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J-3 cross country continued segment 2


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After a week with Carmen and all those chaperones, I was feeling a little claustrophobic, I was getting itchy feet. Even by the tender age of 25, I had learned to trust my gut on many things and this time, it was telling me to hit the trail. Carmen was way more mature than me. Her goals and mine were not in alignment. Predictably, we vowed to one another that somehow, one day we would reunite somewhere, sometime. She was a lovely creature and perhaps I was a fool to leave her, but I couldn’t ignore the urge to head out.

I had decided to head northwest, toward the Bonneville Salt Flats to take in the land speed races there. The races were scheduled for August 14 so I had plenty of time and a friend in Snowflake AZ that I hadn’t seen for some time. A visit would be great. Everything in this part of the world is up high. You have to run along at 9-10,000 msl to have even a minimum of clearance to the deck. The route I was on had me skirting the edge of the Gila National Forest. No sense going over the top when you can go around. I had decided to stop at Whiteriver AZ for a pee and a splash of fuel and was about 35 miles SE at 9200msl when it happened. With maybe 2000 clearance to rugged terrain and trees glaring at me from down below, a loud banging sound started in the engine. Howz this font, Anne? The racket started suddenly and with a violence that fairly well shook the entire airframe. The first thing I did was to pull the power back as much as I could to lessen the chances of parts exiting the crankcase. This would be a great time for a flight plan-------the one I had not done. My immediate thought was that I had broken a rod or maybe even the crank, the shake was that kind of violent. A quick scan of the gauges showed a normal oil pressure, so I figured the crank was in one piece. However, a rod could be in two pieces and the pressure would still be good if the big end was still wrapped around the journal . My eyes were busy looking for a place to land, but so far there was nothing. Then, ahead and off to my right I saw a little clearing on the top of a mountain. A table top perched on a peak. This ought to be fun. For many years, I had enjoyed challenges of short and difficult landings and takeoffs and the practice I had experienced doing these was about to be put to a test, the real-world kind. My options were slim right now. When I had this clearing locked in, I quickly began a search for something, anything better, but didn’t see anything, so began my approach into whatever was in store for me. My priorities were good though as I remember feeling thankful for what I had ---- it could always be more worser.

There was not enough altitude to look it over from above, there would be no planning. In fact, I would be doing well just to make it. The engine was still running and could still make power, but that banging convinced me that any additional power could result in a total stoppage and no help getting to the clearing. And, getting to that clear spot was gonna matter a lot, because it was surrounded by tough, wind battered trees on steep, rocky slopes----ugh. So I kept the power only up to a level sufficient to make the open place and had my fingers crossed that it wasn’t cleared by fellow man and littered with stumps. Stumps are tough of Cub landing gear.
As I got closer to my forced landing, I could see a roadway coming into the cleared area from the opposite end. For whatever it meant, this was shaping up to be a manmade sort of clearing ---- a heli pad or ?

As I was busy preparing for my first real-life, not just for fun, real-deal, short field landing, the old Continental banged harder a last few times then suddenly stopped. Now, this is it kids, its show time, time to see what sort of skills had been learned in those many practice landings. And I would likely need them all.
I slowed ol 42383 down and really zoned in on the task at hand----------landing and surviving. More later.
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