Quite a change of pace on this trip.
Before we began I had to rescue my credit card from the local FBO staff who had kindly offered to retrieve it from the fuel pump for me.
Continuing on the fuel theme, Derwood had left the dipstick on the wing the day before so that too needed rescuing but fortunately he located it after a quick hike back to the fuel pump.
08:00 I push the throttle in on the takeoff that had started my whole weight loss regime back home. The DA was indicating 8600′ . The little aeroplane, despite gasping for breath, pulled away quite admirably but, as expected, the takeoff roll and initial climb was nothing like its normal spirited performance. I waited quite a while before lifting the gear since the runways are loooooong up at these altitudes.
The transit light stayed on for longer than normal before finally popping the CB. A minor issue that I can fix in LMO.
After being cleared for a frequency change we tried local flight service to activate out flight plan. No joy. It’s going to be one of those days. We swapped to Albuquerque Center to try for another frequency but ending up receiving flight following and being advised no flight plan was on file. Something had gone wrong somewhere with that too. (it turned out to be finger trouble on his behalf)
Well we were on our way already so I wasn’t going back. On we went.
Initial tracks had us flying slightly southeast in order to get past the lower end of the Rockies after which we turned North bound for Duane’s.
The ZK registration was clearly something different for the controllers. Some seemed helpful, some more on edge.
The scenery was a beautiful mix of mountain ranges on the left wing, deserts on the right wing and changing under cast from trees and campgrounds to parched soils. Even still the areas were clearly farmed in some way. I would imagine the farmers would face similar barriers that the outback Australian farmers must face.
Heading North past Colorado Springs the controller advised our transponder had failed and asked us to recycle. He never really told us it was going again but it was clear from the start that he never really wanted us anyhow.
Springs approach finally dumped us leaving us to navigate around the Denver class B and into Longmont. The Garmin GPS and my GPS capable iPad really paid dividends for that making the approach into Longmont a doddle.
We passed over a clearly affluent Longmont with some fairly expensive looking houses situated beautifully between lovely green trees, to join the circuit on an upwind leg for runway 29.
Longmont airport is about 1000′ below Santa Fe but still high. I used my standard low altitude approach technique. You have to learn somewhere but while it worked, it’s not ideal. Next time, less flap.
We vacated at A2 and looked around to see this crazy guy on a pedal assisted Peugeot motor scooter. DUANE!
We cracked open the canopy to be greeted by a friendly New York accent. It was great to finally meet. What a great guy.
We we’re in the middle of joining up the geographical divide when a couple of reporters from the local paper turned up. That led to a lengthy session of photo shoots and talking. It was a lot of fun but the sun was savage so when we finally finished it was a relief to get out of the heat.
The lead up to arriving in Longmont we had enjoyed a friendly battle about where we were going to stay. I was concerned about overstaying our welcome but after Duane’s “OK, let’s cut through the bullshit!” , it was clear we were staying with Duane and Mary for a couple of nights. Added to that, one of Duane’s friends, Doedo, had offered us the use of his airport car.
The afternoon was a great time for a catch up. Of course there was a lot of Falco and airline talk. A really interesting time. It’s amazing how similar we are.
The late afternoon was boys night at a local restaurant. Interestingly an Aussie themed place but the local trouble makers all got together for beer and a meal. I have to say, I haven’t laughed so much in a hell of a long time. The banter between all these guys was a total crack up. I just wanted to sit and listen. Duane’s New York accent really adds to it too. A really cool time.
Toward the end, Doedo and Gail arrived and we retired to their house for some very pleasant beers and Aviation discussion. Gail gave us a tour of their houses which was a lovely Vila style ( to use NZ vernacular) house with a really impressive aviation theme. Doedo and Gail are both aviation lovers and pilots and own a Bücker and so their house has some great aviation photos and memorabilia. They graciously gave us a wall map so we can mark and display our travel for when we return.
By then it was 23:00 so we returned to Duane’s house and hit the hay. A hell of a fun day.
Location:Kalmia Cir,Boulder,United States