Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trip to Munchkinland

I had to work today, and was actually not depressed about it, since the winds were too strong for flying, but better for the kite boarders. Finally, I had planned to work on a day with no flights in store. Alex called, and said that a few pilots were gathering at Kualoa to see Alaska Jack's new lightweight, reversible pod harness from Advance. I told him I would try to stop by, but I still had another inspection to do and it wouldn't be til much later.

Suddenly, a little black dog ran in front of my truck, chased by a little girl whose hair matched the pup. Not really, but you can see the angle I am creating. I started daydreaming, "There's nothing like flying, there's nothing like flying, there's nothing like flying."

My phone rang, and startled me from my pleasant thoughts of far away LZs. "Thom, I am so sorry, I have to cancel our afternoon inspection." I responded, "Great! I mean, a little more notice next time would be appreciated, but thanks for the call and see you soon." But not today -- I am off to OZ to see the new toys!

Through the Pali it was raining, and the skies were black and white all the way to Kualoa. When I arrived, the Wizard of the skies had already packed his wares, but entertained us with stories of the comp he had just completed.

The 'Tin Man', who is now sporting a new heart in the shape of a Peak, looked to the skies and put his axe to the wind. "Ah, gentlemen, I think it may be flyable." The Wizard was anxious for a stress-free flight to try out his new balloon, the Delta, along with the light weight pod.

I looked down at my hands and feet, covered with grass. The Wizard had just given the Scarecrow some knowledge that he wanted to test out. I also thought a hike through the enchanted forest of Kahana would lead to a possible flight, and a chance to see the newest flying machine of the Wizard.

The Tin Man and the Wizard led the way. I followed slowly, since it was still looking very 'black and white'. But when I arrived at the meadow clearing, color started to be painted across the skies. They launched like dandelion seeds into the wind. Wow, it feels okay! I hiked up to high launch with Lars.

Side note: Lars is a new pilot from Canada. On his last day here, he had decided to just hike up and watch launches. A hard decision, but to top it off, while we monkeys were flying, he offered to pick us up. Which was magic to the ears of the Tin Man, since he had to be home early.

We were flying along and I could hear the 'growl' of the Lion's courage, Duck's vario. The Lion would lead this journey today.

As the Wizard and the Tin Man had returned from a half-hearted attempt to cross the bay, the Lion roared, "I am heading downrange." We all took the yellow brick road: the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Wizard. No Dorothy on this venture, although Harvey launched soon after and caught up with us. The imagery of Harvey in a dress would be more of a nightmare than the guards at the Witch's castle.

Speaking of the Witch, she did show up, in a whirling machine that circled the Lion and confronted the Scarecrow, before buzzing further north. One of these days we'll dump a bucket a water on that one. Oops! Bad imagery! It did start to sprinkle for a while, and the Tin Man headed for the far off land of Malaekahana, while the Lion led the way to a large green field filled with little people.

Following the Lion to the field was the Scarecrow. Then even the Wizard, with his super high go-anywhere elevation, decided that the vast emerald field was very inviting.

As we approached our BYU LZ, little voices were calling, "Duck, Duck, it's Duck!" They must have confused the Lion for the Good Fairy, because he was surrounded by little people as he landed. Then the Scarecrow landed, into another horde of joyful Munchkins, and with his knowledge he showed them how the wings work and let them try on his helmet. Fortunately the Munchkins did not have a sense of smell, because that helmet stinks.

The Wizard was the only one to actually make the Big Field, and he too was soon engulfed by a band of clamoring Munchkins.

They were good little helpers, as they assisted me in getting all the air out of my wing by rolling on it. Then they helped with the folds and even carried our gear to the cars.

So, Monkeys Fly, Fly, Fly, Monkeys Fly. If you ever land in this land of OZ, be sure to stay cool, land nicely, treat the natives with kindness and control your language. We are accepted there as Good Witches of the North -- let's keep it that way.

With retrieves from Gary, Sharky and Lars we headed back to the LZ. On our way we got to watch JD land his Delta at Punaluu with his trusted 'Wingman', Leeann, filming the event.

We ended the day with a feast at the Real Dorothy's house. Cheese Burgers, awesome salad and French Fries. Logan beat all our butts in ping pong and Harvey and I entertained with a horrible display of pong.

For a day I had written off it came out with an incredible trip to OZ.


Alex said...

How come I gotta be the Tin Man??? I guess I should just be thankful you didn't cast me as Dorothy. Thanks to Sharky, and Lars, and Gary for the retrieves! Thanks to JD and LeeAnn for the torpedoes and french fries! What a fun afternoon and evening that was.

Thom said...

Sorry Alex, just the way it came out, I was going to make you the Wizard but Alaska Jack we still have to treat as a guest. Oh, I could have made you the mayor of Munchkin land but you landed too far away.

Again thanks for the edits and mostly for the call to action which I had closely written off.

Thanks again to Dorothy for putting up with a bunch of monkeys and feeding them so well.

We are such a lucky barrel of monkeys

Puka Wai said...

You guys are just having too much fun! XCs at the Dill, Soaring Tan, and a Journey to Oz... Even Mad Toto in the Hole. I've clicked my heels together three times, but I'm still stuck in Guamsas, green with envy asi I watch howling tradewinds dump endless rain. I'm so glad it is the dry season here...
Congrats on all the "firsts'!

Duck said...

Video will post tomorrow...loading it now...Thanks for the good vibes Puka Wai--hope you are getting some good diving in...

Duck said...

Vid link: