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John Kloer (aka OJ)
Nordhoff to Crane School (Montecito)
[link to John Scott's article]
So did everyone have fun today? I think we scattered gliders all over the place with LZs from the 154 to Ojai.
I went to Nordhoff Pk. with Diablo, Southside, and Bob Anderson. Conditions at launch were East at about 5-7 mph with Diablo going first when he couldn't stand to wait any longer for the day to heat up. I went last and joined Tony and Bob out front while Southside was already going for the gap.
Not a big day by any means on the front points but it was easy to maintain the high 3's to low 4's while working over to the Nuthouse. Jumped the gap with 4000 but hit some serious sink and connected low on the other side, probably around 3000 but didn't have time to look. Southside was well established up around bump 2 and showing the day was working so I tucked into the first bowl I could find and slowly worked up to the top. Found a good line along the back ridge so I skipped behind Whiteledge in order to save some time and try to keep up with the much faster hangies. (Sure, good luck with that.)
Arrived at the Divides low and started falling off to the front points hoping for a boost back up but the lift was pretty hit and miss. Saw Bo on his Westbound trek towards Ojai and Bob H. shortly thereafter, and I found out later Dean was somewhere way above me on his way to Nordhoff HS but I was on a different frequency so I just waved and kept going.
Found myself in a bad position at the power line crossing. Not having any luck with the lift, I found myself getting lower and lower with each failed attempt at a thermal. I was pretty sure I was going to land out at that point so I decided to use my remaining altitude to at least clear the power lines and glide as far as possible towards civilization. Picked a spot at the base of the foothills where the lines run parallel to a short ridge and crossed at around 2500ft.
As luck would have it, the ridge on the South side of the lines was occupied by a Redtail that was going up so I joined him and managed to slowly bench back up the hills to around 4000. Feeling pretty smug, I continued West but soon found myself out of the lift again and falling off to the front points while scanning for LZs out front.
This cycle of getting low and then riding a ratty thermal back up repeated itself a few times until I'd had enough and headed out from behind the East end of Montecito. Made a play for the coast but it looked kinda iffy for a safe crossing at the 101 so I fell back to a small grass field that had a hang glider sitting off to one side. I'm thinking the LZ looks a little small but what the heck, if a hangie can stick it in there so can I. On final over the trees I look to see if I can get a wind indication from the hang pilot and it's then that I realize the hang glider I spotted from above is actually two picnic tables joined together at a slight angle. Oh well... I'm committed at that point so in I go. Turned out to be a routine landing. A couple of kids informed me I was at Crane School which is at Sheffield Dr. and the 101. Had a short walk to the freeway and was picked up by Dean's father.
Vario log: 800 fpm up, 800 dn, 5571 max alt, 2.5 hrs, 22.1 miles.