Sunday, June 26, 2016


Heidi, Maddy and I went up to join Rick, Rena, Kayla, Jeff, Chris and Kendal on Lake Don Pedro. It is pretty close to McClure and while I've flown over it I've never actually been in the water. It was surprisingly warm.

Tried wake surfing but could not get up on the wake board.

It was Maddys first time on a boat.

And first time in a lake. She seems to like the water.

The next day we checked out Pinecrest Lake..

Captain Maddy commanding the pedalo.

Maddy approves of the nice views, it was nice and peaceful out on the water.

Refreshing !

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial weekend -- Owens valley

For many years Memorial holiday weekend meant trying to get a few spectacular flights in the Owens Valley. Some years were great other the weather made it not worth going but it has been many years since I had the opportunity and this year really was amazing! The first day ended up being a practice day up to Bishop before the weather closed in.

Sunday was the big distance day, although I struggled a bit the first 20 miles or so. One of the key motivators to fly Memorial weekend is to see the peaks snow capped, before it melts. It really does enhance the scenery.

Every canyon has some wow factor, rock formations alpine lakes, deep green pine trees, glaciers, it is almost constantly overwhelming.

An occasional slap of turbulence keeps one focused though ;) On up to Bishop, where usually the wind turns west, and normally we would jump over to the West facing White mountains. Today was different however, prevailing was light south with a touch of east. We would stay on the Sierra, exciting because I'd never had the opportunity before to continue up the east side.

Almost when down in Bishop but got a screaming climb from the deck to 14k, right there in the valley. It was right about here my camera quit, but I carried on up over the pass to Crowley (where we launched the next day) and there it got interesting, a cloud gave up and started raining back behind McGee and Mamoth. Seeing that I figured the lift would be on the east side of the valley, so I went around over the glass house mountains, over to Mono lake, which is quite an intimidating stretch of trees and lava flows. But there are clearing here and there, and I had enough altitude to go for it. I ended the flight at Bridgeport airport, for 137 miles, the sky was turning menacing.

The next Day we flew from McGee, a mountain I hadn't launched from before. It is really stunningly beautiful.

I actually enjoyed this flight more than the previous day. The ceiling was higher, 16k I think, it was sunnier, and we took a totally different route anyway. Further west more over the Sierra. There's Mamoth ski resort, way below.

Almost decked it behind this crazy looking feature, (Wilson butte) it's some remains of a decomposed volcano. Anyway I scored and climb as I was unzipped. I was glad as I really was not looking forward to "arriving" in that field. At 8200 feet MSL and in wind shadow I'm sure it wouldn't have been pretty. 

And then the last crossing, June Lake ski resort and High Yosemite in the background. What a day Wayne and I glided into Lee Vining airport and we went back and got Paul from a nice field near by.

We were home in 6 hours as we'd landed in Lee Vining, It doesn't get much better than this ! Thanks to Ben for Driving it was great to hangout in the Owens :)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

KMs Memorial howl.

Earlier this year a flying companion passed away, KM was a pilot many looked up to and not just literally. He was an unassuming considerate man of the wild, an inspiration and an admirable spirit. The Coyote Howl was dedicated to his memories this year.

The club has installed a nice plaque to the right of launch. Everyone going to launch and will see it and head cloud bound with a reticent smile. 

The day of the howl yielded interesting weather conditions, big sink and moderate lift. I ended up quickly on the ground and decided to give another go.

Glad I did as the day really turned on. Cloudbase was about 8k over Rancho Del Oro.

The plan was to head to Merced Falls and see what the sky looked like when I got there.

From Barrett Cove it looked great.

And even at Merced falls it looked decent, although there was a big cu-nimb lurking in the valley.

After the last climb the air went very quiet and I was quickly on the ground heading back to Merced falls area to get by a road. When I landed the wind had shifted north and the air was cold. The thunder head had flushed the heat away with some front from afar. A fun flight anyway and back to the LZ I went. (thanks Wayne)

Maddy couldn't be there but joined in spirit.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Goat in the San Benitos

Flying in the San Benitos can be amazing, but it is not for the faint of heart. The LZs are few and far between and roads are even more scarce, in fact I think there are really only 3 roads in the entire clear creek area, And lets not even talk about cell phone connectivity. However with proper geography homework, an experienced driver, reliable radios and the right weather this place can rock!
On this day Trey, myself and Ben R had some of these things ;)

We didn't fly very far or wide considering the weather, but it sure was fun. I do think it is the first time anyone has flown from the Hernandez Valley to the Panoche Valley. I did get hailed on a little, which made me switch to conservative mode, especially as I screwed up my radio. I glided into Paicines to avoid the OD and get some cellphone connection.

The day definitely shut down in places, but not everywhere. Better safe than sorry though :)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Super Cross

Since moving, we live very close (walking distance) to Levi stadium, home to the 49ers, I thought it would be fun to go see something there. Heidi's brother races moto-cross, so we got tickets for us all to go watch.

It's pretty amazing how the stadium converts from football field, to concert venue to super cross and more.

Its quite a show, with plenty of special effects.

The racing itself was pretty entertaining, I heard one of the racers say it was a pretty standard 2 -3 course, where they jump two jumps then 3 more before the corner.

They get pretty far up there, considering they are racing while jumping.

The Minnesotan Ryan Dungy took the win quite convincingly.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rick goes flying

A robust spring day in the not too distant past I took my buddy and neighbor Rick up for a Tandem lesson at the mountain he has looked at his entire life.
It turned more increasingly blustery, but conditions we still good.

We soared around for 20 mins before deciding to to cut it a little short due to the incoming weather.

It was still a great flight, especially with all the green around, it sure doesn't stay like that long !

He took control for a short while too, looks like a natural :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Birthday #2

Actually her birthday was a while back, I just haven't had time to catch up. I figured I'd contrast the year with some pictures from the last year. Here she is unwrapping last years star present.

And standing in the field behind where we used to live.

And on to this year. Her hair has grown out :)

A rare shot of her running toward us.

Even quicker on her feet and thankfully loves the outdoors.

Loves to get into mischief.

Pretty good with anything that has wheels or can be climbed.

Still loves the swings.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Nice cars

Back in February we went to Blackhawk motor museum mostly because my Dad was here, but it was cool to see some engineering feats from the past.

The Aston Martin was by far my favorite.

But clearly there were other automobile milestones, where manifestations of engineering, craft and vision all came together to deliver and new master piece, or benchmark for others to follow.

This one is for my Mum :) I could totally see her driving this, or having someone else drive it for her. Not fussy ;)

Here's a german tank, a fast one and probably pretty capable of road looking at the mechanics. What a beast.

A classic Jag look.

Weird Italian styling, Alfa Romeo and Lancia, feel free to go look at the website, style is not my interest...

A pretty impressive and diverse sample of classic European automobiles.