As excited as I get about all things wine, that is how my Hubby is about General Aviation; this encompasses civil flight operations in small planes, gliders, balloons, etc. As much as we decided to put off a purchase of a plane until next year, Hubby has been comparison shopping since January. We discussed the pros and cons of each ship he shared with me extensively (sometimes repeatedly as nothing new came up for sale). In May he discovered a plane for sale that seemed to meet all of the wishes we had in our ‘desired’ column; the owners flew the Cessna 182A to Walla Walla for us to fly. Last month Hubby went to Tillamook, where the plane was based, to complete the ‘Annual’, a regularly scheduled maintenance check-up. He helped dismantle and reinstall almost everything on the plane while conversing with the owners and the mechanic. I was still in Walla Walla working in the Locati Cellars tasting room, waiting, as if for news of an impending birth. Prior to this inspection I was certain we would be making an offer for the plane; whether or not the owners accepted was the unknown. Hubby was more pessimistic, but hopefully so; maybe guarded is a better term.
Our Fourth of July became a ‘vacation’ to Tillamook, Oregon to pick up the plane! When in Tillamook, you join the hordes of visitors to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I enjoy reading the history and data shared on murals throughout the factory. It was running at minimal capacity on the 4th, but there were crushing numbers of people queuing for ice cream upstairs and meandering through the gift shop and restaurant down stairs. My daughter traveled with us to drive the car home while we flew; this was her first visit, our second. Walking Rockaway Beach, a bit of wine tasting, and getting to bed early as we had been up with the sun to get on the road and fatigue had the three of us nodding in our chairs at dinner.
At 8:00 AM sharp we were all at the Tillamook Airport hanger (also the Tillamook Air Museum). The clouds were cooperating with a similar forecast for the next several hours. But the coast can change rapidly, so we were a bit apprehensive. Completing the paperwork, walking around the plane again and again, determining what documents they had that should stay with the plane, fueling up, and waiting for the banks to complete the money wire. Good company, the prior owners were gracious and fun to hang with so the time was well spent. After a salad and pizza for lunch the money had been transferred. Although we sold our wonderful trailer and Toyota Tundra to fund this, it was still a reality check to see the dollars disappear so efficiently.
At 14:00 (2:00 PM), with cloud bottoms 2,700 feet above the ocean, we taxied north on the runway and flew above Tillamook, west, toward the bay. We flew along the Oregon Coast seeing landmarks we had visited in the past from a new point of view. Yup, it was thrilling! I took pictures as Hubby got to know this bird better. Although competent to fly the plane, each has its own quirks and unique qualities that the pilot needs to become familiar with.
The air was bumpy, like the ocean waves below us, the air currents were strong enough to rock the plane as we flew. Rich seafood for dinner on the 4th, minimal sleep the previous two nights, jet fuel smells while at the airport and the bumps caused me intense motion sickness. I played with the air temperature inside the plane trying to adjust it to help minimize my nausea and I closed my eyes, that didn’t help much, but I made it home without being sick. Phew, the only mar in the otherwise great experience of the first day owning a plane.
We were alone at Martin Field, a sleepy little airport west of Walla Walla, when we landed, so we tied her to the ground (to keep her from moving around or flipping over in a wind). The afternoon of the 6th we had access to the hanger we are renting and we put her inside, just fitting the available space perfectly. She is a 1957 four-seater plane and has been shown at Vintage shows and fly ins because she is in such good condition. There are big plans for this plane, but for the time being we will fly her and proceed to build upon those ideas. I will share them as they happen.
Once home we needed a quick dinner that wouldn’t be too heavy in my stomach after two hours of motion sickness. Working on the premise of the grain salad I cooked millet, added chopped beets, lots of herbs, onion and garlic, and grated gouda cheese with a lemon and olive oil dressing for a warm, colorful, and tasty salad. Paired with Helix Stone Tree Vineyard SoRho, a Rhone style blend, it was a terrific finish to the day. Two hours after we flew into Walla Walla my daughter drove in; she left mid-morning with plans to walk Cannon Beach on the way home. There is something to be said for traveling by air. Cheers!