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Pine Mountain, 2 flights, 5 legs, 1 top landing
32 miles to Quail Lake
~69 mile 5 leg total
<6 miles from The Knob to The Pit Stop
>5 miles back to a top landing at the South Launch
~27 miles from launch to the ball fields at Frazier (I5 & Frazier Park Rd)
>13 miles back to the creek crossing on Boy Scout Road (Lockwood)
>18 miles to the electrical sub station at the west end of Quail Lake
First flight: 2 hours
Second flight: 4 hours
~ 6 hours total airtime
Max altitude: 13,000 feet
On paper, the weather looked better on Friday. Saturday's lapse was average with light wind forecast from the South. The balloon data was from Friday afternoon, but it showed more south above. I was worried the south could build on the ridge and be too strong for bags.
Todd, Marcia, & Cally Quail were camped in our living room for the weekend. We scheduled a 9 am meet in Ventura with Tony and Rotor (Steve Smith, married with 3 kids). Carolyn was on crew. It was like old timers day for Team Topa. Todd hadn't flown since August and Rotor only had one flight in the previous 4 years (2 summers ago in Washington). He doesn't own a glider anymore, so we borrowed Cruser's Airborne. Cristina (from South Africa) called on her way down from San Francisco. Said she was tired of ridge lift and wanted some big air. We scheduled to meet her at the summit about 10:15.
Everyone was on time and we squeezed Cristina into Tony's back seat (4 built for 2). We met Don Taber on launch and the Tom & John team showed up also, so 4 & 4, bags & blades. The cycles were healthy from zero to 12, and I was concerned it might build over 20. Cristina understood the briefing and was off right after me about 11 am.
I took a strong core up to 8 off the knob left of launch, but couldn't get above 75 for the next hour. I was wrong about the wind, up above the drift was light and variable. Cristina flew well and seemed to consistently stay above me. John held the high ground and Tom looked out front. Cristina followed him out, but it was too early in a late developing day. Tom continued on to the river and Cristina tried to work the sucker pops over limbo. I think she was loaded light and her penetration was a bit week. She opted for the trail about a half a mile short of the road. She reported a good landing and was packed up and out in short order. John held on too long and dropped in to join her. I think Tom and John may have flown again, but since they don't write I don't know.
The day was heating slowly and I finally got on course with 85. It was too early to run for the flats so I went east. 85 at Rayes and the high 7s at Haddock. I was planning to use Decision as a turn point, but the chute started to look good with a convergence line of cu's. I tried maxing my altitude at The Pit Stop (one peak short of Decision), but wasn't high enough to go back into the chute. I headed back to launch for a 1pm landing as TQ was taking off.
Tony went OTB with 300 over the ridge. TQ was a bit rusty and got a thousand below launch half way out to the river. He finally got balanced and cored up to 75, but lost it coming back uphill. In the hole again hanging on low out in front of the knob. Tony reported good lift over the back and TQ finally connected. Rotor was breaking down and Don got up right away. With a little encouragement, Rotor was stuffing battens again. I was off about 1:30.
TQ was also reporting better lift OTB and got to 10 out in front of The Chute. I got into the low 9s and Don topped about 95. Don's glide was faster, so I had 3 wind dummies out front. Tony left The Chute with some altitude, but went down at Dry Canyon. Todd tried the ranches north of the chute, but didn't connect. Don tried the ranches also. Todd committed and angled back deep onto the eastern high peak of The Chute. I got the viz on him down below 8, but he connected and climbed back above 11. I wouldn't normally stretch that deep on my own, but Todd was marking it. Don joined Tony, and Rotor got up and over.
I connected where Todd marked it and went for Guillermo, got there with 8, connected to 10 plus, went for a cloud over Yellow Jacket and climbed to cloud base over 13,000. Todd didn't connect to cloud base, got to Frazier Mountain low, and had to work some week climbs. I caught up and passed him. We went over the top with 12 and off the east end with 10. The glide toward Gorman was ok at altitude, but down below we hit a SE wind. I angled over toward Frazier and found some lift over the ball fields behind the truck stop. We climbed from 6 to 7 and ran back for the mountain.
We got on the north corner of the east face, but it was drawing across the face into the canyon from the SE. Todd found some scraps over the river and I followed him into the draw. We worked some zero sink up the river for about a mile getting into the low 6s. Todd tried the other side of the canyon, didn't connect, and flushed. I liked the green breakdown in the park by the blinking light and threw out the anchor.
I was down to 58 when a real thermal found me. I took it up to 8 drifting back toward Lake of the Woods. Back down to 7 over the Ranger Station, but found something over by The Mine. Still drawing toward the valley. I crossed the airport with 9 and ran for the clouds over Boy Scout Road. Rotor had been stuck in The Chute for a while but finally got enough to run for Guillermo. He didn't connect and ran into Lockwood low for a downwind landing. Chase loaded Rotor and was east bound for I5 by the time I got to Boy Scout Road. I took a thermal up to 11. Probably could have gone to cloud base, but Tony was antsy so I headed east for Frazier. Up, over, and off the east end again with 10. A better glide this time with a push from the NW above. Started picking up some headwind down lower over Gorman. It got progressively stronger and I was parked out in front of the electrical sub station on the west end of Quail Lake. The wind got gusty between 2 & 300 agl, and I was backing up in the gust, but holding my own in between. Below 200 I started to penetrate. I unbuckled, but the wind on the deck was lighter and I stayed with the harness.
Chase arrived just before touchdown. We stuffed it in the car and were mobile in short order. Pack up on a green lawn in Ventura, and party hearty at Ron and Sharon's.