"Sarah" is now in Duluth, MN
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“OK ‘Sarah’…you have your passport and Customs form ready?” Laura inquired as she pre-flighted the plane. “You betcha, ‘Sarah’” said, fresh from electrifying the trade conference where she had just spoken. Laura had accompanied “Sarah” to this speech and was still awed. The pair would be leaving Winnipeg and finally re-entering the United States and landing in Duluth, Minnesota. They agreed on a day flight, since Duluth is a small airport – they would also be passing over the state’s many lakes and the day promised good visibility. Having already gotten the weather, filed the flight plan, they jumped in and Laura gave “Sarah” her safety briefing, did the run-up and got her clearance.
The flight would leave the northwest facing runway, turn southeast, climb to 5,000 feet, enter Minnesota, continue till just over Bemidji Regional, then turn east passing over Grand Rapids, then to Duluth.
Re-Entering the United States
About 15 minutes – 30 miles from the border, Laura called the US controller to advise that her flight would be crossing the border. She zoomed the GPS in so “Sarah” could see the moment of passage. On July 21, at 3:31 CDT, the flight left Canada and re-entered the United States. “Welcome back,” Laura said. “Sarah” smiled.
The flight passed the first of the many lakes the pair would be seeing. “Sarah” could see dozens of them on the GPS, which had been zoomed back out. “Guess that’s why they call Minnesota ‘the land of 10,000 lakes,’ she quipped, to which Laura added with some fake sarcasm “Yep. The state has a couple.”
Pioneers 150 Years Ago - Today's Pioneers
The flight reached Bemidji Regional and turned east, the little airport clearly visible below. As the flight turned, Laura and “Sarah” discussed another Laura who was born in Walnut Grove near the state’s southwestern corner – in 1867. Laura Ingalls-Wilder was born to a pioneer family and authored many books about her life in Minnesota, Kansas, and what was then Dakota Territory. The TV series Little House on the Prairie was based on Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s books. She was also the subject of many biographies.
The mention was apropos. Alaska is known as the Final Frontier. Many Alaskans would be considered today’s pioneers. “Alaska is what America was,” says one friend who US for Palin’s publisher is in routine contact with. Another is building a house over 200 miles north of Wasilla, having cleared her own land. She stays armed on her property to protect herself from bears that frequent the area. Indeed many of us in the Lower 48 marvel at today’s living pioneer personified in “Sarah” – the kind of leader we also have not seen in 150 years – someone who leads by example. Indeed "Sarah's" parents fulfilled their Manifest Destiny when they left Sandpoint, ID for Skagway, AK. Laura mentioned the irony that now, "Sarah's" Manifest Destiny - was east.
Land of 10,000 Lakes
Between Bemidji and Grand Rapids, the flight passed over dozens of small lakes. “Sarah” and Laura marveled at their beauty.
Clouds formed beneath them, but dissipated in about 10 minutes.
Passing Grand Rapids marked the beginning of the journey’s end. Laura was instructed to fly north of Duluth. Some puffer clouds were visible to the right, as the flight approached Lake Superior.
Out over Lake Superior, the flight turned south, then west to begin the approach to Duluth’s west-facing runway.
A Beech Baron was landing ahead of them and another flight was sequenced behind them. Laura was flying a normal approach speed, but had a feeling it was a bit fast. “I think we’re going around, ‘Sarah.’” She saw that “Sarah” was sitting back anyway – she did not want the force of her acceleration snapping “Sarah’s” body back into the seat – even though they had their belts on for the whole flight.
The plane was just above decision height when the controller barked, “N012SP - Go around!” The Baron had not cleared the runway. Laura took one last look to check on her passenger, and powered back up. Laura let her own body snap back - for her it was a big hoot. On the climb and now flying southeast, “Sarah” and Laura could see the rising moon.
They went back out over Lake Superior, turned north, then back west to re-do the approach.
Welcome (Back) to the United States
The runway beckoned, and Laura made a perfect landing, and taxied to the Customs Building, to pass Immigration and Customs. Having done that, Laura then re-positioned the plane to General Aviation parking.
“Sarah” is now 2330 miles from Wasilla and more than two thirds of the way to Reagan National. The next flight will take her to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and the following one to Peoria for a significant speech at Eureka College.
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donating to the Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund
Last year, the Alaska Fund Trust was established to raise money to defend Gov. Palin against frivolous ethics complaints and lawsuits that were filed against her in a coordinated effort to drive her out of office. On June 24, 2010, the Alaska Fund Trust was replaced by Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund. Those of you who donated to the Alaska Fund Trust will be receiving refunds within 90 days from June 24. You will have the option to re-donate these funds to the new Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund, which is the official, and legitimate fund now in existence. Please re-donate those funds to the Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund.