Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well, Joy and I had a fun weekend! I was finally able to get out and fly again on Saturday, and wanted to practice my instrument skills, so I decided to fly IFR (instrument flight rules) up to Bellingham and maybe visit Joy's brother and her family for a few hours and then fly back. So I filed my flight plan and we departed Vancouver around noon. The flight was pretty normal; we were allowed to fly through the clouds this time instead of having to go around them. I shot the ILS approach into Bellingham, got underneath the clouds and then flew the 5 minutes to the small airport of Lynden. We arrived around 1:30pm and met Doug and his family for lunch, and ended up staying for dinner as well. By the time we got back to the airport, it was dark, but very good weather. We hopped in, strapped our seatbelts on, went through the starting procedures, turned the key, and nothing happened! Without even thinking about it, I knew our starter had gone bad, which meant we weren't going anywhere! So we ended up spending the night at Doug's house (after calling to get some "emergency" amoxicillin, toothpaste, contact cases and solution, and other things like that). We hadn't planned on staying the night, so we didn't bring anything with us.
To make a long story short, in hopes of being able to fix the airplane and fly it back, we stayed until Monday afternoon, before having to rent a car in Bellingham and drive the 4 hours back to Portland. So, by about 1:30pm we hit the road for home. Everything was going great until we got to the north side of Seattle, when Joy and I noticed a green truck swerving and getting really close to hitting the median. We both thought he was drunk, so I got close enough to read his license plate and called 911. While I was on the phone reporting him, he tried to enter the express lanes (which weren't open) and took out a bunch of barricades before narrowly missing the median again. He then proceeded to swerve across all southbound lanes of traffic before finally exiting the freeway. We were both a little disturbed and shocked at what had just happened, but after about 30 minutes our nerves started to calm down. Upon reaching the south side of Seattle, another truck entered the freeway from the on ramp just in front of us. We got back into the carpool lane and he started doing the same thing as the other truck! He would get really close to the median and then drift back into his lane. After narrowling avoiding a semi truck, we decided to call this one in too. So we got his license plate number and I called 911 for the second time in one day. While I was on the phone again, he managed to side-swipe an SUV, but he just kept on driving like nothing happened. So we followed him; it was apparent that he got a flat front tire from hitting the SUV, and tried to exit the freeway, but couldn't hold the road. He ran off into the ditch, stopped, and got out with the truck still in drive, and just started to walk away. After we got on our way once again, we got to within 30 miles of home and traffic came to a stop. We found out later that there had been a fatal accident just a few miles ahead of us. So after almost two hours of going nowhere, we finally started to pick up some speed. We got home around 8:30, making a 4 hour drive well over 7. We made it safe though, which we thanked God for. The 206 is still sitting on the ramp in Lynden, and I'll hopefully be able to go up Friday and fly it back here. I have a charter out to Tri-Cities on Monday if the plane is back and fixed. Between flying up and back to get the 206 and flying out to Tri-Cities, I should be very close to 400 flight hours! God knows best.

No comments: