Beautiful British Columbia

He must have been feeling sorry for me. My Colt is still in the shop, and I am itching to go places. ”The WX Gods are smiling, it is going to be sunny next Tuesday, wana go flying? You buy the coffee, I buy the gas.” What a sweet email. Thanks Sieg, I think I can make it. Someone once told me that we should not appear to be too anxious – I could hardly contain myself. “Meet me at the airport at 1:00; we will go for lunch somewhere.” Oh, so it is lunch we are going for, not for a coffee – oh well, still a great deal. I arrived at the airport at the appointed time, not a minute late! I completely forgot my manners. I was supposed to be fashionably late a few minutes, right? Gota tell ya, I was grinning like a kid who just got a new toy.

I was ready. Headset (check), camera (check), wallet (check), I performed my checklist while Sieg inspected his Skylane. “Wna fly?” No thank you, but I must admit I sure was tempted. It felt sooo god to be sitting in a plane again. After the customary ritual in which we must engage in before each flight, runway 25 looked like a beautiful highway to freedom to me. Last quick check, all gages in green, “let’s go” voice from the left seat. Sieg’s experienced hand slowly advanced the power knob forward to a full engine roar. The Skylane obeyed, and after a swift acceleration, and a gentle pull on the control yoke, we were on our way. Oh, forgot to tell you, we were going to have our lunch at Rowena’s Golf Club.

In my days of flying Katanas, my mentor Michael Peare would often mention that we should go for lunch there one day. I had no idea where the place was. It is a private gravel strip, not shown on the chart, so while Michael tried hard to explain its location, I just did not get it. Soon that will change, I will finally know – we were on our way to Rowena’s. On the way Sieg did some serious low flying, I do not think I was that low in a plane outside of an airport boundaries – ever! Sieg goes to some interesting places and landings on river sandbars are definitely on the menu. He showed me what to look for, just in case I decide to try that. No thanks, I like the runways for now, but, who knows?

I still do not really know where the place is. I was enjoying the pleasures of flight so much, that I forgot to pay attention. We rounded off a corner, behind a low hill, and there it was. What? Is that where we will be landing? Let me explain. Right there, front of my nose, was this narrow gravel road, barely wide enough for our Skylane’s landing gear to fit on without going over its edges. OK, so I was not breathing for a while there, but I had my full confidence in Sieg. A thought popped in my head, what if I accepted Sieg’s offer to fly. I chased that one away even before we were over the threshold of the runway. Sieg skillfully flared off, and soon enough we were on the terra firma. At the end of the runway, there is a wide circle turnaround. We taxied back to the other end, announced on the radio to other pilots that we were off the runway, shut down the engine, and headed for the restaurant. We took a long walk on the pathways around the fairways, and manicured greens. The Rowena’s golf course truly is a magnificent, pilot-friendly, destination.

Sieg ordered a chicken burger, and I decided on a pulled pork sandwich. We had a friendly chat with the server, I must get her name next time I am there. She was delightful to talk to, and quick with conversation-appropriate one-liners. My food was excellent, and judging by the dripping hamburger juice from Sieg’s hands, he must have enjoyed it too. We used the facilities, I paid for the “coffee”, promised to come back soon, and we headed for our plane. Run-up, call on the radio, line-up on the runway, and there we went. Sieg prefers to depart to the east, wind permitting, because unlike the tall trees on the west end of the runway, departure to the east is over the river.

On the way in, I was showing of my iPad, loaded with all the marvelous flight-related apps I have on it. With the reliable Blue Tooth Dual GPS sitting on the dashboard, it was in complete agreement with Sieg’s Garmin 296. Where the two disagreed was not too hard to see. It is like the famous Ketchup commercial, once you see the gorgeous moving map on an iPad, there is no going back. On our return flight I decided to take some pictures for you, so here they are. Isn’t British Columbia beautiful?

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Rowena's

I am sure all these hills have names, but I have no idea what they are. Maybe I should brush-up on the local geography a bit. Our arrival at Boundary Bay looked very familiar. After all, I made many flights from here in recent times. One thing immediately became obvious to me. The friendly runway 25 is not a dirt strip. After Rowena’s, I bet Sieg could lad on it crosswise – well, maybe not. As we unloaded, I noticed that my camera bag and my hat were missing. Rats, I left some stuff behind, I told Sieg. “Well, Thursday looks good, you wana go back and fetch it?” I’ll buy the “coffee”, I replied eagerly. When I promised the friendly server that we would be back soon, I was not thinking of this soon. “We will go with Lloyd, he has his back seats in, and we’ll do some filming on the way.” It is settled then, lunch at Rowena’s on Thursday it is.