The night before the big event it had cleared out and was sky clear and the forecast for the next day was suppose to be sunny and mild. This picture was actually taken at dusk but with the aid of Picasa it appears as though it's pitch black. Nervousness was pretty pronounced tonight because of meeting someone for the first time tomorrow but I figured if it didn't work out at least I got to go flying.
Here we are battling a 30 knot headwind as we start to cross into the Laurentian range on the north side of the Ottawa River towards Tremblant. This was a beautiful day for flying except that it was probably the most bumpy I have ever flown a 172. Seeing that she had never flown in a small plane before I had a Plan A and Plan B. Plan A was the low level bumpy flight to save time if she was a trooper and didn't get motion sickness...where Plan B was if she didn't feel comfortable in the bumps and to save me from cleaning up puke I was going to climb higher out of the bumps but add 30 minutes to the flight time. Well as I leveled at 2000 feet we were getting the crap kicked out of us and I was always asking if she was ok. At first she stated she was fine and that she loved the view from up here. Then about 15 minutes into the flight she said that the bumps were kinda soothing her and she could fall asleep!! Well I didn't want to tell her after that I was feeling queasy and wanted to take the hit on the ground speed and find smoother air. Knowing she was a good flyer I immediately knew I could check that off the list of things that would be ideal in a girl for me.
Here we are going up the gondola to the top of Mt. Tremblant. It was a quiet ride to the top but both of us were snapping photo's out the little windows at the top of the gondola. In this photo I am looking North West towards the airport we had just arrived on. As soon as I was airborne I had checked the weather and had gotten 3 pilot reports of wind shear and moderate turbulence in this area. I don't fly the 172 all that often and with the winds and turbulence the landing was ok but I landed about halfway down the runway to make it that way.
We are about 3/4 of the way up the hill now and looking South towards the village of St.Jovite. There is another little ski hill as you can see which is called Grey Rocks, beside it is the St.Jovite grass strip I could have landed on. Due to the winds I decided to land somewhere they had firetrucks to come put out the blaze if it didn't go so well :)
The colours were very nice but not as vibrant as the year before when I flew in here for work. It had been warmer this year so some trees were hanging on to life while others were putting on a good show for us.
Here is the hotel's and condos at the base of Tremblant. I am not of high society and have never been to many ski resorts but this one seems to be very nice. I took this after the Tremblant experience was ending and we walked out to find the car.
A look at the main drag in the village, lots of cool shops but as you can imagine the prices are ridiculous. Thank God she only ordered Nacho's on the date :)
Back to the friendly skies where I feel more at ease that the "date" part is over and now I can relax and enjoy the flight home. She had been pretty quiet for most of the time and right after take off she excitedly said " This is so awesome!" in regards to the view and the fact we were going flying again. This is the ski resort of Tremblant. The actually village associated to the area is St.Jovite which is about 3 miles or so away and has all the amenities (IE beer store, grocery store, and hotels).
Tremblant from about 4500 feet I think as we do a pass on my side so I can take some pictures and then do a 180 so she can snap a few pics with her SLR "old school" camera :) The winds had died off and it was smooth as silk up here in the sky so I was having a great time. I could finally trim the airplane out and let it do most of the flying. Having autopilot over the years has made me hate hand flying while in cruise because it is harder to take pictures and stay on course and altitude. As we came to the end of this pass I did a 45-55 degree bank turn to quickly get the hill on her side and she loved the positive G feeling. Lots of people hate anything other then straight or level but so far she could handle anything I did.
As we turn around we are now climbed up to 6500 feet and headed home. All in all I feel pretty good to how things went today. The weather couldn't have been any better (minus the wind) and neither could the company :) The winds now on our back saved us about 15 minutes on the flight home so I was gonna save a little bit of money on this leg :)
Heading back to the flat country so I figured I better take a few more pictures of the hills. Such a beautiful area to fly or even drive in.
Now what first date isn't complete without flying into the sunset ? I mean it is so cleche but I don't care :) 6500 feet in our trusty steed the sun says goodbye for today. Our ETA is about 10 minutes before legal dark so I am glad we didn't leave early because of my worrying and miss this. Like a good friend of mine always says..."This happen the way they are meant to, otherwise they would have happened differently" and today is no exception.
I bought the camera with the zoom lens so I could get a little closer to things when I am up in the air. Times like these I am glad I did.
Sunrises and sunsets happen super fast so I had to keep shooting when it got so close to the horizon. Here I got a really great shot of the last part of the suns disc descending below the horizon. Kind of a nice aura effect around it I must admit :)
All in all a wonderful day that couldn't have gone any better or have any better turn out. 5 months later to the day the lovely lady sitting in the right is seat is now my wife. Here's to many more sunsets together !