August 3, 1998
How stupid of me to think that since we have two nights in Yakutsk, I could sleep late. 7:45 AM, Rafael calls to wake me up for 9 AM breakfast. I told him no and don’t call again. They scheduled a whole day with the mayor and press conferences and tea with W.W.II women pilots. It’s going to take me 2 days of being real lazy and sleeping late to catch up. Maybe in Alaska. We have been working on a plan to get out of Russia in a few days. Nikki and I have permission to fly from Magadan to Anadyr and then Nome without an escort again. All the controllers know about this flight and want to help. Anatoly and Valery want to airline from Magadan to Anadyr to make sure we get fuel and don’t get charged. These guys have been fantastic. We are worn out. One more night of sleep and we’ll be fine. Prayers are answered!
Valery cancelled everything but the press conference. Yes! Rest today. At the press conference, we learned a lot. Earlier, when we had a little trouble being cleared from St. Petersburg to Moscow, we were thinking that the air traffic controllers were on strike. Well, they aren’t. They were supposed to,but when they were told about this flight by the International Flight Safety Foundation, they said they would postpone their strike until August 9th. We are scheduled to exit Russia on the 8th. Nikki and I just looked at each other dumbfounded. This is National News in Russia and we can tell everywhere we go. Amazing! We are very humbled.
Oh yeah, another thing we learned today. When we landed here in Yakutsk, we were met by a woman dressed in their traditional costume. She held a wooden goblet type thing. After singing to us, she gave it to each of the 4 of us and we drank a thin milky looking liquid. Today we learned it was fermented mares milk. Kumis… (I saw Nikki pawing the ground tonight).
Tomorrow we should be rested. I promise you, the last two days of flying have been by the grace of Tomlinson Avionics. I think Carey Tomlinson and Dickey Robertson knew I would get tired so they really fixed me up right. Being out here in no-man’s land, I tend to pat the panel and blow them a long-distance kiss. I plug different airports in the G.P.S all the time. “Hey Nikki, only 3,713 NM to Nome, only2,972 NM to Nome” and so on. Carey, you thought of everything but one! You forgot the little interpreter that I need installed in the Audio Panel. We’ll talk when I get back!!