What's new
Van's Air Force

Don't miss anything! Register now for full access to the definitive RV support community.

2014 -----Alaska, first encounter.

Check out the wind sock behind my truck when I was filling Vlads plane. Straight out and that thing was that way the whole time Vlad was with me. Was really wanting to take him fishing but 16 foot seas I don't even like going in. Anyway when I got a text that Vlad was coming I recieved it an hour after he got here. I did see him fly in the first time cause he flew right in front of my cabin and I was like hey thats an RV. I got done what I was doing and headed into town to the airport and see who was flying that RV and thats when I noticed my phone had a message
Simply said Vlad is in cordova needs place to stay. I jumped in the old ford and went to the airport but before I got there I saw Vlad fly away, so I wipped the truck around and raced home, jumped out of the truck and ran to my plane. Flipped on the master switch and started going through frequency and low and behold I got a hold of him.
It was great having him and anyone is welcome up here.

Okay the salmon barbecue in Dubois Wy may be on hold due to they ripped the whole runway up about three weeks ago to build a new one. Will keep everyone posted.
You are getting to see the side of Alaska that tourists miss. Adventure and obstacles at every turn. I learned more in 2000 hours of float flying there than I did in the rest of 40 years. If I had Russian accent, I would be fat... from free food. Lucky you... not fat yet.
Don't worry headless seagull... plenty more where that one took off from.
Next time

Vlad, next time you visit try the hiqhway route, can be just as challenging but at least you have a runway under you most of the way. Weather has prevented me from flying my RV8 to Oshkosh this year but I am leaving tomorrow commercial. If you ever make Anchorage I have spare room and food. You were lucky that the non spec FAA gravel was on the small side. ;)
What a story!!! When do you get your reality show? No doubt, Bruce is a man's man. Keep it coming.
Nick, Burke, Dave thanks. I wholeheartedly agree. My plan was to bypass the sites of mass tourism. I can always go there by a cruise ship or sled dogs.

.... I am on the way out. It's well below freezing at higher altitudes. All that moisture accumulated in the cockpit during several days of rain started freezing and stock heater couldn't do anything about it.

The ice was soft and I could scrape it easy.

Couple icicles I couldn't reach and let them melt when I went supersonic. Pitot was clear.

Somewhere over Skagway I saw ground I am one height over this mountain . It's time to go lower the oxygen bottle is almost empty.

30 more minutes and I am at Atlin, BC where weather is always CAVU.

I spent sometime touring the vicinities trying to locate Greg Arehart's cabin but didn't go far enough through the gorge to see it.

Here comes Professor himself. He brought oil for my RV from Continental US.

We drove to his cabin and had a great conversation. Traded couple lies over a beer and I went to bed. This is the guest cabinette Greg built for whoever visits him.

Greg and Julia built a great home away from home. Their log cabin is located on a rocky hill.

They have beautiful views from every window. Something like this.

They run on solar power and have very efficient appliances. They even have Internet at those woods.

I annoyed them enough it's time to leave. We went to the airport, changed lubricating oil in my RV, said hi to a local RVator who was running out to some fly in and departed toward Dawson Creek, BC. Greg mapped a great route for me which I religiously followed.

Refuel at Dease Lake.

Saw magnificent mountains.

Very remote settlements

and massive fires. Initially I thought it was a volcano eruption. Tomorrow going home won't be easy via those fumes up to 12,000 feet...

Last edited:
Almost at Dawson Creek, BC.

At Dawson Creek I stayed with hospitable RV Hoteliers August and Bonnie Lehmanns. They are on RV Hotel list and if you are comfortable landing on grass you can land right by the Hotel. I somehow ended at big airport and it was wrong move. I missed a lot.

The Lehmanns house is like a museum. Artifacts from August's long career in ATC and as a university professor. Bonnie is a pilot too she can tell you stories.

I had a very comfortable guest room and slept like a baby.

Next morning there was a flyin scheduled at Dawson Creek airport. A lot of traffic was expected and I decided to leave early just to get out of everybody's way. But first we went to see what August and Bonnie have on their property at Flying L Ranch. RV6 they built years ago well before prepunched kits.

This is August's current project.

And this beauty he owned for many years then sold it. Even after she was sold she is based at the same airport and August often stops by to say privet to his first love. Bonnie is OK with it...

On my last jump direct to US from Dawson Creek I encountered a phenomenon. Due to raging fires in BC the visibility was very low. Not a single cloud by the way.

At 12,500 feet I was still breathing smoke. It looks like clear air starts somewhere at 15-16,000 but my oxygen was depleted and I couldn't go that high anymore.

So I stayed within smoke layer for about an hour. After a while it doesn't stink that bad. To prevent headache Bonnie gave me some homemade sandwiches they really helped. :)

After Kelowna I had to run wide open throttle for a while. My actual time to meet US Customs was a bit behind estimated.

I cleared at Oroville WA, Dorothy Scott International airport. Customs officer was stern and asked a lot of very specific questions. Then he searched the plane... It was Sunday.

Finally FREE to heat and blue skies!!! I will take it over ice and cold any day. It's good to be home again.

Next several days I will be roaming the country without any plans and routes enjoying myself. Burning all that 1/4 fuel budget left from my shortened Alaskan venture. I lot of fun will be had and a lot of places visited but this is for another story... Thanks for reading :D
Last edited:

great stuff. thanks, and nice shirt there.

missed seeing you today at nashua. you would of loved it. lots of big stories and laughs.
Great story.......

Vlad, I like the pic of you southbound over Osoyoos Lake, about to cross the border...too bad we missed you in Kelowna!
The Snowbirds are performing over Okanagan Lake here today! :)

You gotta love the Customs building in Oroville eh? Most folks that clear here find the local agents quite accommodating; they drive down from the highway 97 crossing to the field, so it's kind of a coffee & donuts run for them.

That was a great adventure. Spectacular photos and great storytelling. Thanks for sharing the trip. Loved it.

PS: You did eat the seagull, right? I hear you're not supposed to waste anything out in the wilderness. :D
Fantastic Journey,Vlad! Great pictures.

Too bad I did not know your stops, my son lives in Bellingham now just a few miles from Orcas Island. You and he would get along - he would take you mountain climbing!

Yes, we want more Vlad! Welcome back, you will have to give us the funny stories too.
Is that it? The adventure ended as soon as you crossed into the lower 48?

We want more! We want more!

There will be more as soon as I find some free time by the desktop. It was a pretty journey darting back to the East Coast. Some flashes from a three day trip...

Good swim by Lower Granite State airport in WA.

Overnight at Helena MO there is a free lodge by the tower.

Free aerial tour of the Tetons.

Bathing elk in Yellowstone.

Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore.

A road to a tower.

Trying to shoot a kite over some island and more... :D

Mackinaw Island

I was there last weekend checking it out and a piece of property that adjoins the airport to build some employee housing for the island. It is a very pretty island and interesting history. The famous fudge is only OK.
Last edited:
In the last photo, the third dock from the right with the sailboat along side, is my brothers home on the island. I spent my summer youth there and I can assure it is a wonderful place to grow up in. It also has the only airport in Michigan that charges a fee to land, owned by the state park system and they charge a vehicle permit fee just like taking your car to the local beach.
I was there last weekend checking it out and a piece of property that adjoins the airport to build some employee housing for the island. It is a very pretty island and interesting history. The famous fudge is only OK.

That's because the fudge is the vehicle they use to transport all the horse manure off the island :eek: