at 4,000' over Vaqueros Reservoir after contacting wave. Had some slow
climbs (2-4 knots) near the north east end of the reservoir in front of
a very strange rotor-ish cloud. We tried a few times in front of the
cloud but it was a bit of a mixed bag... a little further upwind (west)
was better. The clouds would form and disappear repeatedly - Buzz's
theory was that "burbles" were coming through every now and then. Likely
there there was also some convergence happening there too.
We climbed to 5,900' but I couldn't quite break 6,000'. With sunset
approaching we followed a line (convergence + wave?) towards Tracy. With
an easy run in 2 kts up we were getting closer to Livermore and some
really interesting clouds. We got to those clouds at about 5,000' but
with sunset closing in and having hit areas of 8-10 kts down we headed
back towards Byron.
Just south of the airport we hit some areas of 8 kts up! Buzz took the
liberty of demonstrating a wing over or two to help us bleed off a
Landing was a little interesting. We'd taken off on 23 but the AWOS was
saying winds at 280 degrees. We were clearly being blown downwind more
along the line of 23 and the ripples on the forebay seemed to agree with
this. Also we could see the clouds rolling over the hills in the line
of 23. So we didn't quite believe the AWOS and Buzz had us keep
listening to it to see if the reported winds would change.
We looked to the windsock but couldn't quite make it out (it was in
shadow now... getting time to land!) Since we had plenty of altitude we
overflew the field to get a better look. Sure enough, the windsock was
pointing more in line with 30. With the turbulence we'd been feeling as
we descended near the airport it seemed like there was some serious wind
shear with the winds up above the hills maybe 90 degrees from those on
We landed a little before sunset and Yuliy greeted us with "aren't you a
little early?" The flight was 2 hours and exceeded the battery capacity
of my Mio 400 GPS! That's a personal record for me. Many thanks to
Buzz for the great flight with some really interesting weather and the
FM for sticking it out when it looked like it might be time to close up
Buzz treated us to some planet gazing with his neato telescope. Very
cool to see the moons of Venus! Hopefully we can convince him to bring
it up to Truckee when the time is right!
As an astute reader pointed out, it was the moons of Jupiter that we
were looking at. Guess I could use another astronomy lesson ;)
Buzz writes:'we appeared to have some strong shearing at both the low
levels and upper levels as the frontal system was entering the area.
Sometimes you have to say " lift is where you find it" and stop thinking
Many many thanks to Sid and Dave for running an efficient operation and
going the extra distance to accommodate Mang late arrival. We all
agreed we were there to fly and made the best of things. Getting Mang
and I in the air after nearly shutting things down around 3 pm and Sid
for staying so late was not unnoticed. Mang and I were determined to
make it appear worth while by having a good flight and to make others
wish they had joined us.'