Pine SS to Top Land at Launch
to I5 to land at Lake of the Woods
Pine SS to Nordhoff HS
~ 4½ hours total airtime
9:30 meet at NHS. Edward on lead PG chase. Caught a ride in Pipkin's truck with Paul G's pickup for backup at the Sand Pile. Diablo followed with Carolyn an hour behind. Got to launch a little before 11 and was airborne about a quarter past. Fun launch. Cycling straight in from zero into the mid teens. Double pull up, turned and hopped a bush. Vertical out front to 150 over right away. That was max altitude for awhile. Still too early and the punchy thermals were broken by the wind.
Searched around and got low a few times, but could count on the ridge lift. Started getting better and Tom P punched off. We teamed up on a core to 86 over the main spine. Could have gone OTB, but wanted to wait a bit longer for it to turn on. Tried to go to Rayes and pulled an ok glide out front, but ran into east wind short and had to limp back to the spine below the main knob. Dribbled down and lucked into something to track back up. Pipkin must have liked what he saw and opted to trade places from above.
Tom P got low out front and I wanted to wait for more heating so dropped in for a top landing. Took a couple of attempts to get the right cycle and stuck it on launch. A little solid but upright in the soft dirt. Noon.
Watched Tom P try to connect out front and contributed to the Monday quarterbacking. Diablo was about ready as Tom threw in the towel so I figured it was time and was airborne about 12:20. Diablo didn't bother to get high and went OTB low to provide the scouting report on two five. I topped about 88 but was down to 85 over the ridge on my OTB run. Not much tailwind up high, but the wind from the SSE seemed to increase a little down lower. No flag at Scheideck, but Carolyn and Diablo were pumping out reports. Typical flow from the west up the Cuyama River.
Diablo was reporting E/W convergence and plenty of widespread lift at Dry Canyon and the 50/50, but I needed to get something off the Scheideck plateau. Found weak lift on the south edge and tracked it back to 8ish drifting east. Some sink on the way to Dry Canyon. Down to 6 on the south ridge just east of the fields before hooking up with a core. No East or West drift north of the 50/50, only light south. Stepped upwind toward Guillermo and topped about 13K under the receding southern point of the clouds. A little more wind from the SW up higher. There was a street running back to Pinos, but I wanted to play for Frazier and cut across the blue sky.
Got high again over the airport and pressed upwind for the SW spine of Frazier, but came up short in the lee. Fell off with flow from the SW, down below 7. Found a well anchored and organized lee side thermal that was tracking against the south component of the wind. Went zinging back up over 13K about a mile north of the towers. Still a grand below cloudbase, but the cloud bottoms weren't flat and the lift below cloudbase was broken. Tried all day to get to cloudbase, but never got closer than a thousand.
Up higher the broken lift tracked from the west. My position north of Frazier was not optimal for reaching upwind toward Booster Junction, so when the drift became more from the SW I threw in a 30 degree crab angle and went on glide. The west component of the SW flow was drifting me to the east, but I needed an increasingly larger crap angle as the direction continued to shift around from the south down lower. Still had decent altitude between the truck stop and the school, but the wind direction had shifted around to the SE lower and was blowing straight up the interstate on the deck.
I was originally hoping to get on the VOR ridge near Gorman, then was willing to settle for the VOR itself, and in the end was parked out short of the VOR over the interstate. Tried some speed bar, but I wasn't going to get there, so I turned downwind with 2K AGL. Down to 55 just west of the truck stop and scrapped up the river in the flow drawing up the fill route to Lockwood. Up and down in multiple broke cores. Topped about 66, but the terrain was rising. Didn't connect and landed at the intersection of Lockwood Valley Road across from the Moose Lodge. 3 PM
The boys and girls at the Moose lodge had been watching me come upriver toward their picture window for 10 minutes. They were pretty excited to see what they called a perfect landing in field 80 yards across from their barstools, and insisted I come if for some refreshment. Used their land line to call in (poor cell signal), and freshen up. They wouldn't let me pay for my coke and said to drop in anytime as I bid them farewell.
Edward had collected Tom P in the Badlands. Edward didn't attempt to give me his usual token resistance, but I new it was bonus hour if I wanted to get back to launch. Pipkin's truck protested on the uphill, but we cracked the whip and kept climbing. Got to launch about 5 PM and were airborne about a quarter past. The 4 o'clock crew had all headed out to land at the Sand Pile except Dean Stratton.
The south wind was backing off and the NW flow up the Cuyama river started pushing up the north side, setting up a convergence. Gotta love that late day air after battling midday heat. We all three climbed in the same thermal to 9½, 500 higher than earlier reports. The upper stuff was drifting light from the NW. It pulsed down and we scattered. I tried over at Rayes. Still light NW. Searched around for 5 minutes, but didn't find a ticket to Ojai. Headed back to Pine with 75.
Tom P was focused on his truck and couldn't resist the suck. He went for Cal Trans with 89. Dean found a core and went SE from the ridge between Pine and Rayes with 96. I hung on lower, but it was getting late and no one wanted to back track to the Sand Pile. Finally found a core and got back up over 8. The drift pulsed back in from the south. The lift got better above 85 and I fished a little to the NW looking for the NW side of the convergence. Found it and went to ten five in a sweet smooth fatty.
Took the NW/SE seam south. Pulled a great glide initially and still had 10K left ⅔ of the way to 33. By staying slightly in the NW flow, I perceived a little tailwind, but my south heading finally took me into the SE. The glide deteriorated against the headwind and Ojai looked doubtful. I tried to avoid crabbing into the SE and let it drift me west while maintaining a south heading. Seemed to get out of the wind after crossing Ortega Ridge and got to NHS with 2500.
Butter smooth air on the way out. Made some phone calls and enjoyed the view on the long glide. Almost no wind in Ojai, just a little drift from the SW. Set up for the Church so I could pack up on the grass. Planning to land in the parking lot, but was high on approach in the smooth buoyant air and no headwind. Had to do some extra zigs and zags to keep from overshooting and came in over the church roof, lined up for the grass. Still long, but had been slowing it down progressively, so I didn't have much energy, definitely not enough room to build speed and flare, so I continued to slow it toward parachutage and went to full extension and a soft stall a few feet off the ground. Nice stand up landing centered on the lawn. 6:30 PM. Enjoyed packing up on the spongy clean grass.