Friday, January 30, 2015

Flying to Chehalis, Washington

You have to grab every chance you can get to fly. It seems like it's always cloudy, rainy or windy when we are in Bellingham during the winter. That isn't optimal flying weather. But this trip we found a window of opportunity and headed down to Chehalis, Washington, one of our favourite airports.

Our friend Jeanne tracked us on a website called FlightAware. You can follow airlines and private planes using instrument flight rules (IFR). Try it, it's interesting and free.

We're still testing our airplane's our new navigation system, and this was a great opportunity. Our Garmin 430W GPS with a moving map now gives us weather and traffic information, great safety features.

Linked to Wayne's iPad using Bluetooth, it has lots of extra features and a larger second screen for him to use.

We left Bellingham with some high clouds skirting over the top of Mt. Baker. Below, we could see a low coastal layer still hanging around.

In a little over an hour we reached Chehalis Airport. We used our GPS to fly the RNAV (GPS) RWY (Runway) 16 IFR approach to descend through the low cloud layer. We broke out below the clouds right at the minimums. We were the only airplane in transient parking.

We chose this destination because we wanted to combine flying with eating. Across the road is a great little restaurant at the Riverside Golf Club.

Wayne has been dreaming about their Rooftop Hamburger on a pretzel dough bun with an egg on top. Pilots tease about the $100 hamburger. This one cost only $10 if you don't count the fuel to get there.

Back in Bellingham we could see all the standing water from the recent rains. And from the look of the skies (and our new weather report on the GPS) it looks like there will be more to come. Good thing we grabbed our window of opportunity.

For more information, Chehalis is featured in Chapter 14 "Why Favorites are Favorites" of Wayne's book Flying the Pacific Northwest. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ADS-B Installation

997 in Arlington, Washington.
Keeping up with technology is no easy feat, no matter what part of your life. Aviation is no exception. In 2020, there will be a new requirement for airplanes large and small if they are going to fly anywhere in Class A, B or C airspace. That's pretty much everywhere you want to go.

For most of us, an investment will need to be made to install ADS-B avionics. ADS-B is short for a mouthful, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. The legislation only requires the installation of the out (broadcast) feature so that air traffic controllers can monitor your location and provide collision avoidance data to other aircraft.

Our Garmin 430W GPS moving map display.
For an added expense, you can include a receive feature that gives you in-the-cockpit displays of traffic and weather information. Because of these value added features, now was the right time for us to install an ADS-B system in our Piper Arrow 997. We went to Cannon Avionics in Arlington, Washington and Jim Peake took really good care of us.

You can purchase lower cost portable receive-only devices (many are apps that run om an iPad with a built-in GPS), but we wanted an FAA approved system that would comply with the 2020 broadcast regs and give us the in-cockpit displays.

Traffic display on iPad.
We already have an FAA IFR approved Garmin 430W GPS. We've had it about fifteen years (amazing for anything electronic) and had it upgraded to IFR certifiable ten years ago. For this most recent upgrade, a Garmin Dual-Link ADS-B transmitter/receiver was added in the tail of the plane. That was linked to the 430W in our front panel, and the new displays are now visible on the moving map.

Synthetic Vision on iPad.
We added the new Garmin Flightstream component that allows you to use Bluetooth technology to receive the moving map information on an iPad running Garmin Pilot software. Since Wayne and I are both pilots, it's a nice feature, and the larger  iPad display makes traffic and course monitoring easier for the co-pilot. The Garmin Pilot software  includes FAA approved charts that can be used instead of their paper counterparts. Keeping charts and approach plates current has never been easier. And because of the Bluetooth communication link, you can create flight plans at home and transfer them directly into the GPS. Sweet!

Split screen with moving map and traffic display.

We're still setting up and learning all of the features of our new ADS-B avionics. It really is a two pilot operation. One keeps their eyes outside visually looking for traffic and flying the plane. The other plans the route, navigates, watches traffic flow on the iPad, and communicates with ATC. Can you guess who is who?

Are you a pilot or just enjoy reading about flying adventures? Up the Airway wings you across Canada to show off the beautiful country from up above. Fly along with us in our Piper Arrow, land to camp at remote strips with gorgeous scenery, and meet unique animals like the muskox. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sourdough Wheat Herb Biscuits

I like to make sourdough bread with my starter, but sometimes it just takes too long.

Here's a sourdough quick bread recipe I use to make Sourdough Wheat Herb Biscuits. I found the recipe come from my favourite sourdough cookbook, Sourdough Cookery by Rita Davenport.

They are a great side with some homemade soup cooked on the top of our woodstove.

Sourdough Wheat Herb Biscuits

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon instant minced onion

Mix dry ingredients together.

1/4 cup margarine or shortening

Cut in margarine until the mixture looks like course cornmeal.

 1 cup sourdough starter

Stir sourdough started into the mixture until well mixed. It will be moist. 


Turn the dough out onto a floured breadboard and knead for 30 seconds. Use enough flour to keep it from sticking to the breadboard.


Roll the dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

Melt margarine and add Italian herbs. Brush the tops of the biscuits generously.

Bake the biscuits in a hot 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

This recipe makes 8 to 12 biscuits, depending on their size.

