Saturday, December 31, 2011


Finished out the year doing what I love most.  Kathryn and I went for a little out and return to Bogan Gate. We sort of missed out on the return part, but it was ok - outlandings in Oz are always an adventure.  We launched early and chased Mitch as far as we could before he got away from us - plenty of 800 ups in the blue.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pictures - December 30


I got a chance to try out yet another new Moyes glider yesterday.  Gerolf has been working on another design for the past couple of months.  The Mojo is meant to be glider for those guys that don't want to fly a kingposted glider, but aren't so competitive that they need to be on a glider that doesn't have the easiest handling.  Personally, I don't understand why more guys don't fly the Litesport - I'm sure it's an ego thing (kingpost and all).  But with such lovely handling and nearly the performance of a Litespeed at most speeds, unless you're fighting for a place in the top 20, it's the perfect glider.

But, enough of my little rant - back to the Mojo ;-)  I got about two hours in it yesterday here in Forbes.  It seems to me that it is precisely what Gerolf intended.  If he hadn't told me before flying it what he had in mind for the designing, my first thought would have been that it's somewhere between my Litesport and Carl's RS.  What I love most about my glider is that it feels totally solid, it never scares me.  But, with that solid feeling, the handling has never been quite a light as Carl's RS.  Part of that, I'm sure, is the fact that I'm a tad small on the Litesport 4, but it always has required a bit more muscling that ever feel was necessary on the RS.   Anyway, the Mojo has the light feel of the RS, but with that same solid feeling as my Litesport.  And, it tows like a dream!....much easier than I'm used to.

I would love to be able to compare the Mojo to the sweet little RX3 I flew last week, but it's definitely an apples/oranges thing.  The Mojo is a bit bigger (more my size really) and it's impossible to compare ridge soaring at Stanwell Park to thermaling at Forbes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pictures - December 28

Arrived in Forbes!!

Made the six hour trek out to Forbes with Mitch and Polona day before yesterday.  We woke up yesterday morning to a typical, gorgeous sky....what's new, we're in Forbes ;-)

There are plenty of pilots out here already.  Warren Windsports is putting on an aerotow clinic, beginners clinic and an XC clinic, so there's heaps of flying going on and everyone is in a great, excited mood!  I love this part of the comp!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas or Spring Break?....hard to tell!

Thanks so much to the Warren Wind Sports gang who had Kathryn and I over for a very out of the ordinary Christmas. No turkey and stuffing and relaxing by the fire....just BBQ prawns and salmon and playing at the pool!  Great fun!

Merry Christmas to everyone, including those special people in other parts of the know who you are ;-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I wonder how it is that daddy can be the devil himself, yet the kids are nothing short of angelic?

I got to be the first girl to test fly the Litespeed RX3 today.  I know that Jonny and Steve Moyes - boys with a few kilos on me - have flown it, but I was still concerned about being a little overweight on it.  Gerolf says the optimum pilot weight is 55-65 kilos and I'm pushing 70 these days.  So, I really worried that I would feel like a whale on it, especially since I've spent 5 years on a glider that is just a tad too big for me.  I couldn't believe how nice it felt, even with my fat ass driving it around the sky ;-).  Right from launch all I could think is that it felt so much like a Malibu - how is this possible?  Now, I'm the first to admit that I am rather Moyes biased, but I also tend to prefer the lower performing gliders.  So, I took off expecting something that was a little closer to the handling of my Litesport, at least.  I also know that this was just Stanwell Park - smooth, mellow conditions - but I so loved the way this glider feels.  Like the Malibu, the handling is incredibly light.  But, unlike Carl's RS (which also had incredibly light handling), it feels extremely solid.  I remember flying the RS in Cucco and being a bit skittish because there was so little bar pressure on it.  The RX3 has just enough to instill a bit of confidence, but not so much that you feel you're having to work at all.  I cruised around Stanwell at fast and slow speeds, high and low (ok, not really low at all ;-) and started to feel very envious of the pilots taking delivery of their's at Forbes next month.  Already I'm thinking I need to get home and work a little....just enough to pay for one of these new babies for myself.   

