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Settling In:

We spent our time in Lancaster doing all the crap things you have to do when you move, especially from state to state.  We dealt with transferring our driver's licenses and car registration from MA to CA with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles.  Lots of fun. While they had no problem with me, they made Deanie get a notarized marriage certificate from the state of MA proving that the name on her birth certificate and her current name on her MA driver's license, SS card, and just about everything else were the same person.  I was incensed at the lack of logic, and Deanie had to keep me from biting the clerk's head off.  She eventually got the paperwork from MA, and got her CA license.  We also switched our car insurance for both the Subaru and the new Audi to AAA of Southern California - they were very nice, and also afforded us rental insurance for our belongings.

I got a PO Box in Mojave (#1103 - zip code 93502), right near work.  Since I knew that we'd be moving at least twice more in the next few months, I only wanted to have to change mailing addresses once, not three times.  As mail came to us with the yellow forwarding stickers from the Post Office, I would either call, write, or log-in on line and change addresses.  I must have given 50 different companies our new mailing address.  You don't realize how many accounts/businesses you deal with until you move.  Some folks need a physical address - they won't accept a PO Box (the FAA, our 401K plans, etc.), so there will still be a few addresses that I'll have to chase around for a while.

One of the things that I needed to do during the month of September was my Annual Condition Inspection on the COZY airplane. I had been lucky enough to be able to keep the plane in the XCOR hangar at Mojave Airport, starting on September 4th, so I was able to work inside as I checked everything out, usually taking one day per weekend. Deanie would come along with her painting equipment and set up outside, painting the Tehachapi Mountains to the north of the airport while I worked inside. Just about the last weekend in September, I finished up and the plane was legal to fly again.

Deanie spent a lot of her time driving up to Tehachapi and looking for houses to purchase and/or rent. It was tough, as it's a 1 hour drive from Lancaster to Tehachapi, so she would pretty much blow the whole day every time she went. On weekends, I would head up there with her to look, as well.  We really didn't find anything that we liked, and since we had found out that we had gotten a furnished apartment up there starting on October 1st, we decided to lay off the house search until we were in town - it would make it a lot easier to look around.

While in Lancaster, we took in a movie or two, went to a AA baseball game (the Lancaster Jethawks, in their last regular season game) for $3, and went out to eat a few times. We also drove down to the "Devil's Punchbowl" in Pearblossom, CA and took our first hike.  Just a 1 mile loop, but it was fun and pretty.


On September 29th I flew the plane out of Mojave on the 10 minute flight up to Tehachapi and parked it out on the line. Here's a view looking north from the parking spot.
On October 1st, we packed up all the stuff in the apartment, stuffed it into both cars, and headed up to Tehachapi to move into our new furnished apartment at the Sierra Ridge complex off of Curry Street, just outside of the center of town. This apartment was a bit smaller, and had no garage, but Tehachapi's a LOT nicer than Lancaster, and this is the view we had off of our balcony.
Won't be there for long, as soon as the houses they're building there go up, but it was pretty nice to walk out to each day.

Work was going reasonably well - I was getting used to the place and the people, and they were starting to get used to me.  I had begun working on some small jobs, just to get my feet wet and learn the way things worked at Scaled. We were invited to a Halloween party at a co-worker's house in Agua Dulce - about 1.5 hours south of Tehachapi. This was a pretty big bash - probably 100 people showed up - many from Scaled, and many friends and relatives. Their place is up on the top of a 300 ft. hill, with 360 degree panoramic views of the area, and overlooks the local airport (which is absolutely gorgeous, as airports go). We had a good time, and Deanie got to meet some of my co-workers and their spouses.

We continued to look at houses, and continued to be discouraged - the size and quality of 99.9% of the houses in Tehachapi leaves a lot to be desired. Poorly designed, poorly laid out, crappy materials, poor workmanship - even when the location was great, the houses were almost uniformly lousy, and the two or three decently built houses that we did see were tremendously overpriced. We started thinking about buying land and building a house, so we also spent a lot of time looking at land parcels.

On the weekends, we hiked and flew places. We went to Big Bear Lake twice - once to meet prospective COZY builder, and once to meet up with a bunch of other COZY flyers in the SoCal area.  Big Bear is at about 7000 ft. elevation, nestled in a valley below 10K ft. mountains, about 100 miles from Tehachapi to the east in the San Gabriel Mountains. There's a good restaurant there for breakfast or lunch, and it's beautiful. Here are some pictures from our flight there and back.  Click on the pictures to see a full size view.