Serve warm. Because of the sourdough, the biscuits become hard when cold. Rewarming will crisp them back up if there are any leftovers. 

Do you make biscuits? What are your favourite kinds? -- Margy

Friday, January 9, 2015

Crochet Scarf Hanger

One of my favourite bloggers is Linda at Crafty Gardener. Not only do I enjoy reading her posts about birds and gardening, but I also get great recipe and craft ideas.

Here's a crochet project she inspired. It's a scarf hanger I made as a gift for a friend who loves wearing scarves. It was a fun project to do up at the cabin.

Here are Linda's posts that gave me the inspiration for my project, Covered Hangers and Upscale the Plastic Coat Hangers.

The plastic hanger I used had a large area just under the hanger, and two small hooks under the angled sections. I cut the two small hooks off, and you'll see later how I handled the circular spot.

I searched for large rings (my friend loves heavy winter scarves). I settled on 2.5" metal rings that can be opened and closed. They weren't my first choice, but turned out to be the perfect solution.

I used bright variegated yarn and an "H" (5 mm) crochet hook.

  • Crochet a chain of six stitches (test to make sure it will be enough to encircle the plastic hanger and adjust as needed).
  • Single crochet a strip that is long enough to cover the hanger all the way around (test as you work).
  • When the strip is long enough, tie it off.
  • Pin the crochet strip around the hanger with the open side on the outside of the hanger.
  • Single crochet the edges together all the way around the hanger.
  • Sew the ends together at the top of the hanger
  • If your hanger has a large plastic area under the hook, crocheted two medallions. (If your plastic hanger doesn't have this large area, skip this step.)
  • To make a medallion, chain four stitches and use a slip stitch to make circle. Chain three stitches and then double crochet twice in each loop around the circle. Tie off when the medallion is completed.
  • Sew the medallions together, one on each side to cover the plastic circle, and attach them to the hanger cover.
  • Open and insert the rings through the crochet cover on the underside of the angled sections. That's what made this style of ring a perfect solution. Rotate the rings so the larger hinge is hidden in the yarn.
  • Using the same yarn and a craft needle, tie each ring around the plastic hanger to give it extra strength. It's easy to hide the stitches if you use variegated yarn. Weave in the ends before cutting them off.
The hanger is now ready to store lots of winter scarves, three in the rings and several more on the bottom bar.

And I found a scarf that matched the exposed part of the plastic hanger to be part of my gift.

I'm taking another hint from Linda. Here's my disclaimer. I'm a beginner at crochet. My directions may not be error free. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Los Angeles Lakers

Wayne and I are on another sports-cation in Southern California. I have to be honest, I'm not a huge sports fan. But I do enjoy attending live games. There's something about the excitement of the crowd that makes the game more exciting.

This trip, in addition to USC men's and women's basketball games, we went to a Los Angeles Lakers game. Here we are at the game trying to take a selfie. Right when I shot the picture, the roving purple light came our way.

The Lakers began as a team in Minneapolis in 1947-48 as part of the National Basketball League. The following season they changed to the Basketball Association of America. In 1949-50, the two leagues joined to form the National Basketball Association, the NBA we have today.

In 1960-61 the Lakers moved to Los Angeles to become the first west coast team in the NBA. And here they've stayed and thrived.

There have been some powerhouse names associated with the Lakers: Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and now Kobe Bryant, who began playing at the age of 17 right out of high school in 1996. He's had an amazing long and productive career with the Lakers.

The Lakers play in Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. It's a vibrant part of town that includes the Convention Center, Nokia Theater L.A. Live, and the Grammy Museum. The streets are lines with restaurants and lots of nightlife spots.

Staples Center is also home to the Clippers basketball team (only LA could be big enough host two NBA teams), the Sparks Women's National Basketball Association team, and the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. It must take a lot of work (not to mention expense) to turn a basketball court into a hockey rink and back and forth several times a week.

So, if you are traveling to the Los Angeles area, consider a sports-cation of your own. You can stay downtown and walk to the games, or park in one of the many lots nearby. -- Margy

Thursday, January 1, 2015

El Merendero Mexican Restaurant

Wayne and I love living in Powell River, BC, but there aren't many places to get really good Mexican food. When we return to Southern California, we head straight for El Merendero No. 1 at 1910 Fairplex Drive in La Verne. They have the best Mexican food around. The portions are large, but it's the flavour that's huge!

You can eat inside or under their covered front patio. Inside you can order beer and wine, but outside you get fresh air and people to watch. The choice is yours. 

We love to go to El Merendero for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For breakfast, Wayne's loves the huevos rancheros and for me it's the chorizo and eggs. That way I can make my own little breakfast tacos with the warm tortillas that come with the meal. The breakfast burritos are also a great choice.

And if you need a morning pick-me-up. there's a big bowl of menudo.

For lunch and dinner, our favourites include the enchiladas, taquitos, and chili rellanos, or make it a chili rellano burrito, yum!  You can also order tamales to go for those festive occasions.

Walk up to the window, check out their extensive menu board, and order. Of course, you can take your food home, but stay awhile and enjoy the fun people, good service, and great food at El Merendero No. 1. -- Margy