Linda Salamone's Blog

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Thursday the small crowd was heading to Harriet Hollister, and when I finally extracted myself from work, I drove in to see a sight I rarely encounter: someone was soaring the ridge. At Harriet. Go figure.... I drove to the lookout and Karl was in the slot, Lon and Todd were in various stages of setting up. Another unusual sight: it was blowing in nicely! Todd said it was his second set up, he flew earlier and got around 15 minutes, then it had been dead for hours but Scott R had finally launched a short time ago. That's who I had seen on the ridge. When I was scratching my head wondering why Karl wasn't diving in, Scott makes an appearance in the bowl, getting drilled by sink all the way out to the ridge and below, disappearing out of sight again. Well, not very encouraging..... So while I set up I looked at conditions more closely. I figured maybe it was crossing SE but it really didn't matter because by the time I finished setting up, it was totally dead. Gee, like THAT's never happened at Harriet before.... I pushed Todd and Karl out of the way and got into the slot. I had the Sting so I was confident about a dead wind launch. Too bad it was a wind-shadow launch..... I started my run and the glider just didn't want to fly. I leaned forward and ran harder, but the glider got in front of me and I was having a tough time catching up to it. Just before I ran out of room, I hear Todd yelling RUN! but all I could do was just jump forward into the glider, just clearing the trees, and proceeding to skim the tops of the trees all the way across the bowl. I actually think I had to steer AROUND some of the taller trees. I looked at my vario when I got to the point and I was 200' below launch. not good. So I turned right and headed along the ridge to land in the big field, hoping to catch something along the way. When I passed where Scott landed, I kept going south, and saw now that I was almost 400' below launch, but I did hear a beep or two so I turned back for it. I did a 360 out a ways over the road, and lost only 20 more feet. Encouraged, I did another. And another and pretty soon I was actually level with the ridge. Holy crap! I climbed on up to 600' over in this burble of air and my vario read 1mph wind speed, sometimes 4mph... not exactly rocking... so I topped it out there and figured I would give a look-see at my buddies on launch and let them know I saved it. I knew they wouldn't believe I actually got up after that launch and sink through the bowl... When I left that tiny SE facing area, I got drilled so bad I aborted my "gloat mission" and headed back to that spot. Oh well, it was no longer going up there and I made a rapid descent to the LZ where Scott had been. I was pretty sure I had him as a witness to my incredible save. I did set up a great landing, with my eye on the gully that runs right through the middle of the field, and you know that target fixation is a very true thing because I planted my feet right in the middle of the 5' wide mucky trench. Oh well, at least Scott was not a witness to THAT! But he got back in time to help me carry my glider to the road. So Todd calls and he is not believing my story of how I soared Harriet in totally dead air for 20 minutes. He says he'll come get me but it's Karl who appears with my car so the part that Todd didn't believe was the Totally Dead Air part because he unpacked his glider after we spoke and launched again. Bonehead. Well so that's the story of how I soared Harriet (a rare occurence). Maybe Todd can get the video working of my run through the bowl.
Friday I had some errands in the morning but got my butt to the Flight Park to fly my pretty new Litespeed with the the hurricane nay-sayers. It was totally overcast but there were dark ugly cu's underneath and the rigids were sticking pretty well. So I got behind Marty and he towed me up high to a nasty cloud to the east. When I got off I took a few turns and was surprised to find myself getting misty. I ran to the SE and assessed the situation: widespread areas of light lift, tons of sink, 2900' cloudbase, mostly just rigids staying up. Hmmmm , not too great. But I found some light stuff to waffle in and with the VG mostly all on, I could maintain or climb some. There was a cool convergence line to the N and that was fun to drive around in. I flew for around an hour, figured it was just about over with when I got down to 1200', but there was a little something left at the southwest end of the park that got me back to the clouds and suddenly Joel and Bob G and Doug A were my bestest friends.... I landed a short time later (no wheels!) and then Mikey and I got going on a problem I was having with my harness. Once we started, there seemed to be no end to the things that needed fixing..... Just like Tom Lanning says- you don't buy a harness nowadays, you buy a harness KIT. But Mikey labored tirelessly over the thing and solved a few big issues for me.
So two days in a row of flying. Lots of rare faces at the Flight Park (including mine). Today were having our little hurricane, tomorrow maybe it will be okay. And Monday looks better. So stay tuned......


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