In September 1998, I was living in northern Saskatchewan and dreading the possibility of spending another winter there. A coworker had a CD that listed all the commercially registered aircraft in the world, along with the owners and contact information, so I passed my few idle hours by spamming the country and mailing my resume to every operator in Canada who ran Navajos and Barons, the two aircraft I was qualified on at the time. I hadn't received a single reply in weeks, when out of the blue I got a phone call. It was from a Mr. James Kirk, and he asked me to fly his Baron for his air taxi service out of Goderich. I said sure! and then used my roomate's dial-up internet account to find some facts on Goderich, like where it was and if it had paved roads and running water.
As it turns out, Goderich is a strikingly beautiful small town on the shore of Lake Huron, about an hour north of London, or two hours west of Toronto. It's often described as the prettiest town in Canada, and it's a well-earned title. There are lots of gorgeous brick homes and a downtown square that is ringed by cool little shops and restaurants nestled within historic buildings. The streets are lined with magnificent flower beds, and the beach area is very well developed, which brings lots of people flocking to lay in the sun by the waters of Lake Huron in summer. People in Goderich routinely leave the keys in their cars and their front doors unlocked, and it's safe to walk the streets at any hour of the day. For real.
Summer sunset in Goderich.
The airport in Goderich, CYGD. If you look closely you can see the grass runway halfway down the main runway, on the near side of the taxiway. That features in future stories.
I gave my two weeks notice at Northern Dene Airways. The Chief Pilot, Dwayne (mentioned in previous posts) responded by asking me to wash and wax the office floor before I left, which I agreed to in a moment of endorphin euphoria. I want to repeat myself by saying Dwayne defines "weiner".
Once my two weeks were up, I boxed up my music collection, my Nintendo 64, and a couple of pilot shirts, then flew south to Saskatoon. I got my trusty '85 Accord out of storage at my dad's house and started the drive east from Saskatoon toward Toronto, where I would be staying with a friend until I had a place in Goderich. I had driven Saskatoon to Vancouver before in 22 hours, and I figured Saskatoon to Toronto would be about a 15-hour drive. I was wrong.