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Skyport / to The Wind Mill @ Painted Cave / to Fillmore
7 miles to The Wind Mill, plus 51 from The Windmill to Fillmore
Just under 5 hours, slow upwind legs
link to Post Day Meteorology
Launch from the Skyport about 9:50 am. Easy climb in good air to 600 over and west bound. Quick down wind leg to The Wind Mill. Getting to cloud base + in the lower to mid 4s. Round The Wind Mill with 34 but get stuck @ Painted Cave around 3. Try to push back up wind to the VOR with 32 but had to turn back half way across. Come in low on the Painted Cave spine down to 22 and work week lift back up. Hang on patiently and finally connect after being stuck for 45 minutes. Frustrated because I lost precious time and cloud base would be getting low across Casitas Pass.
Back above 4 and eastbound against the wind. Slow going on the speed bar but cautious about speed because the air was getting punchy with small strong cores and sharp edges. Steady going and easy connections but a lot of sink leaving thermals. Getting spanked on the upwind glides by the Hang Gliders. Thought I'd try to get to the Power Line Crossing and turn back for a down wind leg to my truck on launch. The east wind kept getting less the further east I went and it was almost neutral in The Pass. When I got to The Power Lines SA reported he got my truck down the hill. Cloudbase at Noon Peak was in the low 4s and I needed the high 4's to get across to Divide Peak against the light east. Ojai looked to be solid OD so I figured the risk reward thing didn't add up. "South Side" had already reported east bound from White Ledge. Climbed up the north side of a cloud to 45 and was starting to head back when I heard Chad say something about convergence. I had been thinking and hoping the west was going to push through and didn't want to slug out another up wind leg so I turned back for Noon.
It was starting to OD in the pass which moderated the thermals. Up to the high 4s at Noon and 5½ off the south saddle of West Divide. Got to White Ledge in the high 3s and worked up the main ledge in week convection with light drift form the SW. I cautiously relaxed up close in the smoother air and took in the view. White Ledge is one of those special places, a sheer rock cliff face overlooking the lake. Took it around the corner at cloud base about 45.
Ojai had cycled and was now in full sun. Came in on the Nut House Launch a couple hundred over and had to milk up to ridge line. Climb to 5 on Spine 1 and get back on the speed bar. Arrived at Twin Peaks about 4 hundred below and 2 minutes later I was east bound with 5+. It was starting to OD again and I didn't get up at either West or East Repeater. Started to head out from East Repeater about 100 over and found a seam out front so I took the down wind glide over to Boyd's which was in the sun. Got there low and bounced in and out of a strong small core until I had enough to look for something more workable. Found a good thermal above the east spine and took it up. The SW spine of Santa Paula Ridge had been real dark for some time and I knew I needed to get there high to get around the corner. Cloud base at Boyd's was over 5 and I took the thermal up into the high 6s.
Came into Santa Paula Ridge near the top at cloud base in the low 4s. The Peak is 49 and was socked in to 4 or 500 below the top. A couple weeks before I made the mistake of getting out of position after loosing reference above a low cloud base. I made sure I didn't white out and held the high ground. The cloud was still feeding and it was easy to cruse along in the week lift. I got as high as I could on the east side but didn't white out because it was ridge lift in close and there was some wind from the SW. Headed out across toward the front points of Fillmore with about 45.
My radio battery was going so I could hear chase way back but they couldn't hear me. South Side had reported 35 at Piru and Scotty and EJ were out there also. I needed to get out a transmission so I dealt with the battery change. My fingers were numb and the gloves too thick so I fumbled with it all and switched to lighter gloves also. I kept my line seat steering but wasn't evaluating the options. When I finished I realized I wasn't going to make the glide to the next thermal source so I fell off and tried to get to some ridge lift. If I had rerouted earlier I could have made it to a ridge but I came in too low and flushed. Mark Pratt and his family were watching from the main LZ and I landed next to them at 2:45.
Mega Man (Ron Gruell), Diablo (Tony Deleo) and his brother Mike (a sailplane pilot), were on chase in South Side's jeep and Tony's Subaru. We collected South Side (John Scott), EJ and Scotty who had all landed half way between Piru and Interstate 5. John Lyon and gone down by 33 and was retrieved by Big A's (Bob Anderson's) girlfriend Suzy. John Lyon and Suzy met us on 126. John Scott went back to LA via 5 and we loaded the other 8 people and gear into the two cars. Big A reportedly landed in upper Ojai. Scotty's girlfriend (Bernadette) met us in Ventura to reload the Hang Gliders onto her car and they headed off to Ojai with Scotty and John Lyon to find Bob Anderson. Suzy, EJ and I took the passenger car and continued toward SB.
John Lyon, had his first flight past Montecito Peak . Scotty, EJ, & South Side also had their personal longest flights from SB, 57½ miles.