Lady Cat 6 just loves Serendipity! There I was, at the beginning of June, craving some Yiya time with our grandboy in North Carolina, when, what should appear on NAS Whidbey’s forecast? A very rare flight to MCAS Cherry Point…North Carolina (https://www.facebook.com/CherryPointVAL/ )! Sponsor and I quickly dug our summer togs out from their winter storage, packed up, made lodging reservations for a couple of nights at the Devil Dog Inn, and presented ourselves at the terminal for roll call!
As the only space a passengers for the flight, which was going to Cherry Point via Edmonton, Alberta, to pick up some Marines and take them home, we had our pick of seats on the comfy C 40 (737).
Spit spot, we were heading north and east towards Canada, with the Cascade Mountains spread out below us like a row of tipsy ice cream cones. After a short stop to pick up the duty passengers, we were on our way again to our final destination. The flight was smooth, the Marines were fun, and the pilot was quite entertaining.
Upon landing at Cherry Point, we were met by a van (serendipitous!) and driven to the Devil Dog Inn, the former transient enlisted quarters. There is also a fancier lodging – the Cherry Point Inn – but that is a few miles away from the terminal. We had planned on walking to lodging, so the Devil Dog was the best choice. The room was comfortable, though the bed was on the small side. As always, though, the price was right! The van driver pointed out the MCX and several on-base eating establishments on our way to the Inn, and after getting settled in our room, we walked over to the Roadhouse for a quick dinner.
Next morning, sponsor took a long walk to the main gate to meet the Enterprise car rental representative and pick up our car. We had planned on two nights at the Inn, so we could do a beach day before heading inland to the family. Atlantic Beach was the perfect spot for sun, sand, surf, and Italian ice! Following dinner out in town and another night of rest, we were on our way to our boy!
For our return to the great Pacific Northwest, we had our eye on a flight from Pope to McChord, with Andrews Air Force Base and Oceana as back-ups. Pope would have been perfect, just an hour and a half drive, but, the flight dropped off the board. So, we packed up again, made a reservation at the Presidential Inn on Andrews, and headed out on a 5+ hour drive to Plan B.
The first flight of the day, a medevac run with a roll call of 06 something, dropped McChord off the itinerary, then the roll call for the second got delayed for a few hours. We still had our rental car, so took advantage of the extra time by driving to the Suitland Metro station, and hopping downtown to our Nation’s Capital for a short visit.
The roll call at Andrews was the strangest we’ve ever attended! After the PAX rep announced the imminent roll call and requested anyone not marked present to report to the service counter, there was…nothing. Finally, about an hour later, I very politely inquired when roll call would begin. I was told it was already over. I responded that no one’s names had been called. The PAX rep responded that everyone was on the flight, and they would begin taking our bags in another hour or so. OK. Thanks for letting us know. And that was it.
We boarded my very favorite plane (yes, the C 17) and 6 hours of alternating naps on the floor later, landed at McChord. We had reservations at the Evergreen Inn, and had planned to take a commercial shuttle the next morning up to Seatac Airport, and then another commercial shuttle to our car, parked at Whidbey. BUT, while we were in the air, a flight from McChord to Whidbey was posted for the next afternoon – serendipity again! Instead of spending the next day on the shuttle buses, we slept in late at the Evergreen (a leisurely 22-minute walk from the terminal on a lovely, balmy night), enjoyed their breakfast buffet, then walked back over to the terminal for roll call. Twenty minutes after taking off from McChord, we were landing at Whidbey – sweet!
Some space a trips take a lot of doing, and a lot of effort. This one was pretty much a door to door piece of cake! Happy Chance was with us from start to finish, and Lady Cat 6 is now one tired, happy Yiya, resting up for her NEXT adventure!