Port Allsworth Fly-in

Two years ago we met Lyle on the Iditarod trail. Channel 11 News had chartered his caravan for the journey and he was their personal pilot. Since then we’ve run into him many times along the trail and developed a friendship.
Shortly after the Iditarod, we heard about the Memorial Day Fly-In he hosted in Port Alsworth and thought it would be fun to go. We knew that after the Iditarod the Super Cub was going to be for sale, so we weren’t sure if we could actually get there.
Sure enough, the Super Cub sold within a day of being on the market. I was heartbroken. So many adventures and memories in that plane. Then there was the odd feeling of not having an airplane to adventure in.
You can imagine our excitement when we found friends who had a Cessna 180 they were willing to let us use.
Now airplanes aren’t like your daily driver that you hand over the keys to any old friend.
People put a lot of time, money, and resources into their airplanes, and most the time it’s their baby.
There’s also the fact that a Cessna 180 can be a pretty challenging airplane to fly.
This was huge!

IMG_0298Memorial Day marks the official beginning of tourist season and summer in Alaska.

Woodsen was now on to the insurance for the Cessna 180, and we had the green light to embark on our first adventure.

It seemed fitting to me that our first trip in the 180 was Memorial Day. What a great way to kick off the summer and a new phase of life!

Atlee was excited as well!


On the Iditarod, we had multiple run-ins with Atlee getting airsick.  She also disliked vomiting into any kind of container, which made things pretty exciting/messy. I decided to see if a bib would help minimize the mess.

Fortunately, she didn’t get sick.



There are places in Alaska that I know are beautiful, but when I see them again I still get blown away by just how spectacular they are.

The vivid colors of the lake and sky, along with the shrinking snow on the mountain tops seemed to confirm the arrival of summer and had me giddy with excitement. Every turn brought another slightly different breathtaking view and I found it almost impossible to stop taking pictures.

I’m sure having Atlee in her own seat and two free hands contributed to the frantic picture taking.



fullsizeoutput_773bThe wind was calm and the lake offered up a beautiful reflection as we arrived at Port Alsworth.



This is the beautiful little town of Port Alsworth, Alaska


Apparently, The 180’s engine creates the perfect vibration to put a toddler to sleep. Atlee finally woke up after we had arrived.


Pretty soon Atlee will be flying the plane 🙂



We arrive around 11 am to find the runway already lined with airplanes.

A few pilots were practicing their take offs and landings for the competition that started in a couple hours.


The Wilders own a Bed & Breakfast near all the action with a lovely lawn that was perfect for a little post arrival picnic.

We run into our friend Lynn and we enjoyed the grass and sun.


The STOL (Short Take Off & Landing) competition here is a little different from what I’m used to seeing in Valdez.

This STOL competition measures the total distance from the start line until the plane is airborne. Landings are judged on the distance of your initial touch down from the designated take-off and landing line. Touching down closest to the line is the objective, the distance it takes you to actually stop isn’t measured like it is in Valdez.


Atlee didn’t want her headset, but she quickly figured out how to cover her ears for noisy takeoffs.


We took a break from the noise to explore a hidden little forest near the runway.


After the flying competition is over, games and a shooting competition start. Kids and adults get involved in the fun.

A few street vendors provide options for lunch, but dinner is a community BBQ and people attending the fly-in are encouraged to bring a dish to share.

Its a feast and no one goes away hungry.


We had been invited to stay with our friends, Don & Lynn Welty, who lived across the small boat harbor.

After the festivities, we headed towards the harbor at the end of the runway to find their boat and ride over to their house.



Atlee didn’t seem to be impressed by the boat ride, but it was the first thing she talked about the next morning.


Most people camp near their plane, but camping while pregnant isn’t the most comfortable thing, and I was definitely thankful to have a bed to sleep in.

We woke up to a beautiful day in Port Alsworth.


Atlee loved her “Honda” ride with Mama.


She also loved her chariot ride with papa.

We were able to fit the double chariot in the 180.

What a luxury!

Not only was is it helpful for kids, but it was also useful for carrying luggage and groceries we brought the Welty’s.

Bringing groceries might sound odd, but in many places in Alaska everything is flown in so fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive and hard to find.

Also, Port Allsworth doesn’t have a grocery store.

Can you imagine?



On Sunday morning Tanilian Bible Camp provides a delicious breakfast and all the donations go towards bringing kids to camp.


Port Alsworth knows how to build a fun playground!


Church services were held at Tanilian Bible Camp’s outdoor gymnasium.


Sunday was leisurely and we enjoyed spending time with a few families we knew from Anchorage. I love how small Alaska feels when you meet people you know all over the state.


Do you have your Memorial day plans made?

You should definitely put the Port Alsworth Sourdough fly-in on the top of your list.

It’s a great family event and a great way to kick off the summer!