John & Anne Wiley

2018/07/19

Long Way Home

This trip seeing new facets of our beautiful planet in flight (intimately but not bound by it), visiting precious family & friends, and exploring new places… wasn’t all we dreamed. As with each of our trips, it reinforced a big life lesson that flying has brought us: embracing what Is. That comes to us in the differences between the trip we dream, plan, take, remember, and dream about after return. So of course it was both more, and less, than we dreamed or planned.

So it was that The Dalles dawned almost clear of the smoke that greeted our landing in yesterday’s dusk.

4297 Cleared Takeoff

4297 Cleared Takeoff

Climbing toward the West for a look at the famous Columbia Gorge, the pages of time formed a crumbling book on the North bank.

8658 Book of Time

8658 Book of Time

Other wizened formations evoked a castle with columnar basalt exposed at the base of the towers, reminding us of the volcanism still shaping this region.

8659 Stone Castle

8659 Stone Castle

A tributary I’ve not looked up the name of, also adorns the North shore of the mighty Columbia with rapids that test the best kayakers.

8670 Water Power

8670 Water Power

Relaxing when it combines with the Columbia, it releases on the banks much of the sediment it rushed downhill and polished its canyons with.

8672 Bank Deposits

8672 Bank Deposits

In the once more increasing smoke, distant Mt. St. Helens provided yet another ominous reminder of this region’s geologic activity.

8734 Napping Volcano

8734 Napping Volcano

In the river below our wings, some of the larger islands had buildings where Mark Twain might like to retire.

4314 Home Island

4314 Home Island

Even as the economy has diversified and changed, there are still large sawmills along rivers here.

4330 Busy Sawmill

4330 Busy Sawmill

To keep with our planned flight, we’d already climbed too high for a close look at the famous waterfalls in the gorge. Even so, this one looks good in a zoom pic.

4344 Waterfall View Rooms

4344 Waterfall View Rooms

Farther down river we could increasingly see clouds that we’d hoped would be clear, so we continued climbing to fly well above them.

8714 Cloud Complication

8714 Cloud Complication

The next waterfall we spotted looks more likely to be a popular public attraction. It continues above and below this section snapped between the trees.

4377 Spectacular Falls

4377 Spectacular Falls

Now it was obvious that the clouds lingering beyond the forecast along our route called for a high transit out to the coast where the air was clear and tailwinds were promised.

8739 More Clouds

8739 More Clouds

We took a last look at the river now far below, where locks and dams harness some of its energy.

8759 Columbia Dams & Locks

8759 Columbia Dams & Locks

After an alert but uneventful transit to clear air in the Roseburg area, we continued southwest to the coast and turned to follow it more directly toward home again. This is a beautiful region from the air, where we see many wonders hidden from the casual drive we so enjoyed before flying. Including of course the cave-garnished and weathered West side of the cliffs and countless islands of various sizes & shapes.

4467 Prince Island

4467 Prince Island

After enjoying an unfolding stream of such sights, soon we passed Shelter Cove and once again longed to land at 0Q5 and spend some time exploring the black sand beaches and other relaxing attractions there.

4519 Shelter Cove 0Q5

4519 Shelter Cove 0Q5

We could of course overwhelm you with many more pix of visual delights we thrilled to on this trip, but I’ll offer only two more. First another look at distant San Francisco from just offshore, included here even though it’s hazy from moisture and wildfire smoke. It’s an usually high perspective for us since ATC cleared us across the path of the airliner parade leaving SFO.

4592 SF From High

4592 SF From High

After a brief fuel stop at KWVI Watsonville, we began seeing the familiar hills and vineyards of home as sunset blushed the terrain around Atascadero.

4618 Warm Welcome

4618 Warm Welcome

Our tailwind topping Broadcast Peak provided a weather warning. Turbulence was sudden, though relatively mild since I’d slowed and remained high above the ridge. Only after reaching the coast did I descend into the stronger turbulence where air temperature went from the 60s to the 90s. Happily that was a short transition and we landed in the cool coastal breeze so common at KSBA. A very warm welcome home to our cool little hometown. 🙂

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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

2018/07/12

Fast Fire

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 15:28

Speaking of speed, the day after our beloved SB Solstice Parade we took off to visit friends and family in the Northwest. Weather was fair and cool, so after climbing out of the coastal low clouds near Gaviota Pass we looked forward to a scenic flight.

3245 Cloud Caress

3245 Cloud Caress

Endless fascinations unfolded in the clear air below, like the simply complex farm field geometry.

3246 Puzzle Shapes

3246 Puzzle Shapes

Then some big fires started along our route in the California central valley, hiding the lakes of the northeastern Sacramento valley behind a smoky veil. 😦

3253 Smokescreen

3253 Smokescreen

Luckily some areas were clearer so that scenic spots we passed near were beautiful, like this flash of a green rainbow in Feather Falls.

3272 Feather Rainbow

3272 Feather Rainbow

Smoke was pretty thick by the time we reached Mount Lassen, so we were happy to see it thinner on the North side (to the right in this pic). Shasta in the distance still wore a heavy crown of snow at the end of June.

