Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dust In The Wind

First, my stinking apology for the lack of 'sand' script from my dried out fingers. This place is amazing, but it takes a toll on your skin, mind and watch. The sun arrives early and hangs till late, making schedules downright useless. As you can see from the picture, where I am on double duty, checking my log while dropping one! I arrived Thursday night, after a long ride following Motorhead. He drove JK's motor home, and I drove his Jeep. We slept in a secluded cherry field that first night: Motorhead, me, Bonnie and Bill. It was kinda like a Walton's episode with a round of 'Good Nights'.

Friday came, and it was time to fly for Paul. He knew that he would be busier than even us for the next week, as a volunteer retrieve driver. Matty Senior, holder of the new Washington State record, having scored a flight to Idaho just the week before, set a plan: we would fly over the lake and head to Fourth of July Mountain, an appropriate goal for this July 4th day.

Motorhead, Bonnie, Bill, Langan, Scotty G and myself represented the Hawaii crew this day. The idea was to get high, head for the Walmart hill, and then scoot up the range to the mountain. Sounded great. I headed for the little blue room, finished my paperwork, and then strolled back to gear up. I got high, higher than Motorhead, and I was looking down on him when I arrived over the Walmart. Then I knew why: there was no lift to be found. Matty radioed that it was strong up on Fourth of July Mountain. So I eked my way around the corner, rode the rotor to the river, and then went on glide to land at the Soccer field LZ, with Bonnie and Bill and Langan. Scotty went to the other side and didn't make it back. Motorhead flew as far as he could go, and landed near the motorhome. Overall, a darn good day.

Saturday, the practice day, was cancelled due to it being on the 'strong side of windy'. Yes, Fireman went anyway, and did not quite make the regular soccer field LZ.

Sunday was our first task day, and it was Alex's first day here in a long time. I was coming off the high of the Friday flight, and was soon deflated by a 'sidehill' landing at Dead Coyote Flats, from where I then had to hike down to civilization, not fun. During that hike I came across a foul smell: no it wasn't me, I checked. Just down the non-trail, I found a dead deer. Yuk. I had to hike all the way to the LZ. Oh, Duck needs to be here for retrieves! Then at least we would get back before dark! Alex scooted past the power lines and skated downwind a short distance, and Jorge and Dave made it much farther, just short of goal.

Also on Sunday, Doug Hoffman, our former Hawaii sky god, showed up. He not only finished the task ahead of most, but when he flew over goal, he pulled a Forrest Gump, and kept on going. Ge didn't stop til Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a little short of the site record.

Monday was my biggest day, so far. I got up, and with a yell from Langan, I headed across the river to the flat lands. I didn't like Langan's line, so I veered off and it paid off. I made the start cylinder but I dirted out just at the first turn point. It was a good flight and I learned a lot. Jorge and Dave made 7 and 8 hour flights to goal. Dave actually had a catheter mishap, but he kept on flying: Super Dave. Again, Doug Hoffman showed up, flew the task to goal, and on his way back to the regular LZ he apparently dusted out on the flat side of the river. If he would just join a comp he'd probably easily be one of the top 10.

Tuesday, damn, I thought I would have this out before the flight, but since I dusted out early, I finally have some time to finish it up. We had a powwow with Alaska Jack, and he said to only try to learn a few things at a time. One of them was follow someone that you know is good, but won't leave you too far in the dust. Today I tried that, and ended up in the same dustpan as Alex, Jorge and 30 others that were all waiting for a van.

Bad news: Fireman Dave left us, after having some stellar flights, and I am sure he would have continued to add to his score. He had family obligations.

All in all, this is a great trip, and I am learning so much that I am planning on kicking Mad Dog down on the XC list. My new wing has become my best friend after staying open so far and feeling as solid as my old Sport 4. Chelan is not for everyone: it's big air. I am off to Walmart for more underwear … just sayin'.

Roll Call of Hawaii Pilots: Alex Colby, Fireman Dave Taratko, Jorge Atramiz, Doug SkyGod Hoffman, Reaper, Paul Motorhead Kunzl, Thom Sidehill Therrien, Bill Flystrong Hockensmith, Bonnie Bonkers Hobson, Chris Langan, Scotty Gee, Bill Morris. Also there are so many pilots here that have visited us, and many that will hopefully be visiting soon. Great to see and chat with all the big dogs here.

It's Time To Fly, Get Your Gear, and your Duster, and Go!


  1. And why, exactly, was Alex in the shitter with you? Or was that somehow a 'selfie'?

  2. I had to use this photo due to the fact that I could not get any air shots. I persuaded Alex to take this staged picture without the knowledge that it would be the color of my slightly off color story. After it was published he informed me that his mom reads this blog. So, to Libba and Libba only, I am sorry for forcing Alexander to take this picture. He took it under duress after I forced him to drink a few glasses of wine. I hope you enjoyed the update anyway. Aloha.