Saturday, October 09, 2010

Downrange Disease

Don't you just hate when work gets in the way of flying? Friday morning was one of those days when you just wanted to call in sick, so I actually got Ike to help on this job in town. The plan was to get it done and be on the hill in Kahana with all the other monkeys by 11:30. Well, the job dragged on, and the chance of some air time looked dismal.

We were finally headed over the hill. A trip to Kahana was out for me time-wise, and Ike had to pack up to return to the Big Island. Coming through the Pali Tunnel, looking up at the range just gave me the cold shakes. "I gotta get a fix." Ike said, give Fireman a call, you could possibly get a Makapuu flight in.

Fireman was on Lanikai beach and said he was meeting Jorge at Makapuu in an hour. I could do that, so I dropped Ike off and headed to Makapuu. On the way I got a call from Maui Doug, and he was going to Makapuu too. "Looks like last time, Thom, lets do this."

Six of us gathered on Tomato Juice launch: Jorge, Fireman, Maui Doug, Scrappy, AllanC and me. The launch has been groomed and with a little more work a more northerly launch will be ready.

It was perfect, but the clouds were starting to creep down. The pod brothers led the way, with me tight on their trail. Three of us made it to the Pali, but the last ones to launch, Scrappy and AllanC, got stuck and landed out in Waimanalo. We had not heard from Maui Doug.

I watched Jorge go out to Olomana, come back, then push to the Pali, then come back. He makes it look so easy. Dave and I were on a seesaw for awhile, and then he was gone.

I crossed the H3 and headed for the dreaded valley that had sucked me over the last time I was there. Dave and Jorge were a few valleys ahead by now, so I was alone, a little low and looking for lift. I was checking my forward penetration for the "millionth" time and I saw a glider coming in lower than me. It was Maui Doug.

He flew right under me and found the lift. I followed him and we got up to cloud base again. Thanks to Doug for getting me past this place. I think it will be a sticking point for me for some time.

We chased after Jorge and Dave, who decided cloudbase was just not going to let us make it behind or in front of the Pyramid. Jorge had gotten up to over 3,500 in the white room, but that was not a good way to travel. Dave and Jorge pushed out front and were hovering over Maui Doug's kite spot. Maui Doug and I just kept looking at the Pyramid, but finally we threw in the towel.

I landed at Maui Doug's kite spot with Jorge and Dave. Maui caught some rotor off the little hill before the LZ and had to go to Hygienics. I had a good landing but Doug had a little adventure. He elected not to land at the football field due to games going on, so he landed at this field with only one cow in it. The cow was a mean bull, and later we found out from Reaper that it was a Water Buffalo that is very mean.

One-Eye (One-Leg) showed up at Maui Doug's kite spot with beer. He apologized for not getting out of the car to greet us but we forgave him when he handed us a cold beverage and a ride to Hygienics. Thanks Jim! It was good to see you out, and glad to hear your foot is feeling better. The picture above of my right foot in Doug's wing gave me an idea for your foot. I will let you think on that one.

Scrappy saved Dave's butt by getting his van and picking up Lani at school. So the six that started were back together, crammed in Dave's van with Lani stuck in the middle. She made a comment that I am sure we have all thought but no one has ever said. She plugged her nose and grunted, "You guys stink!" She was right, but we were all smiling, looking up at the ridge that we just flew.

It was fun to get a good XC in, but it's just never enough - we gotta have more and more. May the wind gods have favor on us, and may my family continue to endure my disease.

It is Time to Fly, Get Your Gear and Go!!!!


Alex said...

Great story, Thom! You didn't put a title on it, so I made one up for you. Hope you agree that it befits your tale of grave affliction.

Thom said...

Again I thank you for the edits, I typed this in between several honey dos. The title is perfect, I am sure glad I have this disease!

MauiDoug said...

Ya, I think I have it too! I don't think that bull wanted me messing around with his girls. He never really got close as I was running as fast as I could with my wing over my shoulder to hop the barbed wire fence. What a post flight rush :-) Great write up Thom!