Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 11: Historic Flight Foundation & Boeing Factory Tour

Saturday was a typical Pacific North West day, heavily overcast, and wet.

Good day for indoor activities. 

First came a tour of the Historic Flight Foundation's planes and exhibits at nearby Payne Airfield.  All their aircraft are in flying condition and get to fly often we were told, unlike most aviation museums where those old warbirds and such just get to sit around.

We were given basically a personal tour of the aircraft by one of their Docents, Tom, who did a great job and we did learn a lot.

 Bearcat, designed as a Japanese Zero killer, didn't quite make it
into the Second World War before it ended.

 Spitfire, this one with Czech insignia, flew as part of the
Czech contingents of the RAF

 P51-B, The Impatient Virgin

B-25 Bomber 
We were able to board her and check out the interior

I think it was either a similar model or a DC10 which
I rode in my first aircraft ride when I was a kid in Honduras

 This particular DC3 was used as an executive's plane 
by Johnson & Johnson, pretty nice

 A lot of history crowded into a relatively small building

After lunch we toured the Boeing Aircraft factories but as no pictures were allowed, none can be presented.  More info here: LINK

Here's an idea of how huge the buildings are:

Found via google
source: LINK

Both tours were good, I preferred the one with the vintage planes of course.  The Boeing tour proved too crowded for me to fully enjoy it.  If you can only do one, I suggest the Historical Flight Foundation's offerings.

Heck, if you've go the money you can arrange to fly in one of their aircraft!

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 10: Uraling to the Mothership

IMWA, the name of the company which makes URAL motorcycles, is located in Redmond, WA.  I was queried via FB, by Ilya, the CEO, if I was planning on visiting them since he saw I was in the area.

It didn't take much to convince me to go, they're always so welcoming to URAL rig owners there and I wanted to finally meet Ilya in person.

Took WA 525 to Southbound 405 until I got to the 85th Street exit.  I took the Express Toll Lane, which I'm hoping is indeed free for motorcycles.  If not, oh well, it was worth it to bypass the stop and go traffic.

Got there after a few missed turns, and was greeted by Tyler, one of their staff at the office.  Soon enough, Ilya was greeting me and giving me a tour of the warehouse area. 

Then it was time for a chat with Madina, his lovely wife in her office.  It was good to renew the friendship I'd begun with her back in 2013 when I first stopped at URAL HQ on the way to Alaska on Valencia, my 2011 Patrol.

I kept the visit short as I knew they were busy with work and I didn't want to be a bother.

Madina, yours truly and Ilya

The ride back, same way I came down, was much busier and hectic.  This area is really bursting at the seams with cars and people!  I found out later that the area I'm staying at, Everett, was recently rated as #1 in terms of terrible traffic and I can believe it!

My thanks to Madina and Ilya for making time out of their busy schedule to visit with me.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 9: Fort Casey and Deception Pass

Martha and I rode Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, to check out a couple of tourist sights in the nearby island of Whidbey

We boarded the car ferry at the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, getting to board first as motorcycles are loaded first.  The trip over was uneventful, under heavily overcast skies and cool temperatures that would last through the ride.

Once on the island, we got on Highway 525, which eventually merges or becomes WA Hwy 20, heading north from the terminal town of Clinton and eventually reaching the Fort Casey State Park.

$10 for a Discovery Pass and we were free to tour the Coastal Artillery structures that remain for folks to wander through and around.

First though, we stopped at a scale model diorama showing one of the old fort's 10" guns.....

Just kidding, no models here....except for Martha of course.  Just playing with depth of field.

There are two 10 Inch guns still mounted and available for close examination.  Pretty heavy monsters aren't they.  The neat thing about these guns were that they "disappeared" after firing, hiding below the protective concrete walls while they were reloaded for the next shot at some enemy.

 In the firing position

 The business end of a 10 inch gun 
These had a range of about eight miles, good enough to
cover their areas of responsibility in Puget Sound.

 Gun in the retracted position so it can be reloaded/serviced

 Views of the rear of the concrete casements,
with the observation towers in view
more info on fire control here: LINK

Here's captures of a couple of old photographs on display, showing Army crews servicing their respective guns.  They might be members of the 14th Coast Artillery which had responsibility for this area.

Here's a photo from the sister fort (three total to cover the area, known as The Triangle of Fire), Fort Worden, showing one of their 10" guns being fired:

The remaining fort of the trio of forts was Fort Flagler.

The Triangle of Fire

These particular guns and fort, never did fire a shot in anger though, and their viability as coastal defense weapons were soon proved obsolete before the end of World War II.

