My Mentone Adventure!


Gyroplane CFI
Oct 30, 2003
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Several people asked me about the drive to Mentone so if you only want to read about the PRA Convention at Mentone this is not the thread for you.

I wasn’t going to go to Mentone because I had a friend who was visiting the USA and scheduled that week to get his gyroplane rating to add to his Commercial Helicopter Rating.

Plans changed when the TSA did not give its ok in time.

As soon as we were certain of the failure of the TSA I reserved the same Avis 2017 Prius that I used to go to Rotors over the Rockies. It is cheaper by the week than by the day so I rented her for a week.

Monday I arrived at the hangar at 5:00am to organize things at the hangar (pre-stage) and Clancy (my friend at Avis) showed up around 6:20. Unfortunately the Prius had not returned so Clancy gave me a Yaris to drive back to the hangar so I wouldn’t have to walk the two miles back and forth. It is not nearly as nice as the Prius so I decided to delay my departure until the Prius was returned. Around seven Clancy called me to let me know it was back and he was still removing fast food wrappers when I arrived. Shortly the drive to Mentone was approved and I was cleared for takeoff.

As usual all the tires were overinflated so I took a few minutes to adjust the pressure so I wouldn’t feel like I was driving a wagon with wooden wheels. I had maps for both the northern route through Denver and the Southern route through Tucumcari and after checking the weather I went with the norther route. It took me a while to load things up despite the pre-stage so my departure was around eight twelve am Pacific Daylight Time.

I was out of the morning rush hour quickly (Santa Maria is about three miles long) and on the wonderful winding California highway 166. I only passed a couple of vehicles all the way to Maricopa and had lots of time to think and appreciate the drive.

Arvin was pretty quiet as I passed through and I only passed one truck up the big hill to join California 58 toward Tehachapi. I love running up the hill into the cleaner air (Mountain Valley Airport is 4,220 MSL).

Traffic got a little worse on the way to Barstow and continued all the way to Las Vegas on interstate 15. The traffic was much worse going the other direction so I made a mental note not to take the southern route on the return because I would be going through there Sunday afternoon.

I stopped for gas just north of Las Vegas and she took 9 gallons indicating that she wasn’t full when I started because her computer showed 51 miles to the gallon and it worked out to 47. After the stop things open up with lots of 80 mph speed limit all the way to interstate 70.

I love the drive up the hill and there were some very dramatic thunderstorms and heavy rains. It got a little challenging near Veil and I stopped to rest for a few hours.

Interstate 70 was closed for construction and I had to take the winding Loveland pass to continue.

I caught interstate 76 out of Denver and then interstate 80. I love driving across Nebraska. There is evidence of enterprise everywhere.

I got lost just outside of Chicago in some construction and then made my way down toward my motel in Rochester. I love all the small towns and back roads.

I arrived at the Rochester Motel at 1:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. It was hot, the air conditioner only had the one speed and it took a long time to stop sweating.

For those interested in numbers; it was 2,283 miles, took 32 hours and 24 minutes of driving time and buned 46 gallons of gas.

I love seeing the country and this was a particularly nice drive.

I headed out to the airport in the morning and the airport looked great. The women in the office were great and had everything ready because I had preregistered. I should have bought my banquet ticket then but I wasn’t sure how things would work out so I decided to wait till Friday.

I started wandering around and saw and learned a lot.

It was great visiting old friends and meeting new ones.

There was a lot to see and do.

I went to several seminars where the speaker didn’t show. It was fun to visit with the other people who showed up.

The pictures are random just to give you an idea of what was there.

The CFI meeting Thursday was particularly exciting for me and I learned a lot.

Friday’s events were exciting; I was a little disappointed to find the banquet was sold out.

I went back to the motel for a nap before the fireworks and returned to the airport for a show that was one of the highlights of the event for me. I could feel the explosions and my ear plugs only softened the impact a little. I will post my attempt at catching the show in my next post.

I never ran out of things to do and am grateful to all the people who worked so hard to put on the event. I love the airport.


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Gyroplane CFI
Oct 30, 2003
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Homeward Bound!

Homeward Bound!

I was off by 6:00am Saturday for the drive home. I caught Interstate 44 out of Saint Louis and loved the drive across the rolling hills of Missouri. I joined up with Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City and experienced their annoying toll roads. I was glad to reach the Texas Panhandle and felt a boost when I reached New Mexico thinking about catching some rest in Tucumcari about half way to home. I found a 28 dollar motel in Tucumcari and lay down till about 4:00am Central daylight time.

I loved the drive across New Mexico and Arizona going over the hill to Kingman is one of my favorite drives.

Traffic got ugly near Ludlow, California occasionally coming to a complete stop. The drivers were nasty and territorial.

I caught California 58 out of Barstow and soon ran into the smoke from the Sand Fire near Santa Clarita and the winds were quite strong. My car outside temperature read 112 degrees. I found it hard to see and breath and I worried about my friends in Santa Clarita. The antelope freeway was closed all the way to interstate 5.

The drive out 166 was nice and about 14 miles out of Santa Maria the temperature began to drop till it reached 71 degrees at the airport when I arrived at 8:30. If felt good after a week of high humidity and high temperatures.

Total distance was 4,359 miles and she burned 86 gallons of gas. Total driving time was 69 hours including driving around the event.


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