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Leg 31 -1: Juana Azurduy De Padilla (SLSU) to Tienente Fap Alejan (SPZO)

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Tim, don't worry  I've got it.


Going to use one of the local farmer's mules.  She doesn't look like much, but she's tough as nails.


My little Mule

Who would ever suspect that we'd trust the Baton in this old bird? ....What?!  It's going to be fine.  Yes, yes. I know were taking off at 9,500 feet.  Jeez, don't worry about it.



I got this.




Hail Mary, full of grace, HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE!!  As I made my take off run, I could see the Putinfield goons swarming over that jet on apron.  They never even bothered to look at this old junker.


Seriously, the altitude in this leg was challenging.  I could not take off any richer than you see the mixture in that shot above.



And we're off.  See?  Nothing to it.



Clawing for altitude!!!



Now, I'm a man who loves sandwiches.  This isn't one of them.




Is this the part where I get pushed down into the terrain?  I'm constantly looking for landing alternatives in the fields below.




And just like that, I left the clouds behind...


I'd been tracking several VOR radials to get to Juan Mendoza airport (SLOR); among them, at SLOR was the ORU VOR, but I could never receive it on the NAV radio.  So, I ended up referencing the CBA VOR 246 Radial.  With no DME, I could only count on a lake south of the airport for any kind of reference.  And considering my altitude and the terrain, I really couldn't see very far.

But, I found it.



See the lake out there?  The airport is directly off the nose, between me and the lake.  You can't really see it, because they put it in a hole!



There it is!




Oops.  Didn't enrich the mixture enough and when I cut the throttle, the engine died.  I think this was the beginning of my altitude sickness; because I started making some questionable decisions after this.  I mean, more questionable that the ones I've made up to this point.  Like volunteering to carry a baton around the world with some nefarious organization hounding me at every turn.  Or maybe it was the beer...


When I looked at the bowl I had landed in, I decided I need a performance upgrade -- I suppose I could have put tundra tires on the old bucket of bolts and rolled out of there, but this is supposed to be a flying mission, right?



As I left the Beaver, I carried my flight bag (with the Baton safely inside) on a little hike looking for the cantina.  I walked past a fellow dozing in a lawn chair sitting next to this Cessna Twin.

"Ah," he says.  "You the pilot?  They said you'd be carrying purse," he said with snicker.

"It's not a purse!  It's a CARRY ALL," was all I could come back with.

"Whatever you say amigo," he looked bored now, "the keys are in it and it's been fueled and pre-flighted.  The boss said if you loose the cargo you loose your head.  Comprende?"

I looked sidelong at the twin and mumbled, "uh, yeah, got it, I never loose my cargo.  It's how I made my reputation."

He said something I didn't understand and headed for a building on the hillside with flamenco guitar coming out of it.  Ah, the cantina.  Well, maybe another time.


So, I opened the Twin up and threw out several bags of a pungent smelling herb of some kind.  I'll tell you -- stunk up the whole plane.



Almost 80 knots at the midpoint.  The air is thin and this is not looking good.




Hooo! hooooo!  And we're off!



Performance is much better.  But not great.





Out of Bolivia and crossing into Peru now.  Hey!  This looks like one of those airplanes I've seen FLIR footage on...

Wait a minute!  I know what this is!!



Landing in Juliaca (SPJL).  Looking for another ride.



To my delighted surprise I run into a couple of agents of THRUSH in Juliaca.  You just never know where these characters are going to show up.

Now, this one has no performance issues!  Wow!



Low and fast.  The putinski's think I'm hobling along at 120 knots.  Sheewwwt bowi!



Special indeed!



Clearing the runway at Tienente Fap.  What a ride.  The Baton is safe and I think I'm feeling a little better.


More to come.



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Shooo Boyi, what a hoot. :D 

From tundra mule to drug mule to calamari chaser...it would be hard indeed for anyone to keep up with your quick changes of venue here.


Did I read that right, you just happened to be handed an unplanned set of C310 keys because you were mistaken for the 'scheduled' FLIR target? Nothing like an Unscheduled and totally random vehicle change to throw your chasers off the trail :) Gotta love S. America.


Nice THRUSH ride, I'll have to ask Pat where he keeps those stashed, haven't had the pleasure yet to fly one.


Great Job Gob!

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Great work there Mike, :thum: three aircraft and beautiful looking shots make for one nice PIREP well done.

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