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Flying the Edge of America:

Astoria, Oregon

Some blue skies

Julia and David departed Jack McNamara Field at Crescent City in the same terrible weather they had landed in. As they zipped down the runway they saw it fall away to reveal a rough gray and white capped ocean below; above them only dark clouds. In the dreary sea they saw rocky outcrops outlined by white foamy waves disappear into the mist. Matilda (their trusty aircraft) was oblivious to these views. She just ran her engine at full power, her wings grabbing at the air pulling them upward. For Julia and David it was disconcerting to takeoff into such a scene. They could not put aside thoughts of falling into the cold unforgiving sea. But soon Matilda had lifted them above the ocean and the cloud, into clear air. Far above them was a gray cloudy ceiling, below a field of cloud with the occasional hole in it revealing the coastline. They flew in clear air between these cloud layers and soon fell into the monotony between the frenzy of takeoff and landing. The cloudscape passed them by as they listened to music, the tedium only broken by occasionally identifying themselves to each new air traffic controller as they flew north up the rocky Oregon coast.

Astoria, Oregon

The Lewis and Clark expedition had spent a cold and wet winter in Astoria, Oregon and the month of the Columbia River in 1805, waiting for a ship that never came to take them home. It must have been hell for them. Things were bad enough for Julia and David in July at a full facility campsite, even with electricity to power their radio and laptops. The campsite that they found themselves at was very different to the state park they had left behind in California. This time the campground was like a small town filled with RVs, deluxe tents, and paved roads. Nature seemed more contained, and the luxuries of civilization more apparent. But it had also lost the charm of camping in the redwoods. They felt out of place without an RV and several kids, or a set of Harley bikes and cooler of Bud Lite. And they were exhausted from the first two days of the trip. Only another three months to go, Julia thought to herself as they unfolded the dew-dampened tent, and watched a beetle they had flown from California crawl out of the nylon onto the grass.

Continue the adventure, in my next excerpt from Flying the Edge of America.


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