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santa clara valley 99s

Hangar Flying

A flight to Alaska can make you feel positively poetic, don't you know...

Alaska Allure
By Pat Gregory

Five CA ladies, plus two guys more
Set out to see the mountains galore

We flew in the sun, we flew in the rain
We flew over roads, and immense terrain

With pungent cheese in hand, we soon will forge on
Though for now we must wait, in the morn, we'll be gone

Day dawns at last with blue sky in sight
We're off to the airport to prepare for our flight

The mosquitos abound both inside and out
While Mikey, Zack, and Big Bird depart with a shout

The great trench is calling and we're ready to go
But none of us was ready for this mighty show

Up the trench we headed toward Watson Lake
With Rainbows and lightning fast in our wake

No wheel pants for us, we're rugged you know
Now we can land anywhere eagles can go

On to Fairbanks we'd love to go
But the Flight Service Station people say 'No'

So here we sit in Whitehorse tired but pleased
After traveling the Alcan high in the breeze

Our trip will continue on another day
We're fueled, fed and ready to go on and play

The mountains are calling us onward for sure
We just can't refuse their majestic allure

At last we continue on our merry way
Get Sparky at Fairbanks and head out today

Denali is rainy and cloudy and wet
We can't even glimpse Mt. McKinley yet

We know that it's there, the big one is sleeping
But through clouds and fog no corner is peeping

Moose mom and calf, and Caribou too
Come out to greet us on our way through

The dogs and their sled put on a good show
But onward to Homer we soon must go

The takeoff is shaky, the gravel is wet
With Susan in left seat, soon skyward we get

'Yah, sure' say the others, so proud and so bold
Down the Kenai we're going, we're looking for gold

Homer is sunny with ice fields galore
With Lands End Hotel perched right on the shore

I walk the quiet beach early one morning
Waves slap at the shore, birds screech without warning

A boat trip to Seldovia is now in the plans
Our crew are delighted to shake pilot hands

More halibut or salmon or fish of your choosing
The food is delicious, the ambiance soothing

'Big Lake' is the joke, I report it while flying
There are hundreds of big lakes, there's just no denying

We landed at Valdez, we landed at Yakitat
We landed at Juneau and that's where we sat

The cruise ships were in port, were they ever huge
The people poured out in a big deluge

Dinner was great, as had been all the way
With The Commander driving, we ended this day

Next morn, on to Port Hardy for our last day together
We packed up, ate breakfast, and called for the weather

At last homeward bound, we parted with friends
from the trip of a lifetime that we hope never ends.

Here's what Pat has to say about herself:
I've been flying since 1989 after I stopped skydiving. It was my way of staying in the air. With over 1000 hours and an instrument rating, I've been checked out in taildraggers and had a floatplane lesson.

I bought my beloved C172, Becky, in 1991 and learned how to do my own maintenance (all that is legal for me to do myself). I keep her hangared at RHV and try to fly every week. My favorite local place to fly is Hollister where I get the best chocolate milkshakes west of the Mississippi.

I've flown as far east as Maine and Daytona Beach, as far north as Fairbanks, and as far south as San Diego, although most of that was in Susan Larson's C182 (Mikey).

reprinted with permission from the author.

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