Here's the little RX3, with her big brother, the RX3.5.  Gerolf offered to let me fly the bigger one as well to have some comparison - and because it may be a little closer to my size.  But I really think the smaller one felt perfect for me, even being slightly tubby for it.  I nearly believe I could gain another 5 kilos and still love it.....not a good thought!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Best

All the cool kids were out flying Hill 60 today.  The Warren Wind Sports gang was down doing tandems and fooling around.  Kathryn got her first flight since breaking her arm a couple of months back...great to see her in the air again getting ready for Forbes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love me a Malibu

Up until the time I learned to hang glide, I used to dream of flying.  I would put my arms out and float above the yard and then over the house until I got so high I would start to get scared and come down again.  It was always effortless. Every time I get into a Malibu it feels just like if there is no wing connected to me at all and I'm back in my dreams where flying is the most comfortable, natural thing in the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coz there'll be starlight all night

A little Malibu duning this afternoon at Cronulla.  Fun, fun, fun and bright colored Malibu's everywhere you turn.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Room to make your big mistakes

I found my dream landing field yesterday.  Lake George is a nice little ridge soaring site just outside of Canberra where the sea breeze kicks in most every evening and the place has the most gigantic landing field in the history of the universe.  The lakebed is the landing field and apparently it's 10km x 40km of perfectly wide open, flat landable space.  If I was to do my usual and land right smack in the middle of the landing field, I would have a massive walk out!

Canberra Weekend

The weather hasn't exactly been ideal since I arrived in Sydney.  It hasn't been on at Stanwell or here at Cronulla, so Kathryn and I drove down to Canberra on Sunday for a change of scenery - the Canberra boys claim the weather is always nicer there.  So, we took a little hike out into the Namadgi National Park to find the aboriginal art on the rock walls.  If I was afraid of kangaroos, it would have been a scary hike!  They were everywhere, often times on all sides of us while we walked through the big open meadows.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Claim my name from the lost and found...

Perfect Sunday morning run with Kathryn today out at the national park just to our south.  Started out with a quick ferry ride that spits you out along the southern coastline.  With a bit more energy than we had, you could continue on the trail all the way to Stanwell Park.  We stuck with just about about a 12k round trip in the beautiful sunshine.  That sun was kind enough to stay with us until we made it back to the ferry station where we could see the dark, heavy clouds approaching.  By the time we were back across to Cronulla the sky was opening up and dumping huge drops of solid rain on us for the rest of the walk home.   We arrived a very soggy mess.  

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Oh, it's enough to be on your way. It's enough to cover ground. It's enough to be moving on.

I discovered that my last post about quitting was taken a bit wrong by some.  It wasn't supposed to mean I was quitting the blog.  Of the things in my life I ought to quit, this blog is much too cathartic to stop doing anytime soon.  

But I guess it had been some time since that post, so it probably wasn't so much of a stretch to think that was what it meant.  The reality was that I was at home doing a lot of nothing and having a lot of nothing to say.  But now I'm heading off to Oz on my first real solo journey in some time.  I hope to do heaps of flying and with any luck, I'll stumble upon an accidental adventure or two.  We'll see.  Next stop Sydney!

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Mike and I drove over nine hours each way to Lookout Mountain last weekend.  We helped pass the time by listening to podcasts.  My favorites were the Freakonomics podcasts.  I loved the books and the podcasts are just as entertaining and informative.  One in particular really stuck with me.  The subject was quitting.  Yeah, that's pretty broad...could involve most anything...quitting a job, quitting smoking, there are so many things to quit.

According to Steven Levitt (one of the Freakonomics authors):  "Each of us encounters an unattainable goal about once a year.  Being able to abandon goals when they are unattainable is good for your health."

So obvious!  Yet it seems something I'm not very good at, nearly incapable of....even when the reality is staring me right in the face.  Can you imagine standing in a supermarket line and waiting for hours, knowing full well that the line was closed not long after you got into it.  I sometimes wonder how a reasonably clever human being (me) is able to look straight past the most obvious reality.

