Due to family issues I had to skip the Redmond leg of the Rally (darn it) but was excited to return to the group in Spanish Fork. The group arrived Monday afternoon and reportedly had a great time that evening socializing together in the area (I will let another of the Rally attendees comment on that event).
Tuesday was filled with fun activities such as ATV excursions, fly fishing on the Provo River (I did this one) or a historical / shopping tour of Provo and SLC. My trip on the river with a guide and Legacy owner Burt Hodgins was a real blast floating the river in the scenic Provo Canyon. Burt kept one of his Brown trout to cook that evening and we both came home with tons of photos and great memories.
The highlight of the Spanish Fork stop on the Great American Lancair Rally was spending the evening with Mike and Mark Patey and their family, friends and crew. We had more Lancair owners / builders / attendees show up for this event to make for a bunch of burgers consumed and refreshments downed. As you would expect, the Pateys put on an “over the top” evening that was both educational and entertaining. Between the incredible Turbulence, the awesome Draco, the Lycoming 780 powered Legacy, Best Tugs and Grip Lock Ties we left spellbound and satiated – what an evening!
Wednesday morning we met at breakfast and the flight briefing and spontaneously came up with the idea of dropping into Telluride, Colorado for lunch which was on courseline to Taos and about halfway. With our mission briefed we all left Spanish Fork departing on a course that would make the Pateys proud – we flew up Provo Canyon at low altitude and in loose formation sightseeing all the way to Telluride. The approach into the highest commercial airport in North America went off without a hitch in perfect weather conditions and amongst some of the prettiest scenery in the world. 14,000’ mountain peaks, crystal clear skies and the Aspen trees in full bloom of golden yellow and blood orange colors. A gondola ride over the mountain, lunch in the quaint town and a quick tour of the mines and upper canyon topped off the stop.
Leaving Telluride we agreed to form up over the airport at 11,500’ and fly through Lizard Head pass towards Durango. The winds were light and there was no turbulence so we were able to get some great photos of our aircraft in flight against the mountains. Tonight at dinner we were giddy talking about the fun flying and looking at the photos taken and agreed that the best part of owning Lancairs was flying them!!!
Tomorrow we have activities planned for all interests – I plan to do the excursion to the Los Alamos Laboratory to see the site where the Atomic bomb was conceived. The only question in my mind is “do we fly there in the Mako or do we drive and enjoy the scenery?” We will finish the day off with a presentation by Bill Harrelson on his amazing accomplishments in his Lancair and maybe hear more about his next challenge. The evening will be topped off with a “Secret Supper” planned by our tour director Kelly and she promises the venue and food will be out of this world.
The Great American Lancair Rally began Monday 10 days ago at the factory in Uvalde, Texas. Originally I planned to fly the first two legs and let Sean and Kelly lead the group around the rest of the course as I thought I needed to be back at the factory, but after Sedona I was hooked and with the exception of Redmond I will complete the entire course. Our intent was to combine education with flying experiences and throw in some great social time with fellow Lancair owners and enthusiasts and without a doubt we exceeded all expectations. Based on the 2018 GALR we are committed to an eastern US tour in 2019 and will start the planning and promotion shortly. Bookmark the website at rally.lancair.com as well as watching the Facebook page for more information including a recap of this year’s event.