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Archive for June, 2014
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 24, 2014 @ 07:41 PM | 7,276 Views
We had a typical South Florida summer day. Light and variable direction Wind with brutal humidity and heat. On the plus side we did have our first “swap meet”. Lots of stuff the guys were trading off or just plain giving away was spread out around the cars. Because of the poor weather conditions, our turnout was on the poor side. We basically agreed to have another one next month, because of the turnout.
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Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 18, 2014 @ 09:45 PM | 5,640 Views
When I finished the blog for Day 8 of the trip. I thought I was finished. But now I am deluged with camera phone pictures from the trip. I thought I would put them all together and make one final blog posting . I weeded through them and here they are.
Thanks for the memories guys!
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Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 12, 2014 @ 10:34 PM | 6,384 Views
Tuesday was our final, full day in the Northwest. Doug (Winchdoc) and Mike (Gorgeflyer) had both expressed interest in meeting up with us. Because of that we choose Lumber as our last day. Even though it’s an uphill walk-in, it’s the easiest accessible slope from Hood River. After a quick breakfast at Nora’s table, we arrived just in time to meet Winchdoc on the road up to lumber.
We arrived to find lumber with near 30 mph winds and gusts over 40 mph. Sounded good at first, but the wind was “pulsing” which made launching, landing or flying near the slope a risky venture.
In spite of that, we flew everything we dragged up the hill. Except for me, who wanted to keep his MiniVec intact to take home. The weather did cause two causalities, Tom’s MinBlade lost its nose and Andrew’s MiniVec cracked behind the wing (all the MiniVecs seem to break there). Oh, and my Samurai lost its tail, but that didn’t count, because the nylon tail bolts just broke. I was really proud of Amadeo, one of our North West first timers. He flew everything he had, Blaze, Wicked, Moth and MiniVec. He was also feeling the effect of some breakfast oysters that didn’t sit well him. He flew the rough air with some light stuff and brought everything home intact.
Doug flew his Pace (with full ballast) and his Gizmo 36. Some impressive speed passes with the Pace. But, he left about 3PM to beat Portland traffic. Mike Stubbs was loaded with work and couldn’t make it. So the six of us we...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 10, 2014 @ 11:16 AM | 5,456 Views
Since Grayback was the furthest slope away, we left it as one our last slopes to visit. We awoke to the sound of choppers heading West in the gorge. There was a large forest fire, along the Washington side, across the river from Wygant State Park. We watched for quite a bit of time as the choppers dipped their buckets into the river and then flew to the hillside to stop the flames.
After everything was charged, we headed to Bette’s for Breakfast and then across the notorious Hood River Bridge. After a few miles Eastbound on Route 14, we encountered another fire. This time a small brush fire, that was under control. But we had to wait for traffic to go around the barricades before continuing.
It was a slow slog into Grayback, we brought both the 2x2 cars in (Cube and small Chevrolet SUV). There were several sections that needed rocks/dirt built up around small boulders for the 2x2’s to clear. We parked under our favorite tree and proceeded to fly. Conditions were weak at first, but built to very strong alpine lift. We had great fun getting all the foamies together formation flying and pulling “pumps” over Trout creek gorge.
We wrapped up at about 6PM, not knowing if they lock the gates to the preserve or not.
We cruised back to Hood and went to the Thai House where we met Mike Stubbs for Dinner.
Bill and Larry bid us adieu as they were leaving at 4AM in morning.
PS Tuesday, our final day, we’ll fly at Lumber. Mike hopes to meet us in the afternoon, once...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 09, 2014 @ 12:14 PM | 5,641 Views
Our slope for Sunday was the “original”Bald Butte. We started the day with a smoothie/juicer from a trailer in downtown Hood. Because we had two 2x2’s we had to make ferry trips up to the top in the two 4x4’s. The road had not improved since last year. The flying was awesome with a steady 15mph which built up to 20-25mph as the day wore on. We flew until the sun was too low on the horizon, about 6:30PM. We had a couple of causalities’, Larry’s Gulp disappeared behind the hill, much like the Rifle from last year. Amadeo’s MiniVec spun in and we found it after ½ hour search, it had minor damage. DJ got some fuse cracks on his small Jart and Rifle 1M on landings (I hate rocks!). Otherwise it was a successful trip.
We ended it with a trip to Double Mountain for Pizza and beer (Sinister 7, the replacement for the Ferocious Five). Of course the required stop for Mike’s ice cream was thrown in for good measure.
