Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mount St. Helens and the Cascade Range

On our way south to camp at Chehalis, Wayne and I flew along the west side of the Puget Sound to stay out of Seattle's busy airspace. Following our flight path to the east were the mighty peaks of the Cascade Range. Of course, Mt. Baker is in our own Bellingham back yard came first.

Other lofty peaks include Mt. Rainer and Hood, but the most distinctive is Mount St. Helens. At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. The massive explosion and an earthquake of 5.1 caused the north face to collapse. Mud from flash melted snow and ash caused devastation near and far. The ash cloud was propelled 15 miles in the air and around the world.

Today you can still see the results of the cataclysmic event. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Park website provides lots of information about the volcano and the surrounding forest recreation areas. If you are in the area, fly or drive by. -- Margy

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Flying Day Trip to Port Townsend, WA

Jefferson County Airport, Port Townsend
Being home based in Bellingham, we get to explore the area in our Piper Arrow.

One of our favourite destinations is Jefferson County International Airport (0S9) near Port Townsend, Washington.

A bonus is our friends Linda and Gary live nearby in Sequim, and they can met us for a tasty meal at the airport cafe, or take us on land-based tours to town.

Port Townsend's busy boatyard.
On one memorable trip, the first stop was to the Port Townsend Boatyard. What an amazing place. Boats of all sizes and types were either on blocks or being hauled around by huge lifts.

We were hungry, so Linda picked the historic Belmont Hotel on Water Street. It was built in 1885 and you can stay in its Victorian style rooms. We ate on the outside deck with a super ocean view. The fish and chips, sandwiches and salads we had were great!

Historic Port Townsend
After lunch we wandered along Water and Washington Streets with shops clustered in old-time buildings. We spent a long time in Forest Gems looking at hand carved furniture and art. Gary's favorite used bookstore (and now ours) is the William James Bookseller. I found several books by Farley Mowat for a really good price. Gary and Wayne love it for the huge selection of science books. What would a walk along the waterfront be without  ice cream, so we stopped at Elevated Ice Cream Company for some homemade treats.

Our Piper Arrow 997 at Jefferson County Airport.
Jefferson County Airport is a step back in time. It reminded us of how flying used to be before all the craziness led to fences everywhere. Runway 09/27 is lighted and 3000' in length. Fuel (100LL) is available at the self-serve pump. There is ample parking both on the paved ramp and on well maintained grass. If you are arriving from Canada, Jefferson County is an international airport of entry. Call ahead to arrange for customs.

Spruce Goose Cafe at Jefferson County Airport
The airport is about four miles from town (a very long walk even by our standards). If you don't have friends nearby, the Peninsula Taxi has 24 hour service to and from Port Townsend. They can be reached at (360) 385-1872. 

Whether you arrive by car, ferry or airplane, put Port Townsend on your list of places to visit in the near future. -- Margy

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Dracaena Spike Plant Blooms

Repurposed BBQ planter.
Back in 2010, I repurposed an old BBQ into a planter. I put it right under my kitchen window at the cabin to give the side of our home a bright focal point.

I annually plant flowers in it, but wanted something to give a higher green background. I picked out two small grass-like leaved plants at Canadian Tire for that purpose.

Over the years, those spiky little plants (you can barely see them in the picture at the left) grew until their roots took over the whole planter. Consequently, in 2015 I relocated them to deck pots of their own.

I went back to Canadian Tire to talk to the nursery expert. She wasn't sure what I had, but thought it might be a plant called Dracaena. I looked it up online and that made sense. I believe mine is a Dracaena indivisa also known as a Spike Plant. It's commonly used in planters and gardens to provide height and interest.

Then this year I was surprised to see one of the plants develop a spike. That spike grew larger and finally opened to a massive bloom.

Not only was it beautiful, it was very fragrant, and provided the bees with an early spring source of nourishment.

Now my Dracaena has created two separate branches from where the bloom was removed. I understand that this well happen each time a bloom occurs. I guess I better look for some bigger pots! -- Margy

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Relocating a Cat by Airplane

Wayne and Stick at the cabin.
When Wayne and I started spending more time in Powell River, we decided to relocate our cat, Stick Tail (a coyote nibbled his tail down to a stubby stick).

We want to have him closer to us and he was taking on a new career as a companion for Mom. It was the perfect move. We got to spend their last years close to each other.

To get ready for the big move, Wayne took Stick to the vet to get his certificate of health for Alaska Airlines. We purchased an airline approved soft carrier to fit under the seat. We chose a Sherpa Delta model that had plenty of room to move around and mesh sides for good air flow.

We also purchased absorbent pet training pads (wee-wee pads, sorry for the embarrassment Stick) to line the bottom.

We practiced getting used to the carrier. He wasn't happy, so we got some over-the-counter homeopathic anti-anxiety drops (check with your vet first) to calm him during the trip. Since he'd never been on an airplane before, we didn't know how well they would work, but the airplane ride was better than any previous car trip.

On the morning of travel, Stick didn't want to be caught (he has a sixth sense about these things). After fifteen minutes and a few drops of his anti-anxiety remedy he was snuggled into his carrier.

Stick was loud in the car, but settled down before the Alaska counter. After paying for his "seat" under the seat ($100), it was time for security. I'd been dreading this. Wayne opened the bag and carried him through without a struggle.

Stick didn't like takeoffs, landings and turbulence, but was quiet and calm for the majority of the flight. One passenger even talked with him in "cat voice" for quite a while.

When we got to Mom's condo in Bellingham, he was ready to get out but not to explore. He went straight under the bed. We put his food, water and litter box nearby. After he settled into his new home, we inched them towards their real  locations.

With the relocation done, it wasn't as bad as I had feared. And it turned out that Stick did travel by airplane again.  After Mom passed away, he became our full-time cat once again. Going to and from Powell River on Pacific Coastal Airlines it took only 25 minutes. Traveling by car it was seven hours with the ferry transfers. For a cat that got car sick, it was worth it.

Do you have any pet travel stories to share? Let us hear from you. -- Margy