Rocky Mountain High
July 7, 2007 Near Canyon City, CO | Michelle |
The drive provided it's own show. Figure that a surprising number of
people come out here just to immerse experience this beauty from afoot.
How lucky we are to then explore it in 3D. But as these pictures show,
getting there is quite the sight.
1) My other brother's family: Sam, Noah, Jeff (me) and Miram
let me enjoy an evening with them. 2) Climbing the Ute Trail. 3) Yours truly enjoying the ride.
Lots more to come. 4) A high concentration of UFO sightings along
this stretch of road has earned it the local name "Cosmic Highway."
Shortly after departing ABQ, I navigated the narrow roads of Santa Fe to
dock at my brother's place for a quick visit. Dave was helping inlaws in
Florida. His wife Miriam, exhausted from several days of solo child
care, was still welcoming.
They all loved the Enterprise, especially Sam who raced to the top with
little prodding. Noah (lowest in picture at right), who at first
wouldn't go all the way up, soon overcame his fear and scaled the
ladder, tentatively enjoying the view from above. Nicely done. We even
did some rocking on top, swaying the entire motorhome with our combined
motion. Noah did call that one off. After a nice dinner, I headed out
that night, bound for Bubba's.
We all got airborne. That's nothing unusual except for the 9200 foot
Light winds and long runs were the order of most mornings. In fact, I
scored one epic run with what was probably a slight tailwind but being
downhill helped. By all accounts, it was enormous fun for everyone.
Thunderstorms drenched each afternoon in a typical mountain cycle
here. Sun shines through a beautiful blue sky, coaxing cumulus clouds
from the previous days rain. These bubble into behemoths that eventually
start spewing rain, lightning and sometimes hail.
Fog shrouded the valley on Thursday morning in another common
pattern. Unfortunately I missed it because pilots reported awesome
sights as it dissipated into wispy leftovers then vanished.
Several firsts were made including my first time 4-wheeling in a car
with a choke. More later.
Thanks to Bubba and Jeanne for opening up their home and showing us a
great time. And to Mikey Thompson who, in addition to his piloting
skill, masters a grill with the best of 'em.
More to come including a wing load of photos.
Talk about a view. The whole end of the house is windows and for good
reason. When I
arrived, lightning danced amid numerous thunderstorms. Once they passed, though,
civility returned to the air. Unfortunately, the wind direction was wrong for
Bubba's pasture so we headed to the alternate pasture, complete with
horses and the softest grass you'd ever want to lay a wing in.
This site was upwind of a healthy hill that blocked the airflow.
Strong winds revealed themselves on the other side. Undaunted, a few of
us took to kiting. I love high-wind kiting, especially when it's
reasonable smooth. About 20 is my limit and the most we were feeling was
about 15 so, after playing a bit, I strapped on my motor.
The first time aloft in a new area is always the coolest—new eye
candy spreads out far and wide. Mountainous areas must intrigue by their
variety of which Colorado is well endowed. After getting a fast fix in,
I landed to share what the air was like and soon a half-dozen wings took
to the sky.
I decided to fly back as the sun was settling into a rocky horizon.
The ranch should be easy to find since it's on the same road we came on.
Cruising downwind I'm looking for home when I spot another gathering of
motorhomes below. "how strange" I thought, "someone else is having a
gathering." Then it hit me. "Idiot, that IS your landing site!" Ooops. I
landed back by the Enterprise but it was some gnarly air. TG, son of
Toby (one of the many Albuquerque pilots) joined me soon afterward.
Bubba had concocted a couple poker runs—one on the ground and one
from the air. The ground run took us to some of the areas prettiest
vantage points. We used Bubba's jeeps, Kermit and Rosie. It was a darn
good thing they had 4-wheel drive. It was also a darn good thing Mikey
Thompson went with us. He had helped set up the sites and clues but,
more importantly, knew the nuances of these tempermental mounts, Rosie
I've never driven a 4 wheel drive vehicle. At least not where it
really needed all the wheels. Let me tell you, we needed on this little
The Jeeps were vintage. They had a choke, a foot starter and more
levers than the Wizard of Oz. Stick man Matt and I worked together as a
team to get everything figured out along with help from Mikey. Once I
understood the secondary transmission, high and low 4wd, and how to
start (with the pedal floored), life was good.
It's amazing how much abuse these little guys tolerate. My hats off
to Bubba for maintaining and sharing them like this. He never charged a
We went around to all these locations to collect chips, hidden by
Mikey and Bubba before the fly-in. Saturday night we turned those chips
in for cards and Bubba gave out prizes, provided by his company, Kitchen
Cabinet Depot. The top prizes were a portable generator and an IPod
shuffle but there were many others including several Mac Wet gloves of
which I was lucky enough to win.
