How we ended up in Bakersfield

Saturday morning at Santa Paula: We delayed our departure northbound in the RV7 several hours waiting for the southern California ‘June Gloom’ to dissipate. I’ve learned that ‘June Gloom’ is the annual phenomena that happens right on schedule every year in southern California. The wind coming off the cool ocean water forms low clouds that push inland against the mountains forming the Los Angeles basin. The low clouds can stick around most, if not all day long.

At time of departure Oxnard and Point Mugu were broken at 3800′ and Santa Barbara broken at 3900′.  We departed Santa Paula cautiously optimistic at the possibility of flying up the California coast all the way to San Francisco.

Flying west out of the valley, we turned right and headed up the beautiful coastline. We could see clouds ahead but hoped to find a way over or under them. Needing to transit the Santa Barbara Class C airspace and Vandenberg’s restricted airspace just beyond, we contacted Santa Barbara approach about 30 miles south. All the while, we’re descending to stay underneath. When we hit 900′ still descending and it was obvious the clouds ahead were way below our altitude, a decision needed to be made. With only obscured mountains to the right and ocean to the left, a 180 was our best option.

Hightailing it southbound to Oxnard Airport

What a hoot to find this Champion 402 Lancer, tandem seat Champ, twin-engine sitting on the ramp at KOXR. It’s a derelict old bird at this point, sitting outside on the ramp for who knows how many years. The two 0-200 Continental engines and props are still hanging on the wings but it’s going to take an enormous amount of effort and money to get this old bird flying again.

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Being a Saturday afternoon, and no rental cars available, we were getting bored pretty quickly hanging out at OXR.

Northbound to Bakersfield

Don’t ask me how exactly we made the decision to fly to Bakersfield, but that’s where we ended up. Motels were cheap and available, the sun was shining, and a quick VFR on top flight got us there. What an incredible experience to fly over the rim of clouds – one side was a huge bowl of cotton and the other side unlimited visibility and clear, dry air. I’m thrilled we had the chance to experience this amazing flight!

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