Saturday, September 8

Glacier Day Two

George, Kay, Gene and Sheryl were off  for Glacier on a Chamber of Commerce type of day. It is an easy and picturesque one hour drive.  The temperatures this morning are the coolest we have had and we are grateful for our jackets. We progressed up the Going to the Sun Road, stopping  at waterfalls, lodges and lakes. We are surrounded by very steep and craggy mountains and saw the results of forest fires from the past, and smoke from a current one. The forests are lush, the mountains are dramatic and we can see the glaciers on the tops of many of them. On the advice of our buddies, we only go up the mountain and turn around before encountering construction delays on the back side. We stopped to explore the historic Lake McDonald Lodge and marvel at the lush flowers at its entrance before leaving the park and heading to Whitefish. There we had lunch on the flower bedecked patio of Craggy Range restaurant, then browsed the shops a bit before returning to the airport.
Meanwhile, the ground crew  had done a good job and the manifest of passengers had grown to 12 for a membership flight to take place around 5 PM. The weather has been deteriorating with a cloud cover moving in so the passengers will not get the clear views of earlier in the day.The route was over Glacier still proved to be stunning and a great time was had by all. Dinner was at a family owned Italian restaurant in Kalispell. The food and wine were excellent.
Thursday morning we awoke to the sound of rain. This part of the country really needs it, but the low visibility put a hitch in our getalong. We delayed departure from the hotel until ten and by the time the plane was loaded, the skies were clearing. Passengers Cate and Bill Whiting, Jason Robinson, and our friend, John Breck were to make the trip to Spokane with us. Then we were delayed further when the right engine refused to start. Just a little moisture, compounded by cold and altitude made the old girl reluctant to get up and go. After a little coddling, she decided she would cooperate. Meanwhile, Cate canceled due to time restraints but the rest of us blasted off for Spokane.
We went up over the cloud cover which meant it was chilly and Gene asked if Peggy was #1 (stewardess) and requested she turn the heat up (of course there is no heat). David played #2 and delivered an inflight meal, consisting of packages of chips on our "silver" tray. Then he passed the donation jar as there is no free lunch. By now there were large gaps in the clouds through which we could see tall mountains and deep blue lakes. Our passengers enjoyed time in the jump seat and the co-pilot seats. Then Captain George requested the presence of wife, Kay, in the cockpit and she flew the plane for awhile. See the great photo.
We were surprised that upon landing at Felts Field in Spokane to find quite a welcoming committee. We parked in front of the EAA Chapter 79 hanger, which is as well equipped as any FBO, and has a cute decor. Then there was a class of young future aviators from Moody Bible College who had looked out the window to see us land, abandoned the classroom and came on a field trip. They and their instructor were thrilled to see this piece of history in their backyard. Thanks to Peggy's efforts, the newspaper was also there.
After showing the plane for awhile, we walked down the taxi way to the Skyway Cafe and enjoyed an excellent lunch. Then it was off to our hotel, a high rise downtown with a view of the Spokane River. There is a nice park along the river with fountains and a carousel. We walked to the restored Davenport Hotel and were blown away. It dates to 1914, closed in 1986, was restored and opened again in 2002. There is not room to publish pictures, but I encourage you to look this place up online. It has the most ornate embellishments I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of restorations. We ended up having a dinner of appetizers in the Peacock Lounged, decorated with stuffed peacocks. Again, the food was delicious.

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