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Diablo (Tony Deleo)
Saturday, 3/20/04
Blackhawk Mine to Nenanche
107.5 miles (LFSD points ~ 69)

In a day that was predicted to be northeast, with Fast Eddie on chase, National Champion Bruce Barmakian and I flew westward in light northeast conditions.

In the lead, I headed towards Bell Mountain which is west of Apple Valley airport.  At that point I went to Quartzite Mountain which is a good setup point for the glide to El Mirage Dry Lake Bed.  The sheer line at El Mirage is very predictable and generally sets up curving west to northeast toward Barstow.

Flying westward, Bruce Barkmakian is just behind and below me.  It is at this point that while heading more north westward, to avoid the airport at Palmdale as well as the sink from the pass outside of Palmdale, that I begin to flounder with Bruce taking the lead. (FYI IF YOU'RE IN THIS AREA THERE IS GENERALLY A SMALL SEAM THAT RUNS EAST WEST FROM JUST EAST OF HIGHWAY 14 TO ALMOST THE SHADOW MOUNTAINS PARALLELING EDWARDS AFB- these small seams appear to exist on most of the downwind sides of passes where the marine area battles with the air off the desert!)

Unfortunately for Bruce this is "unfamiliar" territory while it was my "home" field.  Bruce was in the lead and headed westward on the north side of 138 in The Antelope Valley.  That course proved to be his undoing because the prevailing winds were out of the north/northeast.  I chose a more southerly course south of Fox Field at the base of The Libre Mountains.  I felt there was a small shear line working at the base of the Libres.  At this point Bruce was struggling, being clearly upwind, of the lift.  He was on the ground soon there after.

At the 92 mile mark and 9k I was counting down the miles to 100.  Near where 138 crosses the aqueduct I went on long final glide into a diminishing sun.  With Fast Eddy near I landed at the West end of Nenanche, setting a new mark for the longest flight westbound from Blackhawk.