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To Portland and Back Again

Owning an airplane comes with some advantages. Given that it’s February, it’s that time of the year when I need to meet up with my CPA to work out the details of filing 2015 taxes. The trouble is my CPA lives in Portland. So earlier this week on Monday, I flew down to Portland in the morning, then flew back later in the afternoon.

This in an of itself is not particularly interesting. It’s a path I’ve flown a few times before. But this time was probably one of the strangest flights I’ve ever been on. Let’s start with the flight track, which as you can see is quite predictable and normal-looking:

I flew down in nearly ideal conditions. The air was thick with a slight wind from the north that was so steady it was nearly imperceptible in flight. I left around 9 AM after dropping off the children for school. At Bremerton airport, the sky was completely blue; however, there were low-clouds and fog all along the route south.

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Always and Eventually

Ever since I first saw it, I’ve loved the movie Always, the last of the great 1980s movies from the Spielberg, Kennedy, Marshall production team of Amblin Entertainment. There’s a lot to love in this gem. You can’t go wrong with the likes of Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, and Audrey Hepburn. The story behind the story is almost as cute, campy, and compelling as the movie itself.

Always: Libby Airport Chaos

For me personally, Always may in part be why I wanted to become a pilot. The movie merged together flying awesome airplanes, mountains, and classic music. In the words of Al Yackey (Goodman):

What this place reminds me of is the war in Europe. The beer’s warm, the dance hall’s a Quonset, there’s B-26s outside, hotshot pilots inside, an airstrip in the woods. It’s England, man! Everything but Glenn Miller! Except we go to burning places and bomb ’em till they stop burning.

One of the joys of being a pilot with an airplane at my disposal is being able to fly my family on summer “air trip” vacations. We get to explore places we would otherwise never even consider driving to. Last year, we worked our way out as far as Kalispell, Montana. This year, we knew we wanted to get to Sandpoint, Idaho after a stop in Spokane, Washington. Since it’s a very short distance from Spokane to Sandpoint (by air), we had an opportunity to visit Libby, Montana, one of two primary locations where they shot Always.

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I’m a Beekeeper Now

Back several months ago, perhaps as early as January or February, my wife suggested I consider taking a beekeeping class. Both of us have been mildly interested in bees for a while, and I love honey on or in just about everything (as do my children), so it seemed like a good idea. For about a month and a half, every Tuesday evening I drove up to Silverdale to attend a beginning beekeeping class. I bought equipment sufficient for two hives, figuring that since I didn’t know what I was doing per se, having two hives would give me two data points so I’d be slightly less driving blind. Then on one particularly sunny Saturday in April, my pre-ordered two packages of bees arrived.

Two Packages of Bees Bees in the Package

According to the experts, there were about 10,000 bees in each package. Each package is a small, thin wooden box with screens on the long sides for ventilation. Inside are the bees, plus a canister of food (sugar water), and a tiny box housing a single queen.

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