Day Seven

Sunday, October 19

This will be a short entry... it's late and we have an early day tomorrow.  Still great weather.  The takeoff this morning was good but heading towards Gallup there was very little lift.  Just before turning back from the rim, they hit some updrafts and gained about 1000 feet.  It was well enough to put them over the top.  Then it was a leisurely warm flight along Interstate 40 east.  With a little bit of a tail wind, we made good time.

Not far from Grants, Kent's radio mike went out and the birds were crowding the plane a little from some unseen danger so he decided to set down at the Grants-Milan airport which was directly ahead.  It was a good landing and people were very friendly but by the end of the afternoon the flying convoy had attracted quite a gathering.  With so many people and several press poking around, it made things a little tense and added to the concern.  We had hoped to fly 77 this afternoon (the whooper that was attacked by an eagle) but with the crowd and press it would have been difficult to be safe and not draw attraction if she dropped out early.  As it turned out, one of the sandhills dropped out shortly after takeoff.

We flew east for a while before setting down on an out of the way dirt road.  We still had a couple of cars follow us from the airport but they kept good distance. The pens arrived shortly and Kent and I went back to Grants to try and find the downed sandhill. We reached Scott on the radio and he turned around to join us.

With the radio receiver we scanned the horizon several times to try and pinpoint a location for the downed sanhill.  The signal appeared to be coming from somewhere in a residential neighborhood in Milan but after cruising the streets for an hour we didn't come up with anything.  We left the cell phone number with the local police and will return early in the morning after it is light.

Beautiful night tonight with lots of stars.  Progress today was two segments of 64 and 18 miles for a total of 82. 

Kent and cranes check distance for the day via GPS...

Whooper at days end with New Mexico sunset....