Since I was going to meet my dad there, it felt like a great reason to fly there myself, and go visit the Grand Canyon while I was there.
I used the opportunity to try some new (for me) flight planning software:
Voyager from Seattle Avionics
While I've been having a few problems with it, which their support folks are looking into, it looked kind of slick, and its main feature for me was to have a chart with restricted zones, MOAs, and allow me to plot a few waypoints and routes through that space. Similarly, I was planning on flying a couple of corridors in the grand canyon which aren't very wide and easy to fly without exact GPS coorrdinates. In this case, it's a lot easier to set all those waypoints on a computer beforehand, and upload them in a handheld GPS (Garmin Etrex Vista Cx in my case).
This was all nice and good, but unfortunately, my Garmin Etrex died soon after I landed in Vegas, so I was never able to use the navigation routes I planned for the Grand Canyon. For the rest of the flight, it didn't really matter because the charts in the G1000 that the C182T I was flying, had, were more than good enough for precise off-VOR flying.
Anyway, I selected North Las Vegas airport instead of the closer Mccarran which can sometimes be too busy and would have delayed both my takeoff and landing, possibly by hours (I've heard that some days they only handled IFR traffic, even in VFR conditions). Since I flew there on a sunday, I was able to cut through the MOAs, and restricted zones, and didn't even have to tip toe around the Trona corridor. In a C182T-G1000, the flight was still slightly over 3H due to 20 knot winds going the opposite way (and incidently, I also had winds against me on the way back).
I used the dead time during the flight to play with the G1000 avionics, setup waypoints on the map, and flight plans while listening to the XM radio :)
Below are the few of the pictures of
flight from Palo Alto (KPAO) to North Las Vegas (KGVT)
The flight back, I did have to fly around the military and restricted zones as they were hot on a friday, and I don't feel too bad about it anyway because the shortcut area was having some mild precipitations, and 20 knot+ winds over the mountains, which would have made for a bumpy flight.
The entire flight was otherwise uneventful, and Garmin took care of doing pretty much all the flying :)
You can look at the few pictures of
return flight from North Las Vegas (KGVT) to Palo Alto (KPAO)