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Port Angeles, Clallam Bay, Victoria

Flying the Edge of America

Friday, July 4, 2008: Port Angeles, Washington

Looking back at 51-Juliet as she carried us to Washington.

We woke up in a motel in Astoria Oregon on the fourth of July. It was so good to sleep inside for the night; we feel so much better today after such a good night's sleep. Camping is fun but we have not gotten used to sleeping in a tent yet perhaps things will improve as the trip progresses.

Port Angeles Video

One of the things we were very concerned about while on this trip was the food we would encounter as we stayed in small towns. Last night we had a pleasant surprise and found a Bosnian restaurant! It was not the best food I have ever eaten but it was not what we were expecting. In fact who knew I would have my first taste of Bosnian food in Oregon; a good start to small town food in the USA.

Our B&B in Clallam Bay

Today we were scheduled to land at a visual flight rules (VFR) airport in Sekiu, Washington. However, the weather is still IFR so we had to change our plans a bit and land at Port Angeles, WA an IFR airport instead; better safe than sorry I say.

Before the trip we spent a lot of time thinking up a question to ask people. Seeing it is an election year we wanted a question that might give us some measure of how people in America feel about the future of the USA. We had many candidate questions but being that Americans do not like to talk politics, in polite conversation, we needed a question that would give us a feel for a person's views without alienating them. We wanted to ask our question in California, but could not raise the courage to, we wanted to ask it in Oregon, but did not get a chance to. However, we got the opportunity to ask our question for the first time in Washington and the answer revealed one for Obama. We hope to improve our poll's accuracy as we get a larger sample. See sidebar for our current tally.

Two firsts occurred today. It was the very first time I have landed my airplane in Washington State. The second was we turned our first corner on our circumnavigation of the contiguous United States of America. Think of the USA as a square, which it isn"t but just for the sake of my explanation think of it as a square. Today Julia and I turn right at the top left-hand corner of the USA. Our general direction of flight will be easterly from now on until we reach the east coast.

From Julia: We left Astoria in more cloudy foggy weather. At least, we had slept better in a motel than in the tent. The plane took off into the clouds and we stayed in clouds for the whole two hours of the journey. I find it is very strange and scary to be in a small space flying up several thousand feet in the air, but having no idea what is around you and trusting that the air controller is keeping you clear from obstacles with their radar. And as we fly the engine noises change slightly, which my rational mind knows is normal but my scary-cat mind thinks means serious trouble. I find myself glancing at the instruments and expecting to see them start whizzing out of control as the propeller sputters to a halt and the plane spins into a violent descent. At that point, I decide to close my eyes again and start getting back into my audible book or even worse valium.

Anyway, despite my terror, we landed without problem and were able travel via the wonderful safety of a car to Clallam Bay, Washington. It was a beautiful drive with lots of flowers and wild foxgloves at the sides of the road.

Saturday, July 5, 2008: Clallam Bay, Washington

A view from the trail to Cape Flattery

Today we shared stories with other guests, staying at the bed and breakfast, while eating our eggs. I always find this part of staying at a guest house the most fun. Julia told me it reminded her of an English novel where people were taking the grand tour and meeting each other over meals. For me it is just interesting to get to know new people and sharing their stories.

After breakfast we drove to the Makah Indian reserve where we walked to Point Flattery which is the most northwesterly corner of the USA. We flew over it yesterday but did not see anything as it was obscured by thick billowing clouds. The view today was not too bad given that it was pouring down with rain. The good news, the rain was not cold, the bad news, it was really raining a lot.

Cape Flattery Video

From Julia: Later in the day it cleared and we walked out through magical forest to a wild beach and back. This made us very hungry so we re-visited the only restaurant in town for a second round of homemade rhubarb and raspberry pie.

Sunday, July 6, 2008: Victoria, Canada

Here is a shot of one of the islands that make up Victoria.

We left for the airport early this morning and the skies were looking clear. Once at Port Angeles we quickly packed the airplane and were soon on our way to Victoria, Canada to visit with my good friends Petra and Eric.

