Sorry about the blog delay but we have been really busy! So here is the catch up version along with some photos.
Day 4 of the Race (Friday):
HEADWINDS!! That explains Day 2. We started out in Brookings, South Dakota and again woke up early. We took off right at 630 am, and were on our way. We had to divert around thunderstorms that were in our path but that was worth the extra time and speed. Finally made it to Heldrege, NE for a quick fuel stop and bathroom break. It was quick in and out as we were on our way to La Junta, CO. We were flying lower for better winds, however, they were still 45 knot headwinds! It was so hot and miserable. We finally found the runway in La Junta and landed. If you haven't been to La Junta, you should Google map there airport as the runways blends in with the ground, making it very difficult to see. We took off from La Junta with full fuel and did our flyby in Woodward and continued going. We knew we needed to take full fuel from La Junta because if we would of landed in Woodward, we wouldn't of been able to take off with our wind limit at UND. We flew over Tulsa, OK which was awesome! Funny story about Tulsa... We were flying over Tulsa, Katrina was flying, and Amy took a drink of water and looked back up and saw flying things coming straight at her. They were all colorful so we knew it wasn't a plane, but it turned out to be a bunch of balloons. That was probably the most exciting part of Day 2. We landed in Fayetteville, AR and we were cheering when we crossed the finish line and at that moment we had big smiles on our face not only because we just flew a transcontinental flight in two days but the moment we got to the ramp the plane was going to be in impound for two days so we didn't have to be sitting it any longer.
We pulled onto the ramp and were greeted by Julie Hall, a UND alumni, cheering for us! We got out of the plane and were also greeted by a young girl named Jenna. We signed up to be apart of the Girls and Boys Club of Alabama, so we were assigned a young girl and we were like mentors and penpals for a while now. We let her sit in the plane and take a few pictures outside of the plane. She was such a sweetheart and was tracking our flight the entire way!
We unpacked the plane and turned in the keys. We got the rental car and we went to the hotel. We got up to the hotel room, and were surprised by a bouquet of flower from Leslie Martin and Beth Bjerke telling us how proud we made them and UND Aerospace! It was so nice of them!!
We took showers as we were drowning in our own sweat since it was so hot the entire flight and especially when we landed in Arkansas and got ready for the Meltdown Party. We went to the party and everybody was so happy to see us. The teams that had already finished were telling us how they were tracking us to make sure we were going to finish. We all had crazy stories to tell each other. All of the racers spent hours laughing about the experience we all had. After a few hours, we were both exhausted so we went back to the hotel and fell a sleep in our memory foam beds.
I woke up to lights on around 6 am and my teammate unpacking all of our luggage. I knew at that moment that Katrina was all rested up as we were able to sleep in to 7 and she was up at 6. We went to our meeting at 8 am for a first timers debriefing. It was interesting to hear all the suggestion for changes and concerns the first time racers had.
We signed up to meet with the judges and timers to get our results right after the first meeting. We met the timers and got the result sheet which was closely matching the one we kept in the plane with our own times. The cool thing about one of the timers is that he is a timer for the Reno Airshow. We then waited patiently for our turn to talk with the judges and see if we had any penalties against us. Since I am writing this after everybody has gotten their own results, I will tell you all that we did NOT have any penalties against us. We flew a clean race! The ways that teams got penalties is not dressing appropriately, showing up for mandatory meetings late, not flying the flybys too high or low, not having proper departure procedures.... the list goes on and on.
After the meetings, we went to the local farmers market as it was right outside of our hotel. So many people, tons of veggies, and beautiful flowers! We walked around the area for about an hour and then headed back to the hotel to get food. We drove around Fayetteville and looked for food and ran into Sonic. We both were excited since we both haven't had Sonic in a very long time. We were right across the street from the University of Arkansas, so we decided to tour the campus. We got our exercise and got to see a beautiful school. It was so hot so at that point, we got back into the car and went to the hotel and laid by the pool for a few hours. We then got ready to go to the "Meet the Racers" dinner out at Air Museum which was located at the airport.
We car pooled with the girls from Jacksonville University out to the airport. We sat in a hanger that was really hot and talked with the team from Kansas State. There was a band playing, airplanes all around the hanger on display and tons of food. The Mayor of Arkansas even was there and talked for a while and gave all the racers a Certificate from the State of Arkansas. This specific certificate is only given out to privileged individuals and is usually handed out to Presidents, Queens, and Kings. We are so lucky to be given this honor!
