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Chasing It

It was the annual Plowshares Camping trip, and the logistics fell apart.  I passed up a ride to launch so I could drive my van up empty.  The desert was unstable with low pressure.  Too much so, mid level OD and not much sun.  Pilots reported rain at Pine on the way over.  With the low pressure inland, the onshore flow was already strong by the time we got to the base of the hill.  The Flyaboveall crew found some ridge lift up Cottonwood, but we were in search of cloud base.  The gate to Chalk Mountain was closed.

We caravanned down to Quatal Canyon, left a couple of vehicles, and took 2 up the road with 8 in the van.  We tested the suspension as pilots were reaching for their helmets after hitting the roof.  Able was up in the SE wind and we were too early.  The drive down Wheeler Ridge was nice, rolling green hills and wild flowers.

Pine was closed and too strong from the south.  Ojai looked heavy marine with low cloudbase.  Wheeler canyon was drawing so we stopped and took a couple of flights from the road.  We were about to give up when we noticed the convergence pushed way out to the south against the wind, so we raced back to Pine.

We choose the ledges above Cherry Creek, because we thought the hike would be easier.  It was only about 400 vertical, but the brush was thick.  We had to experiment with launch and the first one didn't work.  Most of the old guys threw in the towel, but Beidler found a good spot and I got off in the ridge lift.

I could get about 500 over, but it was getting late and the wind was stronger at altitude from the SE.

I figure 35 pilots drove a dozen vehicles thousands of miles with  for a total of about 5 hours airtime.  If you figure everyone's time and 3 or 400 dollars of gas...