Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dirty Window Pains

First, I am glad the editor did not correct the spelling in the title: because flying here, lately, has been a pain. You can't forecast the good days, and when you try, well, you're left wearing your purple outfit with no place to go. The trails are muddy as we hike up between the window washings, and the inside of my pod is dirty and needs a little more than windex.

This year and parts of last, it's been all about being in the right place at the right time, and this means to the second. You can't be in town at lunch or getting a massage, and then hear that there's pilots in the air at Kahana or Makapuu, cause by the time you get there that storm window has closed! Unless of course, you're at Alex's house, which is a rock's throw from launch. I don't even want to mention those of you that have to do the four letter word that has been banned from the chat box, cause for the 9 to 5 crew the weekends have been obscure.

Today was one of those days that was a write-off. The radar kept spitting little balls of green and yellow from Makapuu to well past Kahana. I had the afternoon off, so I drove to Kahana to meet with Alex and discuss our plans for Owens Valley. Kauai Courtney was visiting, and just wanted to get something. She was on launch as I drove by, but her curtains weren't even fluttering. We heard later that after a few squalls she got a sled ride to the beach.

Alex and I were streaming past flights of the Owens on his TV, trying to familiarize ourselves with the mountain munching, thermal thwarting track logs. And if those don't get you, the valley winds will give you a toss. Gee, I can't wait. We had just about closed the shades when we got a text from Marc stating, Hey, looks like a window in 20 minutes. It came across the TV from Alex's phone! We almost ignored it but our diseased need for flight took heed.

We scurried to the LZ. Alex looked at me and said, "Are we really doing this?" I was not quite sure what he meant as I laced up my boots. I knew he was going no matter what, and I just couldn't let him go by himself. We trudged up north launch. It actually started to look nicer with each peek out over the bay. Oh, nicer is relative. Cloud base was low, 1400', and there were just a few windows of open space to dodge the low wispies. Alex posted on the chat box at 3:18 PM: Couple of desperate numbskulls hiking Kahana.

Flying around, near and along the edges of clouds has become another skill to master if you need to fly on these low marine cloud days. Our island clouds, the wispy ones, can be dodged, but getting above them is our goal. That can often be quite a trick, as corridors and gaps between them open and close at a whim. Rising alongside the edges is hard, since you have to be watching all the time for the next one that might be coming right at you. And some days there are towering monsters hiding in the mist. If they grab you, well, your outcome could be shattered, so those are good days to stay away.

Alex actually made it well above the wispies today and got a few good shots.

It's Time to Fly, or it was, Get Your Gear and Pray!!!!!!!!

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