us, have him/her become a member prior to the trip.  They will save more than their membership fee on the very first flight!


Blue skies & tailwinds,



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