When 5am arrived, I got a weather briefing before heading out the door and saw this interesting TFR (emphasis mine):
FDC 5/9066 ZSE WA.. FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS MT. ST. HELENS VOLCANO. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.137(A)(2) TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT WITHIN A 1.5 NAUTICAL MILE RADIUS OF 461151N/1221118W OR THE BATTLE GROUND /BTG/ VORTAC 11 DEGREE RADIAL AT 31.8 NAUTICAL MILES AT AND BELOW 9000 FEET MSL TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR VOLCANIC ACTIVITY. U.S.F.S., TELEPHONE 360-891-5140 OR FREQ 132.125, IS IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATION. SEATTLE /SEA/ THE SYSTEM OPERATIONS SUPPORT CENTER/SOSC, PHONE 202-267-3333, IS THE FAA COORDINATION FACILITY.
For some reason this makes me think of Mt. Saint Helens as being like a four-year old child whose hand needs be held while crossing the street.
It was a glorious, brilliant, and smooth VFR day. Cruising over Clear Lake on the way up to Oregon, I overheard this early morning exchange between a female pilot and ATC:
Oakland Center, Boxhauler 123, 6,500, VFR
Boxhauler 123, Oakland Center, ah ... Say your position?
Boxhauler 123 is a few miles north of Butt Mountain.
(Complete silence on frequency for at least 20 seconds, probably for untransmitted laughter - I know I was laughing. Then thinking better of her position report ...)
(Boxhauler 123) I guess that's pronounced Butte ...
Boxhauler 123, you're radar contact, just north of the Sutter Buttes ...
On the way back across the Oregon/Califronia, I overheard this exchange:
Horizon Center, Horizon 123 ... I mean Oakland Center, Horizon 123, 10,000 feet, sorry about that ...
Horizon 123, Oakland Center, I've been called worse, climb and maintain flight level 230 ...
Flying a Caravan such a long distance makes one yearn to fly something faster, but the ATC chatter today was the best entertainment going. I was in the home stretch on the way back when I heard:
Cessna 456, I'll be losing radar contact with you in a few miles, before I terminate flight following you have traffic at your 12 to 1 o'clock, 3 miles, opposite direction, same altitude.
Ah ... we don't see him, but we have 'em on the fish finder ...
(unidentified voice) Arrrrgh, fish finder!
All in all, a great day to be a pilot. One thing I know for sure is that an empty Caravan climbs much better than one filled with passengers and baggage.