I left in the afternoon of 6/1 and returned about noon on 6/25; 11,235 miles and 115 hours of flight time later. Route was: Georgia to Cut Bank, Mt. then up to Calgary, up the AlCan to Fairbanks, to the north side of Danali, then the South side and up Ruth Glacier and on to Anchorage. Some local flights, then down to the tip of the Kenai peninsula and up the south side over the glaciers. Then across the mountains to Tok and over to Dawson City of gold rush fame. We nixed a side trip up to Tuk on the arctic ocean due to fuel availability and weather concerns. Back down the Yukon River to Whitehorse. Backtrack a few miles down the AlCan to Watson Lake, then down the Trench to MacKenzie. The Frazier River Gorge took us into Vancouver (Boundary Bay). Next a trip over to Vancouver Island, a stop at Victoria and across to Bellingham and the USA. Down the Cascade range to visit every peak and overfly Crater lake and Mt St Helens.  A short run up the Columbia River Gorge was mixed in.  Overnighting at Grass Valley, not far from Sacramento, we climbed out following I-80 and over the Donner pass to Tahoe with a stop at Reno. We wound our way across Nevada and Utah, overflying the Bonneville Salt Flats and the Great Salt Lake. Up to Pocatello and along the Snake River before jumping off to West Yellowstone.. We overflew the park and made our way through the passes to Bozeman, on to Billings and at last out of the mountains!  A side trip to see Devils Tower and the Black Hills took us to Rapid City. From there across the Badlands, the prairie states, the rolling hills of Tennessee and back to South Carolina. We overflew Troy's STOL strip at JustAircraft.  It isn't crazy to go into that strip, it is utterly insane.

High points: Bill Wilcox's gracious hospitality. The Tower operator at Beaver Creek loaning us her car so we could drive to town and buy gas. John from the Flying Club in Prince George BC who loaned his tools and time to fix a busted cowl and the use of the clubhouse to overnight in. Flying up Ruth Glacier, the town of Seldovia, topping Crater Lake and Yellowstone. Canadian Customs people.

Low Points: US Customs Systems (the people are nice), Loosing primary electrical power over Iowa in IMC (the backups worked), Flying 9 hours into a 45-50 knot headwind in a 100 knot airplane.  Having to take off from Tok in a hailstorm to keep plane from being destroyed. A landing in 28G36 crosswinds. Brand new cowl got chewed up because it kept growing and deforming as it "aged".

I am working up a detailed travel log with pictures, but haven't figured out how best to share it. If any of you have any good ideas of how I can make it available to family and friends I would sure appreciate any advice.

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Amazing trip!  I'm completely jealous!  thanks for sharing it.

Once John or some other kind soul helps me figure out how to navigate posting a complete run down, I will share the entire trip with photos and more details. It took me 5 years of thinking and a lot of planning, plus semi-retiring to pull it off. My only regrets that I didn't stretch it out longer. But every time we stopped somewhere that was a "stop and chill out" kind of place we faced the decision: spend a week here in the rain, or push on?  What they consider good VFR up there is quite different from what the "VFR not recommended" wimps in the lower 48 consider to be good. 1 mile, and kind of clear of clouds is all it takes.  And often that is all that you get.  IFR up there is a very limited proposition in an 801 since the MEAs are extremely high - above what an 801 fully loaded can do- and the clouds are almost always icy. 

I am hoping that in another year or 2 to make a flight down the windward islands chain to visit some friends in South America. I had that trip all set up and ready to go, but called it off 1 month prior when everything economically collapsed in 2010.  But first I have to run up to New England to stop at Vt, NH, Mass, & RI in order to have TO &L all 50 states.  I always used to jut fly direct to Maine and never had time to stop in on those. Now it is a matter of "collecting" those last states in my logbook to have a full house. 


Sam McNair



If you write up your trip and publish it as a blog, then it can be accessed by anyone with the link and not just Zenith.aero members.  It will also be searchable with Google, etc., if a few key phrases are used such as "zenith.aero," "blog," and of course some key word of the subject of the blog such as "Alaska," etc.

BTW, if you passed over "the rolling hills of Tennessee" on the way to South Carolina, you must have passed by close to me!  My strip, TN66, is about 12 nm south of KCSV/Crossville, TN.  The next Alaska trip, stop by!  ;>)


Zenth.aero Forum Moderator

I tried the link. The only place I saw on the page to add files was a link to add  a single upload location.  No place for multiple photos. And the normal post allows for only about 3 photos to be attached, but not incorporated into the text with a total file size limit of only 7 MB.  Must I compose on line or  can I compose off line in MS Word and copy into the Blog?  Pictures in text or pictures attached to text file?  Like I said, I am TOTALLY ignorant about the process. Is there a step by step procedure available?  My intent is to write a narrative punctuated with appropriate photos that go into the text. Due to size limitations, and to make it into more "digestible"  sized pieces, it may well have to be in multiple postings.

I have been back and forth over Tennessee so many times over the years, that I have no doubt passed over Crossville.  It is not in my list of airports that I have operated out of though.  

As moderator, my editing software is slightly different, so just in case, another way to access blogs is to go to the top of any page, click "My Plane," and underneath the "Welcome!", you should see "Latest Activity," and under that "Share: Blog Post."  That will take you to a blog post page - at the bottom you'll see "More Options" where you can select who can see and comment on your posts.

Definitely pictures can be incorporated into the text - I've done it!  However, there are file limit sizes, so it's best to reduce hi-res pictures to more manageable sizes prior to uploading.  As to copying from Word, etc., I don't know - it probably should work but I'm not too savvy on the technical side - my experience is in simple editing!

You are correct, however, that a work-around for file size limitations is to "respond" to yourself and break it up in multiple posts ... not sure if the file limit is per post or per day, however.

Perhaps someone who has "been there, done that" with a long blog with pictures will chime-in with some practical advice!


Thanks. your post is a great motivator and shows what can be done, if one so wishes, with a homebuilt aircraft. Look forward to seeing more. 

WOW! That IS quite a trip! Really look forward to the full trip report. A year ago today I got back from a trip with my 750 to Tuk. I had planned to make a trip report but haven’t got around to it yet. Hopefully I will find the time to write it up and post it. To me it looked like this forum’s blog should work okay.

How do you have your backup instruments setup?  Vacuum system?  Secondary electrical bus with a dedicated battery?

I have a real problem with succinct and incomplete answers. So brace yourself for the description that follows. It has the what and they why as well. It is in MS Word attached. I have also attached the basic system diagram, and an illustration of the panel itself.

For flying IFR, I found it real cumbersome to try to use the center stick and switch radios at the same time. And you cant hold the center stick in your knees to use both hand to fold a map. Finally I wanted the panel space eaten up by cable operated controls, and the ability to remove the entire panel without having to disconnect and unrig every mechanical cable. So I converted to dual stick and added a center console for cable operated controls. 



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