Just past Apple Valley

Looking southeast towards the mountains northwest of Big Bear. San Gorgonio Peak is visible in the background with snow cover.

East of Big Bear Lake and Airport

We've rounded the corner and are approaching Big Bear from the east. You can see the airport just to the east of the Lake, with the town just over the canard.

On Final Approach to Big Bear

You can see the airport dead ahead, with the town off to the right. We've just come from the other side of the airport and turned around to land. We're facing east.

Parked at Big Bear Airport

Here's the COZY parked at the Big Bear apron, looking north. Not a bad view....

Landing in Tehachapi

Here we are on short final approach, heading west into Tehachapi Airport. The town is off to the left.

We also flew down to Rosamond to get Brunch one Sunday at the restaurant on the airfield - the "Golden Cantina". While the food was decent, the service was abysmal. If we hadn't gotten up to ask what was going on at least two or three times, no one would have come to serve us, no one would have brought our drinks, and no one would have come to give us our check. Suffice it to say that the $0.03 tip I left was more than they deserved. The other reason we flew into Rosamond was to meet up with Royal Gardner, another COZY flyer who lives in Lancaster, but keeps his COZY in Rosamond in a friend's hangar.  Royal brought his daughter, and the four of us talked about airplanes and college for a while (since Zachary just started college, and Royal's daughter was just about the start studying Marine Biology, IIRC, we had some things to talk about). Royal's a really nice guy.

We've been trying to take a decent hike each weekend - we've gone up the Tehachapi Mountain Trail twice (once to the top of the road, and once to the peak).  It's about 2 hours up and 1 hour down, and it's nice and quiet up on top with a view of the Antelope Valley to the south and the Tehachapi/Cummings Valley to the north. Here are a few pictures from the second hike - you can click on the pictures to see the full size version.

Marc on Trail

Here I am in front of a clearing overlooking the Cummings Valley to the west/northwest. I'm guessing the elevation is about 6500 ft. here.

Deanie on Trail

Deanie in pretty much the same place

Tehachapi View

Here's a view looking North off the trail to the Town of Tehachapi in the valley.

Glider over trail

Here's a view of a glider that was flying around on the south side of the ridge, just over the trail we were on as we started our way down.

We also hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail (like the Appalachian Trail, but along the west coast - it goes from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Crest).  There's a section of the trail that goes right through the Tehachapi area, under the windmill farm.  We ran into a couple who had hiked all the way down from Canada, starting on June 24th.  You can see the journal of their trip, and then mention running into us on Oct. 23rd!  This (for us, not for them) was about 1.5 hours each way.

Strangely, we had NO trick-or-treaters on Halloween.... Deanie was disappointed - Halloween's her favorite holiday - and we had to eat all the candy ourselves.

On November 4th, we moved into a brand new house in town that we'll be renting for the next 9-12 months while we figure out what to do permanently.  It's a piece of shit - probably fall apart in 5 years - but it's not ours, so I really don't care.  It looks good now,

and it'll be fine for the interim.  We got our stuff delivered from MA to the house on Nov. 2nd, and we're about 80% done unpacking things as of November 19th.  Just Deanie's studio to go, really.

We found a decent piece of property and purchased it, but we're not sure if we're going to build on it or just hold onto it for a while as an investment.  It's in a nice section of Golden Hills West, but we're kind of holding out for something a little nicer, if possible - we'll see what happens.  For $65K, it's hard to go wrong in this market.

I've started car-pooling to work with a couple of co-workers - at a savings of $35/week, it's real money not to have to drive, and it's nice having company for the 1/2 hour.  I've flown to work a couple of times with them, which is kind of cool. I've also used the plane to fly Deanie to Las Vegas to catch a cheap commercial flight back east, and I'm going to go back to Vegas to pick her up on Nov. 21st.  75 minutes of flying vs. 4 hours of driving to Vegas (or 2.5 hours to Los Angeles, and no direct flight, or 45 minutes to Bakersfield and no direct flight and $300 more).

We signed up for the $10/mo. version of Netflix, so we'll be watching a bunch of movies.

Mostly, I'm amazed at how much I don't miss everything back east.  I love my family and friends, but there's so much new stuff to do, see, and be with, that we're having a really good time, just me and Deanie.

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Last updated: April 23, 2006