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2013 Cross-Country Trip Day 11: Montgomery to Austin

Before the trip, Kelly and I joked about not having a detailed plan.  She’s a planner, so the flexibility of general aviation is not necessarily a plus.  We had a plan to get to Montgomery, but not really a plan for getting back.  A couple days before we needed to start our return trip, we started looking at places that were roughly 4 hours in the general direction of Seattle.  Most directly toward Seattle would be somewhere in Oklahoma, but there’s not much there and we’d just been there.  Instead, we decided to stop in Austin.  I hadn’t been there in over 10 years, and Kelly had never been there, so we decided that was a good choice.

The weather this morning was good, too, though it was already starting to get warm as we were loading the airplane.  I got a picture of the one other guy leaving the same time as us.

F-18 that departed just before us.

The proud mom of the F-18 pilot watched him depart–very fun.

Our first scheduled stop was Alexandria, Louisiana: a towered airport with a highly-rated FBO and cheap gas.  After leaving Montgomery, we had to deal with some clouds around our cruising altitude, but those cleared out after about 45 minutes, leaving just some lower broken-to-overcast ones.  As we neared Alexandria, it became apparent we’d need to do an instrument approach–our first of the trip.

The approach was easy, though the controller kept us very high before clearing us for the approach.  We ended up breaking out of the clouds before intercepting the glideslope, so the ceiling was fairly high.

Approach into Alexandria as viewed on the iPad

Approach into Alexandria as viewed on the iPad

On the ground, the line guy let us know that the self-service fuel on the other side of the ramp was much cheaper than fuel from the truck.  Wow, was he right!  The fuel price was so low, I had to take a picture.

Cheapest gas yet

When I got back to the FBO (where Kelly was feeding Cooper), it got even better.  They have lunch for $1: either a giant 1/2 lb. hamburger or red beans and rice, with pumpkin pie and chips.  That, the fuel, and the beautiful building with strong air conditioning makes this my favorite FBO to date.

Proud of my parking job

The rest of the flight to Austin was easy.  I was surprised how close we came to Houston, flying over the north end of Lake Livingston.

We decided to use Austin Executive airport, rather than the main airport, as it’s cheaper, easier, and not much further away.  Since we needed a car anyway, we got a cheaper hotel closer to the airport.

The “carport” is a great idea in Texas

We had a tasty dinner downtown and checked out Barton Springs.

Day 11 Route

Day 11 Route

Next: Day 12: Austin to Santa Fe

Previous: Day 6: Little Rock to Montgomery

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