I left for the
airport at 4:15 AM. I wanted to arrive an hour and a half before my flight. The
lines at the counter and security were almost nonexistent. I have not flown
commercial since September 11, so the security measures were new to me. I did
observe what I would call “reverse profiling”. The people who were consistently
pulled out of line for additional screening never matched what I would think a
terrorist would look like. They were always white males or Asian females. I was
pulled out of line twice for additional searches. My shoes were inspected twice.
Interestingly I saw at least 10 men who looked of middle eastern decent who were
not pulled aside. I guess they did not want to offend them.
The flight from San Jose to Dallas was pretty good. We had light turbulence most of the way. I like being able to feel the texture of the air. There is a certain calming aspect that comes with the bumps. I guess it reminds me of hang gliding: the smoother the air, the more likely I am to get a sled ride. As we came over Texas, small cu’s were starting to form. And there were LZ’s and retrieval roads everywhere! Cloud bases were about 3,000’ and the clouds looked spaced well enough to glide from cloud to cloud. These clouds continued on across the south into Alabama. From there we were in and out of the clouds at 37,000’ until Florida. The conditions over Florida looked pretty good. Our landing at Dallas sucked. The pilot slammed all the wheels on the runway at once, no flare. The landing in Orlando was much better.
I signed up for my rental car, and when I found it, the roof rack was missing. I had to go all the way back to the rental counter and ask for a different car. The guy at the counter said he had never seen a mini-van with a roof rack, and I said I had never seen one without. He gave in and I got another car. My driver (Bob Blazer) and I headed out to find our motel and Wallaby. But what’s up with this, a toll road! What the hell is a toll road doing in Florida (we don't have them in California). Another $2.50 later we were at the motel.
After dumping off a bunch of our junk, we set out to find Wallaby. There must be some dopey law in Florida against signs, because all Wallaby has out front is a mail box with numbers on it about 2” tall that say 1805. That’s it. It’s a good thing there was still light out or we would have missed it. We found the office, met Tiki and Lori, signed up, picked up the pilot's package (goody bag), and went looking for my glider. We located it next to all the other new Atos’ that had just come in from Germany. There was a small hole in the lid. I set up the glider and found no damage. Putting the competitor's numbers on the glider was a little test they make you go through to see how coordinated you are. I am number 43 for the comp. There were about 100 gliders set up all around the Ranch. They leave them set up and tied to a cable that runs along the side of the runway. Lots and lots of motor homes, trailers and tents. Things are getting interesting.
Tomorrow we will set out in search of a hardware store so we can build the rack on the rental car.
PS I found Rich (a fellow competitor and also a member of Sonoma Wings) today. He is still waiting for his glider.