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9/15/2001, Saturday

2 Flights, 16 miles around 1 turn point
Nut House to Chiefs
Chiefs to The Repeater to Nordhoff HS
Max altitude: 5,900'
Bonanza

I thought of passing on the day, but the lapse looked a bit better than average, I hadn't flown in a couple of weeks, and I needed some exercise.  Since sporting events were on hold through the weekend, I opted for something basic.  I left my car at the Park & Ride, hoping to fly toward Fillmore and take the Bus back.  Benson shuttled me to the Nut House on his way to a 10:30 meet at the High School.

It was a bit preseason, and the climb was hot.  I stopped for several sit down breaks, and took in the view .  My thoughts drifted toward Tuesday's events throughout the day, and it was good to be alone in a spiritual place.  I started up at 10:30 and took my time, getting to launch at 11:30.  Launch was overgrown, so for the 5th time, I muscled the tools around and got dirty.  I was hoping to beat the truckers to Chiefs, but didn't punch off until 1pm.

The lapse rate up high was a bit weaker than average, so the desert wasn't drawing too bad, and the wind wasn't a problem.  There were some sharp edges and I took quite a number of tip folds throughout the day, but always seemed to have a pretty secure handle.  I wasn't bothered by the typical Topa punch, and had to remind myself to be vigilant on several occasions.  Not a good time to screw up and need to call in a rescue.

Got to ridge line and went east.  Climbed to 35 at Spine One, and spotted a mushroom fire cloud up the course line.  Didn't bother to get much altitude early on, and went downwind off the end of Nordhoff Ridge below ridge line.  Claude was plugging upwind above, and I came into Three Stooges a few hundred below the top.  Got a little over 4, moved over to Twin Peaks, up the spine, and landed on launch at Chiefs.

Alone again.  A lot of Bombers coming up the valley to the fire in Santa Paula Canyon.  I figured I could go as far as The Repeater without getting anyone annoyed (needed to stay out of the "bomber alley" valley).  Kick back and relax for 20 minutes, then saddle up for a relight.  Round Chiefs Peak, but couldn't quite get to six.  Left for The Repeater from the edge of the plateau, and got there on a downwind glide above the road cut .  Climbed to 5, but couldn't transition up the spine.  Headed west bound with 48.  Ok glide across the canyon and came on the spine below the middle bump with 41.  Climb back up to 57 up by the road, and headed across for the spine behind the Stooges.

The strategy was to stay back in the canyons and away from lower level SW valley wind.  Also hoping the wind would back down past peak heating (all three pilots trying an upwind run for Nordhoff Ridge earlier in the day came up short).  Got to the spine about half way between The Stooges and the Ridge Line.  Work back up the spine just short of the Ridge, into the low 5's.  I was out of the west wind, but back up the canyon pretty deep.  I was able to pull the glide across the SE Finger Ridge at Nordhoff.  Staying back in the wind shadow, and around the corner.  Still ducking for cover and around the middle point of Nordhoff Ridge.  Work up to ridge line on the other side, and find a thermal off the west point.  Leave for the High School in the high 4's.

Get to the SW corner of the School with 2 grand, but my car is at the Stop and Ride.  Took the scenic tour of the Ojai Valley Golf Course, and land about 3:45 at the lower campus of Ojai Valley School, across from the Ford Lot.  Clean up on the green grass and walk over to my Toyota.  Back home before 5.

SD