Just have to double down and say what a great weekend it was! Weather was marginal to say the least but 20 pilots and crew decided to show up on Thursday just to help and be there early! What a nice surprise :--) Including 5 or 6 worker bees, we took 40 to dinner at Mather Lodge Thursday night. The completely unplanned Thursday Gathering was a big surprise to all of us and turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend. :-D
We'll be posting photos as soon as we can get them all uploaded but Dan Valovich was on the ramp and shot some pretty cool pictures. Check out this link to some awesome arrival and fun flight shots. https://photos.app.goo.gl/8v6ty1ifCd3xnxPm2
Friday was mostly low to marginal ovc with a few breaks so we had some slots where some snunk in during the day. Ramp count Friday/Sat (50'ish) was less than half the expected crowd but we had a fairly large number that drove in, enough that we had 151 for dinner at the RCC Friday night. (No kidding ... 151 :-) )
Considering that everything east of the Mississippi was closed out, the turnout even without planes was a really nice surprise. Lots of folks hit the trails which I am told were really pretty with all the leaf changes in full swing. We were able to fly Saturday afternoon and there was a really nice RV8 acro routine by Tommy "Vader" Palmer whose wife also attended in her own RV3 ( Ain't that sweet :-) )
We had Formation Routines flown by Bulldog Flight and KC Flight all under an FAA approved waiver admin'ed by AirBoss Bob. I know that's true because there was lots of "wavering" on the ramp as the guys flew.
A couple more got in Saturday and a couple left Saturday but the BBQ guys say we served 147 plus a few double ups ;-) at the Ramp BBQ. It was a great night under the Big Top, we had a fun raffle and auction and a couple of thousand laughs and smiles. I think most would say we had an exceptional Gathering on the Mountain. It's never about the numbers, it's about the folks that make it in!
Lots of great stories this year about "how I got to Petit Jean". Another first this year.... Luis & Fabiola "ubered" into Petit Jean from Hot Springs, AR. I guess we now have another viable WX alternate. Had 6 at Russellville and made the usual van run to pick them up. Several more really interesting stories, all safe and all fun!
Everyone got out after breakfast, the trailers got packed and everyone cleared Petit Jean by noon. Already looking forward to next year!
Random shots from my iPhone.....
Thursday arrivals... what a fun and completely unplanned Gathering!
East side golf course parking :--)
West side on the ramp!
Friday night dinner at the RCC ... heavy Italian ... and maybe the most awesome Red Velvet / Carrot Cake you have ever had ... ever! How'bout it folks ??
Saturday night BBQ on the Ramp
Hanging out at the Presidents Lodge at the RCC
Dan & Karen .... saying Bye-bye PJ .... see'ya next year :--)
Once again, adversity creates a lot of friendships. Another great Gathering of Friends and always something a little different on the Mountain!
Picture links should be up next week! Check the photos section www.PetitJeanFlyIn.com
Thanks from all the Petit Jean Indians
C U on the Mountain .... 2018