Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hang gliding behind a boat on Canyon Lake

I was lucky enough to receive a visit from Greg Ludwig this passed Thursday, he brought his whole boat towing operation (Lake Shore Hang Gliding) up to Canyon Lake.

Of course the first thing that crossed my mind was cool! - I could take Heidi up! and so we did :) On the most beautiful day.

We went up just after Greg had finished teaching his morning class. I'm convinced teaching from a boat is a far safer way to go in Texas. Especially solo anyway. The water is warm, clean and considerably softer than baked dirt. Thermals and gusts lose their edge over the water.

Heidi and I pinned off at 1600ft over the lake, and lazily flew around, taking in the scenery. A few neighbors even spotted us :) 

Tracy flew solo a few times, great to see.

Then we took her son Hunter up a couple of times, and his girlfriend Jess. With the wind change we were landing over by the Baja BBQ, to be setup for the next tow.

I love sliding in on the water, coming from the california coast where water and hang gliders don't mix, landing on the water is a neat novelty.

As you can see, I wasn't the only one to think so. Fabulous BBQ back at our place afterwards, Thanks Greg and Kim for making the trip. Hope to see you again soon :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Corpus crispy

Last week Heidi and I went down to Corpus to visit some friends. The visit coincided with copious amounts of rain. Of course we still had fun, despite getting drenched.

Port "A"ransas a very touristy town is out on the Sand bar, that is the real coast. 

Of course I was chomping at the bit to go and try windsurfing on the world famous bird Island. I put in at World Winds. Heidi and Mya were kayaking right there in the same spot. It was fun wizzing by them. Hopefully it was equally fun for them seeing me pile into the water moments later.

I had a heck of a time trying to get back to where I came from in the gusty switchy winds - the opposite of what Bird Island is known for.

But it was good fun in a pretty spot. .

Monday, July 15, 2013

The flight home

The long anticipated flight finally happened Saturday. It was everything I thought it should be. The lake is very pretty from the air, and its of course interesting flying over somewhere you are familiar with from a ground bound perspective.

I teamed up with Nate for the flight and towed up first. I was climbing through 6000ft when Nate launched. I think the clouds were starting to street from the south at that point, there surely was  a lot of sink around the airport. I thought Nate would take a second tow, but my radio was misbehaving, so I wasn't sure what was happening down there.
I waited around the airport for an hour but no relight, so I decided it was time to get going.

At 38 miles, it's not a hugely impressive task, but it is challenging, due to airspace and long tree crossings.
The wind was East so a complete tailwind, which made getting through the airspace a cake walk. Interestingly the cloud streets were north south, 90 degrees to the wind below cloud base. There was plenty of sink between the streets.

At this point (9000ft over pergatory) I knew I had the lake made. Unfortunately it's also when my camera battery quit. So I guess I will have to fly the route again.
I was in no hurry to land, so I noodled my way to the lake under the hazy areas, too minimize the sink, and got to lake at 6500ft. Plenty enough for a nice lap. I landed across the street from the bar in a freshly bailed hay field, where Heidi was waiting, with the video camera. I was in smooth widespread -500fpm, which made landing a piece of cake.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Other things in June

Down the street in Wimberly there is an open air theather (corral), it only opened for the season in May, when it is generally too hot and light to late ? But we found a cool Friday evening to go enjoy the latest Star Trek movie. It was a fun "local" experience ;)

We celebrated the end of the school year, and the party pit got its debut.

The steps we perhaps the hardest thing to get right, certainly looks better with a lick of paint. It's a work in progress.

Somewhere in there we went to go see Bob Schnider play some tunes again. A Fun band - I increased my enjoyment factor by wearing earplugs the whole night. I must be getting old.

With clouds like this around - the desire to fly is strong. Davis and Ricker were up north of Austin with Chris trying to break the Single Surface Distance world record. I happilly joined in and flew ~56miles upto near Waco with Davis.  

Big Bird flew quite nicely in the strong winds, although it's a pig to tow behind the light trike. Thanks to Mike for the tow.

Belinda was following along right below us. I'm looking forward to Big Spring this year, which she and Davis have taken on the organisation of.

In the meantime I've been working in a wood shop making a bazzillion draws. This is about half of them (unfinished). I am enjoying working with wood. 

Ricker visited again and we flew Luling. The plan was to fly back to the lake, but the weather had other plans. The forecast was for light winds on the ground and light winds at cloud base. This held true, but with 22 mph quatering headwind 3k through 8k. It was a fun challenge - but the flight to the lake remains uncompleted.

With the stretch between Hunter and Pergatory and to the lake in the background, rather tricky in the strong rough air, we talked ourselves down into a bar in Hunter. Rileys Tavern claims to be the oldest bar in Texas. It was 108'F so some cool liquid and air con was welcome. Thanks Andy for coming and finding us.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

more windsurfing

Jacobs creek park - much better place to launch from. I've been improving day on day. Although the wind is finally calming down into what I understand is the normal summer pattern. When it was windy the other day, Ricker came down and played. He had so much fun, remembering how he used to windsurf, he returned the following week with a quiver of equipment.

I don't think I stayed on the board to much long after hitting this wave, but I figure it's a cool shot. I'm still trying to figure out good ways and places to mount the camera. Some of the wipe outs have lead my to believe I'm lucky to have not destroyed or lost the camera yet.

I've been picking up tips from Mike, Jack, Jim the local guys here, Also tips out of this book There are many things to learn of course. The tiny differences in setup have dramatic differences in handling. Mike has generously also lent me a board and harness to try out, which made me realize how bad the equipment was I had.

Now it's even more fun. The winds on the lake can often be gusty, leading to some fast crashes. Think I skipped on the water 3 times on Monday, still a bit sore !

This is probably more what things should look like, although the sail is too slack and the boom to high, but at least the mast foot is in a better position.