It may in fact be the first picture I have of Devon: standing on the grass at the side of the runway in the town of Concrete, about halfway up the lush Skagit Valley (okay, repeat after me: SKA-jit, with the “A” like in “cat”).
It was some time early in the summer of 1990, and we were attending the Concrete Antique Airplane Fly In. We’d probably flown up in a rented Cessna, but Concrete was always a bit of a pilgrimage for antique airplanes. People flew in from all over to see the amazing amazing antique airplanes that I could only dream of flying some day.
Well, dreams tend to pile up. We’d also dreamed of returning to the Northwest, of buying a big chunk of land (if you can believe it!) and calling the place “Natembea.” I kid you not.
Improbably, all of those things seem to slowly be happening. We’ve been taking opportunities to revisit old haunts from our courtship along the way: Friday Harbor, the ferries. So when I realized that the Concrete Fly In was coming up this weekend, well, we pretty much dropped all our other plans like a hot spanner.
The morning was perfect, and the valley was just as breathtaking as I’d remembered, a broad fertile plain in the shadow of Mount Baker towering almost 11,000′ above. We’d heard rumor that the fly in was petering out, and that no one was sure what the attendance was going to be like. But as we swooped around to the base leg for Runway 27, we were greeted with an array of at least 100 planes lining the field. And more were arriving every minute.
The unnerving thing was that now we found ourselves surrounded by people who wanted to see the amazing amazing little antique airplane we’d flown in with. We spent the morning strolling, chatting with brand-new old friends about the amazing amazing antique airplanes they’d flown in, or kept in one of the crazy elaborate hangar/homes around the airport out here. Or just wished they could fly. Or about the weather, or food, or what the heck was up with Arlington last week.
Clearly, a lot had changed in 28 years. But so had we. And time travel is, at best, an imperfect art. So finding ourselves now, living out yet another of our dreams from decades ago, it was hard to find fault with any of the details. I kid you not.
Having never been to Concrete, I find a certain irony in the grass runway.
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Heh. Why did I never think of that?!? There’s actually asphalt, too – just can’t see it from the pic….
This sounds like a good reason that the Skyranger belongs up in Washington. I looked up 3W5 on Foreflight. Runway 07 has a heading of 055 degrees. I bet it has been there for a LONG time.
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Awesome little tidbit of history. Thanks.
BTW, I’d like your next plane to be the N3N-3. Looks like fun to ride.
I wouldn’t mind spending some time in an N3N. They’re pretty rare, but there were *two* of them at Concrete.
That’s the awesomest!