"Sunk costs" are the reason.  Levitt explains that those are the costs that you have already put toward a goal that appear so great that you find it hard to give up, even when you should.  Waiting on hold for customer service is one very common sunk cost.  Once I've been on the line for twenty minutes or so, I can't just give up and call again another time.  Having twenty minutes invested has, on more than a few occasions, caused to me waste yet another twenty minutes before finally getting fed up and hanging up the phone.  Having sunk twenty minutes of my time somehow creates the incentive to waste another twenty minutes.  How dense!!

So, it looks as though this is the life lesson the universe is sending me at the moment.   Some goals are not obtainable, not matter how determined we are.  It's just time to quit.  Period.

Monday, October 31, 2011

And you go home in the crispness of the night

While the landing field at Lookout was too much of a washing machine for me on Saturday, Ben and I went for a hike in Cloudland Canyon.  Ben has left the Bay Area and will be working with Joel Froehlich in San Antonio. He's just driven out from San Francisco with a 3 hour stopover in Texas.  We're in the same boat in a few ways, so it's nice to hang out with him and a hike in the crisp air was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

The colors probably don't excite everyone the way they do me.  But, with the exception of humid and more humid, I haven't seen much in the way of season changes since coming to Florida.

Hey little sister who's your superman?

They really know how to throw a party at Lookout Mountain.  I went up over the weekend for the Women's Hang Gliding Festival and the annual Halloween party.  Not the best luck with the weather - not for me at least - but it was so nice to have a few days of autumn, something I see very little of.  Between the fall colors and the costume party, it was well worth the 9 hour drive up there.  Had I known absolutely everyone would be in costume, I might have tried to come up with something.  Instead I was the only dufus that didn't dress up.  

I wish it wasn't quite so far, I would make the drive up there more often.  I liked it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun in the Wright Place

It was the 100 year anniversary of something to do with the Wright brothers - yes, I'm terrible, I couldn't even say what.  What I do know is that it was a good excuse to bring the USHPA board meeting to Kitty Hawk and an even better excuse to spend a few days out on the dunes.  I can't believe I had forgotten what a great tired feeling it is to come in from the dunes at sunset after spending the entire day out playing in the sand.

Kraig was kind enough to send us a Malibu.  Although the weather wasn't right for soaring, be got to pretend we were students again (and in some cases, be students again) and run up and down the dunes.  Once we tired ourselves out sufficiently, the PG boys showed up and we traded lessons.  We put both Rob and Nick in the air - well barely - and they returned the favor with some paragliding lessons.  What luck to have the two best (and hottest) pilots/instructors in the country!

Thanks to Ricker for the photos of me!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Meet me in the summertime....we can move the air

Yesterday it seems, all at once, the summer finally came to an end.  This morning we all went different ways.  It was a sad site.  I will miss the time I spent with really good friends.

For our last day, we did a few really touristy things, starting with a giant hole in the ground - Meteor Crater - where we did what any good pilots would do, watched the birds circle and discussed how we might launch from the rim and thermal up over the hole.

.....then drove back to Phoenix via Winslow, Arizona where I just couldn't resist standing on a corner ;-)  They've made quite a corner here all from one silly song.  I had to play the song for Jochen who didn't really understand why I felt the urge to stand on a corner in this sleepy little town.

Wow, I'll sure miss the giant saguaro cactus and firey sunsets here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grand Day

We started out by breaking the cardinal rule of hiking the Grand Canyon....DO NOT attempt to hike to the river and back in a single day.  Ha ha ha....wasn't meant for us, obviously.  

Total distance was 14.2 miles round trip and I haven't decided yet which was worse, the downhill half or the uphill half.  The downhill portion is sooooo hard on the knees and the quads.  But the 5000 ft elevation gain in mid-day heat wasn't a walk in the park either.   Actually it was a walk in the national park and we really did have a great time.   We took 2.5 hours down, had lunch and a swim in the river and then walked up again in 4 hours.  

I'm sure this has got to be the ugliest bird in the universe.....Grand Canyon condor number 47.  He was quite tame and let us get really close for pictures.  I'm sure he knows he could knock us over in a single swipe.  

At the top we celebrated with a giant steak dinner where we sat just long enough for our muscles to totally tighten up for the hour drive back to Flagstaff.