Tuesday, August 23

On to Utah

Sunday morning we are up and out early to Heber City, UT. This is near where the Gorrells live and David has arranged for this visit. Timing is important as we are to rendezvous with another airplane called a Harpoon over a lake near Park City and fly in together in a formation of sorts. We stop for fuel in Riverton, WY, and as is often the case, we have erred on the side of safety and are early. We enter the FBO like a hoard of Huns, hit the facilities, pop tons of popcorn and put a strain on the drink machine. After wreaking havoc, we regroup, load up and are gone, leaving the residents to wonder....who were those people?
The mountains in Utah are greener than the last two states and that is a surprise. Somehow Utah seemed like a place that should have tall craggy orange-red peaks. There are also more trees. Gene and David are our pilots for the morning. The passengers are watching the time for 2PM is the appointed time and sure enough, at that exact time Zane comes back into the cabin to tell us that the other place has appeared and we all rush to that side to see and take pictures. We make some passes over Park City before going on to the airport at Heber City.
There is a welcoming committee of Tony DiSantis from south Florida and Jeff Selby from Dallas who have flown into Salt Lake City earlier in the day plus Jane Gorrell and several friends. This airport is situated with a picturesque lake at the end of the runway, curving between two mountains. The Heber Valley/CAF Air Museum is housed in a hanger at the edge of the airport and we all gather there.
It is a small, but well done museum and features two Stearman bi-planes. Jane and her friend, Bambi Knight have arranged a hamburger cook-out with delicious salad accompaniments. Bambi has installed a neat Victory Garden behind the hanger and our dinner features produce from the garden.
After dinner, David recruits Peggy and Sheryl to take rides in the Stearman. In this type of plane, the passenger rides in the front. It has an open cockpit....think Snoopy and the Red Baron.
The route of this ride goes up through the pass over the Heber City reservoir, over Robert Redford's Sundance home and wanders around and amongst the peaks and valleys, ending at Utah Lake near Provo. It is an absolutely incredible experience.
Let me pause here for a commercial. If you are a member of the foundation, you can come along on these journeys at will. We always welcome more help at our events. AND you will have soooo much fun and incredible experiences and see the country at a very small expense. Travel and lodging is largely paid for. So come along with the gypsies and have the time of your life as we are.
This night the group scatters. Gene and Sheryl are staying with the Gorrells. Peggy and Jake are with Dave Ashworth, an old Navy buddy of Jake's who lives in the same neighborhood. The remaining crew are in a nearby resort hotel.
Monday morning, David and Gene open the plane to tours, while Jane, Peggy and Sheryl take a long walk. Zane and Deanna enjoy sleeping in. The whole gang reconvenes at the airport in the early afternoon and are entertained all afternoon watching a camera crew photograph models with the vintage aircraft. There is a small but fairly steady stream of people who come by to tour the Flagship and some make generous donations. (Even if you have made a donation before, please know that any amount you might have to spare, the Flagship welcomes it. We are a non-profit and have to feed this hungry airplane constantly. She drinks 100 gallons of fuel and a gallon of oil for each hour of flight.)
At 6PM we make a membership flight with 13 passengers, both stewardesses in uniform, and Gene and David at the controls. The stews do a real song and dance take off on the standard briefing given by today's flight attendants. Jane has made chocolate covered strawberries to serve as the passengers board. They take the same route up through the pass as the Stearmans and both men declare it to be one of the most scenic flights ever taken. The passengers were absolutely giddy and ever so grateful for this opportunity. Gary Brubaker has shown up with many stunning photo prints from the day before, including shots of the Stearman flights, which he generously hands out.
Fourteen of us end up at Adloph's for dinner, late in the evening as usual. The crew is augmented by Dave Ashworth, Linda Belgiano, Bambi Knight, and Chris Roon who were with us at the airport. The chef of this restaurant is Swiss native and the food is more than excellent. However, it is after 11PM when we close the place down.

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