Oh the places you’ll go…(and people you’ll meet)

Just like the good ‘ol Dr Seuss book, life puts you in many interesting places. Friday was the first day we stayed put for over 24 hours. Absolutely nothing wrong with that!

The day took us on a quick flight to Telkeetna, a town north of Anchorage for a late breakfast at the “Road House.” If you are ever there, order the “half-standard” for breakfast (if you are hungry man hungry, order the full-standard.) With a glacier run on our mind, we headed toward Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park for a HECK of a ride. Video to be posted soon…it was epic. Watching turbine Otters land uphill on a glacier is certainly a sight. Due to the large amount of traffic, there are even multiple Mountain Traffic Advisory Frequencies – MTAF for the different areas of Denali. The perfect VFR day allowed us to do some mountain flying (with normal weather patterns what we did is not often possible)

With another – “WOW” moment behind us, we headed back to Anchorage for a “simple” afternoon. After putting our dear Baron to bed for the day, we headed to Lake Hood, to see how what a real seaplane base looks like. The lake is long and has many small inlets for parking seaplanes (each float plane has its own “slot” and most have a storage shed as well). Most definitely the most active lake I have ever seen for seaplanes, I think Mark was in love. ;-) Lake Hood is located adjacent to the Anchorage international airport so there is plenty of air traffic in the area to keep any airplane watcher happy!

One of the best places (we were told by our fearless adventure leader – Doug) to watch these seaplanes on the lake is the Millennium Hotel restaurant deck. Our low beer lights were flickering, so we stopped in for an Alaskan amber. We sat down and started sipping beers on a perfect sunny day. Across from our table (between us and the lake) were three girls, enjoying some drinks, and the day as well. Two of the girls seemed familiar to me, so I leaned over to Doug and asked…”Doug, is that Ariel (Tweeto)??” His eyes got big, he looked at me, and smiled. Yes, I do believe it is… (We had a decent chuckle about the hilarity of it all)

So, here I am thinking to myself, what are the odds. Seriously, just a couple days ago we were flying over Unakleet, unable to land and say hello to Jim Tweeto… (Weather was 200ft ceilings and 3/4 mile visibility) And now here we sit, beer in hand, next to two of Jim’s daughters. We struck a nice conversation with Ariel and Ayla, snapped some photos, and they promised to meet up with us later.

How could the day get any better you ask? (Or maybe you don’t, but I am going to enlighten you anyway) We decided to get dinner at F Street Station. We had a guest join us – Rich Davidson, a pilot from Indiana and some wonderful pilot conversation ensued. After everything that had happened, that day, I would have been perfectly happy with hanging it up for the night.

While at our table we were enjoying some very nice conversation with our waitress when she inquisitively asked about Doug’s Texas Flying Legends shirt. He told her he was a pilot that flew warbirds and such (a statement we had heard many times before) but this time was different. She replied, interesting, my family has been involved in the warbird community. “Oh really?” said Doug. She told us her uncle used to fly a Mustang, and we quickly found out, her Uncle was Don Hinz. Doug was stunned. We had come all this way, seen all these places, and met all these people, only to find another amazing connection. He scratched his head in amazement, and had no words to explain what had just happened. (I will let Doug elaborate on his emotions later if he would like)

I simply couldn’t believe all that had happened, and the night was capped off by a visit from Ariel and her sister Ayla at the F Street. A day/night surely to be remembered forever!


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