Wednesday, September 5

Glacier National Park

The road goes on forever and the party never ends. It is Labor Day, but we hardly have time to notice as we go out to the airport early in two shifts due to having too many people and too much luggage even for a Suburban. Two passengers from yesterday Michael Peck and Colter Zimmerman, are flying the 120 miles to Kalispell with us.  Colter, a 16 year old student pilot ready to solo, got 30 minutes as co-pilot and did a great job handling the aircraft. He is eager to help and eager to learn and helped the guys clean the plane after landing, as did, John Beck, a friend of a local reporter. Michael and Colter also help unload baggage. We think this is a good thing and decide we should always carry passengers.
The flight up was very scenic as we left most of the smoke behind and had wonderful vistas of craggy mountains, blue alpine lakes and sunny valleys. We caught glimpses of the higher peaks of Glacier National Park in the background. The air seemed a bit crisper upon deplaning, cool in the shade and warm in the sun.
Peggy Fairchild had contacted radio stations prior to departure and one reporter was awaiting our arrival. She spent more than an hour learning all she could about our operation.  David Gorrell conducted a telephone interview with another radio station and we are still hoping for contact from the local television reporter. Michael's wife, Melanie and her friend Jackie arrived to pick him up. The men, including Colter and John Breck, a friend of the reporter cleaned the plane. Again we have to go to the hotel in shifts.  It is a Hilton Garden Inn like the last one with rooms almost identical which is kind of other worldly. There is a general aviation airport directly behind it and mountains behind that. One can stand at the window and watch planes take off and land.
Many of the restaurants are closed for Labor Day, which we found odd, but we straggled down the street in waves to a bar-with-food sort of place.  John, a retired smoke jumper and aviation buff, joined us for dinner and entertained the men with smoke jumping tales.
On Tuesday Peggy, Jake, David and Blake took the day off and did an 8 hour bus tour of Glacier, while the remaining four worked the plane. John came out also and spent the day cleaning the plane with alcohol and making phone calls to promote it on his breaks. We still had a sparse crowd, but it is mid week and school is in session. A television reporter came out and interviewed Gene for the evening news. We gathered a list of 5-6 names for possible membership.

When the Glacier group arrived, they had selected a place called Hops in Kalispell for dinner. They regaled us with photos and tales of their day in the park, but advised it could be done in a lot less time. The food at Hops was excellent. We had to get back to the hotel before ten and sure enough, our plane and Gene were featured on the 10 o'clock news. As soon as the segment was over, the phones began to ring with teasing from the other crew members. Peggy posed as a Hollywood agent offering him a contract. We had a good laugh, but it was very good publicity for the Flagship.

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