Beautiful adventure and retrieval .Would you drive a 1000 miles for a free Mavic?
I did, but it was closer to 1500 miles round trip. Here’s the story.
This past Wednesday, well respected forum member Radio Flyer Man, aka John, started a thread named “Free Mavic Pro Platinum”. His opening line was “There is a Mavic Pro Platinum lying on the ground free for the taking.” He posted the exact coordinates of the downed AC. Turns out the coordinates are way up north in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and it just so happens my family has a vacation cottage about 30 miles south of the UP.
So I reached out to John that evening. He was incredibly gracious and helpful. He sent me close-ups of the flight path superimposed on google earth, told me what the landmarks were and reiterated that it was in very rugged terrain on the far side of the swift, cold and probably deep Peshekee River. The location was remote and rugged and inhospitable. He had opted for a State Farm claim, rather than risking life and limb. A wise decision, I soon discovered.
The cottage is 500 miles north of my home in Cincinnati, then it’s another 250 miles to the crash site. The forecast for the UP was rain and wintry mix. Incredibly, my wife thought a last-minute trip driving 1500 miles in 72 hours for a wilderness treasure hunt in forty degree wet weather was a splendid idea. She is the best wife ever. Just sayin. So, Friday afternoon after work, off we went, arriving at the cottage late Friday night.
At this point, I was optimistic about recovery. John had sent the video of the fatal, final flight, complete with arrows and labels and descriptions of on-site landmarks and the like. One of John’s arrows pointed out precisely where he was able to get down to the riverbank directly across from the grounded AC. The terrain didn’t look that bad, and the river... well, I figured I could handle that with a kayak. Mind you, I don’t own a real kayak, but I do have an unopened box in my car that reads “Intex Inflatable Kayak.”
The drive through the UP was extraordinary with the fall palette of maples turned red and birches turned yellow, set off by giant pine trees and threatening clouds of all shapes.
We approached the vicinity of the crash on a twisty one lane road, truly in the middle of nowhere. Gunshots were frequent and not too distant. Even less comforting was a “No Trespassing” sign, warning of security cameras for enforcement. This was the location of our first landmark - the apex of a distinctive bend in the road. Hearing no banjos, we pulled off there, crossed the road and headed down towards the river. And stopped at the top of 20 foot cliff. We walked upstream, looking for a way down. We finally found a less intimidating but highly slippery descent, littered with large, moss covered rocks.
Just as John had described, there it was: this black, swollen, fast moving river of indeterminable depth. But the biggest hurdle might be carrying the still untested and puncturable kayak over the rocks, thru the spiky dead branches to some as yet unseen flat spot where we might launch. After reconnoitering several options, the best we could find was a spot 100 yards downstream from the crash site.
My wife wanted to hit the water first. She soon discovered that paddling the so-called kayak upstream was like trying to herd cats. I had no better luck. It almost dumped me twice. We decided to christen it the “Piece of Mung.”
Now wet from the knees down, I beached the Mung on the far side and started half wading/half walking up the river near the shore. It quickly got too treacherous, and I had to scrabble up the bank and away from the river.
John had warned me this was seriously rough terrain. He was not wrong. I nearly broke my ankle, twice. I stumbled on hidden rocks often, and almost impaled myself on a sharp branch. Wet and cold and banged up, I eventually got to the alleged spot.
I couldn’t find the wayward Mavic. All this way for nothing I thought. I decided to call John with my one and only bar of cell service. It rang scratchy, cutting in and out. He answered and I could barely hear him. “How far away from the water is it?” I shouted. I heard him say “less than 12 ....” and the connection failed.
At that exact moment, I saw it. On the ground. In one piece. No visible damage to drone or gimbal, and John’s trusty battery “#6” showed one light when I quick pressed the power button. Mavic Pro: $1000. Battery # 6: $100. The adventure: Priceless.
This part is important: I had a Mavic Pro. Last year, it took up residence on the top catwalk of the tallest smokestack of the now abandoned Beckjord Power Plant on the banks of the Ohio River, east of Cincinnati.
If you can retrieve it, you can have it. Seriously.
PS. I again have use for my Mavic Pro batteries, case, filters, etc. All thanks to Radio Flyer Man. Thanks John !!!