Bill is, how to say, a far more adventurous pilot than I am :-). We spent a lot of time zooming in and out around the hills around Bisbee at 50-200 ft. above the rocks and trees. Bill has lived in the area for 30 years, and knows every rock, tree, ridge, and house. It was a very exciting ride, but I never felt in danger or that Bill was not in complete control of the situation - there was always an out, if required. I took the controls for a couple of 360's around a friend's house under construction so that Bill could take some aerial photos with both hands. I was able to handle that part of the flight without too much trouble :-).
After we landed, we hung out for a while, and then Bill and Marilyn dropped us off at the underground mine (the Queen Mine) for a 1.5 hour tour. It's amazing what folks will do to make a living and feed their children - working 12 hour shifts underground, using air powered, water cooled drills and 150 sticks of dynamite at a time is not a choice I would make if I had one - I suppose many of them didn't.....
We relaxed a bit in the afternoon and then drove over to Sierra Vista (about 25 miles to the northwest) to a friend's housewarming party, and then after that headed into bustling downtown Bisbee to get the nightlife tour. We saw the "Copper Queen Hotel" (home of three ghosts) and a number of bars, not the least of which is the appropriately sleazy St. Elmo (apparently St. Elmo is the patron saint of miners). While some of the bars are still there (Bisbee has about 8K inhabitants, down from the heyday of 25K), the houses of the ladies of the night have long since faded into obscurity, so we could only see historic remnants of those buildings.
After another night's sleep, Marilyn fed us breakfast on Sunday morning and we packed up the plane to head home. I got gas, we loaded up, and although DUATS / ADDS had predicted that T-storms wouldn't be starting until mid-afternoon, they were booming to the northwest as we took off at 9:37 AM. Instead of following our inbound course back home, we skirted the storms by flying north toward Cochise, AZ, and then heading directly west to Tucson at 6500 ft. We went around two big storms, and then everything cleared up for the rest of the flight at 8500 ft. No traffic; a little turbulence, and a three hour flight home got us back to Tehachapi at 12:36 AM, in plenty of time for the blues concert in the park.
Bill and Marilyn for hosting us in their amazing home - both the
interior and exterior are beautiful and welcoming, and are filled with Bill's
artwork and conceptual design. There is no question that canard folks are the
best :-). If you ever have the opportunity to go to
Bisbee, take it, and make
sure you hook up with Bill and Marilyn.
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