Being pilots and now owning our own airplane, my husband and idea have had opportunities others may only dream of–hopping over to one of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just for a stroll and lunch; observing the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, from Midvale, Idaho; coming back across the mountains without the hassle of highway traffic.
Just this month we achieved the dream that led me to learn to fly in the first place. We left Arlington on September 2nd, staying by the lakefront in Sandpoint, ID, the first night. Then we landed at Bozeman, Montana, the next day by about 4 pm. Most of the time we had a tailwind and great weather. We then had a wonderful 6-day trip to Yellowstone National Park along with my mother and cousin in a rental car, combining business (research for the Yellowstone Treasures guidebook’s sixth edition) and pleasure.
On the way home, the flying was a little more complicated, since we were trying to put thunderstorm weather behind us while facing low clouds ahead. The first day of the return trip, September 10th, we started out retracing our steps, stopping at Helena to wait out some low clouds. Flying via Missoula, MT, we encountered one other small plane heading in the other direction, sharing news over the radio. But the weather was not perfect.
Above left, one of the rain showers that caused us to divert from the route we originally intended to follow, Interstate 90 via Mullan Pass and Spokane. Above middle, the route we decided to take. Above right, the view off the right wing as we negotiated the route. The ride would have been smoother well above the clouds, but we could not be sure of how high they had built up nor of seeing the ground (maintaining visual flight rules) if we did so.
When another rain shower blocked the route to Lake Pend Oreille, we turned back and stayed at Thompson Falls, which turned out to be a pleasant small town with the use of a courtesy car to get us to Big Eddy’s for dinner and the Falls Hotel for the night. The following day we flew home with a stop in Wenatchee, WA, for fuel and waiting for the sun to burn off more clouds.
We look forward to more flying adventures in years to come!