All told, thus far, we’ve covered 4,215 nautical miles over 13 days and 46.7 tach hours, including several local flights. Our 63-year-old Pacer has been a paragon of reliability, never missing a beat. That’s comforting because our onward itinerary will be taking us to some spectacularly remote, wild places: Baja California, the Montana and Idaho backcountry and far-off Alaska. With that in mind, I’m making sure she’s getting the care she deserves. I changed the oil before leaving Minnesota; in Florida, Dick Karl’s longtime mechanic, Bill Turley, got us into his busy shop for another oil change and compliance with a recurring airworthiness directive. In Arizona I had Chandler Aviation fix a minor oil leak, and, in doing so, they discovered a cracked oil-
cooler bracket, a fractured generator mount and a few other squawks. It was a bit of an expensive pit stop, but understandably so; airplanes are going to break when you get out and fly them. The only thing worse, I suppose, is leaving them in the hangar.