Ahhh- POISON OAK!
Yeah, you know the story...
I was flying at Eastside Four Corners, minding my own business, enjoying a weak but workable thermal with my Shredder (what an amazing plane.. Mark Grand is a GOD!) and, so what do you do when you have five-hundred feet of altitude at your fingertips?! Dive! Speedrun! Buzz the LZ! Hey, its kinda sinky down here, uh, crashing on the left...
Well it was all over before you could think about it, so, collapse the antenna and go searching. I spent about 45 minutes below the lip, around the tree thats down the hill, but no Shredder to be found. My boots are starting to fill up with wood debris and my hands are bloody from raspberry vines (ya hate 'em, right?). No plane. I walk over to the hard left of the hill. No Shredder anywhere..
Roger Jennings (aka SSCB, or "slopestud crybaby") called me on the cell phone and said " I see it!". The Shredder had somehow followed the contour of the slope all the way to the far, far left. If you know the hill (Homestead Hill on Google Earth) theres a damp/dry creekbed that runs north from the left-side LZ. Its overgrown with what must have been dormant PO. I struggled downb to it for about 15 minutes, and got the Shredder. No damage, thank god.
NOW- here comes the tricky part. I tried to go back the direction I came, but it was just too overgrown and steep. I made it about 50 feet and had to pause. I was making such slow headway it would take me an hour to emerge. The only answer was to go back down into the creek, cross it, and make it out to a clearing on the opposite bank, and come out that way.
It wasnt easy, but it was easier. I was swimming in sweat and covered with scratches by this point, and it had been well over an hour since I started looking. Each step was a tangle of eye-gouging branches and crawlers trying to clothesline me. Roger Jennings (lets hear it for Roger. 73 years old, just survived surgery for a concussion from falling off his mountain bike) was calling directions for me that looked clearer, since some of the brush was at my eye level. I finally broke into the clrear and was huffing and puffing like an idiot. I seriously gotta do some aerobics this year.
Anyway, everyone was waiting for me to emerge from the brush. I washed off with some Tecnu down at the car, but the ol' PO hook was set.
Today, Monday, my eyes are swollen, I have this patch of skin behind my left ear thats leaking some kinda yellow crust, and I'm itching all over. my arms are red from the elbow down.
So- do I tackle cleaning off the Shredder right away?
Just FYI, the hot setup to get PO out of your clothes is to wash them with Formula 409. I get the generic "Purple-Power" from Kragen, but its all Butyl Cellulsolve. I washed my clothes twice in it just to be sure, but I dont know what to do about my boots, as I'm sure theyre LOADED.
What probably really helped the PO get me was I couldnt get to a shower right away, as I had to go to a party at a friend of my wifes, the MIllers, who live in the Eastbay. To make matters worse, thier seven year old daughter Audrey beat me 10-7 in airhocky...Next time, you little smartypants..Hey, Meatloaf says two outta three aint bad.
Lessons: Put a beeper in it. Just put a beeper in it.
Also- in a pinch, the screen in your cell phone makes a handy signal mirror. Roger was calling me on the cell but coudnt see me at first. I pointed my index finger at him then made the refelction off of my screen flash on the back of my finger- Bingo, he instantly saw me, so when all else fails, improvise. That being said I should start carrying my whistle and a pocket sized signal mirror. You could easily fall hard on one of these searches and spend a few hours waiting for help even if you could call them.
Glad you found it and it was OK. We never show a picture of our field from the South looking North. http://www.rseahawks.org/Airfield12_14_06.htm
Beyond a tree line is what I call Never Never Land few if any have survived the snakes and alligators to find their plane.
I know how you feel but don't ask me how I know.
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