John & Anne Wiley

2018/10/20

Tripp Trips

“The only thing constant is Change,” say the sages. So it is that we’ve sold our magic carpet, the Cessna 172Q named “Tripp.” This stalwart steed carried us safely all over the North American Continent, over the Rockies, and over water to Newfoundland, the Bahamas, and Alaska. She’s now joined a younger family with plans to fly Europe and Africa. That’s her new “dad” waving goodbye as he takes her East.

5246 Tripp East

5246 Tripp East

Before the sale was finalized and she joined her new family, we took Tripp on a last local flight. It was a “soft” hazy day, somehow perfect for our brief farewell to a treasured friend and phase of our aerial explorations.

5122 Soft Finale

5122 Soft Finale

To further soften this transition, we got re-acquainted with the SBFC Tiger AA5B and our old friend “Flash” the C-172M. In fact, we’ve already been taking brief local flights in both of them though so far we’ve favored Tiger. He’s a little faster than Tripp and climbs quickly to the local peaks for views like this.

9421 Tiger Treats

9421 Tiger Treats

We’ll miss the easy comfort, broader photo options and stability of Tripp, but her departure has brought us one more gift.

170927 Trip East

170927 Trip East

Cash from Tripp’s sale helped us afford a trip East to the UK & EU. I envy the flight she’ll take there, lower and slower. Down where we used to fly so intimately with the earth but not bound by it. The flight to London was higher than in this pic, and fast, flirting with darker daytime skies at the edge of space. Happily our three week adventure brought home many new and very different memories that I’ll post about next.

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2018/07/14

Renton to Okotoks

We’d hoped to squeak between rainy season and fire season on this trip, but our plans were much affected by both – plus strong winds. So we were glad to get a Renton day with enough large holes in the overcast, to climb over the Cascades. If you’ve never been to that airport, like us you might enjoy seeing the large flock of Boeing 737s created there.

8430 Green Jets

8430 Green Jets

The brilliant green shrink wrap they arrive in, gives way to a spectrum of airline paint schemes. We saw a China airline one take off, presumably soon to be serving that market. Our more modest goal of Alberta began with finding a large hole in the clouds near Tapp Lake, where we could climb to cross the Cascades.

8435 Over the Top

8435 Over the Top

I enjoy tweaking Seattleites by calling this peak “Mount Rainy-er” in reference to the regional weather.

8466 Mt. Rainy-er

8466 Mt. Rainy-er

We saw glimpses through the clouds during the crossing, and even out on the prairie there were scattered clouds accenting the landscape with shadow patterns.

8483 Shadows & Light

8483 Shadows & Light

Due to fires, winds and thunderstorms we took a detour through the Rockies to Missoula rather than across Canada as hoped or our usual more direct route via Cranbrook. We fly “IFR” but not the type following imaginary lines in the clouds – for us it’s “I Follow Roads” for ease and extra safety. Near one summit was this magnificent river.

3972 High Rapids

3972 High Rapids

The river added an accent to the beauty of Missoula as we approached for a planned rest and fuel that we’d purposely kept light for easier climb over the Rockies.

8501 Missoula Break

8501 Missoula Break

The smoke was noticeable during our entire trip, but this route limited it to the thin haze you see here. On the ramp we passed the Neptune firefighter hangar where #41 looked familiar from tracking aircraft during the SB Thomas Fire.

164935 Thomas Vet?

164935 Thomas Vet?

On our taxi back out for takeoff was this tired P2 stalwart that started work with the U.S. Navy and retired out in this pasture as N96264 offering up useful parts after apparently working in SB at least once.

3993 Hard Won Rest

3993 Hard Won Rest

Back in the air now headed directly North to the cool airport community at Okotoks, more prairie sights enchanted us and reinforced our experience with the fascination of the flats.

8508 Great Circle

8508 Great Circle

Rain squalls along the Eastern edge of the Rockies further rewarded our decision to make the detour through Missoula.

4038 Rocky Ribbons of Rain

4038 Rocky Ribbons of Rain

The only rain we encountered in fact, was a downpour minutes after we landed. We waited out most of it before venturing out of Tripp and organizing for our visit as the sun peeked out.

210446 Omen of Fortune

210446 Omen of Fortune

The brilliant double rainbow arc went clear across the sky, to foretell an exceptionally wonderful family time. Our daughter and grand daughter drove us to their cozy home, stopping to pick up supplies and entertain us with a giggling bag hat.

154043 Pure Delight

154043 Pure Delight

During our stay we also joined up with dear friends we met in Santa Barbara, who now live in Boston. We planned to fly them around Banff and Jasper, but weather never cooperated so we all went to clamber on Big Rock instead.

4046 Big Rock

4046 Big Rock

Brought here eons ago by glaciers, it’s been a fascinating place for humans since prehistoric times. The Bostonians of course climbed both rocks. 🙂

4071 Conquerors

4071 Conquerors

The gals claimed the other rock.

4070 Girls Rule

4070 Girls Rule

Seattleites

After landing in Renton it was refreshing to visit family and dear friends in the Seattle area. Our days there began with a couple who have basically built an enchanted “meditation retreat center” on some carefully tended acres in the woods next to a grand river. Just walking through their “hobbit” gate en-trance, begins to soften your breathing and soothe the soul.

3702 Land of Enchantment

3702 Land of Enchantment

After an evening of delicious garden fresh food, fascinating quiet conversation, and deep nourishing dreams we went back into town to take them flying. In minutes we had climbed over water, trees and homes to tour the Seattle skyline in clear air beneath broken clouds.

