Elk Mountain to Dixon

Sunday I headed for High Glade along the back ridge after watching Rich and Vince losing lots of altitude going to Pitney. The only trouble was, the second half of the day hadn’t turned on yet and I was forced to land on the road on the ridge top after 6.2 miles. They, of course, climbed back out and were over the back of Bartlett soon thereafter.

Monday was a different story. Here it is.

Donna, my good friend and driver extrordinaire, was chasing. That morning, we learned that Kurt had gone far the day before. Just how far is far enough, right Kurt? Today I launched after Kurt into a nice thermal at 1:40 and by 1:53 I was at 7300′ and headed for the backside of Pitney and forming the cu’s there. I stayed above 6000′ till over High Glade fire tower, where I dropped to 5500′. I had to come back out front to find 500 up, to 7000′. All the clouds were over the back over Twin Valley and Goat Mt. so that’s where I went.

At 6000′ just past the big LZ at the bottom of Twin Valley I climbed under a cloud to 7600′ then up on to Pacific Ridge, staying over the sunny slopes that weren’t being shaded by the massive development on Goat Mt.

After 1 hr. I was only 12 miles out. I climbed to 9300′ over Horse Rock on the southern end of Pacific Ridge. I sent Donna to the Hwy 20 / Bear Valley Rd. intersection, knowing I at least would make Bear Valley. She gassed up my rig on the way.

I followed the clouds past the north end of Indian Valley Reservoir, out under a nice cu which took me back to 9300′ over the north end of Bear Valley. I glided across Bear to the north end of Cortina Ridge where Hwy 20 drops into the Central Valley. Donna is at the Hwy 20 /16 split a few miles away. There are nice clouds around but it takes me a while to find a decent core to get high enough with so I feel comfortable with the jump to Rumsey at the north end of Capay valley. At Lytle Mt., just before the gap, I climb to my max altitude for the day of 9469′ with what I believe was the Duo Discus sailplane from Crazy Creek under me. I top out cross the gap and climb to 9400′ again in another beautiful thermal and cu. The sailplane is following me. He comes in again lower but closer this time maybe 200 feet separating us. I top out at cloudbase and head south. The sailplane comes in along side me for a final wave before pealing off toward Crazy Creek. After 3 hrs. I’m only 45 miles out.

I glide south down the Blue Ridge but the clouds are all but gone and I need 40 more miles to set a new record!! A little cu forms over Canterbury Mt. on the secondary ridge behind Blue Ridge. I get there at 3800′ 60 miles out and climb slowly to 7000′, drifting SE in light NWsterly winds. Donna heads for Winters on I 505 to my SE. After 4 hrs. I’m 67 miles out.

There is a little wispy cu forming over I 505 2 miles south of Winters so I go there. I’m at 3000′ when I get there but find nothing as it dissipates. I can see I 80 to my south and know if I cross it I’ll be real close to a new record. There’s fields and roads everywhere so I Go for It.

Down to 2000′ a few miles from Dixon and I 80 I find some lift over a line of plowed fields and climb to 3200′ as I drift across I 80. I punch up my distance page and I’m at 82 miles out. Yahoo!, the record is mine. Donna is under me driving through town using me as her Airstar navigation system as I glide for another 8 miles and land at the intersection of Levee and King Rds. A good omen in my mind for the King meet later this summer.

It’s 6:34 and I’m 90.5 miles out!! 4hrs. 54min.

Thanks Donna.

– Scot

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