|The Blob above the bed.|
Gary’s Two-Place Record
|Elsie - Pete's new friend.|
|The Mesquite - It's Everywhere|
|Gemini on the Runway in Zapata.|
We Fly Again in Zapata
With Gary and Christine gone, we are now down to the hard core, or as Mike Barber says, those “too stupid to stop”: Davis, Mike and myself with our respective drivers and Russell to pull us up. To emphasize our folly, we had once again been rained upon the previous night, and the radar had shown considerable precipitation north of the airport en route towards Laredo. With that in mind we hesitantly went out to the airport with no great expectations. But Zapata can also provide pleasant surprises, and cumulus clouds soon began to form and line up into the characteristic streets. And despite my wariness, the clouds looked like they ought to have lift under them. Russell then took up the tug, returning to report good lift below a cloud base already at 2,400 agl.
With our gliders already set up in the hangar, it didn’t take us long to begin moving. I followed a hyper Mikey out to the runway (temporarily stopping the flight ops of the local radio control model club’s gigantic 1/3 scale planes) and we quickly readied ourselves to go. Just before eleven Mike launched, followed by me, while the performance challenged Davis eventually chose not to launch.
|Our near daily dining spot - The Steak House|
|Barogram of Pete's flight - low save early, below 700' for 15 minutes|
Knowing that we are running out of time in this paradise, and not wanting to squander my good low save, I decided to keep going and see what would happen. The winds were light, but the clouds were becoming increasingly good so I headed north for Uvalde, hoping to get past there to Leakey for about 200 miles. In the end, after getting to 8,700 msl,, but with the clouds drying up I missed a final climb and landed in a beautiful field north of Uvalde for 165 miles (IGC file). The landing was a perfect one-stepper which was good because I had forgotten to bandage my leg before flying, and six hours of friction had rubbed the wound raw before gluing it to my shorts. You can imagine what happened when I unzipped the harness and exercised my legs.
David arrived within minutes, and after fetching dressings for the leg, we hurried back to Zapata, arriving in time get dinner at The Steak House, the semi-official WRE cafeteria.
|Pete with Ms. Pre-Teen Falcon Lake runner up|
Independence Day, and Delusions of Freedom
After the previous evening’s downpour, we today decided to bag flying, with Davis going one step further. Unable to resist the lure of Austin nightlife, he broke down his glider and began preparations for departing for there tomorrow morning. That will leave only Mike and me; and tug driver Russell will be leaving on Wednesday. It would appear that we are about done for this year.
But of course Faye, a retired 747 pilot, is also a rated tug pilot in what she refers to as our “flying lawn chairs”. And Robin Hamilton has called to assure us that the weather really, truly is again resetting after the prolonged interruption occasioned by Tropical Storm Arlene. All we need to do, he promises, is to hang on until the weekend when things will be back to what passes for normal in the twilight zone that is Zapata.
Stay tuned…the zombie lives.