The Rock to top land at the Bypass
To Painted Cave
To the old Carpinteria Airport
8 + 20 ~ 28 miles
3½ hours airtime
Wasn't expecting to fly, but the weather looked good, and it may be my only opportunity for awhile. Chris Grantham and SA offered a ride, but I was Joansin to go early trying to beat probable OD. Took my Toyota uphill and left it at The Rock.
Cycles were light and my first pull wasn't hard enough. The canopy got off to the side and I had to start over. Second try was ok and I was off about 10ish with a few sticks in the lines. Had to struggle for 10 or 15 minutes. Was a couple hundred below out front when I finally got a better thermal.
Cloudbase was only about 24. Got to 26 and tried the base of the twin towers, but I was too low. The Eaglets were passing the Bypass so I gave then a flyby. Back to the Antenna Farm and up to 24 again. Still had a big stick in my lines, so I pulled in a tip to hopefully shake it out, but the branching stick did just the opposite and tangled worse leaving my left wing distorted. I struggled with an annoying left turn and reduced performance, but finally got up enough to land at the Bypass.
Off again on the second pull. SA was cursing out so I went to Parkers to avoid the traffic. Cloudbase was lower and had pushed out front more. Not much sun left at the Round House. Parkers was weak, but I finally got to base and headed westbound with 24. No lift across the Antenna Farm or the Round House so I kept going downwind for the Holy Hills which were in the sun.
Bases were progressively higher to the west. Tried deeper in on Cathedral, but had to come back out front for the sun. Less SE wind further west, and San Marcos Pass had some low cap clouds pushing through from the NW. Thermaled up at the VOR and noticed pilots on launch. Flew over intending to top land, but the wind above seemed to be from the west and the flag was limp. A tandem was laid out getting ready to go, but everyone else was in wait and see mode. I was concerned that if I landed I may not get off again and opted to pass.
Still had drift from the south so I tested west, but was leery of the obvious NW in the pass. Got to 35 about 2/3 of the way over to Painted Cave and made a run at it. Encountered progressively more WNW and turned back with 3K about a 100 yards short of the saddle. Downwind but sinky on the way back. The trees were shacking pretty good from the WNW. Came into the VOR with about 23 and found a big up zone on the west face. Did a couple of figure eights and then 360ed with the drift into a convergence. The tandem glider had gotten off and was doing ok in the shade, but it was booming out front. Climbed to 48 and headed eastbound.
Bases were lower to the east, so I had to stay out front on the leading edge. Pulled a glide from the VOR to the Holly Hills. It had ODed pretty heavy and a number of pilots flushed to Saint Mary's. By the time I got there we had more sun and it was working again. Stayed below to avoid traffic and got back to base off the east end of Parkers.
Struggled for awhile on the east spine of Montecito Peak. Finally left with 25. Ramero was working good. Got to 3K out front and headed across the gap for Castle Point One. It worked better than expected and I got back into the upper 2s. Castle Point was in the sun, but further east was shaded in solid. Seemed like I was on eastern edge of the push from the west and would occasionally have drift from the east. I wanted to leave further east. Mobile Point (Castle Point 3 or 5) shifted from shade to sun. I waited about 10 minutes and headed over in the high 2s. Found some buoyant zones, but nothing going to cloudbase. Left south bound with 25.
Seemed to run into more west out front, and I was pulling a good glide so I fell off with the flow and went for the Mesa. Cleared it easily but didn't climb out. Came into Snowball just under a grand. There was some light SW wind so I could work up the ridge. Found a thermal at the top and climbed back up to 23 and went eastbound.
Got to 23 again half way to Cate School. Thought of playing for the beach, but that would be throwing in the towel. It was dark through the Gobernador route so I played across the south end of Cate School for Shepherds Mesa. The hill had been in the sun, but was shaded in by the time I got there. No luck and running out of options. Found some buoyant stuff out front, but nothing to climb in.
Got over the last hill and landed at the old Carpinteria Airport at 1:30 (the old Carpinteria Airport is on Hwy 150 just up the road from Bates). SA was providing more than courteous support and got my car down from the Rock and brought it to my LZ. Home at 2:15. The mountains looked good. The OD backed off and bases lifted. I suspect pilots going for late afternoon flights would do well.