Pine SS to Lockwood Valley
about 19 miles
about 1 hour
plus a second flight from Chief's
to San Antonio School
about 35 minutes
It was Saturday. Had a taste at Bates the night before, but hadn't really flown in a month. Finished the morning routine with the kids, and needed to decide if I was going to work or play. Checked the discussion page, but no mention of pending activity. The weather looked like it might cooperate so I made some calls and jumped on board with Ron Faoro. Met up at Nordhoff and headed for Pine in Tom Pipkin's truck with Chris Paul & Edward for crew.
Airborne from the south launch about 11:25. The cycles had been good, but the ridge lift didn't seem to be there. Tried left and fell off for the point out front. Seemed to be some wind on the way out. Crossing from the west on the spine below the Knob. Headed down spine and blundered into a nice thermal that drifted from the SW and topped just under 10K over the ridge half way between launch and Reyes. The air seemed sharp with plenty of sink outside the thermal, so I opted to leave and try OTB.
Headed NE but sensed some east and turned north. Hit some buoyant zones, but no good thermals. The drift varied from SW to SE, but mostly had south in it. Ran into a lot of sink past the Ranch heading north toward Dry Canyon. Lost the tail wind down lower and had to get on the bar against a light headwind from the NW. Down to 51 (about 1K AGL) over the SE edge of dry canyon and pushed upwind into a weak thermal that tracked toward the SE and got better. Topped a bit over 10K.
The wind at altitude had was from the SW. Took a buoyant glide east and let the drift take me north of the 50/50. Blundered into another nice thermal and topped about ten eight. Seemed like I could run downwind toward Pinos and stay on a good line. That was the plan for the day, but I continued into Lockwood Valley out of habit.
The wind at altitude was south, but the water on the pond at the end of Boy Scout road was gusting from the WNW. I was on guard for shear turb, and there seemed to plenty for everyone. Continued along the north edge of Lockwood. Hit some buoyant zones with poor thermals that wanted to drift north, but I wasn't willing to take the shallow trajectory downwind into the foothills. Was hoping to do better behind the airport, but zero sink was the best I could muster.
Ran out of options past the gravel pit, and had to put down in the hills short of the Lake of the Woods meadow. The wind was a concern. I picked a area near the road that could channel the wind some, but there were some upwind hills. The wind was enough that I could easily park out. Landing was good.
A local resident had stopped to watch me land. I picked up and waked to the road. Said hi and stuffed my canopy in his back seat before getting unbuckled. He dropped me at the west end of the valley and I was able to watch the rest of the crew come over. Edward showed up and we grabbed Chris and Ron. Chased Tom Pipkin and pulled up just as he was landing.
Back to Pine, but it was blown out at 3:30. Opted for Chief's. Launched just before 5 pm. It was weak, but soarable down lower
Made a play for West Repeater and got there even. Hung on for a few passes. Looked in the bowl and got low. Gave up and tried back toward Twin Peaks. Got lucky and gained a few hundred on the point of the west spine coming down from West Repeater. Got back to Twin Peaks with 29 as Ron was coming overhead with 38. Topped about 39 and got to the Stooges a little below Ridge Line. Flushed off the west side.
Landed at San Antonio School. Edward Collected us. Ron Dropped me at my house about the same time Diablo was landing in Death Valley (7 pm).