There were two firsts for me as we made this flight: the first was taking the airplane out of the USA to land in Canada, the second was going through customs after flying my own airplane to another country. Both experiences went very well and we were soon in our rental car and driving into downtown Victoria. We enjoyed an excellent meal at a seafood restaurant and we treated ourselves to two glasses of exceptional Canadian wine.

Victoria Video

Me and Petra

Petra and her friend soon joined Julia and me to take us on a quick tour of this very beautiful city. After, a very elegant, high tea at the Empress Hotel we headed to our bed and breakfast accommodation just across the road from Petra and Eric's home.

Petra had invited us to stay with her but as I am very allergic to dogs and Petra has three big dogs we elected to stay at the very conveniently located B&B. Once settled into the guest house we joined Petra and Eric for drinks and retired later very well lubricated.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Everyone in the sun in the flower garden

After an excellent breakfast at the guest house we left with Petra and Eric to walk the very beautiful Butchart Flower Gardens. The sun was shining full blast and there was not a cloud in the sky which made the gardens and the flowers even more spectacular. We returned home to Petra's house, picked up her dogs, and headed to the beach to take them for a walk and swim.

Yes Petra's dog Vinnie is an amazing swimmer. Petra would throw his ball way out into the waves and Vinnie would jump in after it swimming out retrieving it and then diligently returning it back to shore.

Aqua dog

After this we returned to Petra's home were Eric made us an excellent Mexican meal which included two kinds of fresh salsas, BBQ steak and chicken, homemade re-fried beans, and finally Petra's wonderful Cesar salad. Much wine was consumed and Eric showed us his favorite movie "Buckaroo Bonsai". I have to say Eric this was not my cup of tea; but each to his own.

From Julia: Victoria is a pretty waterfront town. Millionaires" boats line the bay, and next to the water artists and artisans have stalls selling cool stuff. Victoria seems much more affluent than Washington State's Port Angeles just a few miles over the water. David's friends, Petra and Eric, and their dogs, Vinnie, Mario and Tiramisu gave us a warm and doggy welcome. While we visited them they gave us lots of laughs, delicious food, Canadian wine, and great company.

Looking relaxed in Victoria.

David continues to try polling people we meet and asks them about who they think will win the elections. It was interesting that the French couple we met in the B&B in Canada said "Oh we do not care; both political parties are the same in America. There is no socialist party in your country."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008: Cascade Mountains

The mighty Cascades

After another superb breakfast at the guest house we said our goodbyes to everyone and returned to Victoria airport, packed our gear into 51-Juliet, and made our short flight back to the USA landing at Bellingham airport so we could be checked in by US customs. This was a painless experience so we were soon on our way to Oroville-Scott airport which is located on the USA/Canadian border. The flight went well and was spectacular as 51-Juliet slowly climbed up through the snow covered Cascade Mountains. We had to climb up to 11,500 feet to clear the mountains so when we arrived at Oroville-Scott airport, which is at 1,200 feet, we had to spend 15 minutes descending to land. After unpacking the airplane we caught a cab to our hotel in town. The place was not too fancy but it only coast $45 per-night and had free Wi-Fi, what more could you want.

From Julia: We loved being in Canada. But we had to keep to our schedule as the weather was clear for going over the Cascades mountains. We set off for USA and the trip was amazing. I did not feel as scared as usual because I was so distracted by the wonderful views of mountains below. Our night's stop is at Oroville (or as we re-named it, Horrorville). The place seems to be a modern version of a Wild West town; it is easy to imagine Clint riding in on a horse to sort out some trouble. there's not much choice of where to stay so we are in the only motel in town. It's a bit like being in a David Lynch movie set for the night. The good news is the sky is clear for our trip over more mountains to Glacier National Park tomorrow. If all goes to plan, we will be out of here before any gun fights break out.

Flying to Oroville and the Cascade Mountains

Trip stats

Obama 1

McCain 0


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