This isn't for everyone. Grassy paramotor fields don't appear just
because there's amazing scenery nearby. The launches aren't always easy,
the site can be challenging to get to, and there are may not be a hotel
nearby. Tradeoffs. How many times do we utter that caveat.
is replete with amazing scenes and this site, south of Grants, is one
great example. And we've been welcomed here. Bob Morrin and Jerry
Daniele worked with Karen, the park ranger who told us where the best
area was. How cool. The national park service was welcoming. In fact,
Karen has offered a guided hike around the splendid and strange
formations over which we flew this morning. What a great way to hike:
fly over it first.
Access to the site was brainless thanks to the work of Route 66 Club
member Bob Morrin, who put a full day of work into making the road
passable by motorhomes. And we don't have to worry about getting stuck
in the muck--there is none. It's all gravel.
Launch is about a mile away from the campsite down in a meadow but
it's accessible even with cars. You can launch from the campsite but it
slopes downward and sits in a bowl so the wind must be just right.
The evening held promise but, alas, Mr. T reappeared with
lightning and his big friend Gusty. The only flight, by Bubba Peters, lasted
about 15 seconds before the ground became more appealing. We had one
wing get away from it's kiter. One person's ear gut cut slightly when
the loose glider's lines dragged over her face.
I tasted Elk for the first time. No need to worry, it turns out,
Michelle and CC did a fantastic job of making Elk Pie that was quite
good. Horizons get spread in so many ways on these trips.
The day is half over as I write this but the morning was so amazing.
If I fly here no more I'm well satiated--it was one of my top 3
paramotor flights ever. The launch wasn't too bad with the few mph wind
I had but, being at 7000 feet MSL means everything has to work just
right. One quad did roll over on a launch attempt resulting in a broken
My Black Devil did me right in spite of making no carb adjustments
(don't tell Alex Varv). I'm sure she's running rich but had plenty of
push, especially considering the uphill launch. There's not doubt about
degradation, though, my climb rate is just over half of what it is at
1) Alex Donaghy flies along a spline.
2) Looking south at the two valley launch sites. 3) Flying towards the
volcanic Mal Pais. Don't land in that stuff! 4) Alex cruising down the
1) Our campsite as seen from the air.
That meadow is filled with cacti malwingi but a few pilots launched from
here anyway. 2) Mike tackles "the road" and wins. 3 & 4) Tim Doughty
poses for my camera and frames some beatfiful scenes.
The afternoon looks like a swim. It's impressive that I have internet
up here. Handy, too, since I can see the impending gloom of damp gray.
That's ok, it's a pleasure spending time with these folks.
One ridiculous pastime, introduced by Route 66 Flyers "Lab Rats"
(members who work at Los Alamos National Labs ), is Washerboard. What a
hoot. Of course the people made it so. I'd never spent time with Toby
but he sure livens up a party. In spite of his instructions, we won a
couple rounds. On the last game, CC and I got to 21, the winning score,
and all I had to do was hit the board. That's like spot landing with a
football field for a target. But if you go in a hole, something that's
good any other time (and that I rarely did), you lose points. Hit the
board, don't go a hole. Brainless. You guessed it--I missed.
Several of us went on a minor hike and then Jerry Took another group
to see various archeological goodies. He can finds these things quicker
than ants find sugar. He's one tough cookie too--the fact that it was
pouring rain didn't matter one whit. Dress warm, have rainproof gear and
go. Unfortunately, I missed out.
Now for that swim.
This will be brief! Morning dawned with clouds zinging by on a stiff
breeze. Joel and I did pull a wing up at the camp site but it was