Monday, June 15, 2009

Gettin' it up this weekend on the Oregon Coast.

Leah and I--accompanied by Milo and Winston who, for the most part, got along smashingly--headed to Beverly Beach State Park for a few nights of camping. It was full capacity in the campgrounds. Friday's mild weather gave way to a rockin' thunderstorm with monsoon like rains Friday night after went to bed. Thunder and lightening! Winston and I stayed fairly dry in our cozy den in the back of the truck. But damn, did it rain. Long and hard.

Water was the theme of the trip. Shortly after arriving, the campers across the road from us had a little issue with their dog. While big and beautiful, this was her first time camping. As Leah walked Milo down the road, the dog saw him. From the back of the camp site, this dog launched toward the road, not yet quite aware that she is tethered to a stake in the center of the campsite. By the time she reached the end of her rope just short of the road, she was really jetting. Caught by the end of the rope while running full speed she was jerked by the neck so violently that her back end swung around, knocking into the 4x4 upright that held the fresh water spigot so hard that it broke the pipe off at the ground. It's amazing she wasn't injured.

Hilarity ensued as a well meaning but rather bumbling park ranger scratched his head and tried 101 things that did not help the situation. Apparently the protocol for how to shut the water off is not something that is well known. First there was unseen bubbling which spawned a small lake in the campsite, which with some digging became a full blown mini-geiser. Amusing to watch, especially since there was no danger to our camp site.

Once they did get it shut off, this meant no bathrooms in our circle. Luckily, the circles are tight, and the bathrooms/showers in D loop were close by.

In almost four years we'd never camped at Beverly Beach. We'll be back! Great beach access, which we took advantage of Saturday. I lugged a small amount of flying gear out with us, and set about staging a single handed show. While it might seem light a simple little hobby, the reality is that kites can be dangerous -- and the larger they are, the moreso. We don't have anything that counts as "really big," but it pays to learn safe habits early.

The wind was light and not always steady, which caused some problems with the Super Sled. I always put on the tube tails, and I flew our new twirling windsock on it, along with the small Gomberg line laundry I love so much. It dipped once, and a family of kiters nearby got one tangled in the tails. Everyone was pleasant, they were afraid they'd pissed "the big kiter" off, but I simply walked the line down enough so that we could untangle, and then I let her back up.

The Giant Ghost Delta rose toward the clouds with ease during her maiden voyage. It's a beautiful kite with long, fluttering tails of satin. The bottom is actually 11 foot wide, the tails are 30 feet long. Lesson: a delta has MUCH more pull than anything I've flown, which tends towards sleds, or parafoils which are flown using wrist straps so you don't really work with bare line. I had a new spool of 500 ft of line. I let out about half, I didn't want to have to reel it all back in. That's the sucky part. =-)

While working with the line to create a slack spot in which to create an overhand loop I thought I'd just wrap it around my finger, and... bad idea. This kite pulls enough in light wind that if a gust came up, injury could occur. Okay, no more using body parts to anchor things.

I used one large sand anchor to hold both kites; as the sled and delta have vastly different flight angles this worked easily. I need to get more so I can space them out. Thankfully, I learned how to make an overhand loop to secure a line at any point, and I tend to also want a "safety" around my spool just in case. So I connect two of the lines of the sand anchor through the spool using a carabiner.

It's amazing what you can do with just two knots: the lark's head and the overhand loop.

Here is two really bad iPhone snap from my vantage point sitting by the sand anchor.

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