Friday, December 23, 2011

Countdown to Exile

Thom seems keen to read a story about today's events. I'm not sure why, because unlike most of the rest of you, he was actually there, living the story. And it's not like anything too unusual happened. But I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's special coffee time tomorrow morning, so I'll just jot down a few words to go with Bill's awesome pictures…

Jim was first to notice that the new TFR dates had been posted this morning, and he posted a note about it on the chat box. It was slated to start today at 5:15 PM! Guess they finally greased open the gridlock in Washington and let the President escape. Later this morning, Thom and Kalei posted TFR notices at Makapuu, and I posted them at Kahana. Just so anyone who doesn't check NOTAMS or follow our website will know what's going on. Though hopefully everyone is keeping close tabs on our website, right? I know the Secret Service is watching it closely - they called me last week right after I posted the initial TFR article, to confirm that the details were accurate and to see if we had any questions.

Later today, Thom joined a desperate crew of morose monkeys at Maui Doug's Kite Park, for a countdown to the arrival of the President and the beginning of our annual exile to farthest Dillingham. Thom, Joey, Bill, Doug and I played with Doug's Little Cloud and Joey's new Zion in the park, in truly honking conditions. Lake stopped by briefly as well for a quick kiting session. Thanks to Doug and Joey for sharing their little wings! We've been tormented by these strong winds for what seems like weeks, and it was nice to actually get out and dance around under a wing for a little while. I boosted myself high into the air a few times, and savored each brief, blissful oasis of suspended time, before drifting back down to the grass.

We all kited both of those tiny wings until we were exhausted, and then we celebrated our last hours of freedom with frosty refreshments and tall tales, long into the afternoon. Finally we came to a sobering realization. The TFR was only an hour away from starting. We also realized that the wind had backed off just ever so slightly … would it be possible for a couple of air-crazed monkeys to squeak in some actual airtime? We zipped over to Kahana just in time for Joey and Doug to run up the hill and huck off, and they scored a matching pair of bitterly sweet ten minute flights, in conditions at the upper end of the window for mini wings. Those were the official last flights of the year at Kahana.

Maui Doug squandered the first 10 minutes figuring out that his wing really didn't like the rotored out conditions at upper upper north launch. The direction was quite north. So they relocated to just plain upper north launch. Doug got out of there with just a few wobbles, but basically made it look pretty easy. Moments later, Joey was jacked straight up into the air from upper north launch, and he had to let his trimmers out to make some decent headway. It was now 5:00. The rest of us were watching from the beach, and I was on the radio and totally stressing out. I begged them to stay low and make it quick. Then a few minutes later, my voice was heard again, in a higher register now, and I begged them to start their approaches. Finally I begged once more, with tears audible in my voice, as I watched the clock ticking down to the wire.

To my great relief, they zoomed over the beach and spiraled down in front of us, seconds apart, both of them touching down at 5:11, just four minutes before the TFR kicked in. Doug's landing was more exciting than usual. Joey was stoked to get his first little flight on the new wing. Duck and Ginger had also showed up, along with their house guests, to help celebrate the quixotic quest for ten minutes of air.

Somehow we all forgot to call Reaper and invite him to join our kiting party. Sorry, dude! I actually forgot to call lots of people, but at least I did make a point of posting on the chat box here - just in case any of our website's legion of lurkers wondered where the action was.

Thanks to Thom for both rounds of refreshments!

1 comment:

Thom said...

Thanks for the read and the pics.

It was great to see a wing over my head again. Weight shifts to the right reminded me the ribs were still not quite done cooking yet.

Joey did awesome on his first mini soaring flight.

As usual, the monkeys will always find something to celebrate.

Aloha to Kahana 2011 was a year to remember as I have had to read older stories to enjoy my coffee.

Bring on 2012, the year the Mayan Calendar ends, actually right on my 21st year of wedding bliss. 12-21-12 21years. I hope I am flying that day!!!!!!

See you all during the holidays some where but on Jan 3, 2012 the Season starts.

It's Time to Check Your Gear, Get Ready and Hope for Dill.