Our final day together started off like most others, wake up, grab a cup of coffee, stare at some sort of incredible view, say some sort of “see ya later” to someone, and hop in the airplane. Well, this was kinda close.

We woke up in Greybull, WY to a view that made me feel like I was in a western movie. Horses and donkeys sipping water from the pond, the green oasis we were on turned to desert and the terrain quickly rose a few thousand feet off in the distance. Peaceful, serene, pretty much a place you felt at home at, and never wanted to leave. Life here, like it is in Alaska, seems to move a little slower. No rush.  :-)

After some wonderful conversation with Louise on the deck,  Doug and Mark just HAD to take out the mini-motercycles for a spin down the gravel road. I seriously think Mark was having kid flashbacks. I mean, look at his face! :-)


We finished off our pre-flight briefing at the local cafe with a sizable breakfast, and said our goodbyes to Gene and Louise at the airport. Before leaving we ran the 100LL pump dry (yup, took the last 94 gallons in the tank) and I learned how much performance is lost in the airplane when taking off from a 4,000 msl runway. (That or the three of us ate WAY too much for breakfast)  ;-)

The sights out the window were back to the midwest norm, farm fields and roads. Our route did take us by Devil’s Tower, so of course we had to drop down and check it out! One more thing of beauty to add to the trip highlights. I can certainly tell you this trip never failed to impress me, anywhere.

We stopped for gas (one last time) said hello to another friend in Pierre, SD (properly pronounced – Pier, like the dock) and off we went, the last leg of our adventure. Obviously, we were in for one more surprise, a tailwind!! No, seriously, we had a tailwind. Most of this trip was done well under 180kt, and finally we were above that. Not that during any of this we wanted to be in a hurry, but it was quite fitting to have on one that very last leg back to Mason City.

Maybe it was because none of us wanted to get home yet. I mean sure, I wanted to get back to see my wife & friends, and I am guessing Doug and Mark did too, but after experiencing an adventure like that, you never truly want it to end. It’s as if you are caught up in something bigger than you ever expected and you simply can’t explain it.

Heck, even after being back for a day I have a hard time comprehending what we just did. Doug and Mark achieved their goals, one of them, making it to Barrow, AK. They did it while embracing old/new friends, exploring new parts of the world that few have ever seen, and experiencing an adventure that will be tough to top. I think we all were surprised and amazed by what we saw, and are hard pressed to explain the grander of it all.

As we take time and reminisce, I am sure more stories and feelings will come up, but for now, I think I will just let you look at some photos while we attempt to digest everything (food included). Maybe we can someday fully grasp what we did, but for now, I feel lucky to simply have been a part of it.

To everyone that has been reading this blog, we hope you enjoyed it, and I plan to add some more stories and photos in the future.

To Doug and Mark, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for letting me share in your adventure.