Aug 03 2012

St Maries, ID -> Seattle, WA

The next flight of my trip was certainly the most beautiful of all the legs so far. I few from S72 (St Maries) to Oak Harbor (OKH) on Whidbey, Isl which is near Seattle (275 nm, 1.9 hrs).
The first 2/3 of the leg was over the “dry side” of the mountains which was flat with a lot of farming which looked like wheat.


As soon as I hit the mountains, ATC had me climb up to 11,000 ft which I thought was somewhat low for the mountains, but perfect for the viewing. The Cascades quickly rose up, and I was treated with views of snow capped mountains, Mt Rainer, and lush green ridges. Some appropriate music was selected for the Bose stereo headset and I relaxed to ride.

The Cascades quickly rose up, and I was treated with views of snow capped mountains, Mt Rainer, and lush green ridges. Some appropriate music was selected for the Bose stereo headset and I relaxed to ride.


Years ago, I remember driving from Spokane to Seattle across the North Cascades highway. It was amazing to travel from a almost desert environment to the top of the Cascades, then over the top to the “wet side” to be greeted to waterfalls, lakes and a lush forest in a matter of just a few hours. It is even more amazing to fly over the top of it and see the snow capped mountains from above. I would HIGHLY recommend flying this leg of the trip when you are in this area of the country.
Mike Collier met me at the airport??? which turned out to be a 25′ by 3000 ft strip of patched/cracked asphalt which was in desperate need of repaving. I had a hard time even seeing the strip because it was located just after a rugged cliff on the shore line, between trees and went down a hill. What fun. I am used to landing on a 200′ x 10,000′ runway in Charleston so this sort of strip is an exercise of “skill enhancement”.
Mike took me to a local park to look across the sound and see the mountains on the western side of Seattle. This is sure beautiful country!


Mike is building highly modified LongEZ?? if you can call it that now. It has Infintey retracs, Berkut style split canopies and a Berkut nose AND he wants to put a freaken rotary on it. It’s crazy that EVERY one I have met so far (except for Lee) wants to install a rotary. Naturally, after discussing the merits of the being a developmental leading edge test pilot for unproven engine technology in this application, he is now looking at a IO-360 for the EZ. It will certainly get him the air much quicker and safer.

On Saturday, it was off to the ferry to take a sight seeing trip to Friday Harbor which is about 15 NM NW of where I landed across the sound. The bridge at Deception Bay was a great place take some scenic pictures and it was off to the ferry for a 1 hr ride. Our first warning of problems was when we arrived at the terminal and found the ferry was going to an hour late due to a breakdown of another ferry on the route. Our ferry was going to take up the slack. After a beautiful 2 hr ride Mike and I arrived at Friday Harbor, had a great time driving around the island had some lunch.

wpid-20120806-223222-2012-08-3-19-18.jpg wpid-20120806-223047-2012-08-3-19-18.jpg

After a great meal,



and headed back to the terminal to find the ferry was going to be 3 hrs late (9 pm instead of 6 pm). We actually boarded at 10:15 and arrived back at the house at 1:30 am (instead of 7 pm).

wpid-IMG_2379-2012-08-3-19-18.jpg LOOK at the Zombies!

Overall, it was still a great trip. I felt like I was part Gilligan’s Island. What was supposed to be a 3 hour tour, turned out to be MUCH longer than expected, but still, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I met some great people while I was waiting. Mike was really fun to visit and the area/climate/scenery was terrific.
When I leave, I’ll fly back over the islands in 8 minutes what it took us almost 8 hrs to return from via ferry. After taking a few pictures of the the island from the air it will be off to Portland to visit Bruce Smith and Al Wick.

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