YES, I am afraid there was. My years in Alaska gave me many opportunities to fly in small private airplanes. Tim’s Mooney is a sports car of private small planes, it is fast and high-tech. Did I mention small?
November 1, in Washington D.C. was 70 degrees and sunny, but there were also 25 per mile wind gusts. That means the ride up to 5500 altitude and down was bumpy. Once we were above the clouds it was smooth flying. We flew to Richmond Executive Airport in Virginia for lunch.
But the climb up in the Mooney reminded me of my flying in Mark Rowland’s Piper Cub in Alaska. Cubs are made of fabric so you feel like you are flying in a kite getting tossed around. I vomited onto the control cables that run between your feet, because there was no bag. We needed to clean the cables with Q-tips. More than you want to know I am sure.
I was very gratified when Tim’s wife Liz called from Alaska while we were on our seconds at the King’s Korner ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT barbecue buffet. “Was there vomiting?” Liz asked. Tim laughed and assured Liz there was. Thank goodness Tim’s plane is equipped with barf bags.
Funny how after you toss your cookies you feel so much better and ready for lunch.
In Alaska, where I lived from 1968 – 1995, I was very fortunate to have friends and family with planes. A popular Alaska bumper sticker reads, My 2nd Car is a Cessna.
To really experience Alaska, flying is a necessity. Around the dinner table my sisters and I like to regale friends with our tales of piling into Erv’s 172 Cessna and flying off for a couple of hours of fishing. It was the Alaska version of TV show Gilligan Island, where the theme song goes “this is the tale of castaways…on a three-hour cruise”.
One bright and sunny July Saturday sister Kerry and I climbed into Erv’s 172 to go fishing for the day at Johnstone Bay, a beautiful cove on Resurrection Bay across from Seward, Alaska. Erv was a master of landing on beaches, especially on tricycle gear! We landed just fine, but needed to push the plane higher on the beach, because the tide was coming in. The sand got soft, so Erv climbed in and started the engine to help move the plane through the soft sand. Opps! The nose of the plane tipped into the sand and about 3 inches of one end of the propeller flew off. Just then it began to rain. Kerry and I were dressed appropriately for a sunny July day in shorts and tank tops. “No worries” Erv said, “we have survival gear”.
This was our first adventure with Erv, who had recently moved in with Mom. The survival gear consisted of freeze-dried packages that all were very old and punctured, a 2-man pup tent and two sleeping bags. Great, except there were 3 of us. Also, there were no utensils, with the exception of Erv’s hunting knife. Laying together in the tent, we all laughed that none of us had the foresight to bring a book! We had nothing to read while waiting for our rescue.
Luckily there were salmon to be caught in the nearby river, which is what we came for. We caught lots of beautiful delicious Sockeye Salmon while waiting to be rescued. Sockeye Salmon spawn in lakes. Johnstone Bay is a picturesque, covered with purple Lupin and wild Sweet Peas. The lake was a short walk from the beach.
We were rescued, and a mechanic and new airplane propeller were flown in to save the plane. I always say the salmon we caught ourselves on average ended up costing about $500 a pound. This trip made it very easy to buy Erv Christmas presents for years to come, freeze-dried food, utensils and books.
We survived and have great stories to tell, thanks to living in Anchorage, Alaska for 27 years, and Mom marrying Erv.
Thanks Tim for a great day and supplying the barf bag. It will be a while before I climb into another small plane. Airstream travel suits me best.
This post was edited (11/20/18) because my memory of names is failing. Erv pointed out that the correct name is Johnstone Bay, not Half Moon Bay, which is in California. The rest of the story is correct as far as my failing memory remembers.