It was a beautiful, clear morning in Beach when I got up and packed the Dove. I got dressed and packed up quickly after my devotional time, and I looked forward to a great day of flying in what appeared to be perfect weather.
I watched the little town sink below me on departure, and I climbed to altitude and shot to the northwest.
As soon as I crossed the Yellowstone River only 30 miles outside of Beach, layers of smoke began forming ahead and beyond, above and below me.
Pretty soon, I was in it. The smoke worsened the further I flew, and at 14,500 I still could not clear it. There was a cumulus layer forming above me as I crossed Glacier National Park, Montana
. My slant visibility to the ground was marginal, so I pressed on through the brown-grey mire. I could smell the scorch of sap and pine and I could see a downwash of fog curling over the Great Divide
as I overflew the puny glaciers.
I began a descent into Idaho after a three-hour flight through a lot of smoke and ash and plenty of turbulence to go with it. I landed and got fuel for $4.19 per gallon at the Boundary County Airport (65S), located near the town of Bonners Ferry.
After I topped off, I parked the Dove over on a transient tie-down cross away from the FBO building. There were a bunch of sticky, green, sap-laden bugs stuck on all the leading edges and on the windscreen. They were hard to get off. There was also a thin line of ash on the prop and wings.
While I was wiping down, a guy wearing an olive-drab tee shirt and a camouflage-colored hat walked over to me and started looking over the Dove. He said his name was Walter. He wanted to know where I was from. I told him I was on a 40-day and 40-night mission trip from California. Walter walked around to my panel and saw the Christian symbols painted there. He scoffed at it. He snorted as he walked back around to the front of the plane saying something like, “Yeah, I know all about that stuff!”
He asked about my engine and propeller, so I told him. Then Walter began expounding upon his aerobatic flying skills and about how the Army taught him everything he needed to know about flying. He said he flew a lot of aerobatics in his own RV-8 that he built. Then he asked me what part of California I was from.
I told him.
Walter almost lost his temper when he started talking about how much he hated California. I told him that there was a lot to complain about no matter where you lived, but California was my home state. Maybe I could find some things to say about Idaho, would he like that? I asked him if he knew anything about the Skinheads up there. Walter said, “Nice paint job,”
then walked away and disappeared behind a cluster of hangars, and I finished wiping down the Dove and covered her up. Then I went over to the FBO.