Richard McDermott: While in Southern California I thought to myself that Albert Hammond lied when he wrote the song "It Never Rains in Southern California", but after listening to the song the next line gets it exactly right! "It pours." Not a problem for super host Patrick Joyce! While it rained all day Friday Patrick, Chris, Grace and I spent the day parawaiting by bowling, playing pool, playing Camel Cup (it's a real game, look it up!), and ended the day with a little Texas Hold'em. Saturday arrived and we loaded up Patrick's trusty Toyota Tacoma with camping gear and paragliders and headed out to chase some wind. Some hours and many miles later we found ourselves in the very friendly confines of the Crestline Soaring Society (San Bernardino) flight club. The clouds parted just long enough for us to get an extended sledder from Marshall launch 2300 ft above the bright green LZ below. Grace had the flight of the day! She made a right off launch and found lift! Second to launch and last to land! We set up camp excited by the forecast for Sunday which called for South winds that would be perfect for a big day!
We awoke to a dismal rain and low overcast clouds. We had been betrayed by the forecast! Undaunted, Patrick rallied the troops and off we went to chase some coastal wind just North of LA at a site called Bates. When we arrived at approximately noon the locals were already setting up and some were in the air! We quickly setup with Patrick launching first, followed by Chris, then Grace. The small ridge was crowded and the conditions were light making it difficult to maintain, so each of them landed on the beach and quickly started the hike back to launch. After waiting a few minutes I tried my luck on the ridge and was fortunate to join two other pilots working the ridge. After making what seemed like 100 passes I was finally able to gain a comfortable height above the ridge. High enough in fact to cross the gap back to launch for a top landing! After we all launched a second time and landed on the beach we ran into some locals that suggested we head to Round Mountain.
Trying to beat yet another front we began the hike up Round Mountain. Our two new friends had made it to the top (along with Grace and Patrick) and were all laid out and ready to launch when we heard a loud speaker from below "You are trespassing on private property! Turn around immediately and return to your vehicles." As it turned out the police were very polite and friendly but that is the way the trip ended for this Monkey. I returned to the campground, spent a great evening under an awning in the rain around the fire enjoying the company of great friends!
Thank you to the Crestline Soaring Society, Patrick, Chris, and Grace! Love the Monkeys!
We are a group of paragliding pilots based in the St. Louis area.