My goal for this summer was to take the family camping. Naturally, fly-in camping would be ideal. I scouted out what looked like a fantastic destination: Nehalem Bay State Park on the Oregon coast. The runway is in good shape, there are 6 camping spots right next to where you park your plane, and you can walk to the beach. Does it get any better than that?
We took off on a lovely Friday afternoon in June and departed the Bay Area.
Our flight took us along the Pacific coast for a little over 3 hours. It was gorgeous, albeit a little hot. 4WR doesn't have A/C! (...yet?)
Unfortunately, the coast didn't stay that clear the entire way to northern Oregon. At some point a thick layer of fog crept in. As we were nearing our destination, I started tuning the radio to the ATIS frequencies of various airports that we were overflying. Ceilings were down to 100 feet! Nehalem Bay has no instrument approaches, and I'm not instrument rated yet, but that's not even relevant with ceilings that low. The fog extended as far as the eye could see out over the ocean, but only about a half mile inland. The rest of the state was completely clear. Unfortunately, our destination was in that narrow strip along the coast that was totally socked in. When it became clear that the fog was there to stay, we decided to pick another destination. We diverted to Portland!
Landing at PDX was fun. The tower let me cut in front of a 737 on 10 mile final, which made the pilot of said jet a little uneasy. He asked about my location several times. The tower reassured him that I'd be well out of his way before he arrived. I did them a favor and flew a short approach and turned off the runway immediately.
I've spent my fair share of time in Oregon, but almost none in Portland. So it was fun to explore the city.
We lucked into the annual Rose Festival and Parade. There was lots of fun stuff going on downtown.
We met up with some Bay Area friends who recently relocated to Portland.
And I got to meet this guy at the Rose Garden.
When it was time to head home, we turned east after takeoff from PDX and flew down the gorge and out to Mt. Hood. We circled the mountain at 9,500' before turning south and back to the Bay. 4WR got us home in about 3 hours. What a time machine!
It didn't work out exactly how we'd intended, but we had a great time regardless. I'm still hoping to get some summer camping in, but it will have to wait for a less foggy day. We absolutely loved Portland and we hope to visit again soon.