Saturday, December 22, 2012

Northbound 2012 Final Push Home

Day Six, Fly to Abbotsford

Coming out of Olympia we tried three different passes to get through the Cascades to the East and finally gave up.  A couple times I think we could have made it if I had known the way (had some local knowledge), but it was getting pretty low.  I wanted to get through because I had filed with Customs to leave the US just South of Penticton.  I was worried I would get in some sort of trouble, but there was no way to change the departure info.

We briefly considered going back to Oly (which was nice), but figured we'd find somewhere near the border to regroup and try to go to Abbotsford instead of Penticton.  I took a look at the nearest airports on the GPS and saw Arlington which sounded familiar.  It had gas so we headed in...

And found ourselves smack in the middle of a flyin!  They had gas AND a restaurant.  And they let us use their wi-fi to file more customs paperwork and all that big brother crap.  It was pretty fun, and the weather began to clear just as we had eaten and watched almost everyone else fly away. :-)

Day Seven, Fly to Watson Lake

We spent the night in Penticton, then blasted through Williams Lake on up the trench to Watson Lake.

I like Williams Lake.  Real mellow little terminal that has seen better days I think.  Easy to get gas, there are a couple ticket counters and waiting areas but all pretty much abandoned the two times we've been there and there are some tables so we've stopped for snacks a couple times.

Then we went up to Mackenzie to fuel up for the trench.  It was blowing over 20, but right down the runway so I didn't really notice until I got up on the wing to refuel and froze my ass off.  A Supercub taxied up and I waved to them that I would hurry (and I WAS!!!).  I walked over to them and it turned out to be Bob Breeden and Greg Swingle headed to Valdez for the STOL contest.  A couple (?) years ago the kids and I flew into Greg's wedding near the Knik Glacier behind my house in Palmer.  The Breeden's have had some Alaska adventures, including losing a Cub to a calving glacier.

Greg is a fun guy and makes great flying videos - search Vimeo or YouTube for "Ohio Bush Planes"

It was a smidge low coming out of Mackenzie but soon cleared up.  Pretty much.  We circled around near the pass in the trench for a while until we could see through a bit better, but it was wide open the rest of the way. This is the S end of Williston Lake.

They caught up to us at Watson Lake along with my friend John Payne who was ferrying a plane up from the states.  I didn't know John was around, but he recognized my plane (he's flown it) and texted me that they were spending the night at the Watson Lake terminal.  Jake and I had already had a restaurant dinner and were watching TV in a hotel room, so I told them to have a good time without us :-)

The next day was foggy and we waited around for it to clear up.  Following the road there are a couple high spots that weren't open so we had to backtrack a couple times to go around.  In my limited experience the lowest weather has always been between Watson Lake and Whitehorse.  The Canadian weather lady was really concerned - she kept trying to talk me out of going to take a look because I wasn't a local.  I finally told her "Look, I know what I'm doing. You might see me back in Watson Lake this afternoon, but you won't see me on the evening news."

Day Eight, Home!

We bought 600 dollars worth of gas in Whitehorse and filed with Customs for Northway.  I was in a hurry since it was late in the day and Northway Customs closes at 4PM I think so I got really frustrated using the Whitehorse terminals to file with US Customs.  Jake told me yelling "fucking government" probably wasn't such a good idea in a government building.  :-)

We had the nicest Customs guy in Northway. He told us "Your friends said they had to fly around a little to make it through, but there were here 6 hours ago".  John made it to Palmer via Fairbanks before we got home direct. In a plane that goes about 25% slower than mine :-)

The Customs guy waited until after he was supposed to be closed  for this Goose he knew was coming. He really was a good guy.

We wanted to get home so we just ran wide open the last 90 minutes or so and made it to Palmer.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Palmer Wind Storm

We've had one windy year in Palmer.  I don't think the winds this time were over 55 mph, which is not unusual in the winter, but is pretty strong for the fall.  The power was out for close to 20 hours.  Anchorage got hit a lot worse and had power outages for up to almost a week.

We had a tree down blocking the road, and smaller trees blocking both our driveways.

This one was pretty big - about 24 inches at the base.  It scraped a transformer and then lodged against the pole guy wire.  I'm not sure if the transformer was why the local power was out - it didn't look damaged.

Ants had gotten to the tree...  is "had gotten to" correct English?  Sounds OK to me.

I had to cut it into 5 parts so my tiny skid steer would pull it.

Jake did a good job hooking up chain to all the logs so I could drag them over to the woodpile.

Hanna showed up for the inspection tour :-)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Northbound Trip 2012 Part Three

Washington layover

Jake and I took a day to hang around Seattle.  I was surprised he'd never been there and was pretty sure (correctly) he would like it.

We had breakfast at my 'usual', the Soundview Cafe in the back of Pike's Market. Once a coworker and I were stuck by AK volcanoes in Seattle and another member of our party that I knew also liked the Soundview was waiting it out in Minneapolis.  I texted my guy in Minneapolis a photo of the Soundview cafe front door.  A few hours later I got a call... "I'll be at the airport in 3 hours to wait this out in Seattle with you guys".  We all had a great time for two days of volcano Alaska flight delays. :-)

Jake found a fellow traveler... quite a character.  That applies to both of them :-)

Then we took the ferry over to Bainbridge to visit my friend Jim, who gave us a nice driving tour and overpowered me to pay for lunch :-)

On the way back I had planned to visit the EMP (I've forgotten what it stands for - Experience Music Project ?) and the attached Sci-Fi museum, but had a sudden idea on the ferry... so I gave Jake the choice and we headed for the Underground Tour.  It was fun, but the jokes hadn't changed much from my original tour 30 years ago... :-)  Jake really enjoyed it. Well, I did too.  The tour guide was dressed like Rocky the Squirrel.

