Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Photo Journal: Flying High to Lopez Island

I like meeting new people — especially when those people broaden my horizons.

Meet my new friend, Larry. Larry literally flew me to new horizons.

Meet Larry.

Larry has an array of interests. One of those interests is piloting his Cessna 150. Larry likes to fly to places and then explore those places via land.

Suppose you were Larry. Suppose you wanted to fly your plane somewhere — let's say the San Juan Islands — to explore the isles. What might be a good way to explore once you've touched down?

Yes, you got it — a bicycle!

Keep in mind that Cessnas are tiny. Their baggage capacity is limited both by volume and weight. So, how do you handle the bicycle?

Yup, you got it again — you use a folding bike!

Though I knew Larry was a pilot, I was more focused, perhaps unsurprisingly, on the folding bike commonality. In mid-September, Larry and I decided go for a bike ride together on our folding bikes. Larry lives in Port Townsend, which is on the other side of Puget Sound from where I was in Bellingham. Rather than deal with the hassles of ferries, Larry flew to Bellingham for our bike ride.

Shortly into our ride, Larry asked if I would be interested in pedaling on Lopez Island. Puzzled, I asked, "You mean, now? How would we get there?" To which Larry replied, "Via plane, silly!" I needed all of six milliseconds to think on that. Hell yeah, Lar, let's go!

And so it was. Larry and I pedaled over to the Bellingham International Airport, folded our bikes, arranged the bikes in the back of the plane, hopped in the seats, put on our safety belts and headsets, and off we went.

We had a grand time. Alas, I didn't capture any of the grand time on film, as I hadn't brought my camera with me. Silly me hadn't anticipated we'd be doing anything other than going for a simple joy ride on two wheels.

Fortunately, two weeks later, Larry and I decided to fly back to Lopez for another bike ride. This time I brought my camera. This is a photo journal of our second adventure flying high to Lopez Island.

We squeezed our folding bikes into the back of the Cessna,
piling our other belongings on top of and around the bikes.

Before taking off, we taxied over to the gas pump to top off on fuel.

I had no idea the fuel tanks were in the wings!

After filling up and a safety check, we were ready for liftoff.
In no time at all, the "oohs" and "aahs" started pouring from my mouth.
As you can tell, Larry got a kick out of seeing my reactions.

As we continued to crawl higher, I twisted my head to look back towards Bellingham Bay.
Holy gorgeousness! And look at Mt Baker!

It was fun watching the cockpit.
Larry explained all the dials and bells and whistles.
He even let me take over the joystick (aka yoke) for awhile. Look, ma, I can fly!

After a few minutes, Larry took control again so I could stare out the window in admiration.
It was so different seeing the San Juans from up above.

I loved observing the different shades of water.

After about twenty minutes, we approached Lopez Island.
I recognized Fisherman Bay down below.
Larry steered the plane, lining us up to land at the Lopez Island Airport.

The Lopez Island Airport is the red pin,
just to the south of Fisherman Bay. 

Once we landed, we rejiggered the loose items we had thrown atop the bikes in back —
some helmets, a ukulele, and some other accoutrements.
After retrieving our bikes and locking up the plane, we were on our way
to explore Lopez Island on two wheels!

Here is Larry, pedaling his ZiZZO.

And here is me, pedaling my Brompton.

After cycling to Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve for a lovely picnic and chat,
we headed back to the Lopez Island Airport.
We folded and stored the bikes, piled in, and got ready for takeoff once again.

As we gained elevation, we circled over Shark Reef,
where we could just barely make out the sea lions atop the rocks!
The first time we flew to Lopez, we had biked to Shark Reef Sanctuary,
and so it was nice to see the reef from a different perspective.

I felt entirely comfortable flying with Larry.
He was both competent and cautious — the perfect combination.

Me and Larry, after a happy and safe return back to
Bellingham International Airport.

Bromleigh and I were so thrilled to have the opportunity
to fly high to Lopez Island.

How incredibly awesome it was to fly in Larry's Cessna to the San Juan Islands with our folding bikes aboard! Many thanks for the experience, Larry! Although you fly all the time, this was a first — well, ok, now a second — for me. This was something I've wanted to do for years. Next time, can we fly to Tasmania with our bikes?


  1. Nice post Sarah. I'm headed to Tasmania on Tuesday.

    1. Ha, no kidding! Have a blast! I hear there is some wonderful biking on the island.

  2. That would be SO much fun! I saw Kenmore air take off and lane for 30 years and never flew in one to see the world from the air.

    Never made it to Lopez either, might have to fix that in he future

    1. I could watch (and have watched) the Kenmore planes take off and land all day long at Lake Union. So mesmerizing!

      I think I'm in a wee bit of shock that you've never been to Lopez. Never? Not even on your bike?!?

  3. Nope not even the bike, planned on it a few times but ended up elsewhere. And the new office of the Mighty P is right on the lake. I used to take the laptop up high to work and watch the planes


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