Monday, November 23, 2009

Rick Ruess gets Married

The pie was so good that it deserves another photo op. Here's the pie.

I learned to fly through Arctic Flyers, which is a family run operation out of Lake Hood. Through the years, I have flown with Heidi, Herman, and Rick. On this day, Rick was getting married and many of the wedding guests were aviation enthusiasts. We took Grandma to the wedding and sat with our friends Ben and Lynn. In an earlier post, I showed pictures of us eating a homemade blueberry pie. The pie was made by Ben and Lynn who gave it to us here at the wedding.

Cliff and Sara

We took my Grandma to the Summit Lake Lodge for lunch and ran into our friends Cliff and Sara. Sara flies a Husky and Cliff flies a PA-12. They had flown their float planes from Anchorage to have lunch. My Grandma thought this was really neat, so we watched Cliff and Sara take off for home. In this photo, Sara has just lifted off (above the left wing of Cliff's plane) and Cliff is taxiing for take-off.

Grandma Visits Alaska

We are on a short flightseeing trip to the Tustumena Glacier

Grandma Grace visited us from Bellevue, WA. She has flown in the plane multiple times before.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knik Glacier

Amanda, Django, and Guinness. We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights.

We found a picnic table nearby that someone left behind. It was a simple design that allowed it to be easily disassembled to fit in an airplane. We dragged it over to our camp.

Went hiking in search of water.

Landed on the north end of Lower Lake George. Set up camp. We brought Django and Guinness to enjoy the camping.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

This is the last photo from the trip on the way through Ptarmagin Pass. The weather was terrible the rest of the way home. Rainy Pass was basically IMC and we picked our way towards Skwentna. No chance for photos because I was busy flying the plane. Hans landed in Anchorage at Lake Hood strip, and I decided to continue on to Soldotna. Visibilities improved just outside of Anchorage, and I relaxed for a pleasant ride home. That was when I experienced the worst turbulence of the trip crossing Turnagain Arm. I was in continuous moderate with occasional severe turbulence. Again, no photos. I was happy to land safely in Soldotna. I put the 6-pack of Beer on my shelf in the hangar where it still sits. Someday I will drink it.

The flight through Farewell was marginal due to smoke from the fires around Fairbanks. Once past Farewell, the visibility improved, but the winds were brutal. We had to fly through Ptarmagin pass to get back to the Mat-Su valley. We were in continuous moderate turbulence the entire way.

We were planning on staying the night in Farewell for our last night on the trip. We found a store in McGrath and bought a 6-pack of Alaskan Amber for $15. This was clearly a good deal compared against the $11 glass of Alaskan White in Bettles. We dragged the newly acquired beer to the Flight Service Station to check the weather before heading to Farewell. The weather briefer told us that bad weather was moving in from the Bethel area and it might affect the passes to the Mat-Su valley for the next couple of days. Hans and I decided to cut the trip short and fly directly back to Anchorage. So I loaded the $15 6-pack into the plane and shipped the beer back to where it probably originated when it cost $7.

Old rusted barrels line the main street along the Kuskokwim River.

We landed in McGrath and walked around the town. The town was surprisingly friendly and relatively clean.

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Departed Ophir for McGrath the next morning. On the way, we flew over Takotna. The strip is chiseled into the top of the mountain that sits above the town. Winds were a bit squirrely up there. We landed and met a guy, Buck Turnbull, who was helping to relocate the airstrip to another location. He said there was nothing in Takotna, so we left.

Last night on the trail.

We found this cabin along the river. It was in good condition and someone was obviously using it regularly.

I'm not sure what Hans is looking at here.

More old deserted buildings from the old town site.

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

You can get a sense of how strong the winds were blowing that day. We found some old buildings.

There was a town here at one time. We set out looking for the old townsite.

Landed in Ophir. Winds were strong and gusty.

Departed Galena and battled 20 kt headwinds to Ophir.

After the storm passed, the sun came out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Landed in Galena. After fueling, Hans thought he had fuel leaking from his cowling. He pulled the plane apart and looked around, but didn't find anything concerning. About the time he put the plane back together, a very impressive thunderstorm passed through and forced us to sit for a good 20 min while the rain passed through. Several inches of rain must have dumped on us.

Had to punch through a few holes.

We departed Nome in search of better weather. Our plan to head north to Kotzebue did not work out, so we headed back to Galena.

The rock wall overlooking the ocean.

House of Bargains. You got that right!

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Had to throw in the photo of the Hanson Trading Co. Hans must have roots here.

Here's the bus stop.

The best photo oportunity in Nome.

The innards of the Nugget Inn. The quaint lobby had us hoping for something better than the rumors. I couldn't take a picture of the room, it was that bad. I will say that it didn't leak during the storm that night.

We made it to the Nugget Inn. Looks interesting.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

This is us walking from the Aurora to the Nugget Inn. Looks nice down that way doesn't it?

Safely tied down in Nome. The airport is secured and there really was no way for us to camp with the planes, so we packed our gear and walked into the Flight Service Station for a weather update and info on local accommodations. The weather briefer was nice and told us that while there may be several hotels in town, the only place to stay that was decent was the Aurora Inn. He called a cab for us and we went outside to wait. When the cab arrived we got in and told the driver to take us to the Aurora Inn. He told us he had to make one more stop for more customers on the way in to town. We stopped by the commercial terminal and picked up about four more people; three pleasant Alaska-native women, and one drunken native man who was clearly in need of a shower and a nap. The three women wanted to go to the Aurora (good choice), and the man wanted to go to the Nugget Inn (had not heard of the Nugget Inn, but according to the weather briefer, "don't go anywhere but Aurora"). We pull up to the Aurora Inn (very nice) and stand at the counter. The nice man behind the counter listens to our request for a room without a reservation. He and the other guy behind the counter laugh to themselves as they tell us that they are filled to capacity and have no rooms to offer. The now not-so-nice man behind the counter says we might try ......the Nugget Inn............

White Mountain, Alaska

Just scenery

The Darby Mountains enroute to Nome had some strange rock formations. Golovin Bay in the background.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Sun shining on the way to Nome

Kwik River and Kwiniuk Inlet

We reached Norton Sound and thought we might turn towards Unalakleet for gas, but the weather looked promising so we decided to proceed to Nome.

The Nulato Hills

Passing through the east side of the Kaiyuh Mountains

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

On our way to Galena, we left the Koyukuk river and headed south towards Galena which is on the north side of the Yukon river. This is my approach into Galena from the west.

The town of Hughes. We didn't stop here.

A rare photo out the right side of the airplane. Usually I take pictures out the left side.

Cub versus Husky. The debate rages on.

On the Koyukuk river. The rock was embedded into the ground like stone tiles.