Katamarino's Alaska flight

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Katamarino, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    First things first; there's a satellite tracker on the airplane that can be viewed at https://share.garmin.com/katamarino

    My loose plan was to spend ~6 weeks total flying from Pittsburgh PA to Alaska, all around Alaska and Northern Canada, and then home.

    The loose initial trip plan:
    [​IMG]

    So far I have made it to Hope, BC, and am waiting out some cloudy weather as there are some exceptionally large mountains around. I don't want to push my luck!

    The aircraft is a 1982 C182R with PPonk engine. Panel is as shown. Highlights are a 430W, Stec-30 with altitude hold, and EDM-830 engine monitor. Also my new G5 to replace the failing AI. There is a certain amount of "GPS overload". The two in the panel came with the airplane. The Aera 550 on the yoke I find very useful for looking up ADS-B weather and airport info; the interface is better than with Garmin Pilot on the tablet. The tablet is, however, extremely useful for holding all the IFR charts/plates, and has more detailed and up to date airport info than the Aera, so they all play a role.

    [​IMG]

    I set off mid-June, flying my old C172 up to Williamsport PA to collect my new 182 which had been in the shop there for a G5. I'd also added Flint tip tanks for an extra 23 gallons usable, and a dual USB charger in the panel which is proving to be very useful indeed. As is often the case the work went down to the wire and was only finished the day I wanted to depart.

    The weather was IMC through PA and OH but then cleared right up. I just flew hard to cover ground across the "boring bits", and made it to Creighton Municipal in Nebraska to camp overnight.

    [​IMG]

    Boring terrain:
    [​IMG]

    Overnight in Creighton:
    [​IMG]

    The view from the tent:
    [​IMG]

    The next day I headed on, destination being the "Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport".

    From Wikipedia:
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately my day was upturned by the discovery of fuel dripping from the wing, which concerned me a little.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily it turned out to be an easy fix and I was soon on my way to the Intergalactic.

    Wyoming countryside:
    [​IMG]

    Parked up at Greater Green River:
    [​IMG]

    There is nothing at all at this airport, so I walked the mile to the state road and almost immediately someone pulled over to give me a ride into town.

    Rail yard in Green River:
    [​IMG]

    The Green River (I assume):
    [​IMG]

    Kid's baseball in the park. As a non-American I found this very cool.
    [​IMG]

    Local vehicle:
    [​IMG]

    My view during the much more difficult endeavor of trying to get a ride back out of town to the airport.
    [​IMG]

    More to come as time allows!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  2. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    The next morning I woke to the sound of a tinny little engine. The Intergalactic was getting busy; a powered parachute had come for some flying.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The very pleasant pilot took me into town for breakfast, and dropped me back afterwards. He was planning to get an RV to tow the cart behind, and travel the US on retirement flying wherever took his fancy. Sounded like fun!

    From here I headed north to Missoula Montana for the AOPA fly-in. I stopped off in Idaho Falls to fuel up, and buy camping provisions from the ever-present local Walmart. The terrain became much more interesting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Landing at Idaho Falls:
    [​IMG]

    Up the valley towards Missoula:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Camped out at the AOPA fly-in:
    [​IMG]

    The fly-in was great, although the weather was horrible all of Saturday. It was a lot of fun meeting G-Man and Motoadve of this forum.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  3. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Beautiful pics. Sounds like a great flight.
     
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  4. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow, your pics were much better than mine. Leslie has some great ones on her camera, but I just used the iphone for posting.

    Love your "GS overloaded" panel.
     
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  5. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Soooooooooooooooooooo jealous!
     
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  6. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Great pictures..!!

    I have driven through the area but never flown over.
     
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  7. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Very cool. Just out of curiosity, did you try to stay over roads or "emergency" friendly terrain once you got in the mountains? I feel like once you get up north it gets much harder to do so.
     
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  8. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    I've definitely been very active looking for options should the engine fail, but like you say, landing options get very scarce. I think in this part of the world it's more a case of looking for options where you could simply survive, rather than land nicely! The 182 needs a remarkably short space to get it down survivably.
     
  9. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    Great trip! I remember overflying Hope BC after clearing Canadian Customs at Abbotsford. We had left Eugene OR in the morning, lunch in Bellingham WA, Abbotsford and were able to make it to Prince George for the night, Watson Lake the next night and then through Whitehorse and Northway AK landing at Merrill Field Anchorage.

    Looking forward to more great pictures!
     
