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August 6, 1998

Up for breakfast and the realization that after 2 years of work, we have completed the commendation.  Amazing!  Well worth the struggle.  By the hotel is a monument to the flight of the Rodina.  We went to the monument this morning with the townspeople.  After that we went to a museum dedicated to the 3 pilots of the Rodina.  These are really big aviation heroes in Russia.  We met the daughter-in-law of the man who found the Rodina when it landed with no fuel by Ossipenko.  Later, we were taken to the town hall where a choir sang to us on the steps.  inside, we were seated on stage and asked questions.   Our interpreter was having problems with my southern English.  (I was told this week by a Russian that I didn't speak proper English.  Wonder how he got that?)  After the questions, they gave us a concert.  There were some really good voices in the town.   Later, shuttled off to the airport for departure to Ayan again for fuel and Okhotsk for bed.  Natasha, Nikki, and the other AN-2 have to go to another town, 45 minutes away from Ossipenko for fuel.   Mary Beth can make it back to Ayan and have some to spare.  This ferry tank has been wonderful, but trust me, I can't wait to take it out.

After fueling in Ayan, (both bodies and plane) we started to Okhotsk.  After takeoff I lost all the electrical.  Alternator light came on.  Glad it happened off the end of the runway instead of in the middle of the leg to Okhotsk.  We were real heavy with fuel, strong gusty crosswinds and a gravel runway with potholes and a washboard type surface.   Bummer.  Khalide was flying this leg so we went back around the mountain so she could make a long approach.  Just a little bit firm on the landing.  (Maybe fast too)  Blew the tailwheel!  Bless Mikey.  He had a spare tailwheel and a new voltage regulator.  Solved all my problems.

Valery wanted to know if we could be fixed in 10 minutes.  I don't think so.  We did it in 20.   These slow Americans.  Natasha and Nikki went on before us to Okhotsk.   We   almost caught up to them.  In Okhotsk, we had a long jeep ride down a bumpy gravel road to town.  40 minutes from airport to town.  It reminded Nikki of Texas.  We slept in someone's home.  Now this woman apparently had a little money.  She had a singer sewing machine, a VCR, telephone, and an Ab-Buster.   What more do you need.

P.S. Jigger, we listened to your tape as we bounced down that dark gravel road.

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