We just went through a cold snap down here in Houston. The temps got down to below freezing and it was downright miserable here for a little while. That was last week, we doubled up our gloves and put on long john undies and sledded all day long. It was great. By Friday of the next week, the temp was back up into the 80’s. I wasn’t able to go fly Friday but I heard through the grapevine that it was an epic day of soaring.
Fastforward to Saturday, 1/14/17, the day started out with really low clouds and some high cirrus blanketing it all in. It didn’t get as hot as it did Friday but it was up into the upper 70’s and the wind was blowing 12-15 outta the SE. Ted flew first and was able to get a slightly extended flight. Then by 0200 I was on the cart and getting ready to launch. The Cirrus up high was backing off, and there were some streets building up on both sides of the Cowboy Up compound.
Boy oh boy the launch was bumpy and it turned out to be a bumpy ride all the way up to release. Tiki dragged me east toward a promising cloud and a group of black vultures, it was almost far enough east to be crossing the Colorado River. Anyways, I get waved off into a primo-bitchin thermal. BLLEEEEEEP BLEEEEEEP went my vario as I was sent up in some solid 600ft up. The black vultures and I explored around and we cored up the good stuff, 800ft up on the averager! I couldn’t believe it 8-9 on the averager, and I was getting spikes up to 1200fpm. I had my hands full, and I hadn’t even pulled in my tow bridle or messed around with my VG yet. It was ON!!! I love those times when my vario has been pegged out so far that it comes up from the bottom, that is what it is all about! This thermal was wide and abundant. I out flew the vultures as I climbed in this sweet south Texas winter thermal.
Once I topped out at nearly 5 grand (4800′) I flew around the sides of the clouds and looked at my options. There were some more decent looking clouds to the east, and there was a lot of promise to the south. I was grinning ear to ear and I looked down and there was LJ getting off tow. He was like a little spec down there. Anyways, I finally got him on the radio as I watched him thermal with a Bald Eagle.
So I waited around for LJ to get up to my altitude but he was taking a little longer than I did, he must not have had the same elevator ride like I had. So in this time we drifted South and we finally decided to go for it.
The lift was getting weaker and weaker as we went on. Way up above the cirrus was filling back in. I had been spoiled by the freaking epic first thermal of the day and couldn’t ever find something again of that caliber. We made a down wind dash and we both came up empty and ended up landing about 12 miles away down in Egypt, Texas. It was such a good time and I had a blast.
Being able to walk again like normal, after my surgery, without pain, my life has changed. I knew I was risking it going XC on my ankle, but I was in good spirits, I felt good, the day was ON, so I went with it and had a perfectly safe landing.
As I broke down a big ole’ Brahma Bull came out to see what I was doing. Every time I turned my back, he would walk up on me!
Thanks to Holly for the retrieve!
I had such a good day with great friends! Thanks Cowboy Up! It was good to see Makbule flying, and Ted came down from Austin and had the longest flight of the day @ 1hour and 30min. Mickmasters was there, LJ of course, and Sir Rich. What a day, JANUARY SOARING !!!