Friday, August 24


While several of the crew worked hard in unrelenting heat this summer with the Flagship, the total number participating at one time was three or four and all men. Now, we are beginning the Western Swing, a barnstorming trek from Denver to Seattle and back and the old gang from last summer is reconvening. Our journey reminds me of the old Rodeo days in Houston when the trail riders would start in various far points and converge at the Astrodome for the start of the Houston Fat and Livestock Show each February. In this case, Gene and Sheryl Christian started in Atlanta, traveling to Dallas on American Airlines, and were met by Tom Taff.  Tom and Marti put them up Wednesday night.  On Thursday morning the Taffs and Christians met Zane Lemon at Alliance Field where the Flagship lives in an AA hanger. The folks at Alliance were so friendly and accommodating.  Meanwhile Steve Jacobson and Deanna Lemon had driven separately to DFW so as to leave cars there for the return journey and were to fly the airlines to Denver. Later in the day they would be joined by Peggy Fairchild coming in from south Florida.
The Flagship launched from Alliance at mid-morning with five on board. This was also a training flight for Tom and Zane who will test for their type ratings in the fall. First stop was Plainview, TX where Tom Taff executed a very good landing and take off in windy conditions like you only find on the Great Plains. From there it was on to Amarillo (humming "Amarillo By Morning") for lunch and fuel. Gene had done his homework and discovered that there was a highly recommended restaurant at the Rick Husband Airport. As we were about to order, three men approached and apologized for bothering us, but they were the tower crew on break and so wanted to see the plane. It was unlocked and so we sent them on out and told them to come back if there were questions....and they did. The menu was very extensive for an airport setting and the food was excellent. Zane approached two men at another table and asked what they were taking photos of with those "great big" cameras.  "Why, your plane, we hope." was the reply.  They followed us out and got the tour just before we left. They had encountered us somewhere else and so knew who we were. Tom also did the Amarillo landing and take off. The light in Amarillo was very flat and made an interesting photo of the Flagship, seen above.
Then it was Zane's turn to practice. However, bad weather caused a cancellation of the stop in Pueblo and it was on to Rocky Mountain Airport where all the preparations were happening for the air show. Again, there was interesting light for another photo.  Checking with the other wagon train, we found they had taken a bus to Winchester and were then walking several blocks to the hotel.  We all managed to converge within a half hour on the Drury Inn, which we found had just opened the previous Monday. The staff was very well trained, everyone smiling and checking on our welfare to the extent that we had to chuckle about it a bit.

 It was old home week in the lobby with all the hugs and everybody talking at once, which is a tribal custom in the Noknowhengo tribe. Then we found the good news: complimentary food and drinks in the lobby. We set up camp there for a fun reunion, before moving the party to BJs Brewhouse nearby for dinner. We had two 7 passenger vans, but decided to only take one, so Tom decided to ride in the cargo photo.

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