3314 Mt. Lassen

3314 Mt. Lassen

We turned for a closer look. Even where the tortured moonscape of Lassen has yielded to life, but even the hardiest trees give way to glaciers and thick snow.

3363 Stone, Snow, Life

3363 Stone, Snow, Life

By the time we reached Klamath Falls where we’d decided to stop for the night, the smoke had thinned to a light haze.

3408 Klamath's Kingsley Airport

3408 Klamath’s Kingsley Airport

Down at the airport we noticed rows of F-15s.

3400 F-15 Fighter Jets

3400 F-15 Fighter Jets

After settling Tripp in for the night and checking into a hotel, we strolled the quiet streets of Klamath Falls before sleeping with dreams of our day’s enchanted flight.

205258 Klamath Moon

205258 Klamath Moon

LifeSpeed

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 00:52

It seems to me that life is speeding up.

Not just ours, but for everyone we know. Not just for us elders – even for the young. But that still doesn’t explain why it’s been so long since I’ve found time to post. Still, here comes some stuff out of sequence. Before continuing where I left off, let me take you back to the delightful Santa Barbara Solstice Parade.

3068 Scary Embrace

3068 Scary Embrace

I love all the reactions of delight, contrasting with the growing concern on the toddler being offered for a hug. A moment later he started wailing and dad took him back for a reassuring hug.

3110 Burdened Blader

3110 Burdened Blader

The costumes are always creative and often outrageous, like the roller blader at left carrying a burden on his back to the amusement of the crowd.

3123 Toothy Smile

3123 Toothy Smile

Star Trek phaser fire photobombed a posing T Rex.

3143 Quiet Amid Chaos

3143 Quiet Amid Chaos

With colorful chaos, music and drummers all around, this woman in elegant regalia took an internal moment in serene silence.

3170 Neptune Bubble

3170 Neptune Bubble

Some of the floats (all human-powered) are inflated creations with battery-run fans, like this one with Neptune and one of his mermaids inside.

One of our favs this year was the dancing group of RBGs. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a popular Supreme Court Justice in progressive circles, but it was still a surprise to see her celebrated in this way. Solstice is always surprising, fun, and delightful even though we expect it to be. A rousing expression of playful creativity that brightens our spirits every year.

2018/06/21

As I Was Saying…

Well, it’s quite amazing to me that nothing new has appeared here since 2/28 (about our 3/29/2017 flight!) and here we are with the delightful 2018 SB Solstice Parade just days away! I guess it’s surprising that it’s amazing, since I’m mainly the one who’s been adding posts here. I’m beside myself. 😉

A few days after that island flight we enjoyed flying past some hillside poppies and lupine near Ventura. The slope had been scarred by fire, and little did we know then that it would burn again in the horrific Thomas Fire (more on that after more catch up posts).

8165 Poppies & Lupine

8165 Poppies & Lupine

We walked the lovely beaches in this area, but seldom take pix then. Why then do we sometimes snap beaches from the air and enjoy “seeing ourselves” down there? Maybe because when a plane flies past us on the beach, we look up and drink in the music of flight recalling being there just as we snap the memories of strolling and wading down there?

8405 Up & Down Beach

8405 Up & Down Beach

It’s always a magical delight when we see whales. Scientists say our mirror neurons fire when we empathize with their parental nurturing.

8557 Swimming Lessons

8557 Swimming Lessons

The scalloped shoreline of Lake Cachuma is often interesting from above, especially when there’s green on the slopes.

8887 Cachuma Shores

8887 Cachuma Shores

Flower fields are another favorite.

8961 Color Harvest

8961 Color Harvest

We like to watch birds in flight, though we seldom see them while we’re flying because they see us far before we see them. Even other aircraft can easily escape our scan due to the distance between us. So it was fun to see this pilot stretching his wings near the edge of a beach bluff.

8975 Birdman

8975 Birdman

Speaking of beach bluffs, some of them tear into the sea in sheets. Pages of pre-history tilted up over eons until they tumble down into the waves they formed beneath, rose above, then dissolved back into.

9152 Over, Under, In

9152 Over, Under, In

Sometimes picking up inexpensive fresh local colorful and nutritious organic produce at the State Street Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, we’ll glance up when a plane flies over. On the rare times we’re flying over it ourselves, we may snap a pic and zoom in later to notice that nobody down there looked up. We’re rare birds.

9500 Market Colors

9500 Market Colors

Sometimes on a clear day while things are still green in late Spring, the hills and fields of Santa Paula just sparkle.

9661 Santa Paula Valley

9661 Santa Paula Valley

Other times the geometry of life and human hands stands out, like the geometry of joy on this day they cleaned out the sandbox at Shoreline Park.

9686 Shape of Play

9686 Shape of Play

Sometimes the sea rises into the air and tries to devour the land, only to vanish in the sun.

9751 Land, Sea, Air

9751 Land, Sea, Air

So in this very abbreviated collection, I’ve almost brought us up to a year ago. How long before I can make time to share more of the delights we’re so fortunate to enjoy?

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