Pine Mountain Lake

Page 1 of 3

Page 1      Page 2      Page 3

After a terrific flight up to PML the pilot and co-pilot decided to relax on the deck of the B&B. Of course, what does he pick up to read - plane magazines!

A candid shot of the 'goofy looking babe with running shoes and black capris pants'. We certainly weren't breaking any fashion records out there.

The Story

After such a fabulous visit to Pine Mountain Lake (PML) in September Shane and I decided to go back and visit this flying getaway. We departed Watsonville mid-afternoon on a glorious warm, sunny day. As usual, Shane had taken the time to plan the flight and we had various check-points along the way which I happily tried to spot along with Shane. We had a very quick flight into PML and once we landed we followed the airport park map to our B&B for the evening.

After relaxing for a couple of hours we headed into town to buy some breakfast supplies, wine (yes, I know it is a B&B - I'll explain later) and find a restaurant for dinner. We selected the Iron Door Saloon which was where we ate the last time. This is an authentic gold rush saloon, complete with mounted moose and bison heads on the walls. They also make the best strawberry milkshakes!!! We enjoyed our dinners and watched the last half of the NCAA semi-final game with Duke and Maryland playing. As you know, Shane and I detest basketball, but we have a
'friendly' bet on the entire NCAA series going right now and our interest was strictly in whether Shane would advance to the last round or not. He did - I'm out.

The rest of the evening was spent back at the B&B with a roaring fire (apparently their firewood is much drier that ours). Shane read Pilot Getaways and Laurie found a book in the book case. With the daylight savings time change occurring that evening we made it an early evening. In case anyone forgot I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS.

On Sunday morning we headed out to the PML golf course at 8am for our 8:45am tee off. As Shane put it to Jim that joined us, 'we are social players'. To my relief Shane stopped scoring after the second hole (I just couldn't keep track) and we thoroughly enjoyed the game - both having some really good and not-so-good shots.

After golf we stopped in at Corsair which is the eatery that the B&B gave us a $10 off coupon to use for a meal. Then it was back to the plane where Shane spent a good chunk of time fiddling with the oil (ask him) on the plane before taking off for Santa Cruz. 

Shane here: "Fiddling with the oil" actually means:

  1. Measuring the oil during the preflight and deciding an extra quart was warranted.
  2. Walking back up the hill, calling our host and asking him if he'd sell me a quart.
  3. Searching through the hanger for a quart of oil of the correct type.
  4. Walking down to the plane, getting the ladder out and climbing over the cowl to get at the oil cap.
  5. Dropping the oil cap into a small gap between the cylinder heads when I found out the retainer chain for the cap was broken.
  6. Munching my hand into the gap for about 2 minutes till I managed to squeeze the cap out.
  7. Looking at the oil insert hole and deciding I needed a funnel to avoid spilling the most expensive oil I've ever bought.
  8. Walking back up the hill, and searching the hanger for a funnel.
  9. Walking back down to the hill, and pouring the oil in the plane. 
  10. Walking back up the hill to return the funnel.
  11. Walking back down to the plane, cleaning up, putting the oil lid back on, and removing the broken retainer chain.

So there!

We got a weather briefing before taking off and thought there was going to be some difficulty getting into Watsonville because of the cloud cover. Ceilings were high enough (between 1500 and 2000 feet), but a vast stratus layer blanketed the area in the immediate vicinity of the airport. We devised a backup plan to land at an airport with good weather in case conditions didn't improve. Having a large number of airports in the San Francisco area makes this a very easy task. We then departed, and used in-flight radio calls to the flight service stations for regular weather updates en-route. When we got close to the area of our destination, approach control helped us out by asking other pilots to relate the conditions they had seen in the area we were headed. As it ended up, we had no trouble at all as a helpful pilot related that there was a way into the airport via the coastline. We skimmed over the hills and above the clouds, then descended in clear air over the Pacific Ocean until we were under 2000 feet. We were then able to come in under the cloud layer and into the airport. What a wonderful weekend!!!