Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Blowing Like Stink

Dean and I drove through the Blue Mountains on the day after Christmas and slowly made our way southwest to Deniliquin. It was an interesting, but long, drive.

It has been windy since I arrived in Deniliquin for the Australia Open. I am staying in nice room at the Deniliquin Golf Leisure Resort. The practice day was blown out but I drove out to the tow paddock to check it out. It is nothing but a large expanse of dry grassland. The car was blastered with splattered grasshoppers. They were so thick that their guts were slowly driping off the car 30 minutes later. Foul. We purchased some window screen to keep the radiator from plugging up.

I saw a couple of kangroo in the state park that is right behind the golf resort. I also saw a small hedgehog/porcupine animal with a name I don't remember right now. (The little critter is called an echidna. Thanks Linda for helping me out!)

The first day of the meet was also blown out. Maybe I can fly tomorrow. Maybe.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas, Part 2

It was blowing hard all last night, so I wasn't surprised by the howling wind on launch this morning. While I waited for the conditions to improve, I drove to the McDonalds in Heathcote to connect to the internet using their WiFi service. It was still blowing but several members of the German team had set up their gliders but were still waiting. I picked up Dean and we found a pocket in the back of the park that was relatively calm so we could work on our gliders. I was tying down my glider with Kip and Carolyn pulled in. Kip was in town for the Hobart race that starts tomorrow morning. We had lunch in the park before returning to launch. It was still blowing hard (10 - 35 mph), but several people had waited long enough. For some strange reason I stayed on the ground with about 1/2 of the pilots and helped the other half launch. The pilots that flew had a good time zipping around in the strong air. Brett Hazlett from Canada was very smooth with his high-speed dives. Dustin Martin, fellow USA team member was startled but unfazed by a broken VG cord in the middle of a loop. There was a lot of usual post-flying chatting in the LZ later. Maybe I can fly before we leave for Deni tomorrow. Maybe.

Friday, December 24, 2004


It's Christmas day here as I sit in a McDonalds parking lot typing this entry. McDonalds is one fo the few WiFi hotspots in this area. Dean and I had dinner in the park at Stanwell last night and listened to an outdoor concert of Jazz-style Christmas music. We met some more nice people around the breakfast table at the B&B this morning. We both hope to fly soon to test out our equipment. It was really blowing last night and the skies are cloudy right now.

I promise I will post some pictures once I get a better Internet connection.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The head of my bed at the Tudor Lodge is directly under a double window that faces east towards the ocean. All night long I heard the waves crashing onto the shore. The birds joined in as day broke ensuring that I would not be sleeping in today. I decided to talk a walk down to the beach and met Dean heading out to do the same thing. It was obvious I was not at home; I was walking on the beach in shorts shortly after sunrise watching a few lone surfers working the waves while listening to crashing waves and tropical birds. After a really nice breakfast we set about finishing the chores we didn't complete yesterday.

During our drive back to Stanwell Park on Tuesday evening, we decided the current PVC glider rack was too flimsy. So we headed back to Sydney. We stopped at a huge mall in Miranda to get our cell phones, maps, and a few other things. All the holiday shoppers were out in full force buying everying that wasn't nailed down! Dean picked up some profressional grade film at a camera store and a glider part at the Moyes factory before we headed back to Stanwell.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Dean and I had plans to knock off a long chore list today so we could then play during the rest of our stay in Sydney. After sitting in traffic for over an hour it became obvious our plans were already shot. We did pick up our rental car, complete with sleeping bags, pads, tent, and cooking gear. Dean plans to use the stuff after we leave Sydney. Our next stop was the Moyes factory. As usual, we were greeting like family and, as usual, we ended up spending the rest of the day there. Bret Haslett turned out to be the person that test flew my new glider and said it flew nice. Dean's glider had not shown up yet, so we took off for a trip to the hardware store and lunch at Coogee beach. Dean could not believe the "organization" at the hardware store. Only pictures will explain that comment! The beach was also refreshing, especially since it was snowing at home. Once back at the factory, we built a PVC rack for the gliders and headed to the Tutor Lodge in Stanwell for the evening. The B&B and the owners are really nice.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Finally made it to Sydney. Dan, the security official at customs turned out to be a hang gliding pilot and told Dean and I that we just missed an awesome day at Stanwell. Although I was a little bummed, I decided I already had enough flying for one day. Spent the night at the "Hotel Ibis Sydney Airport". Funky Euro-Asian style rooms. I'll try to post a picture.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


I will not complain about the long lines at Logan anymore after spending hours in unbelievable lines at LAX on Sunday morning. I stood in line 1 hour just to check in. Then I stood for 45 minutes so I could give my bags to security. Then I stood for 1.5 hours in a line that started outside, went the length of the terminal building, looped back around, went inside up the stairs and then back 1/2 the length of the terminal building just to get through the gate security. Once inside, things were a little more sane. I meet Dean Funk when he got off the plane, grabbed a quick meal, and boarded our 14 hour flight to Sydney.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

American Airlines

I originally had purchased a reasonable flight that left Boston at 7:30 am, stopped over at LAX for 2.5 hours and then proceeded to Sydney. Then American Airlines decided to move flight from Boston to LAX to 8:00, which then made the transfer time at LAX too short. Since they could not change the LAX to Sydney flight, they forced me to depart Boston a day early so I could make the flight to Sydney. They would not pay for the hotel in Los Angeles or store my luggage so I wouldn't have to claim it, drag it around and recheck it the next day. Sigh.

I arrived at Logan airport in Boston the day before as planned and checked in. After a brief meal I discovered the 3:45pm flight was delayed until sometime after 8:00pm. Sigh. It is now 4:35pm. There is a flight to LAX at 5:30, but the counter personnel said it was full. However, I just learned there was some room for standby passengers. So I signed up for standby, but not before I was 23 in line. Sigh. Then I found out they were having problems with my harness bag because it was an odd size.

Needless to say, I am not thrilled with American Airlines right now and I have not even left Boston yet!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Time to go!

It is just about time to leave for 6 weeks of competitive flying. I have stuffed my two bags as full as I dare, made the last change to my harness, and cleaned up the last remnants of my radio headset construction mess. First flying stop is Stanwell Park, a coastal site just south of Sydney. On December 26, I drive inland about 8 hours to Deniliquin, site of the Australian Open / Nationals. After that I drive about an hour north to Hay for the 2005 Worlds. If I survive that, I move onto the Bogong Cup for some foot launching in the mountains. After that I'll drag my tattered body back home to rest up (and earn some money) for the spring competitions in Florida.