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

2014/11/11

Steps To Happiness

“How far can you fly?” That’s a question we’re often asked. Around the world would be one correct answer. Tripp can fly from Portland to SB without stopping is another answer, but we don’t. Usually. It’s much more fun to fly low and slow, stopping every few hundred miles for a stretch, some exploration on the ground, and maybe a meal. When friends and family along our route can accommodate the semi-scheduled nature of nearly all our flying trips, we stop for a visit. So almost always we make long trips in “steps” of a few hundred miles each.

6868 River Life

6868 River Life

Our first step toward home from Marysville gave us this peek at the river, where people eke out a life in ramshackle camps among the trees. Soon we saw Sacramento slip by far in the hazy distance, where the upscale and wealthy set policy.

6888 Sacramento

6888 Sacramento

Tripp transforms the Seattle to SB trip from a grueling drive or cramped airliner into scenic pleasures punctuating a series of discoveries and precious memories formed in such steps.

It was a short step to San Jose, where we cherished some sweet times with a sister and family. When we took off on our final step home the next day, there she was waving warmly.

2696 Sweet Step

2696 Sweet Step

The last step triggered memories of visiting cousins in Morgan Hill. A peak that seemed impossibly high then, is now an easy glance.

6908 Morgan Memories

6908 Morgan Memories

Many refreshing and memorable views unfolded gracefully below in the hour after takeoff. Then we crossed the coastal mountains and descended toward the beach as we passed high over Hearst Castle.

7015 Hearst Descent

7015 Hearst Descent

Having taken some of the tours there, it’s always interesting to see from above at different angles on each passage. Over the beach at our comfortable quarter mile or so up, we turned more directly toward home. Tomorrow I’ll chose a few visions to share from that final hour of wonders on our PNW Adventure.

2014/08/23

“Fuller” Flying Experience

The little town of Santa Paula has a great airport, and at the heart of the field is Fuller Aircraft Services. Our friend Glenn Fuller and his happy crew have kept us flying safely and within our budget almost since the day I started flying. His mastery of the art and science of maintaining aircraft has done the same for countless other aviators, and we are thankful.

5168 Fuller Aircraft Services

5168 Fuller Aircraft Services

Behind the fuel pump at the middle of this pic is his hangar #9 hangout where maintenance magic happens. A parade of airport regulars dropped by to say hi as he gave Tripp her annual careful inspection. He also did a few of the minor upgrades we request each year and still presented a bill within our budget. Thank you Glenn!

Tripp was all spiffy and happy as our spirits were treated to new discoveries like the paintball playground at the bottom left of this next pic.

5168 S.Paula Paintball

5168 S.Paula Paintball

Back toward Santa Barbara we again enjoyed the colorful flower fields by the red barn at the edge of this folksy little town.

5159 SP Flowers

5159 SP Flowers

Across the hills we left the warm dry air of the Santa Paula Valley past Lake Casitas and wound our way down through the broken clouds along the high foothills where mansions survey the Channel.

5154 Carp Hill Manse

5154 Carp Hill Manse

Glenn has launched us into another year of flying fun. What familiar scenes will we survey anew? Which direction will we point Tripp’s nose next?

2014/08/19

Many Horses

Tripp’s getting her annual inspection right now and we might be flying her again soon. I’m hoping we can use all the extra “horses” she has compared with similar planes. That horsepower enables her to perform much better on hot days or at high altitude, and to carry more of the extra stuff we tend to haul around on flying adventures (camping gear, all-weather clothing, tweaky tandem bicycle, and even sometimes inflatable 2-person kayak).

But rather than share aerial pix (or anything to do with Tripp’s horses) in this post, here are some of the many horses we saw downtown back on August 1st.

4864 Four Horsemen

4864 Horsemen

It’s called the Fiesta Parade, and though some locals tell us they avoid the crowds we like the old-timey quality of it. Some really beautiful horses, trick ponies, antique horse-drawn transportation, lots of mules, and interesting people from far and wide who love all this.

4893 Spirit

4893 Spirit

Many of the horses are very spirited, some get spooked by all the commotion, and the one on the right above seemed to be a concern for two guys watching from the wagon as the rider managed a sudden burst of speed. It was fun watching the equestrians show off their animals, like when this multi-team wagon made a wide circle to give everyone a closer look.

4900 Circling The Wagon

4900 Circling The Wagon

Some of the floats aren’t pulled by horses, all along the route are vendors of various kinds, and at De La Guerra Plaza people gather at a colorful mercado.

4910 Mercado

4910 Mercado

We enjoyed it, but we’ll be glad to ride our horses back into the wild blue and share new pix from there. 🙂

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