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Pine Mountain, Open Distance
To Ludlow, 179 miles, 6.3 hours, 28 mph
Saturday, September 10, 1988
Launch at 11:05 AM, Landing somewhere between 5:15 and 5:25 PM
Transcribed from hand written log entry.
Reports of west wind. Try right from launch, but couldn’t make The Knob. Turn left and reach Rayes low. Ridge up and thermal above. Down wind to Matu Flats. Come in 1/2 way up on NW hill and ridge up. Thermal back into convergence and connect to cloudbase at fourteen five. A little low around the south side of Edwards. Too far out in front of chase, no radio contact, no jacket, wantin on ground. Opt to burn altitude and land at last phone. Home by 11:30
2012 note: This flight was initially measured at 180 miles using sectional charts, but a modern Google Earth measurement indicates just over 179. I arrived over the LZ with about 4K AGL and was concerned there were no more gas stations or rest stops for another hundred miles. I thought I had gone about 20 miles past Barstow, which I 'd flown to on a couple of occasions previously, so I was guessing my distance from launch was in the 150 plus range, but I obviously didn't realize I was making good time in zero sink with a nice tail wind from the west at altitude. Had I known that I was near the 180 mile mark, I would have eked it out till dark. Could-a, should-a, would-a... as it turned out, this was my personal longest foot launched flight. Other than boldly committing left off launch and scoring a low thermal over Matu Flats, the flight was relatively easy. I'd forgotten my jacket so being cold soaked likely played into my decision to anchor. Not well equipped to spend the night on the road side.
I'd outrun chase by a bunch and hadn't had radio contact all day, so retrieval was a concern (still using Citizen Band AM, Channel 34). Pre cell-phone days, and Ludlow was the last pay phone. Logistically, we relied on a dedicated 800 answering service call in number to post and retrieve messages. I landed on the westbound onramp (literally on the on ramp itself). It was uphill into the wind. My plan was to use the pay phone at the gas station and then start hitch hiking west bound. Landing on the on-ramp would give more thumb time before dark (sunset was a bit before 7 PM). I did a lot of hitch hiking with my glider back then, and occasionally slept under my wing on the side of the road. I didn't have chase for most of my early era flights past Fillmore, so I carried two 1/8"x18' Dacron chords and would tie on to anything that stopped if they let me (18 wheelers, topless sports cars...). A little abusive on the Mylar. Never could match glide with Hammer.
Within a few minutes of landing, a pickup with a camper shell pulled up and offered a ride. He was willing to wait for me to break down and check in from the pay phone. Met up with Team Topa in Barstow.