Thursday, October 13, 2011
HIGH OVER PAONIA (July 29-31st), by Gordon Courbat
Wow, where do I begin? I haven’t won anything since the 4th grade back in Waverly, IA, when I won a Brownie camera for having the best costume at the Halloween party. Oh well, I guess I was just due again. So, I was sitting in the registration building enjoying a cup of coffee after a day’s ride through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison when I heard someone yell out, “Does anyone have ticket #472?” I was busy reading an interesting article in one of the local publications and even though that number did sound familiar I just raised my hand and kept on reading. A few seconds later a man appeared over my right shoulder and said, “Are you ready to go flying?” And I said, “Huh?” At that point I was told that I just won a one hour flight with a local pilot over the surrounding valleys and mountains. And I said, “What was that number again?” Then this man, Jeff Galligan, who was the head man with the BMW Club of Colorado (the event sponsor) said, “You are the winner!” Hey, I liked the sound of that! He immediately called the pilot and left a voice mail message with my name and phone number and he gave me the pilot’s number also. That was all great except it occurred to me that we had no phone service up here so how were we going to get in touch? Early the next morning I got on my bike and headed for the highest elevation around to see if I could get phone service. I headed north of town with no luck but across the valley on the south side of town was a spot even higher. Following a road up the mountain on the south side eventually took me to the local cemetery that was very peaceful and had a beautiful view of the valley in the early morning sunlight. Yahoo, I got reception and talked to the pilot who told me to meet him at the front gate of the park in 30 minutes and the sooner we got flying the better because the winds pick up as the day goes on.