Episode 44: Trading Places

4:30 am Doug

From August 3 through September 8 our family vicariously lived the adventure of the GAAA team from the comfort of our home computer. One of our rituals was to check the web site first thing each morning, and continue checking until we were greeted with a recap of the most recent day’s adventure. We found ourselves buying maps and checking web sites to gain more information about locations and the people the team was visiting. We found ourselves cheering them on upon touchdown after a challenging flight or when a milestone was reached. We lived their successes and their challenges.

This all changed September 8 when I flew to Toronto with Doug Nelson to meet the team on the final leg. We would soon be joined by Brian Marquardt and Jim Clark to add support for Mark Schoening and Doug DeVries.

Have you ever become so fascinated with a movie that you wanted to magically slide yourself into the role of one of the characters and the action? As the two Beavers piloted by Mark and Doug and the team on the 5th leg of the adventure pulled up the ramp at Toronto Island on the 8th, the transformation for me began.

Each day has left me with such an appreciation for the opportunity to be able to participate in an event such as this. Today after leaving a lake just outside of Moose Jaw , Saskatchewan , we flew over the breadbasket of Canada , the plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta . Our destination was Eagle Lake , 30 miles east of Calgary , Alberta . What a reception we received upon arrival. Leslie Pringle, the proprietor of Eagle Lake Resort in Strathmore, hosted the team for the evening. Taking time from his family to help the team with a critical fuel delivery at Eagle Lake was Ralph Tiede (thanks also to his wife Joan). Realizing the team’s morale might be in need of a boost after the team had spent an hour or so “schlepping” our gear to our campsite for the night, Dorothy and Bill Werbowski were kind enough to treat the team to some very well received refreshments. Thanks, eh!

Does this movie have a happy ending? With so much good will, kind thoughts, and support from wonderful folks on both sides of the border, it can’t miss.

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for; The questions for GAAA Jeopardy!

How many fuel stops has the GAAA made as of September 12th?
Who is the RCMP Detachment Commander in Baker Lake , Nunavut ?
Who is Dan’s college buddy from Houston , TX that joined the GAAA on Segment 1? Or, who caught the biggest trout on the GAAA trip?
In what month and year did the first Beaver fly off the runway at Downsview? Who was the test pilot that flew the first flight? (Did you know that due to an oil pressure problem, the first landing in the Beaver was an engine out, dead stick landing? Way to go Russ Bannock?)
How many Beavers did DeHavilland of Canada manufacture?
What items have fallen overboard along the route of the GAAA?
What items has the GAAA Team dropped into fuel tanks while re-fueling?
What item is still inside a tip tank on N2SF?
How many drums of fuel does the GAAA Team have cached at Eureka at the 79th parallel? Or, how many drums of fuel did the GAAA Team cache at Resolute at the 74th parallel?
In which town did the GAAA Team stop for a seaplane fly-in?

Shout outs tonight:
Pure bred American Eskimo dogs, Nikita and Dakota. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks to Cynthia, Leslie and Eli for the great campfire. Thanks Betty for the fire wood.

From Eagle Lake , Alberta ,

The GAAA Team

5 Responses
  1. Daryl and Karen Trezise :

    Date: September 15, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    Dear Mark, Doug et al.
    We have enjoyed following your adventures and experiences through your daily blog, and couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in your accomplishments as we saw your planes circle the home front this evening. Welcome home! and Congratulations on a fabulous trip! D & K

  2. Phyllis Smith :

    Date: September 15, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

    Anticipation was building as several of us waited at Kenmore Air to see you fly in. We squinted southward towards Lake Washington, disappointed that the planes in the distance weren’t flying in formation.

    Each powerboat engine’s roar, or sounds of traffic from the highway nearby, gave us false hope. Then, in the distance behind me, I heard the unmistakable sound of two Beavers approaching from the north.

    I didn’t have presence of mind to shout, “de plane! de plane!” but still I managed to get everyone’s attention.

    What a beautiful sight!

    Welcome home, GAAA team!

    Phyllis Smith
    Lynnwood, WA

  3. Leslie and Cynthia :

    Date: September 16, 2008 @ 7:06 am

    So glad to hear you made it safe and sound in one day as you had hoped.

    Congratulations on seeing more of Canada than most Canadians! And in Beavers yet; so fitting to do it in Canadian planes named after our national animal.

    The Eagle Lake Gang.

  4. Leslie and Cynthia :

    Date: September 16, 2008 @ 7:07 am

    PS Thanks for the hat eh!

  5. Norma & Vince :

    Date: September 16, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

    Welcome Home and Thanks for an adventure of a life time. Wish we could have been there to see you touch down. XOXOXO

Leave a Comment

Your comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.