Wednesday, August 29

Rocky Mountain Part Two

We were at the airport Sunday morning at 8 to prepare for our 9:00 AM flight and right away noticed a difference.  Where was that cool air from the previous morning?  It was good for some people though as Saturday's winds had prevented the balloon people from launching. Today we could see them going up while we breakfasted at the hotel and continued to enjoy them on the drive and after our arrival. One of our pilots said they would never ride a balloon because of the questions: "Where are you going?" "I don't know." What are you going to do when you get there?" "Call for help."
This morning's flight was mostly young air show volunteers who were very enthusiastic about their opportunity. This made for a fun flight. The exception to this was that we had a WWII bomber pilot riding the jump seat who Zane had met the day before and offered the flight in exchange for his service. He had been shot down at age 19 and was a POW. At the end of the flight, the passengers were asked to remain in their seats while he deplaned and they gave him quite an ovation. A good lesson to those young people of this man's service and sacrifice when he was their age or younger.  We also had a member on board from our visit here last year who loves the Flagship so much that is is the wallpaper on his phone.
By the way, the Flagship now has a Facebook page which is updated frequently to tell our fans where we are going next, so be sure to "like" us and keep up with our news.
The good news is that after the flight we were given a parking spot in the main area of the air show. This was really a plus for us in terms of being able to support our mission as we had a very active day of tours and the fans were generous with their donations.  They also were excited about buying tee shirts, hats and everything else we had. The temperature rose into the low 90's (Wow!) but at least there was a breeze. Crew member Blake Butler joined us about mid day, making his way to us from Shelbyville, TN.
The folks were also excited about an opportunity to fly with us and after the air show closed, we took up 11 new members and one member from last year. At the end of the day, we were a bedraggled, but happy crew.
Monday morning, after Steve Jacobson had done three practice take offs and landings, we loaded up and headed for Driggs, Idaho.  The mountain views were spectacular but the ride was very bumpy...VERY bumpy. We had planned to do some administrative duties but mostly stayed strapped in seats.
Driggs is a tiny town on the back side of the Tetons, two miles from Wyoming. The terminal building is beautiful and has a large restaurant. Our lodgings here are at Teton Mountain Cabins which is a rustic circle of cabins on the edge of town with good views of the mountains. There is no air conditioning, but things cool down nicely in the evening. The owner recommended a restaurant that had a chef and the food there was very good.  After dinner we gathered around a campfire Tom Taff built in a fire ring off to one side of the drive. Kay and George Dennis arrived later in the evening and we all shared a glass of wine around the fire. The night sky was beautiful with a three quarter moon.

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