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Black Hawk to 185th street and High Vista
61 miles straight line from launch to landing (new site PG record?)
6 hours (launch at noon, land at 6 pm)
81 total miles around 3 turn points
3 miles to second spine west of hwy. 18
4 miles back to canyon east of launch
21 miles to midway through mountains toward Barstow
53 miles to landing on High Vista
Kristi's XC clinic was on for a three day weekend. Monday looked most promising. Hadn't flown the PG in over 5 weeks, so Craig & I put in some desk time on Sunday and played hooky on Monday. The monsoonal flow was pushing in from the SE so we looked into Black Hawk. Got a good briefing from Hungry Joe, but Jocky's team opted for Marshall. Dana (from Sylmar) was game to crew, so Craig and I were mobile from Carpinteria before 7. Craig had been to launch once before, but hadn't flown. Dana and myself were first timers, so it was the blind leading the blind. We found launch about 11:15, at least an hour late. We split the difference on our varios and set them at 62. The valley floor was about 35 in the middle, but higher up the fan.
The lapse rate was extra good, 9s and 9s for WJF. Driving east on 18, we could see the clouds starting in the distance from 70 miles out. For the first hour of development, the only clouds forming were in the mountains above launch. The drift looked like it was from the NE, probably feeding the convection. The forecast was for SW down low, L&V at mid altitudes, and SE above. 105 in Hesperia.
By the time we got off, it was OD'ed. The SE above was pushing the stuff off the mountains and shading the valley. The remaining sun spots were beginning to let off and created their own shade. Launch as a bit scruffy and I fumbled. Finally got off in a bad cycle and sunk 3 or 400 below launch. Worked a weak core back up above launch from half way down the spine. The lower drift was drawing in from the NE, but the upper flow was OTB from the SE. My second thermal broke apart about 85 and I had to move. I thought I was too low to run for the shaded flatlands, so I went downwind along the range toward the west.
I worked over to the second mountain across hwy 18 and up to the rim, but the climbs were weak in the OD. Craig had flushed off launch but found a patch of sun out front. He cored up from 3 or 400 agl to 11 thousand. I couldn't get to CB so I finally gave up and ran for a sun patch out front, but only found broken scraps. The lower drift was from the SW so I went down wind back to the east. Down to 48 I called for Dana to stand by, but found a scrap out in the flats in front of launch. Craig reported the deck at Rabbit Dry Lake (10 miles). I double pumped the weak lift and took the drift back toward launch with the second core. It got better and I climbed above 9.
It was clearing from the east off to the east and the clouds on that side were drifting from the SE. I went downwind toward the east and found good lift under a fresh flat bottom cu. Climbed to base at 13.5 and headed out to the north with the drift. Finally on course 2 hours into the flight. It was real OD'ed to the west, but sunny to the east. I got to base again over the Lucerne Valley, and tried to hold the sunny side with a little crab angel into the east component of the SE. With more speed, I probably could have gone up Camp Rock Road toward the NE, but I ran into the middle of the Ord Mountains and had to fall off downwind into the shade toward the NW because I got low.
I found some 400 up and got back to 10 drifting over the back of West Ord Mountain. I had been looking at a route to the north, but it filled in, so I went for a patch of sun off to the west. Craig and Dana were below on 4x4 Chase, but the road was getting iffy. They needed to back track and go around to 247. Got back to 10ish over 247 and ran west along Stoddard Ridge. Chase came around and followed up the Lucerne Valley Cutoff (valley south of Stoddard Ridge).
Stoddard Ridge was in a sun corridor, but couldn't find anything. The wind seemed to be from the west. I went for the middle of the valley before I got too low. Found something down low and got back to 10. Continued to work weak stuff, moving west toward I-15. The sun line was getting devoured from behind and I needed to make better time because the rain kept catching up. I started to get more selective and dolphin through the weak stuff trying to keep up with the disappearing sun. I ran into a real thermal about 5 miles short of I-15 and climbed to 13.5. The cloud suck was more than my sink rate and it took me up to 15+ on the glide. Got hailed on pretty heavy.
I had drift from the NE up high and got a good glide toward Silver Lakes. Down lower I was picking up drift from the SSW, but it faded a couple miles past the lakes. It was 100% OD, so I thought landing was eminent around the intersection of 395 and Shadow Mountain Road. The fat lady wasn't singing yet. I blundered into some weak stuff and climbed back up from the mid 5s to 8+. Continued to work the weak stuff over Silver Mountain, with light drift from the SE. Needed patience late in the day with heavy OD. The SE ran into SW off the west end of the mountain and I took a smoothie back to base at 14.
There was sun about 10 miles off to the west. Stellar Chase had been giving good reports all day, and they said the west was stiff up course. I did ok at altitude, but as I got further west and lower, the west got worse. I plugged upwind about 5 miles from 13,000 and parked over the LZ with 3 grand agl left. Landed along High Vista Road west of 190th street, south of Rodgers Dry Lake.