Saturday Karaoke was fun. Bubba can sing. So can Michelle. Once I
finish that PPG song I may have to get them to perform it.
by Michelle Daniele
She makes foot launching up here look easy but that pales in
comparison to her Karaoke.
Everyone, Jerry and I are back at Paramotor City. We arrived on Monday
evening. Guess you know we had a great time at Bubba's as we stayed 2
days longer than planned.
A snowy winter made for a very green and beautiful valley there this
summer. Seemed like there were 35 or so guests present and among those,
around 15 pilots. There was even a PPC pilot who flew. Early mornings
were a challenge with light or no wind, but if you waited till around
8:00 am you were rewarded with a nice breeze and a downhill launch. Rain
dominated the evenings, but there were no complaints about how cool it
made everything. One afternoon, we were treated to hail and lightning
strikes that you could trace to the ground.
Most launches were a treat to watch with very little flubbing. The two
poker run games were challenging and forced you to get some exercise, so
it's no wonder some of us reverted to cheating. The proof of this is the
fact that a lot of us came up with the same made-up symbol that wasn't
in the original set made up by Bubba and Mikey for spotting symbols from
the air. The true reward wasn't so much getting the chip, but the
magnificent scenery at the end of each task.
As usual food abounded, some of us adults enjoyed the fireworks a little
more than the kids (wet fireworks will eventually go off if you throw it
in the bonfire!), and no matter what anyone says they will not do,
eventually they'll get up and do a Karaoke song. Our new American Idols
included Toby singing a love song to a man, TG singing about Bubba
shootin' the jukebox and Kirk doing Love Shack with Jordan and Kim as
back ups. Jeff Goin and Lee's daughter, Lynn slaughtered "Kodachrome"and
I can't remember the name of the song that Jeff Martin and TG sang
because we were more focused on their dancing. Bubba's 7 year old
granddaughter blew us away with "Itty Bitty", and yes, even Mathew
(Stick Man) got up with yours truly and did "I got you Babe." Bubba
nailed at least 20 songs. The Lab rats high tailed it out of the lodge
before we could get to them.
ceremony to hand out prizes for the best Poker hands got rowdy as usual.
Hansen took the grand prize (mini generator) but almost everyone won
something. I'm hoping George wants to trade his Ipod for PPG parts. Toby
couldn't' seem to get past a pair of eights, but after illegally
swapping cards with his son, managed a winning hand. We tried to boo him
off stage, but he shut us up by dropping his drawers. I had to turn my
face. Lee was right about him having Ed Zachery disease. Then without
the knowledge of Bubba and Jeanie, I got up to give a little pep talk
about doing our part to make sure everyone pitched in to make sure there
wasn't too much burden on our hosts. I tried to use humor and a lot of
exaggeration to make my point, but I'm not so sure that I pulled it off.
had a wonderful week without a cell phone or email. Once again, thanks
Bubba and Jeanie. Hope you're up to doing it again next year.
Then Bubba writes:
He flies, he jeeps, and helps insure everyone has fun
Jeanie and I couldn't have
had more fun watching everyone enjoy themselves. There really is more
joy in giving than in receiving. Everyone brought Jeanie and me a lot of
joy. It was great to see it reflected in all those smiling faces.
Thanks for the pep talk at the end of the awards ceremony, but it wasn't
necessary. You are such a mother hen :-) Some of the guests had already
insisted on helping with gas money for the Jeeps, quad and Rhino. Dizzy
(Alex) being the first. After the fly-in someone had put out a jar with
over $200 in it. Jeanie and I didn't expect or need anyone to do this.
It just goes to show what generous and kind friends we have. We'll use
the donations for even more and better prizes next year. Thank you!
Here's a special thanks to those that helped make the fly-in such a
Michelle - I don’t know any more generous, giving, loving, hard working
friends. They came early and stayed late and made Jeanie and me feel
like we were the guests.
Alex "Dizzy" - Made sure we had plenty of good prizes and donated some
of them himself.
Kim and Kim
- For cleaning up doggy doody and being helpful with other things.
Steve and Craig - For the washer throwing mania. (And Craig's homebrew
Tony - For shuttling
pilots back and forth from the LZ.
Jeff - For honoring us with his attendance, encouragement and support.
Kirk - For his rendition of "Love Shack" and "Everybody Knows". (You had
to be there.) Awesome!
Matthew and George - For astounding us with their uphill launches.
Lee - For showing us a "Full Putski".
Christian - For driving the furthest (Alberta, Canada!)
The kids for being so well behaved and funny.
Everyone else - For participating, entertaining and feeding us :-)
We look forward to having you all up here again next year. Stay high!
Bubba and Bubbette
PS - Who
could have known Toby wears Sponge Bob underwear!!? Photos courtesy of
Jeff Goin (Thanks, Jeff!)
1. Bubba, 2) the Gang. 3) Bubba returning from a cross country and 4)
just hanging around