This is a basic description of the second leg of one of the common XC routes from Diablo. This section covers the route from Savior Ridge to the Byron Airport. While there are certainly some good things to learn from this description and map (and a more detailed look from GE) don’t think you now have enough info to try this route without some type of escort. There are a number of obstacles not adequately explained in this description, but it’s a good start.
Once you’re on Savior Ridge, there are now a number of good landing options on the north side of Marsh Creek Road as it runs parallel to the ridge. After a few miles, however, Marsh Crk Rd starts vectoring away from the ridge. Before too long, it’s getting pretty far away, and you have to decide if you’re high enough to continue toward the dam, or should start flying closer to the road. There are no roads in the hilly terrain heading toward the dam, so following closer to the road is a requirement if your getting lower.
One of the better bailouts in this area is called the Y Fields. There are a couple of very nice landing fields at the intersection of Marsh Crk Rd and Camino Diablo. From the air, you will see Marsh Crk Rd take a sweeping turn to the north, toward Antioch, and Camino Diablo heads east from there in the general direction of the Byron Airport. There have been many long XCs after getting back up in these lower hills, so don’t give up.
If you’re still high in this area, don’t bother following the roads – head for the dam. The higher terrain around the dam seems to be a good thermal trigger area, and you may get high enough to fly toward the Byron Airport. You’ll be crossing over some unsavory territory along the way, however. The windmills in this area are thick, and the canyon with Vasco Road is steep. Be certain you can make it over these obstacles.
Once past these, however, there are plenty of easy landing fields. There is a road that intersects this final stretch with good retrieval access – just don’t get stuck in the large field between this road and the airport – you’ve have to hike it to either side if you land in the middle.
There is a serious danger zone (besides the runways themselves) at the airport. A sky-diving business is housed on the northwest side of the airport. They drop into a large field on this northwest side. Scary stuff to have skydivers and parachutists dropping in around you, so stay away for this end of the airport. The best place to land is in the southwest “crotch” of the runways, not far from the windsock. The nearby buildings offer shade and retrieval is fairly easy.
If you’ve made it this far on a early XC flight, you should deservedly feel good about yourself. While there are several other XC routes, this one may be the most common, and experienced XC pilots may be able to continue on.