Flight Training - November 2014 - 22

FLYING CARPET

By Greg Brown

PLUS View the slideshow.

PRECIOUS CARGO

LAVENDER BY AIR

W

hat makes something precious? The price tag? Or perhaps
that someone you love desires it? We recently suffered
a traumatic horticultural loss-one of Jean's treasured
Provence lavender plants. She bought them several years
ago at the annual Red Rock Farms Lavender Festival outside tiny Concho, Arizona. (See "Scent of the Sky," June 2010 Flight Training.)
Under Jean's careful tending, the aromatic plants have since flourished in our
front yard, from four-inch seedlings to glorious, three-foot purple-blossomed bushes.
Appealing as lavender may be to humans,
it's unappetizing to elk, rabbits, and javelina. So we never anticipated losing one to
a gopher dining from underneath. I asked
Jean if she planned to replace it.
"I'd like to," she said, "but it's challenging finding hardy lavender locally. The last
bushes I planted didn't last."
"So the Concho plants are hardier?"
"Yeah, they seem better suited to our
climate. But although Red Rock offers
other lavender products online, they only
sell plants during their annual festival that
ended last month." I offered to inquire
about flying over to get some.
"No," she said. "It seems impractical
flying almost to New Mexico to buy a few

22 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

plants." That ended the discussion for a
few days-until I next encountered Jean
pondering the remains of her beloved
lavender bush.
"I wonder if I can bring it back to life,"
she said, but that didn't look promising.
Admitting it might not make sense flying halfway across the state to buy three
or four plants, I asked if other gardeners
in her club might want some. That apparently passed the test, so I phoned Red
Rock Farms owner Mike Teeple.
"Given Concho's small size, you must
surely drive to Show Low or St. Johns
for supplies," I said. "Could I coordinate
buying some lavender plants when you're
running errands?"
"I visit both those towns several times
a week," said Mike. "Either airport would
be convenient." With that, Jean quickly
found takers to share a flat of 18 plants.

MIKE TEEPLE of Red Rock Farms loads lavender
plants at St. Johns Industrial Air Park, Arizona (left).
Red Rock Lavender Farm, near Concho, Arizona
(above).

Mike and I first agreed to meet in Show
Low, which is closer to Flagstaff. But then
I thought to photograph Mike's lavender
fields en route in hopes of capturing the
vivid blooms from aloft. At just 13 miles
beyond the farm, St. Johns suddenly made
better sense for our rendezvous.
I knew the farm's general location but
wasn't sure about spotting it from the air.
I asked Mike to send a smartphone photo,
but unfortunately it lacked GPS coordinates. So I decided to navigate directly to
Concho, located at a prominent highway
intersection, and search from there.
Sparkling showers framed my route
from forested Flagstaff over canyongashed high desert south of Holbrook, to
eastern Arizona's lush grasslands. I found
the farm easily enough along Highway
180A north of Concho, but light rain
muted the lavender fields. Oh well, I'd try
again on my way back.
"Fill it to the brim," advised a Bonanza
pilot when I taxied up to the pump at St.
Johns Industrial Air Park. "You won't find
cheaper avgas anywhere else!" I explained
that as much as I'd like to, I dared not
return to 7,000-foot-elevation Flagstaff
with topped tanks, or due to density-altitude concerns my airplane might not leave
the ground again until fall.


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Flight Training - November 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - November 2014

Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover1
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover2
Flight Training - November 2014 - Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - 2
Flight Training - November 2014 - 3
Flight Training - November 2014 - 4
Flight Training - November 2014 - 5
Flight Training - November 2014 - 6
Flight Training - November 2014 - 7
Flight Training - November 2014 - 8
Flight Training - November 2014 - 9
Flight Training - November 2014 - 10
Flight Training - November 2014 - 11
Flight Training - November 2014 - 12
Flight Training - November 2014 - 13
Flight Training - November 2014 - 14
Flight Training - November 2014 - 15
Flight Training - November 2014 - 16
Flight Training - November 2014 - 17
Flight Training - November 2014 - 18
Flight Training - November 2014 - 19
Flight Training - November 2014 - 20
Flight Training - November 2014 - 21
Flight Training - November 2014 - 22
Flight Training - November 2014 - 23
Flight Training - November 2014 - 24
Flight Training - November 2014 - 25
Flight Training - November 2014 - 26
Flight Training - November 2014 - 27
Flight Training - November 2014 - 28
Flight Training - November 2014 - 29
Flight Training - November 2014 - 30
Flight Training - November 2014 - 31
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 33
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 36
Flight Training - November 2014 - 37
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 41
Flight Training - November 2014 - 42
Flight Training - November 2014 - 43
Flight Training - November 2014 - 44
Flight Training - November 2014 - 45
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 47
Flight Training - November 2014 - 48
Flight Training - November 2014 - 49
Flight Training - November 2014 - 50
Flight Training - November 2014 - 51
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 55
Flight Training - November 2014 - 56
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover3
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover4
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