Sunday, July 31, 2005
We're here in Leakey, Texas about four hours north of Zapata. They have a really great fly-in here every year and it is amazing to see the whole town come out to see a little flying. There's a great airport that we can tow out of and a little hill to footlaunch from. I'd say this is about the prettiest part of Texas (excluding the Palo Verde canyon we drove through to pick up Gary's sailplane). The hilliness is a nice contrast from the flatland we've been in for the past two weeks.
So there's a local rancher that supports the event every year by putting up some pretty decent prize money. This year, since the weather wasn't totally cooperative, we only had a spot landing contest. But, this was a pretty special one...the prize money was $1500 US for first place. I would have to guess that was the quickest $1500 Jonny has ever made!!
Next is the Big Spring Open that starts on Saturday.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Jonny made my job nice and easy today by landing by 11am very near Laredo just a quarter mile from the highway. I thought we might head back to the lodge for a swim, but we got a call from Bo just after finishing up lunch. He had landed only 40 miles or so up the road, so we headed his way. Retrieving him was not so easy, but thanks to what Bo called my tumbler ticklers, we managed to get the VW all the way out to him 2 miles or so behind a locked gate. I am so lucky with some of those locks!!
By dinner back in Laredo, we got the call from Belinda that Davis was on final glide into the darkening sky at around 365 miles. Nice job Davis! David says that Davis is now the only pilot that has three flights over 300 miles!
Jonny landed 43 miles from Zapata. Davis is still in the air 78 miles out at noon. He and Bo are the only ones left (Pete and John Harper landed around the 15 mile mark), so we're thinking good thoughts for them. There is still a lot of high cloudiness that doesn't look so promising, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.
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The weather gurus all agree that this will likely be the last decent day. There is something coming in and conditions aren't expected to be good again before we leave. Gary is up in the Silent now reporting cloudbase at 1200ft with 300fpm lift in the blue...super boyant lines apparently.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Things are still looking great for Jonny. While the sky doesn't look anything like a record breaking day should look, he's right on pace, averaging about 34mph even before reaching the stronger wind and lift at the hill country. He's at about 165 miles now and always reporting from at least 5000msl!!! He says conditions are great up high and he is just trying to stay there.
We're all out at the airport at 9:30 this morning. If you ask me, it doesn't look so flash, but Gary and Davis think things are going to improve immensely over the next hour. Apparently, the wind is absolutely perfect just a ways north of here, it's just not an early day. So, everyone is here getting gear together and ready to go. The wind direction and velocity is ok, but cloudbase is still quite low. Hopefully that will change soon!
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Today is community day, so we all came out to the airport nice and early. I'm not sure what for :-) A few people from town came out to watch. Pete Lehman and John Harper launched about an hour ago hoping to break Bo's new single surface record. The sky looks gorgeous, but there isn't much wind...I suppose its still better than sitting around on the ground.
I got another hour or so in the Dragonfly while the air was nice and calm this morning. I'm doing most of the landings now and getting a little better every time...haven't broke anything yet! David keeps giving me the speech about needing that Dragonfly for the Big Spring meet, so I suppose I'll be super careful.
Before the poker game last night Nelson when out snake hunting and brought a couple of nice ones up from the lake. One was a really big (well, to me it was really big....Jonny called it a "cute little guy") and Nelson said it was a Diamond Back. He also had a pretty little one that I think was a Ribbon snake. They were nice to check out from a distance.
Gary and Davis are hopeful for the early part of next week. They're saying Monday (and possibly even tomorrow) are shaping up nicely!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I tend to like the long drives, and in this case we even found a beautiful little canyon...actually the nicest scenery I've ever seen in Texas. I'm posting this from the Crackberry, so I can't post the pics, but I'll put them up when I get to some civilization hopefully tonight.
They are calling for good conditions again by Sunday...Davis even thinks maybe Saturday, but I'm sure he's being overly optimistic. Anyway, hopefully we'll have something more interesting to report soon!