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  10. erkmann

    erkmann Filing Flight Plan

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    There's a bunch of folks following vicariously. Did it in 2000 and your postings might get me back up there again. Thanks for taking the time to post all of the beautiful pix. Please mention availability of weather information in-flight and on the ground as you progress as it was pretty sparse back in 2000.
     
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  11. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Did that trip from California in 2007. Got stuck in Prince George for a couple of days waiting for weather to clear so we could fly the trench to Watson Lake. With the extra tanks you could probably take that option if you choose, saves crossing the Rocky’s twice. Enjoy, you’ll have memories that will stick with you for a long time.
     
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  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Did the Al can highway a trip I’ll never forget.
     
  13. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dear Katamarino,

    We all hate you.

    Wistfully,

    POA
     
  14. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    That's an interesting turn coordinator. I've never seen one like that. Brand?
     
  15. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Stec 30 autopilot?
     
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  16. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Got me by the short and curlies. :dunno:
     
  17. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Certainly wasn't my intention.

    Autopilot, you know, those devices that us experimental guys install that flys the plane for us and costs high dollars in certificated birds.
     
  18. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Heh, heh...yeah I know what an autopilot is (ya smartass) its just that you ended your reply with a question mark; meaning (at least to me) that you weren't sure what type of turn coordinator that was either.

    Edit: After some google fu practice, yes indeed that is an autopilot. Carry on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  19. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    Correct!
     
  20. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    What a wonderful trip!! Are you by yourself? I have thought of taking our 182 to the left coast alone, I'm not the camping type, but It think it would be fun and relaxing! I would like to have a better autopilot than my current Cessna one that works less than most congresscritters!
     
  21. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    According to the tracker, it looks like you made it up the Trench! Whooo-hoooooo! Watson Laaaaaaaaake.....
    Welcome to the Trench Club!
     
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  22. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, currently flying solo but friends are joining me along certain portions of the trip!

    Yeah, cloud was a little low but I made it through the high point with 2,000ft of clear air underneath me so it wasn't too bad! I think it was some of the most incredible flying I've ever done. Lots of pictures to follow!
     
  23. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    After a full day of rain, the camping area at Missoula was pretty muddy. The fire crews helpfully came by to wash wheels as we taxied off of the grass. After a quick run to Planet Fitness for a cheeky use of their showers, we headed out northwest towards Sandpoint, following two NY based 172s.

    [​IMG]

    Washing wheels at Missoula:
    [​IMG]

    A tastefully modified Subaru at the Missoula FBO:
    [​IMG]

    Airplanes on their way to Boeing:
    [​IMG]

    FBO staff in Sandpoint:
    [​IMG]

    The others went on a tour of the Quest factory at Sandpoint but, being a dirty foreigner, I was not permitted to enter. After that the three of us flew up to Cavanaugh Bay for lunch. The first restaurant we tried had "run out of food" (huh?), but the restaurant right across the road from the parking area was perfect!

    Parked up on the strip at Cavanaugh Bay:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The view from lunch; the restaurant is right across the road from the Cavanaugh Bay parking area:
    [​IMG]

    The others left to return to Missoula, but not I, as it was much too nice a camping spot to pass up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  24. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Don’t forget to stop in at Fast Eddie’s across the street from Tok Junction for that twelve hundred dollar burger :)
     
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  25. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    The next day brought a flight up into Eastern Washington, and Sullivan Lake Strip, a beautiful grass field next to Sullivan Lake in a secluded valley. It features fantastic camping and hiking. There are State Forest campsites both sides of the strip but it is extremely quiet and peaceful.

    [​IMG]

    On the way to Sullivan Lake:
    [​IMG]

    Approaching Sullivan Lake:
    [​IMG]
    Hiking at Sullivan Lake:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looking back down to the aircraft:
    [​IMG]

    Campsite at Sullivan Lake:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  26. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    Skipping to the present for a moment, while the flying itself and scenery is stunning, I have been quite disappointed with the on-the-ground experience in the north so far. In the lower 48 I'd say 9 times out of 10 when you visit a little airport there are people around who are keen to talk, be friendly and so on. North of the border, and in Alaska so far, most small airports seem deserted with no FBOs, and when you do see people they tend to pointedly ignore you unless you really force them to talk. Have met a few nice people of course, but most seem to have the attitude of "What's this stranger doing here, they should go away". Not what I was expecting!
     
