Advance to Home - the Return Trip

July 15, 2007 Denver, CO to Naperville, IL, Paramotoring on the way

The Enterprise has been out on its longest mission, having spent all of last summer in San Diego and wintering in various spots that see no snow. It was time to come home.

The week after Bubba's Rocky Mountain High, Tim Kaiser joined me to take the waiting Enterprise from Denver to Naperville, IL. We only had three days but also only had 16 hours of driving. There would be flying.

Road trips never fail to amuse. After a number of hours driving with too little sleep it became obvious that napping would be required. So we came out of warp drive (65 mph in this craft) to a small town on a quiet side street, by a cemetary of all places, and set up for a snoozelet. I even commented on how these folks won't be whooping it up. Within a minute of Tim drifting off came the near deafening whine of an obviously nearby warning siren. Then voice blasted out to explain the testing of this little communities weather warning system. We had parked immediately underneath one very loud speaker/siren. So much for quiet.

Thankfully the test soon ended as did the lawnmower that joined the cacophony and we got enough winks to press on. Next time I'll ask with respect if the underground occupants mind us resting nearby.

The Straight and Narrow

Flying sites abound at civilization's edge and this little town was no exception. We'd been distancing ourselves from a same-direction thunderstorm that was now far enough away. Like many quickly-chosen sites, it wasn't ideal. Staying away from people meant choosing a narrow strip of grassy launch with corn on one side and ditch on the other. Nothing dangerous, just challenging.

My lines caught on the cage and I barely got them yanked off while running through a ditch. Tim said he thought I was a gonner (well, faller would be more accurate). Liftoff was 90 degrees from my inflation direction. I have since solved the line catching problem and forward launches are much easier.

Unfortunately, Tim had motor problems so only I got to fly. We fixed the motor but it was already late. Flying wasn't spectacular and, I must admit, one endless view of flat corn fields is much like the others. Of course, when given the opportunity to go explore, we never fail to find something entertaining. Just being in the air is fun, regardless of terrain, and I'm glad I got up.

There was more amusement, though. The Enterprise's water system quit working. Uh oh, no toilet water. And serious bowel business beckoned. Hmmm. Some farmer will wonder why this one particular clump of corn is growing so high. The water problem, loose pump wires, was quickly solved.

Feast of Flight

Saturday was the day. After a night at Wal-Mart, we went looking for launch. It didn't take long, the south end of the parking lot turned out to be perfect. Shortly after offing our gear, a cop parked next to the Enterprise. He didn't get out of the car and, since we weren't doing anything illegal, we just pressed on getting ready. The cop went to sleep.

Just as Tim got his wing laid out, the sprinklers sprang to life. A quick scramble got our equipment clear but it made a dewy launch that much wetter. Never saw that one coming.

Our flights were brief and the cop never did wake up. We launched, flew around, landed, photographed Tim catching a toad, enthused over the sport to a spectator, loaded and left the sleeping soundly. And I thought my job was easy. Of course people don't shoot at me often, either.

We put a lot of miles to pavement, arriving near Des Moines, Iowa in the afternoon. A pristine forecast encouraged us to find a site early. This edge of civilization was a grassy development with another year to go. We could have done without all the light poles but they would be easy to avoid by any pilot who remained at least awake.

This was the flight. We headed out with full tanks and needed it all. Nearly all my pics are from this one flight. It was gorgeous, too. Yes, Iowa is the tall corn state, but like I said, give us some time and we'll make it interesting. That we did.

First Row: 1) First flight of the trip. Short but sweet, as always.
2) Tim inflates but a line snags hard on the cage, dooming the effort. You can see it on his lower left.
3) Climbing out from a foot drag. 4) After landing on Saturday afternoon, Tim received audience applause from this van.

Second Row: 1) Just another beautiful scene where water meets land on Sat afternoon. 2) Twelve row combine. Had to check out the Caterpillar outdoor showroom.
3) Tim reverses nicely for our Sat morning jaunt. 4) Wal-Mart with sleeping cop.

Third Row: 1) Saturday evening. We got here early and hung out until the atmosphere settled.
2) I took off and grabbed this shot of Tim's launch. 3) The downhill landing was a bit challenging 
4) Mr. Black Devil, please don't fail me at this particular moment!

Fourth Row: 1) Cruising West Des Moines.
2) I'll bet I'd be in cell range about now. That is, of course, if I accidentally left my phone on. 
3) Tim captured me doing a long foot drag down this lonely road. 4) Tim toad trapping. His breadth of skills never fail to amaze me. Or should that be amuse me.


Home at Last

Sunday we relaxed until reaching the Quad Cities. There we diverged onto wheels for an 8 mile roller blade along the Mississippi river. What a nice place in the summer, especially given our outdoor eating. Don't try that in January!

The Enterprise finally arrived home at about 4:30pm.

She's getting a thorough cleansing which continues. Miles of dust and bugs are reluctant to leave but we seem to be winning the battle. She did get washed a couple times while being out for two years but the cab-over bugs were well entrenched. They obviously like it since they are resistant to most efforts.

1) You can see how old the town is from the dates on this grave stone.

2) Snooze time didn't go so well. That shade tree concealed a pending menace--we didn't see the loudspeaker perched atop this nearby pole. It sure announced itself shortly after our arrival.

3) The chart shows why we had to be careful about choosing sites. The Wal Mart site was just far enough south of the Grand Island airport.

2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!