Trip to the Pacific NorthWest


I departed Smith Ranch Airport (CA35) at 0755 on 7/29/11 direct to Willows Glen Airport (WLW) flying over miles of rice fields and then on to Redding Airport (RDD) for fuel. Lunch was had at the Kla- math Falls Airport (LMT) and I was held up for takeoff for 6 minutes while 5 F16s made their approach and landings. After heading North I turned West at Cresent Lake Airport (5S2) and flew down a beautiful green river valley to Hobby Airport (77S) in Creswell, OR in the Willamette Valley for fuel. I had planned to stay there that night but as it was early I continued North to Kelso, WA and landed there for fuel and motel. The bike was off loaded and I rode to town.

The next morning the rain began as it does in the green Northwest so I lay around and read from my Kindle 3 which saves me from carrying my usual large supply of reading material. After check out time I rode to the airport and arrived thoroughly soaked. There I talked with other weather held pilots and read a lot of flying related coffee table books in the flight office.

Finally at about 1530 I decided the weather to the North was better than that at Kelso. Flying North up and over US I 5 at 2000 msl the weather did get better and skirting West around Seattle I landed at Everett WA, Paine Field (PAE) full of parked Boeing aircraft for fuel. Then heading West after contacting Whidbey Island Naval Air Station ( NUW ) for clearance I flew on the Friday Harbor Airport (FHR) and landed about 1900 in welcomed sunshine. I biked to a near by motel and down to the waterfront for dinner. And so to bed.

The morning of Friday, July 22 was spent biking around the harbor and then at 1100 I went to the UFO’s (United Flying Octogenarians) luncheon at the airport. There I talked with a group of old pilots and met Ernie Gann’s widow an active pilot with whom I sat at the
same table. Ernie Gann is one of my favorite authors specializing in flying stories. In the afternoon I took the ferry to Anacortes where I rode into town for dinner.

The next day there was a small airshow at FHR and about noon I took of and landed at Lopez Island (S31) and at Roche Harbor (private) for lunch. After that I landed at East Sound on Orcas Island and then headed South to land at Skagit (BVS), where by chance, I met a UFO member and then on to Boeing King Airport (BFI) in Seattle where the FBO found me a fancy hotel. The next morning, Sunday July 24th, Grandson Patrick R. Mullen picked me up and we dropped some of my gear at Boeing Field and proceeded to Lake Union to view a wooden boat show. After that Patrick took me on a tour of the University of Washington above Lake Union were he attends during the school year and continues to stay in his fraternity house while working two Summer jobs of 45 hours per week. He looked very good and seemed pleased with his life.

For lunch we stopped the the original Ivar’s Restaurant on the Seattle waterfront. Then it was back to Boeing Field were we spent the remainder of the afternoon viewing the Boeing Museum of Flight. As I learned the weather might turn bad on the next day I elected to take off that evening and fly South towards Portland and cut East up the Columbia River Gorge intending to land at the Dalles (DLS).

Enroute I viewed Mt.St. Helens and the devastation. As I was flying up the Gorge I passed over a small airport surrounded by orchards and a nearby town, Hood River, which looked too good to pass up. At the airport, Jernsted (4S2), I was loaned a car and drove to town for dinner and hotel. The next morning thunder and lightning extended to the town from the West so I drove to an air museum next to the airport which I found to be a real gem. It is privately owned by Terry Brandt who opened up the new museum for me an hour early and gave me a personal tour. There were about 75 aircraft and about the same number of cars all of which were operational and in mint condition. Most of the collection ranged in the period between WW1 and WW2. Terry has flown all of the airplanes and his favorite is a 1918 Curtiss Jenny.

As the rain had stopped by then I took off in a strong West wind and headed out of the Gorge and then turned South. The flight was very bumpy so I flew rather slowly. To relax a bit and refuel I stopped at Madras, OR (S33). From there it was to Chiloquin (2S7) for pie and ice cream.

The next stop was Willows (WLW) for fuel, but this time I walked over to the nearby Walmart for exercise. Then I traced my way back to my home base, Smith Ranch Airport (CA35), arriving about 1700 on Monday, July 25. It was a great trip and Cessna Cardinal N29520 performed just perfectly.

Totalflyinghours:16.7 Totalfuelconsumed:151gal.Totalcost:Toomuch!

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