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Well the wind was pretty light today and most everyone was sleeping late. Thankfully Bobby was up semi early and ready to give me another Dragonfly lesson. We let Jonny take it up for a quick spin before my first flight and thank goodness he and the Dragonfly survived. I did a little better today, although I still suck. I got about 2 hours worth this morning and hopefully will get another 2 hours this evening. Jonny mounted his camera to the wing so we got a couple of nice shots.They're calling for bad weather for the next 10 days. Hopefully that will change or we will surely die of boredom here with no flying happening.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Well, we're back at the lodge after a not-so-long retrieve. Jonny went about 78 miles. Until just 5 minutes ago we thought Pete's 93 mile flight was the longest for the hang gliders. But, we just got word that Bo went somewhere around 200 miles on the Falcon!!! Nice job Bo!!!The sky looked pretty nice the first half of the day, but right around where Jonny landed it was starting to turn a bit mucky. So, he picked a nice little 5x5 meter spot to land between the mesquite bushese and I was there 15 minutes later to take him to dinner. I was able to keep up pretty well in the car because they weren't averaging more than about 30mph the whole way.There's apparently still hope for tomorrow if Emily slows up or heads a bit further south....so, we'll see! Keep your fingers crossed (or your thumbs squeezed Corinna :-)
Well, its 10:20 and Kevie is complaining that we're not updating enough. So, here it is: the wind is blowing strong at about 25mph. Gary went up about an hour ago and we haven't heard from him since, so we're assuming he's on his way. Everyone else is hanging out on the runway waiting for the clouds to build a bit more over the airport. We're hoping everyone will launch in the next 15 minutes or so.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I got my first Dragonfly lesson yesterday. I suck! I was all over the sky...couldn't fly in a straight line to save my life. Bobby says that's normal, but I'm sure he was just being nice. I guess after Emily leaves, I will get a few more lessons and hopefully I can learn to fly straight :-)
Well, after all my big plans for the summer, somehow I have ended up in Zapata again. I couldn't find anyone to go to Egypt with me (I hope you're happy Markus!!), so I figured Zapata with Jonny was a nice alternative...nearly as hot, just no pyramids. I flew into Orlando on Wednesday night and got up first thing Thursday and started that hell drive to Zapata. As if it isn't already bad enough to drive across Texas, I had to make my way through some of the worst thunderstorms I've ever seen. From Ocala (just an hour north of Quest) every single mile of the way to Zapata it rained cats and dogs. My beautiful pink bicycle was soaked :-) But anyway, I survived and made it in time to pick up Jonny's glider at the airport in Laredo. So here we are, ready to go!!We are all out at the airport now (at 7:30am) getting ready for the big day. David, Davis and Gary are all running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Everyone is so excited about what they are calling the best looking forecast in 3 years. Of course, the last three years here have sucked, so that's probably not saying much. But we are prepared!! We packed overnight bags with the hope of going so far today that we won't want to drive all the way home tonight. Also Emily is supposed to hit south Texas on Tuesday or Wednesday, so we didn't see any need to rush back down here...probably better to celebrate somewhere further north. Jonny seems very hopeful and I think if anyone can do it, he can!!!So, thanks to the Crackberry, I will hopefully be able to update every hour or more if something exciting happens. David has taught me how to post audio spots directly from the mobile, so I am hoping to get regular updates from Jonny via the radio and let you all know how he's doing every step of the way. In the meantime, I'll put up some shots up so you can see what a miserable looking place this is :-)
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Sunday, July 03, 2005
This is our little "town" of Hum sitting up on a hill about 10km from meet headquarters. You can see the steeple of the church and the buildings that were sort of connected to it (one of which was our house). The only other part of the town is the cemetary and that's where I was taking the picture from.
The first day we drove up to our house in Hum, we spotted this beside the one lane road heading to the town. Our first though was Croatian Stonehenge. But, then Kevin decided it was the virgin sacrifice arena - but he said Corinna, Nina and didn't need to worry ;-) We never did figure out what it was exactly, although there were smaller versions all over the place. Must be some sort of prayer garden or something, with different stops or stages or something like that. But, if you saw it at night, you would be creeped out as much as we were.