Part of the fort complex included a small lighthouse which we looked at but did not enter.

As we walked near the lighthouse, we heard and had previously seen what we thought was a Coast Guard helicopter near what appeared to be a formation of Coasties.

Turns out it was US Navy, perhaps Search and Rescue or some kind of training bird?

Leaving Fort Casey, it was some more riding to the northern end of Whidbey Island to Deception Pass:

The bridge spanning Deception Pass was pretty narrow so no way to pose Scarlett on the bridge, not with th elack of space and heavy traffic!  So we did a bit of walking around:

The shots we took of the scenery from the bridge didn't work out, there really wasn't much.  I think the draw is the high narrow bridge, which did induce a teeny bit of vertigo for me as we walked towards the middle of the bridge.

Yours truly at Deception Pass Brige
 Photo by Martha

We then retraced our route back towards the ferry terminal in Clinton to board the ferry back to Mukilteo.  Again, we were first since we were on a motorcycle:

Photo by Martha

A pretty good ride, a bit cool with temperatures in the low 60s but at least it didn't rain!  Typical Pacific Northwest weather I guess?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 8: Mukilteo, WA

Visiting with old time college friends, staying with them near the border of Everett and Mukilteo, WA....on the north side of the Puget Sound, across from Whidbey Island.

The Boeing Plant and Paine Airfield are close by and I got this shot of the DreamLifter:

Worked most of the day while Martha and Patrick went into downtown Seattle to check out the regular tourist sites and a Marvel Comics exhibit at the Modern/Pop Museum.

Sunset predictions were favorable so I went out during a break to find a good spot to catch the sunset while posing Scarlett.

 Totem Park

See what you think, this is near the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, near the Ferry Terminal to Whidbey Island.

The Great Escape - Days 6-7: Driving to Everett, WA

Not much to report about this travel, we drove on WA Highway 2/US Highway 2 all the way to Everett, WA over two days.

The first night, we parked the RV for free at a casino's parking lot (just west of Spokane, WA) and dry camped.  No pics by me, sunset was meh and I didn't even unload Scarlett from the trailer.

Tuesday, the 26th of June, we got to my longtime friends' home in Mukilteo, a small town near Everett, WA.  I've know Kelly and Jerry W since my ROTC cadet days.

They're graciously allowing us to park Uma, the URRV in their gravel yard for the next three weeks or so while Martha and I go on to the next phase of the great escape.

After a week visiting with Jerry and Kelly and their daughters, we'll take the train to Vancouver, Canada and board a cruise ship to Alaska....more on that later.

In the meantime, a decent sunset view from Jerry and Kelly's home near Puget Sound:

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 5: Helena, Montana

We left shortly after 6AM from our campsite at the Colter Bay Village RV campground; a day early as we'd had enough of the crowds.

A bit over 90 minutes later we'd driven through Yellowstone NP and avoided not only the expected crowds but didn't have to pay to go through the park.

Breakfast was soon after that, while parked at the parking lot of the visitor center for Earthquake Lake in Montana.

Earthquake Lake

By around 1:30 PM we'd arrived at the home of friends of ours who used to live in the Metro Denver area.  Craig H. was to be our host, Julie his lovely wife was out of town and we'd miss seeing her during this brief visit.

We were moochdocking on their 20 acre property on the NW side of Helena, Montana.  Very nice house and property....I was quite envious.  Craig and their two dogs spent some time being shown around the property and catching up.

Then Martha urged Craig and I to go for a ride.  You see, I'd known Craig since the beginning days of me being a Uralista!  He rides a Gear-UP with the Arctic Camo paint scheme.

Craig led the way to the nearby (about 30 min away) Helena National Forest after showing me Lake Helena which he told me is no more than 10" deep at any one location.  I wonder how accurate that is....

Anyways, the dirt road taking one into Helena National Forest was quite lovely, on the way in you go through the "Cribbage Capital of the World", the rather small settlement of Nelson.  Not sure about their claim but here you go:

I found Helena National Forest to be quite nice a ride, very heavily forested with cool rock formations and several spots where one can do dispersed camping!

 Uraling along Refrigerator Canyon

Returning back to Craig's home in Helena, he fed us dinner while we watched four deer munch on the vegetation on his property, perhaps 100 feet from us.

 Craig, dogs Indy and Liesl and yours truly

Patrick and the dogs

Again, sadly, Julie wasn't home, she's due back tomorrow sometime but unfortunately we'll be gone as we must make tracks for Washington State.

Thank you Craig for the great ride and for the great hospitality.  Both Martha and I got some good vibes from the Helena area, we might be back for some more exploring and research.