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April 14, 2019
I captured the egg for Hollister today. It is sitting in the display case in the office. Morgan should have the photographic evidence.
It was a bizarre day. Skysight and the other RASP tools showed the convergence line passing over the Panoche Hills, so that’s where I started. However, the thermals were weak and the wind was still from the west, telling that the line was still further east. I was 10 miles west of Panoche pretty much at the edge of the glide cone just trying not to land for a solid 2 hours while waiting for things to improve so that I could go east.
By the way, on about 4 occasions now I have hit a thermal on the downwind-base turn at Panoche. One time, it was so strong that I pulled full spoilers and wasn’t getting any closer to landing. I used that spot today as I contemplated another sandwich from the Panoche Inn.
I finally managed to get high enough to make a glide around the eastern rim of the Idria valley and connect with the clouds. I knew though, that I was probably not getting back to Hollister, since the line would only drift more to the east during the day. So, I just kept going South under nice and strong cloud streets, over Wright mountain, over New Coalinga, over Avenal, and past.
Clouds did not extend much further, as the push from the west was just not anticipated by the models I think.
There was weak wave on the way back over the Quien Sabe. The netto was about +2kt and -2kt for long stretches, although I didn’t figure out why until after landing and seeing a few lennies putting away UV.
It was still really fun! I think it was a pretty successful failure. I flew with water for the first time, although I dumped it when all the first thermals were small and weak. I landed at Avenal for the first time and met all the fine folks there. I got towed by a Cessna for the first time, and I’m pretty sure it was my longest :) The tow back was just serene and sublime. Everything was shades of green and the sun low in the west cast the perfect amount of relief on the terrain.
Thanks a lot to Jonathan for towing, teaching, and waiting for me to come back.
A screen grab from the tow back. Blue sky, golden at Panoche, and green to the South. Won’t be like this much longer...
Hope to see you guys out there soon! -Philip