Forecast for last Saturday was promising by all popular weather forecasting sites, although they all suggested a later start than normal as the desert
floor not lifting much until about 1pm. Karl (C3) and I were the only two participants willing to give it a try and we did launch around 11:30 as planned, once again
thank you Chris for your consideration!
I took my usual higher/conservative tow to the Labor Camp where I released under a good-looking cu and by 12 o’clock I arrived under cloud base at
Baden-Powell, a little over 13k. Hung around for about 15 minutes knowing that I need to be patient but never the less my impatience got the better of me and I was
on my way to Backus.
After a long but uneventful glide I finally connected with a bug-fart thermal at the Silver Queen at 7000′ but I could only squeeze a couple of
hundred feet before it pooped out. Moving forward to Mojave- another 2kt average got me to 8k and onto the races to the Three Sisters where I did
spot a cu. Of course, by the time I got there it did cycle out, but fortunately left a pretty good thermal behind which took me to 12.5k and I was able to call
The Sierras worked fairly well with some cloud markers and had a good run all the way to Olancha Peak, arriving about 14k. After that point the clouds
started closing up, killing the thermals, and I was forced to cross over just south of the Switchbacks toward the Inyo’s. I arrived just below 10k and had to work hard
to get on top of the Inyo’s where I topped out above 11k. The winds were more or less south-westerly around 10kn. There was a nice shear line on the east side of the
ridge but being a live chicken, I would not dare going on the lee side of the ridge even with a good-looking sheer line as the terrain below is extremely hostile.
So, I just flew along west of the ridge line, eventually falling off to about 9k abeam Independence. The soaring Gods were with me once again and I did step into a
nice thermal and back up to 15k, life was good once again!
I continued all the way up to White Mountain Peak fairly uneventfully under nice cloud streets. Even through the winds slightly favored the usual Gabbs, Austin
route, I wanted to fly toward a different scenery and had Yerington in my mind. Unfortunately, there was a tremendous amount of smoke in that direction due
to the fires so once again I headed for Austin. I did have some really good climbs on the way, mainly in the Gabbs area, one of which took me to 17.8k and could
have gone much higher with 11 kn average but being a good citizen, I bailed just below the class “A”!
I was still above 17k just south of Austin and both Battle Mountain and Eureka looked doable with cloud markers. However, it was now 6pm and since
Battle Mountain is 79 miles and Eureka is 64 miles, and I’m no spring chicken no-mo, not wishing for an off field landing, I opted to call it a day at Austin.
I think a 5pm arrival would have enticed me to continue,.. maybe next time!
Forecasts looked promising except some stronger wind than preferred and a start at noon. Peter PK and I decided to try.
After PK, I got my tow at 11:37 to 3.3K, worked myself up to cloud base and left the Mtn at 12:10. PK already covered a bunch of miles.
Crossing the desert was kind and I arrived at Silver Queen at around 6K, working a few weak ones with leg cramps to Cache Creek, got to 7.6K while adjusting seat cushion to get rid of the cramp. Cache Peak here we go, 13K to Boomer at 14:00, 13.3K up to Sacatar 14.2K, Olancha 14K wind 21Kts 234 deg ?
Switchbacks 13.8K, time to cross to the Inyos abeam Independence 16K, still nice clouds up ahead, short of White Mtn 17.4K my highest, left after the Peak toward Mina at 16:00.
Forecast had headwind at Hawthorne and the clouds looked better towards Austin, PK still ahead. Several miles short of Gabbs is a Mine with a dark blue pond, (need to find out what comes out of there) for me a nice thermal to 16.8K enough to make Austin, happy C3. PK was further E looking for better lift, offsetting to the W he found a good one and reported a bit later 14K near Austin. I arrived 11K, relayed to the crews “we will land at Austin”. While I was trying to unwind relaxing over the town enjoying the scenery and cloudscape, PK asked “who is 1st” ? I was still 11K, so he landed 1st , 1st time I saw him, on the downwind leg. My touchdown 16:20, 6.41 hrs, 351M.
Peter came to help pushing C3 to the transient parking, Brian Neff with wife showed up, staying overnight on their soaring safari. Minden had too much smoke for taking off.
While we waited for the crews we got treated to nice cold water melon by Brian. C3 team finished putting the Libelle in the trailer with the help of everybody and flashlights, shortly after dark.
PK team went for overnight to Hawthorne. Gus and me got busy getting set up for dinner, Rose prepared German Bratwurst with Onion, I heated on the stove and Potato Salad with a Sierra Nevada cool one, Poppy seed roll for desert. Took a hot shower compliments of Austin Airport and turned in.
Up short of 6 AM, Brewed fresh Coffee, cooked eggs, as Henry would say, “looking at you” went well with bacon and German Bread.
Filled up the tank in town and decided to take the back route via the dry lake, lot more scenic and even lonelier than Hwy 50, did see a bunch of Pronghorns, a lot of cows along the road, well behaved ones.
Hwy 6, the weather started to look menacing, dark clouds and gusty winds, at Chalfant we got into a micro burst dust flying and low visibility. Bishop some rain than more further down sometime pretty heavy, got out of it after Independence, Haystack was not visible in a dark rainsquall, Sun came out after Olancha and an interesting cloudscape all the way to Crystal.