We decided to skip Carlsbad Caverns (due to strong and gusty winds still forecasted for KCNM) and fly to small Ozona,TX town which will bring us closer to Corpus Christi,TX (our next planned stop).
We took off from Marana at approx. 6:40 (just after sunrise) hoping to achieve this way relatively smooth ride over the mountains. This part worked indeed very well, the air was very smooth almost all the way to Las Cruses. The only drawback of taking off so early and flying east was that during the first 20 minutes or so when the sun was relatively low we could hardly see anything - pretty scary especially when flying towards 8000+ feet mountain peeks.
By the time we got to Las Cruses the wind has already picked up to approx. 15 knots with gusts. After landing we had a "follow me" cart that showed us the way to the parking place. The lineman told us that this part of year is very windy (the airport restaurant was called "Crosswinds" ). After a breakfast and weather briefing we were ready to go to Ozona. Within the hour since our arrival the wind has already picked up to 20 knots with gusts. Takeoff was not as smooth as earlier in the morning from Marana, the same with the mountain part of the route, it was quite bumpy and I had to constantly correct heading and attitude to stay on course and at the desired altitude.
Things got much better when we got to Texas. We landed at Ozona without major problems, although the wind was also quite strong and a bit gusty.
The Ozona Municipal airport is open from Mon to Fri only, but before leaving Las Cruses we called the number that we looked up in the AF/D and arranged that someone would actually come over when we arrive, When we announced our arrival on Ozona CTAF the lady has answered that she was already on the way to the airport. We received very nice welcome, refueled the plane, got courtesy car (70's Cadillac!
) and got recommendation for a reasonably priced nice motel. What more would you expect... well, the lady also recommended us a very nice local Texan style restaurant (located in the former ship barn)!
Tomorrow (if the weather permits, the front is expected to come over Texas) we would like to get to Corpus Christi,TX.