PS we are heading to GrayBack, above Klickitat on Monday....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 08, 2014 @ 11:23 AM | 5,340 Views
On Saturday we planned to fly The Dalles. Then move off to an inland slope once the afternoon thermals kicked off. First we stopped at Rowena and tried to fly the backside in Tom McCall preserve. It was tough flying with lift only in pockets and lots of down air. We then moved off to The Dalles site. The lift was so good, although a bit rough in close, and we stayed at The Dalles for the entire day. Lots or formation flying and some crazy landings on the “shelf” below the road.
Bill and Larry left early and tried to talk us into going for some wine tasting at the White House Winery.
We headed back to the house at 6:30PM and finally picked the Full Sail Brewery for our dinner.
Dinner was excellent.
PS still undecided for Sunday’s flying site....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 07, 2014 @ 11:29 AM | 6,410 Views
For Friday we decided to head to Bald Butte. There’s another Bald Butte site, North Bald Butte, which we have never tried. After eating breakfast at Egg River we had another late start. We had some trial and error finding the correct dirt road up to North Bald Butte. The road was actually passable by car. We actually got a car up it, Bill’s Cube, although there were skectchy areas of loose rocks on one incline.
We were rewarded with great views of Hood, St Helens, Rainier and Adams. Unfortunately, the approach area was filled with stumps which meant dicey landings. The lift was horrible. Several of the guys ended up walking down the slope for their planes. We also had one ‘tree landing”. Until the valley seemed to break loose with alpine lift around 3PM. After that, we could do no wrong. Speed runs around the trees with massive pumps out over the valley.
We broke camp at 6:30Pm and headed down to the Pfriem brewery for Salmon and Bratwurst dinners.
Another good day!
PS Thinking about The Dalles for the morning....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 06, 2014 @ 11:17 AM | 5,038 Views
Thursday found us taking our time getting to a slope site. After a leisurely breakfast at Bette’s we headed out to Klickitat. The conditions appeared good in the Gorge, but when we reached “Klick” we found the air very light. It was much more thermal/alpine lift than slope lift. We flew and then landed whenever the air got iffy or light. In spite of that, we had some great flying, lots of big pumps and group formations. The downside was that we lost 1-1/2 planes. One MiniVec (toasted) went down after getting caught in some light lift and a Wicked got a radio hit and ended up almost at the bottom of the slope (fixable).
At about 5pm we headed over to The Dalles to check it out. We found the conditions much better. Probably about 15 mph on the slope. We flew from the road until the setting sun drove us to shut down for the day. We closed out the day by heading back to Hood and our Favorite Mexican restaurant in the heights.
Tomorrow it looks like Bald Butte, or North Bald Butte....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 05, 2014 @ 01:44 AM | 5,184 Views
Wednesday started auspiciously with white caps showing on the river. We hit the Egg River café for a hearty breakfast. In the meantime, we had contact with WinchDoc and Tshires and planned a meeting at Lumber for noon.
Lumber was working well when we arrived with 15-20mph winds. We flew almost everything we had brought. We had no mid-airs or major crashes. Although, one member of our group, who will remain unnamed, did place his foamie in a tree. WincDoc brought up his Gizmo and Pace. He really pushed the limits with those birds. I maidened my MiniVec and was very impressed. I expected it to be decent aerobatic plane. I was stunned how smooth and fast it was and the rolls were very axial. It seemed more like a front side racer.
As the sun lowered on the horizon, the wind picked up. It was close to 30-35mph by the end of the day. We were forced to lead up our machines. I know Amadeo had filled his ballast tube and was thinking of adding lead to the wing tubes.
We stopped flying at 5:00 and headed down to Hood River to hit the hobby shop and our favorite Thai restaurant. After dinner, Winch Doc headed back to Portland and the Pompano crew headed back to the house for repairs and some shots of Fireball Cinamon Whiskey. The final highlight of the day, was having some Bald Eagles fly by the overlook as the sun set on the gorge.
PS planning for Klickitat tomorrow....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 04, 2014 @ 11:30 AM | 4,888 Views
We reached Hood River 2:30 on Tuesday. We promptly checked into our house over the cliff, Lucy's Overlook. Tom clocked winds of 57mph from the balcony of the house. Only 5 of us headed up to Lumber for afternoon/evening of sloping. Larry and Bill were still driving up from Northern CA.
On the way up to Lumber, we had some excitement, we passed a small Black bear. First bear I've seen in the NW.
After the required long upward trek up the backside of Lumber, we were greeted with 35mph winds. More than enough, thank you.
Amadeo, one of our two slope "noobs" on the trip, experienced his first slope flights and was smitten. There is no going back now Amadeo!
We finally called it a day at 6:30. The whole crew gathered at Double Mountain (Bill and Larry had arrived) to close out the day with pizza and brews.
As I wrote this Blog, we're heading to breakfast and then out to Lumber to meet Winchdoc and Tshires this afternoon.

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