Then, since we were already in Pioneer square I was very happy to realize we were right next to Zeitgeist coffee which is great...  so a coffee break was in order!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Northbound Trip 2012 Part Two

 KPRB (Paso Robles, CA) to KOLM (Olympia, WA)

Day Three, Fly to Olympia

We launched hoping to get to Olympia but thinking it was probably too far for one day.  We landed at Red Bluff, Ca where they had the coolest upstairs airport view restaurant, then Roseburg, OR for gas and to check the weather. Roseburg's a real nice little town, the airport has a nice friendly FBO and we thought about staying, but a check of the weather led us to believe (correctly it turned out) that the weather was going to close in for a couple days so we pushed on.

We made it to Olympia, but apparently didn't take too many photos :-)

The FBO was great there (Glacier Aviation), but they didn't have tail tiedowns so Jake and I dragged the plane up on the grass and staked it down with our FlyTies, which are expensive, but we've used them a lot and they work great.  All we've tried them on is turf - I doubt they'd be too good in sand or beach gravel.  The FBO had really cheap rental cars too - only $25/day.

The tower controllers were very nice too.  They called me a couple miles out, said the wind had changed and did I just want to come straight in?  Heck yeah and thanks!

We toured the Evergreen State College campus the first day, then visited some friends where we dried out and Jake got a grudging cat fix from George the female feline.

Olympia was fun.  It drizzled a lot, but is very pretty.  I loved this bicycle growler carrier.

We stayed at the Governor Hotel, downtown with a view of the lake and Capitol and free parking.  It was just fine - easy to walk downtown and to the grocery store.

Jake liked the architecture...

And found some Art Deco details too :-)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Northbound Trip 2012 Part One

P08 (Coolidge, AZ) to PAAQ (Palmer, AK) 2012
We had a great time. 8 days and 26.5 hours in the air.

Here's our actual route, not too different from what we had "planned"  :-)

Right before we left, we noticed this RV that had a rough day - groundlooped.  Didn't get the wingtip or prop (surprise) but really tweaked the fuselage :-(

Day One. Fly to Paso Robles
Click here for Video to Blythe

Ready to Go

We flew to Blythe, CA and got gas. Uneventful other than I called the wrong airport in the pattern a couple times and got chastised by the FBO operator.  Jake got it on film so that's punishment enough.


Then we went on to Paso Robles.  It was a little over three hours and I was ready for it to be over, but we wanted to get there. We had decided to land at Paso because of the coastal fog we encountered last time, and sure enough we would have been delayed on departure for hours if we'd stayed in Santa Maria or San Luis Obispo. It turned out to be a good choice.  Actual tie-downs, nice FBO people, not too expensive of a car - now our current preferred Central Coast base of Ops.  :-)

San Luis morning fog

I let a Glasair rattle me a bit on final into Paso - he had called descending to the pattern from a few miles out and 5000 feet.  I told Jake "This Bozo is going to come screaming down on top of us because no one with a Glasair seems to be able to slow down.", and offered to stay clear until he landed (knowing he was faster), but he said he was going to stay out of the way until I landed.  As I turned a tight base, he reported on base and I snapped at him "Hey I'm on base do you see me?" and he said he was a mile behind me.  A One Mile Base...  Hmmm. About 30 seconds later I'm about to flare and he goes around.  So either he was a lot closer than a mile or he was going over 120 MPH. Whatever.

We drove down to Los Alamos to visit the parents of friends I've known since college.  We wanted to visit the Mom since her health has been questionable, but she was asleep so the Dad and Jake entertained each other.  They're both a couple characters so it worked out.  I really like the Carrari's - they were both really good to me when I was in school and he is is a very hard working, self made and entertaining guy.

Day Two, Central Coast Visiting

We went up north of San Miguel to visit our Uncle Burt and Cousin Lousanna.  It was quick trip - they had to leave and we had dawdled in SLO a bit leaving.

We visited another of the Carrari's on our way back to Paso Robles, my friend Tina's big brother George.  Another very nice and very hard working Carrari.  He's visited us in Alaska but I hadn't seen him in almost 20 years.

We had dinner with our old friends the Orcutt-Clenards but apparently they don't warrant a photo anymore.  Old news, lol.

Breakfast in SLO on our way out of town.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jake's Videos

I thought I'd put up links to some of Jake's videos.  He's called most of the trip from Palmer to AZ "PAAQ to F70" and the trip back "The Trip".  Neither Vimeo or YouTube are easy to search particularly since I'm never sure if he's going by "Jacob Fredrickson" or "SaveTheCroissants".

He makes great movies so check them out:

Palmer, AK to Coolidge, AZ 2011 by YouTube episode:


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AOPA ASNV Activities

 I'm the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Airport Support Network Volunteer (ASNV) for the Palmer Airport (PAAQ). Laughing Out Loud (LOL).

I'm not quite sure how this will play out - I was unable to get most of my desired agenda adopted when I was on the Palmer Airport Advisory Commission. Hopefully I can be a little more effective with the support of the 400,000+ member strong AOPA.

I've been mentioned in the last couple AOPA magazines for my efforts on behalf of Alaska Aviation: