MORE CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHTS

Karl Sommer:
Blipmap not as promising, late start needed to cross the Desert. Also a TFR reaching E close to Kelso.
High Noon take off, I left the Mtns 12:50 at 12k, low point over Silver Queen at 5.3. Sean invited me into his thermal, thanks. Got enough to venture to Cache Creek, up to 8.7k, then over to Cache Pk. and left with 10.3k. Bouncing along at 8k to Boomer, only got 10.8k. W of Cinder Cone, 11.9k.
Thermals were narrow, hard to center and easy to lose. Passed Olancha Pk at 9k heading for Lone Pine. Short of the Switchbacks up to 12.2k, crossing and getting on top of the Inyos at 12.9k. The Sierra had OD and clouds spread E partially shading the Inyo’s. My high was 13.8k short of Westguard pass, not a single thermal encountered cruising close to Shep Mt. Bishop reported Lightning in the Mtns to the W, another large OD, time 17:30. While circling over the town the few clouds over the White Mtn started to decay, and after landing they were gone.
It was hard work for about 6 hrs, new batteries and radio worked fine. So I am ready for a better flight.
Karl
Sean Eckstein:
 I got off the ground at 12:19 PM and released at the second ridge, it was unusually smooth as I glided my way back toward the west end of the second ridge. I was afraid I was headed for the desert floor trying to work my way back to the high ground. Luckily I caught a small narrow thermal that got me back to Mt. Lewis and on course at around 12k.
 It was a very smooth glide to Backus, and I headed toward the Silver Queen. I notice just a few of the wind turbines turning and others not. They can be great thermal locators in the right conditions.
 I worked my way to Kelso in the mountains watching for the moving wind turbines, and left on glide above 10.5k towards Boomer ridge by Inyokern. I encountered sink, so I had to alter my course towards Inyokern. Once again low, I caught a thermal at 5.5k and worked it back up to 9.5k which got me back into the high ground and back on course.
 The thermals were hard to work as I progressed toward Olancha Peak, and once again I found myself over the flats above Olancha landing strip. Working north towards Lone Pine, I caught a good thermal near the airport that took me up to 9.5k.
 I should have spent more time attempting to get on top of the Inyos, but the shadows from the OD in the Sierras were already casting shadows over the valley floor towards Inyokern and on the Inyos, as well as further north on the Whites. The only good indicator was at Boundary Peak with a few clouds around 17k, but most likely impossible to reach now.
 I decided to get as many miles as I could, and headed toward Independence. It was a smooth glide and a smooth landing.
Sean
Richard Smolinski:
I got off around 12:45 and it was quick, thanks to the ground crew organization. I got to second ridge and somehow made it to 12k pretty fast.
The run to Backus was smooth, and I arrived at Silver Queen at 6500. Did not find much there, so I kept pushing along 14 toward the mountain ridges.
I found some thermals above them that get me on course to Inyokern. On the way found lot of sink, and turned back to look for some thermals near Red Rock canyons.
Still no luck, and having Cantil in reach, I start moving toward Kelso. Finally found some thermals that took me to the Inyokern, and beyond Coso.
It was a hot and low glide above ridges. I decided to sharpen my skills in landing on the new place, and landed in Olancha.
That was fun. The glider dig in and stopped less than 100 yards after touchdown, and I had to get shovel to dig it out before I could move it. The surface sand was like sponge, interesting but landable with lot of attention.
I heard on radio that PV and 3C landed nearby in Independence and Bishop, so I decided to wait for them and have some dinner in new place there, called Olancha Cafe.
To my surprise, the extremely nice new owner of the place told us that they’re planning to pave the landing strip in future to make it fully landable for planes and gliders (wider too). Soon Peter and Sean joined us, and we had nice burgers and brew to close hot and sweaty day.