Saturday 7/20/19 was one of the first cloudless days we have had in weeks. It was nice to have the clouds gone, but we paid the price via higher temperatures (though nothing like what the eastern 2/3 of the country are enduring).
We decided to head down to Hood River Oregon to visit the Western Antique Airplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM). It is a large collection of old cars, airplanes, motorcycles and other stuff. There are dozens of airplanes and just as many cars. Most all of the airplanes are flyable and they do fly them from time to time. Many of the items on display do not actually belong to the museum and are just on loan for display.
The trip down would take us past Mt. Rainier and near Mt. St. Helens. Since I had not yet flown around Mt. St. Helens I wanted to do that on this trip.
We departed at 10:25 into clear skies that were mostly calm. We climbed to 9,500' and headed east to stay on the east edge of the Class B. That is an interesting place to be as you get all of the airliners going into and out of SeaTac going either above or below you. The arrivals would go below while the departures would be above.
I went to the west of Mt. Rainer since that was a more direct route to Mt. St. Helens. Carl went to the west of Mt. Rainer to go direct to Hood River. It was very calm at that time on the west side of the mountain. On the east side there were small wispy clouds forming at the top of the thermal activity making a little bumpy right at our altitude. Carl climbed higher to get above it while I still had a smooth ride at 9,500'.
I then headed to Mt. St. Helens to get some video there. It was still very smooth and I was able to get right next to the mountain. There also was no one else in the area so I could pretty much do what I wanted. It looks a little sad and depressing in the summer without much snow. In the winter when it is snow covered it is much prettier.
From there, descending into Hood River was pretty bumpy. There wasn't too much wind, but a lot of thermal activity creating bumps.
After landing and securing the airplanes we went over to the museum for a couple of hours. On the second Saturday during each month in the summer they have fly days where they exercise various parts of the collection. This was not one of those days so nothing was flying.
About 2:30 we headed home. We could see cumulus forming that indicated the top of the thermal activity and it looked like we would have to go really high to get over it (I forgot to bring the O2 tank). We had considered going to the west and coming up the west side of the Class B (kinda the long way from there). I wanted to try a more direct route and it wasn't too bad. There were a few bumps here and there, but nothing too bad.
The other nice thing about cruising at the higher altitudes is that it is much cooler. It was very comfortable for most of the trip, but was a bit too warm at the ends, more so in Oregon than here.