It’s been ten days since the end of the Nationals, and a little over a week since I stumbled out of Mike’s van at Grove City and drove myself back home. In that time, I’ve managed to shake off the bug-eyed wandering prophet’s stare that I had going for a few days—oh, you think, these people in this grocery store parking lot, the wonders they will never comprehend in their lifetimes! A good night’s sleep and a week back at work do wonders to set your feet back on the ground.
With that, it’s well past time for:
Heartfelt thanks to Mike Robison for allowing me to join him on this amazing adventure, and to his brother Joe for his excellent crewing and good companionship. Thanks to John Godfrey (QT), Tip Russell, Reba Coombs, and the rest of the Nationals personnel for running a fantastic contest; thanks to John again and the task advisors for great tasks in a variety of weather conditions; and thanks to Doug Armstrong and Stewart Tattersall for describing those conditions in such thorough detail. Thanks also to Laurie Harden of Soaring NV and Bobbi Thompson and Mountain Mike Harbison of the Minden-Tahoe airport for their seemingly effortless operational support.
Last but not at all least, thanks to the contestants for a great contest and for the fun times we enjoyed when we weren’t flying.
Day 5 (remember, we’re counting from 0 on this blog; it’s the sixth day of racing). It got windy, but that didn’t keep us out of the air, or these birds for that matter (you may have to click to see them).
We spotted those guys northbound while flying south to Desert Creek Peak at the end of today’s task.
Check out Rick Indrebo final gliding into the finish after the fifth day’s task! We ended at the same time, from roughly the same direction, so we went in side-by-side. I shot this photo, which you should click to view full-size:
At last—here is an overview video of Day 2 at Minden! We’ve been flying with a GoPro camera suction-cupped to the canopy, and occasionally it manages to work. On a four hour task, it can just barely capture the whole thing before we land.
That’s a lot of video, so I wrote a program that pulls out three second clips from every two minutes of footage, then joins them together. You can spot all kinds of interesting stuff in this summary video: soaring near virga, Mono Lake, the Sierra Crest, and more. Enjoy!
With luck, I’ll have another video like this one for today’s task.