*I apologize this is graphics heavy. Couldn't help myself*
Let me tell you a little something that started this whole trip…(thunder cracks and rolls as the rain pelts the creaking windows of the tower.)
Cindy, my wife, and I lived in a lovely 1 bedroom starter home. We had the life. I was a commercial pilot for Simarian Airways and she…well that was how we had met. *chuckles in remembrance to himself*. She was a stewardess, flight attendant, whatever the heck you want to call it. I just knew she was meant for me. We dated for six years. We had the best datesin the world! Who else could say they took their sweetheart to Paris one weekend and to Egypt the next and not be some tycoon? We got married a year and a half ago, thought we would settle down and start a family. That is when life kicked us in the rear. The world economy collapsed. We lost our jobs. Luckily, we were smart about our money and saved everything. Tension in the city was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I told her I wanted to leave just sell everything and go where no one else can bother us. She was game. So we sold off our boats and cars everything that didn’t have sentimental value. I had a hard time selling my plane. I just wasn’t ready yet to clip my wings. One night after dinner, Cindy finished the dishes and grabbed the darts. I came down stairs listening to the thump of the darts in the board. We chatted as we tossed the darts. “Alright you toss one and I’ll toss one. The one that lands closest to land will be our new location. Agreed?” Cindy nodded and I let her toss her dart first. Water. I toss and land on the floor. Not very sporting I thought. She tossed another and it lands smack dab outside of Denali, Alaska. She paused staring at the dart. “Alaska, the new frontier…a person could disappear there.” She whispered softly. I tossed mine for the hell of it and it landed in Nome. “Alaska it is. I believe Denali will be more to our liking it is slightly warmer than Nome.” I chuckled as I replied.
We left our home on the east cost nearly a week ago. We landed to refuel my Piper Cherokee. I'm glad that Cindy isn't a super girlie girl and refused to camp along side the plane during our trip. It has saved us a ton of money. Leave American airspace and crossing into Canadian airspace , we ran into a massive storm that I just couldn't fly around. It was brutal. The rain seamed to be thrown on to the windshield by the bucket loads. The winds threatened to twist my wings like a Twizzler candy. The night had closed in on us and the only light was the flashes of lightning. I needed t land but we were in a densely forested area of Canada that wasn't populated. By chance the Lightning flashed longer and I spied an airstrip in the trees. The lights were out at first and tried clicking my mic button quickly several times to activate the lights on the runway. It didn't work at first. I continued to call the tower hoping someone was around to answer. I only heard static. I looked at Cindy and seen the concern in her eyes. I tried the switch again. Bingo the runway lit up. It was dim at first them the lights grew brighter. I fought the winds and rain of the storm and touched down on the small deserted runway. I chopped the power quickly as noticed tall weeds and debris strewn around the area. My heart was pounding as we rolled to the end of the runway and saw the exit ramp. It was steep but paved. The fog was coming in thick and made it hard to see the ground as we taxied below to a stop.
Exploring the Grounds
Cindy and I grabbed an overnight bag just before leaving the plane. Force of habit, I locked the doors after I tied the plane down. I was soaked to the bone from the rain. Cindy was only in slightly better condition. We ran to the bottom entrance a sign had fallen some time back that partially read General Aviation entrance. I tried the door. The right side was locked. In my frustration I shook the door and the lock pulled free. I panicked looking around for any sign of people. It was just too dark to see them, if they were there. Cindy shoved her way inside wanting out of the rain. I took out my flashlight and chased the beam about quickly. This place hadn't see human interaction in some time. Dirt was thick on the tiles and cobwebs littered the ceilings and corners. to our left was a trashed up looking restaurant.Cindy and I were starving and walked to the pantry area of the restaurant. Ironically most of the items weren't expired yet. I was pleased that we would at least have some food while we wait out the storm. I found the light switch and luckily the old lights still had a lttile juice left in them.]
Cindy discovered a makeshift bed from broken things lying about. "There is a bed Ben. Doesn't look as if anyone has used it in a while from the amount of undisturbed dust on it." I finished cooking a quick meal for us and handed her a plate of mac and cheese. "I am going to explore a little here in the tower." I said as I began to walk about. I noticed a window just to the right of the restaurant. I wiped the dust clear and peered through the window. "Hey Cindy, there is a shuttle service here. Well,at least there used to be one. There are two shuttle buses sitting here rusting.Cindy followed along curious as to the sudden departure of the airstrip. They cross the terminal to the split level stairs. We walked up stairs to the main lobby for passenger traffic. It was the passenger waiting area. You had the perfect views from the steps to the runway We continued our Journey. found the door leading to the tar mat. Cindy walked the runway outside. The rain was just small droplets.As rock solid as my wife usually is , she had the bejesus scared from her.
Cindy found the staff lounge and facilities. She decided to try one of the showers out. We continued up in the elevator. I was apprehensive to use the old machinery but Cindy pushed the buttons and it was running fine. We arrived on the top floor or the tower. The only ways to access the tower was by emergency ladder or the elevator. It was cleaner here. The lights were brighter and the bunk beds looked to be in good condition. We settled in for the night and got an early start in the morning.
After spending the evening at the airstrip Cindy and I began to renovate it and clean it up. I looked into who the owner was or is. Information came back that property was abandoned in 1971. If I paid the filing fees of $300 then I could have the Deed. Needless to say Cindy and I never made it to Alaska. We have a thriving airport hub now of our own. Vacationers love our place.