  27. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was disappointed at how few pilots I met on the ALCAN going to or from Alaska. I was expecting to hangar fly with some but that never happened. Not much going on at the airports enroute also except for TOK and of course AMR-Merrill. Best aviation conversation occurred when staying at a B&B in Talkeetna. The owner owned a Mooney and a piece of a local airport.
     
  28. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    The thing I noticed in Canada were splendid GA facilities and infrastructure but not much actual GA activity. Nothing like here in the States. You will see plenty of action at Lake Hood.
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Seriously? SMH. :(
     
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  30. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    I've flown the ALCAN twice from Alaska to the lower 48. I did not have a lot of free time to enjoy the local sites. Fly 4 hours, stop for fuel, fly 4 more hours, stop for fuel, fly 2 more hours and stop to eat dinner. Grab a room for the night and do it all over again the next day. The 3rd day I only had to fly 4 to 5 hours to my final destination. I wish my trips were more leisurely. Would have loved to take my time traveling and staying in towns for a day or two before moving on.

    On one trip I got weathered in. Spend 3 nights waiting for the weather to clear, mother nature gave me a break to enjoy local activities..:)
     
  31. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Met up with Ross @Katamarino yesterday. His 182 is very nice. Took him around the Juneau area, showed him some of the local sites. Safe travels Ross, have a good one..
     
  32. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    From Sullivan lake, the route went south to McCall before heading West into Washington.

    [​IMG]

    Inbound for gas at Orofino:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Lunch stop on the grass strip at Slate Creek:
    [​IMG]

    On the way to Washington:
    [​IMG]

    Getting stuck in the mud at Memaloose, like an idiot. No people, no cell service. I had a couple of airplanes with giant tires lined up to come on a rescue mission, thanks to the Garmin InReach satellite messenger, but managed to get it out with a last ditch digging and full power attempt. Lots of new dents in the tail from rocks though, and I was in such a hurry to get out I left my tow bar by the side of the strip :eek:
    [​IMG]

    Crossing the mountains into Seattle:
    [​IMG]

    Dropping in to see the guys at PPonk. They checked out the engine and suggested a few baffling fixes that seem to have improved temperatures a little. Very friendly and helpful guys!
    [​IMG]

    Big boats near Seattle:
    [​IMG]

    Arriving at Seattle:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On the beach at Copalis, WA. How cool!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  33. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    It was a real privilege to meet @AKBill and have him show me around!
     
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  34. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    I was wondering when those pavement tires would let you down...:lol::lol:



    Wow.... you are braver than I am to land on the beach with those teeny tiny tires....:yes::lol::lol:

    Still looks like a great trip..!!! Lots of great scenery.
     
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  35. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    Next time I come this way, bigger tires are going on, and a Sportsman STOL. Didn't make sense to do the tires this time as my next big planed trip is round-the-world which they really wouldn't be good for!
     
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  36. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Old dog w/o new tricks
    Ha! Due to you getting stuck in the mud, I can now laugh at you with great derision rather than just being green with envy. :rofl:


    :p
     
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  37. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Probably too late for you, but a trick I learned at OSH...3 x 3/8 in plywood, 1 ft square (1-2 cm thick, .3 m square). Bevel the edges to make it easier to push/pull the airplane wheels on them.
     
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  38. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    I think that is entirely justified!
     
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  39. Katamarino

    Katamarino Line Up and Wait

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    I managed to take off from the beach without getting stuck, for a change, and stopped off at Tacoma Narrows airport to have dinner with @motoadve and a big group of pilots from FATPNW. A great group of people, and a fun evening! From there it was off to Orcas Island, in the San Juan islands, to camp for the night before entering Canada the next day.

    [​IMG]

    Tacoma Narrows airport and the famous bridge beyond:
    [​IMG]

    This unfortunate specimen was sitting right by the entrance gate to Orcas Island airport.
    [​IMG]

    Set up for camping at Orcas Island:
    [​IMG]

    Orcas Island:
    [​IMG]

    The next day brought the flight to Canada. It was fairly straightforward. I had to buy a "customs decal" for $28 in advance to place on the airplane (seems to have no other purpose than a tax), and then file an e-apis declaration online with the US CBP. Apart from that, it was just filing a VFR flight plan online, and calling the Canadians to let them know about the arrival. The flight was a short, less than 30 minute hop up to Vancouver International. On arrival I called customs again from the airplane, and they gave me the OK to continue; never even saw any body!

    Vancouver is full of floatplanes:
    [​IMG]

    Vancouver skyline and scenery:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    That is awesome..!!!!