3768 Space Needle & Gehry

3768 Space Needle & Gehry

The once futuristic and now iconic Space Needle is complemented by Frank Ghery’s fanciful buildings at the base amid other new features and ongoing construction. We continued on across the water to Vashon Island where sand mingles with surf in unique shapes and colors.

3808 Vashon Beach #1

3808 Vashon Beach #1

On another beach on this small island so near the big city, other friends have built a dream home.

3836 Vashon Beach #2

3836 Vashon Beach #2

Between these beaches is the grass landing strip we’ve planned to land on before, only to be thwarted by inclement weather.

3816 Vashon Airstrip

3816 Vashon Airstrip

We were glad to get a good look at it, and to see that it’s dry, because we planned to fly there for a visit with sweet friends who own that beach home (2nd beach pic above) the next day. For now we carried on across the water to the South on a wide oval route past SeaTac Airport back to Renton.

3817 Mingling Waters

3817 Mingling Waters

The winds, currents, and water sources meet there making beautiful multi-colored patterns.

We were delighted waking to high clouds the next day, because we could finally make that hoped for landing at Vashon. On the way out of Renton we enjoyed seeing the familiar treed U.W. campus.

8401 University of WA Seattle

8401 University of WA Seattle

Our friends met us at Vashon Airport and drove us the few minutes to their lovely place with an old brown dog, and a big front porch. Also a great clear day view of Mount Rainier (yes, it’s in this pic).

3912 Perfect Front Porch

3912 Perfect Front Porch

Instead of rabbits in a pen ala Carole King, they have a magnificent garden. After a lovely visit, this time we flew back over downtown where we got a closer look at the giant ferris wheel. Before flying, such things were our only easy way to get an overview but now they look tiny far below (unless we use a zoom camera).

3928 Seattle Great Wheel

3928 Seattle Great Wheel

The skyline has changed a lot since we last flew here, and the change is speeding up. Hopefully there’s careful urban planning and these tall buildings can withstand an earthquake or tsunami, because they’re sure beautiful.

3946 Rising Giants

3946 Rising Giants

2017/11/01

Halloween

Often as Halloween approaches we talk about whether to dress up, go to any of the various parties, or stroll Isla Vista where UCSB goes all out. Instead, in recent years we’ve mostly settled into a modest routine starting on Altered State St.

01306 Contrast

01306 Contrast

Walking and driving this SB “main street” we love looking at the families going from door to door with small kids at sunset. The different age groups have quite a different experience, and that first pic is an example. Sometimes it seems the 5-10 year old kids have the most fun, like this dino dancing down the sidewalk swinging a bucket of candy.

01299 Monster Bucket

01299 Monster Bucket

The street overflows with families at points, with sweet Life in abundance.

01295 Street Life

01295 Street Life

Some scenes capture my imagination, like a giant mouse stalking an innocent mother and children.

01305 Mouse Menace?

01305 Mouse Menace?

Pets get in on the act too. Mostly dogs are subjected to that humiliation it seems. This trio apparently took it in stride more than some we saw trying to escape their garb.

01318 Patient Pooches

01318 Patient Pooches

As sunset turns to night, the crowd begins shifting from families toward teens and adults. These women enjoying dinner and drinks were probably headed to a party next.

01316 Circle of Friends

01316 Circle of Friends

We saw others with cameras taking it in, but these two appeared more interested in botany and intricate shadows on a wall.

01320 Shutter Surround

01320 Shutter Surround

Back at home, a family of friends stopped by to provide our only chance to give away treats. Great way to complete our evening and shift toward a quiet night remembering this and so many other Halloweens of a life time.

01321 Sweet Family

01321 Sweet Family

2017/08/28

Love & Letting Go

Feelings ran high, beneath the surface, as the family gathered for a last night and morning in paradise. So between collecting our things and tidying up, we paused for a few more moments enjoying the kids’ delight.

104846 Last Moments

104846 Last Moments

All too soon our last farewells were done. We began dispersing across the West in jets high over the deep waters as this journey slipped into memory over the horizon. Our own afternoon jet pointed a wing toward the parking spot of the GA plane we’d flown to Hāna at sunset.

135051 Wing Memories

135051 Wing Memories

It seemed a heartbeat until we passed yesterday’s GA takeoff, climbing toward home.

135833 Last Glance

135833 Last Glance

Watching the world turn far below, waves of memories reflected on the Pacific. At some point clear sky changed to dotted clouds yielding to a solid barrier between us and the sea. After sunset I felt the start of our descent toward LAX and opened Avare on my phone to follow along. We changed planes and in a blink we emerged again into rain below the clouds to the welcoming lights of Goleta.

FinalRwy7-SBA

Final, Runway 7, SBA

Even in the dark it was easy to pick out the familiar places we’ve flown over in small planes, and visited on the ground. As wheels touched home I snapped one last memory on this trip of a lifetime.

Touching Home

Touching Home

Writing this months later, I dimly recall the Dreams we had of that journey. I recall transforming those dreams into a solid Plan, and unfolding and adapting that Plan into a trip we actually Take. Now we Remember the trip and notice those memories softening into an evolving Dream.

It seems to me we try to hold onto the people, things and memories we love. At the same time we learn that change is constant, and often painful. Loving is the easy part for me. So perhaps the lesson is: Love is about Letting Go.

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