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Sunday, 2/9/2014 [Weather] and [Flight Articles] by [Sundowner]
Skyport to Parma plus a flight at Elings
Sundowner's Flight Report, see also [Weather Archive]
The highlight of my day was the ride to launch in the back of an open pickup truck equipped with a beach chair. I was thumbing up from the stop sign at El Cielito and Gibraltar when a cycling team of tightly packed young female riders whizzed through heading uphill. Maybe 15 or so, with a couple of chase vehicles filming the show. They were color coordinated from their helmets and sunglasses down to their riding shoes. The ride to launch was colorful with varied cloud activity and spectacular scenery.
Solo from Carpinteria in my Toyota a little before 10. Left a note on Bob Hurlbett's car at Parma. I think he went hiking with Ron and Benson. Dropped my gear at the stop sign, parked up the road and then walked back down. Took longer than usual for a ride, almost a half hour. Light traffic going uphill, only a half a dozen vehicles. More bikers the autos. It was calm when I got to the stop sign, but cycling through by the time I left.
Considered getting out at the Bypass, concerned that it might be OTB at the Skyport since it was north along the ridge, but I could see the low clouds were moving upslope at the Skyport, and it was pretty calm at the Bypass, so I elected to go higher. The climb had spread the cycling pack and we were passing them in groups of ones and twos. Most of them smiled and waved while while churning up the steep grade with grace.
Conditions at launch were good, but it was getting darker and the cycles were fading. I didn't layout very high due to the nice cycles. By launch time it was only waffling in, so I opted for a front pull-up rather than getting unbuckled to reposition higher for more runway. I considered waiting for some sun, but something was better than nothing and I was still hopeful the wind would pull in at Bates. Buoyant for a while on glide in the shade. There was a little sun just starting over the Parma, so I went for the Monastery Fan rather than detouring left for the Round House. Got a poor glide in sink for a ways approaching the Monastery, but about half way between the saddle and Parma I found a big smooth weak thermal and climbed back up from 14 to 21 hundred, drifting from the SE.
Increasing sun out front, but not all the way back to the Round House. Seemed like the best play was to sit on the uphill/downwind edge sun, but I'm not very good at hanging out, so I reached south for some clouds over the Riviera. Got there with 15 and found some spotty lift drifting from the west, but not organized enough to climb. Felt that I needed to go a little further out toward town, but my car was back on Gibraltar Road, no chase, and I was still expecting a good 2nd flight somewhere. I didn't want to spend the peak of the day trying to get back to my car, so I went fishing east along the crest, but finally had to fall back to Parma.
Left my gear by the tree and started to hike up for the car, but spotted Nicolas and his friends coming down El Cielito with my Toyota in tow. Should have gone back up for round 2, but I wasn't packed so I'd need to do that chore if I was going to thumb again. Opted to stuff it in the back seat and head over the Elings. Made the mistake of taking the scenic route along Cabrillo, which I should have realized would be slow going on a nice Sunday (should have taken Foothill to Las Positas). It was calm at the beach, maybe 2 or 3 from the SE. Did see a turkey vulture cruising the cliff as I turned at the end of Shoreline Drive.
It was starting to breeze in at Elings when I got there about 12:30. Chad had gotten to 13 hundred in the SE a little earlier. The west was building for awhile, but then went the other way. Did some kiting and a short flight before throwing in the towel.
Stopped in Carpinteria to pack up on a strip of grass. Home about 2:15.