Apr 25, 2007 Sedona, AZ| Skip to most recent
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More pictures added below May 5, 2007.
You've got 30 minutes to live after being bit by this snake. And it's
their most common variety. No surprise then, that upon waling out onto our
prospective field, we found one within 5 minutes. That's encouraging.
Blood coagulant or some such pleasantry is the poison according to a
local guy. Beauty has
it's price. I don't remember the particular version of Rattle Snake he
was referring to but, in my mind, they're all lethal.
Despite the venomous wildlife, this place is amazing—vertical stands
of colorful grandeur in all directions. It's even gorgeous from the
ground so I wasn't surprised that it was eye popping aloft. Getting
airborne proved to be quite the challenge.
After crawling through the construction zoo that is Sedona proper, we
bought our day passes and the guys told us where to go flying. They were
interested in powered paragliding and will hopefully eventually join our
ranks. The field we found, the one with the snakes, wasn't much. And if
you didn't airborne quick enough, at least there was this narly burm to
crash into. Inviting it wasn't so we went elsewhere and found a much
better site. Unfortunately, just as we got ready to launch, the wind
increased. A lot.
After fighting the wing a bit, I launched into the nastyish air.
Garnering altitude smoothed things out and I relaxed to the colorful splendor. Unfortunately for Tim, someone
complained about us launching too close to other motorhomes so he agreed
to go back to our first, less desirable site. I started having motor
problems and so I landed over there. The air was still nasty down low
but the landing worked out. I played with the motor, thought I had it
fixed and relaunched. Unfortunately it wasn't fixed and kept cutting out. I nursed it back around
to land in the same place. That turned into some of the roughest air I've
plowed through. It was good be down. The motor problem turned out to be
a shorting kill switch. After replacing the wire it ran perfectly.
A PPC pilot showed up to go ATVing and suggested another site down the
road. Boy was that propitious—the site turned out to be huge! And there
was nobody else around—we had it all to ourselves.
Top right: That's the Enterprise I'm pointing at. The guy just to the
right thought we were too close so Tim told me on the radio and we met elsewhere.
Lower left: I got this stick after being told of the snakes. Within a
few minutes we found the snake to my right. Tim got the picture--I was
too chicken to get very close and even he mostly used the zoom. I have
no idea what species it is but I know it has 3" long fangs and
30-minute-to-death venom. But then they all do. Somebody will, of
course, write in with the actual name and I'll welcome that but it won't
matter. The next snake I see will undoubtedly be deadly in my mind.
A side note. If you have a black devil motor and have ever had a problem
starting it, order the new manual decompressor. Even after I tried to
jinx it by telling someone that it's been starting on the first two pulls
every time, it started on the first pull. It has completely
solved the starting issues. Time will tell but I've not had to pull it
more than 2 times since installing it.
We're here as this is written, at N34° 49' 54", W111° 54' 33". Winds are light at
the moment—if that continues we should have a good morning ride. In the
afternoon we plan on meeting up with another Phoenix area pilot at the
Sedona airport (SEZ) to fly from there.