At the dinner we ran into the same family that we met Friday night. Their daughter was one of the members of a team that had not arrived in Arkansas yet. They were the team that followed us out of Pasco and stayed the night in Redmond, Oregon with us. Unfortunately they only made it to Spearfish, South Dakota the same day we made it to Brookings. They ended up not being able to get out of Spearfish on Friday morning due to low IFR and later in the day thunderstorms and tornado warnings. They had to withdrawal from the race which is unfortunate but they still made it into AR on Saturday night to still be able to part take in the ending festivities. The last team to arrive was Team 49, who was the team from Texas State Technical College. At the Meltdown Party we attended on Friday night, one of the racer from the Texas Teams was there so we introduced ourselves and we told her how proud we are of that team. This team was in the same shoes we were as first time racers and it was there first time ever competing from their school. I have a soft spot in my heart for these girls as they put all they could into the race and ran into weather that was out of there control. Anyways, so all the teams that had finished stood by the edge of the taxiway cheering them on when they landed. One of the girls mother that was there was so proud and taking pictures and was crying. I can remember her saying, " That's my Cara in that plane as the pilot. I'm so proud of her!" It touched everybody's heart. Both Katrina and I gave them big hugs as they got out of the plane and told them that we were proud of them and it was a big accomplishment to make it to the finish line!
We went back to the hotel and headed to bed as we were exhausted.
Our last day of the Air Race Classic adventure before we start our journey back to Grand Forks tomorrow. We got to sleep in until 7 am this morning and then had a mandatory breakfast at 8 am. We ate breakfast with our Mother Bird and the team from Metropolitan State of Denver. Right after breakfast we had another mandatory meeting for an all racers debrief meeting at 9 am. It was really informal and was pretty much a repeat of the yesterdays first time debrief meeting. We did find out that the SPOT trackers that we used during the race had 11,000 followers on Day 1 of the race and only increased as the race went on! Thank you for everybody that was tracking us and from what I have heard a lot of you have been!
We finally now have until around 430 to do whatever we want in Fayetteville, as at 430 we have a cocktail party and then at 6 pm the banquet. That is when we find out how did placed over all. We have some ideas on how we did, but all I can tell you right now is that we did not finish in the top 12 BUT we did not finish last either!
We know how proud everybody is of us and we surely appreciate all the emails, Facebook posts, phone calls, and text messages we have received. We left Grand Forks wanting to place in the top 3 overall. If you know Katrina and I, we are very goal driven so why not shoot high and try our bests. When we got to Pasco and the start day came around and we were stuck in spots that we were not able to control like the weather and being stuck for two days before we were able to even start the race, we had to change our goals. When we only had two very long days of racing ahead of us, we turned to each other and said we will both be very proud of each other to just cross the finish line in Fayetteville, AR before the deadline. No matter how we place tonight, we want to thank everybody that has been behind the scenes of this race and allowing us to be the first team to race for UND. We hope we have made everybody proud and can allow UND to have another team race again next year!
As we pack up our things and wait for my parents to arrive into Fayetteville for the banquet tonight, we just want to give a big shout out to everybody who has helped in putting this on!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT:
Dana Siewert, Dick Schultz, Beth Bjerke, Leslie Martin, Matthew Jung, Fred Remer, UND Aerospace Foundation, SOF's and MOD's, Julie Hall, UND Maintenance Department - Dan Kasowski and Morgan Stroh, Don Dubuque, Mary Jane Hennemann, JoAnne Alcorn, Antonia Bergmann, Nick Brunhke, Cara Miller, Janelle Johnson, Warbalow Family, Kugler/Noll Families, Leo Saucedo, Everybody associated with the Air Race Classic, Neil and Roxy Powell, UND Women in Aviation International, Jim and Jan Klosterman, and the list goes on and on...
PICTURES (RANDOM ORDER:
|Parking in Fayetteville, AR|
|UND Alumni, Julie Hall|
|We finally caught back up with the rest of the pack!|
|Our Penpal, Jenna|
|University of Arkansas Tour|
|Flying over Oklahoma|
|I guess we know where Tulsa is|
|I saw Southwest land in Tulsa|
|Our pal enjoying a nap|
|University of Arkansas|
|Coming into Brookings... Our top Ground speed so far...|
|Somewhere in Colorado|
|Honestly I don't remember where this was taken.. Anybody want to guess?|
|U of Arkansas|
|Band playing at the Meet the Racers Dinner|
|First plane that started Walmart|
|TEXAS STATE TECHNICAL COLLEGE crossing the finish line!!|
|Flowers from Beth and Leslie|
|Sonic.. Enough Said.|
|Our view from the Hotel in AR|
|First Time Racers Debrief Meeting|
|This is why I love flying :)|
|This plane looks familiar... Maybe from briefings in CFI...|
|Drake Field Fayetteville, AR|
|2nd to Last Stop!|
|The pup made it to AR!|
|We saw a lot of cows in South Dakota.|
|Meltdown Party with Embry Riddle - Daytona Beach and another racing team!|
|Coming over the finish line during our flyby in Arkansas.|
|WE DID IT!!!!|
|Mayor of Arkansas|