August 2, 1998
Lousy night of sleep for everyone. But maybe tonight will be good. We left Kirensk and headed to Olyokminsk for fuel and, then to Yakutsk for sleep. We are on the downhill side to the commemorative flight. Andres says there was too much publicity about this flight in Russia. He’s the translator and he’s tired. When we look at how everything has worked, we are amazed. There is no way this thing should have worked out. But here we are on the last of the commemoration. We are looking forward to Alaska. When we hit Nome, we will know that it worked. We have good friends now in Russia. Good friends and good times.
Khalide and I got to Olyokminsk 20 or 30 minutes ahead of everyone else. It’s a mud runway. Poor Mary Beth. We are greeted again by townspeople, the Mayor and dancing girls. This is where I noticed the people look more like they are from Mongolia.
More gifts. Don’t know what I’m going to do about hauling everything. (I guess I’ll have to leave my Mom’s Russian Eggs here. NOT) … We fueled here and headed on to Yakutsk in marginal weather. We had to go on, we heard we were getting a hotel with a mattress and hot water. There may even be a phone. Heaven. OK, down deep, after a while, I crave the luxuries.
We followed the river and did just a little scud running, but Yakutsk was beautiful. Formation over the airport then 1,2,3– on the runway. Again media, girl scouts (in Siberia), W.W.II women pilots, dancing girl that did a throat clucking thing and again, the traditional friendship bread and some drink that was terrible.
We met a man at the airport who crawled all over Mary Beth. He had a Maule Brochure. He wants to purchase 3 for the airport and was thrilled to see one. (Brent Maule, do your stuff). I wonder if they need someone to ferry them over. ME, ME, ME!!!! We are spending 2 nights here to rest and play. All 17 of us are tired. This hotel has a fax also. So, I can catch up with ya’ll… Nikki is scouting for a sauna and Jeremy is looking for a Riverboat.