30 days of biking: Will Rogers and Wiley Post flew here

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Boaters and rafters must consider these snags where the Cedar River flows into Lake Washington the same way that bicyclists view tacks or broken bottles in the road. Maybe worse.

While a chard of glass can puncture a tire, a limb from one of these trees can poke a hole in a fiberglass boat or rubber raft and sink it.

These trees have likely taken a long trip to get here. The Cedar River picks up plenty of fallen trees as it meanders through its flood zone to the river channel that cuts through Renton. The occasional flood pushes the snags downstream and eventually out into Lake Washington.

This pleasant spot nestled between the Boeing plant and the end of the Renton Airport runway can be reached via Sixth Street in Renton, heading west. It’s 13-mile round-trip from my home.

Rogers – Post Memorial

Until today, I didn’t know that this is the spot where famed American humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post left the United States for their ill-fated trip to the Alaska Territory in 1935.

When I say this is the spot, I mean the water, as they flew out of here on a float plane and the area is known as the Will Rogers – Wiley Post Memorial Seaplane Base.


Apparently Post had developed a hybrid airplane and he and Rogers flew into the Renton Airport (that’s them with the plane at Renton Airport, in a photo from the UW Collection) where a couple of pontoons were installed so the plane could land on lakes in Alaska.

The floats installed on the plane may have made it too nose-heavy, as the plane nosed-dived into an Alaskan lake on takeoff when the engine failed. Both men died instantly.

A memorial in a park on the west side of the runway commemorates their life and death.

Famous quotes from Will Rogers: “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Also: “It’s easy being a humorist when you’ve got the whole government working for you.”

Also: “Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”

30 Days of Biking

Total Days — 20/20

Total miles — 274

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/04/20/30-days-of-biking-will-rogers-and-wiley-post-flew-here/

1 comment

    • Yeah! on April 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    • Reply

    Cool post! I did not know that that piece of the lake is where Post and Rogers took off. Now I know. Thanks!

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