Saturday, October 6, 2018

October Land Sailing

Thursday Keith, Sally and I spend the morning hiking from our west side camp, then pack up and make the (relatively) short drive to the Alvord. We're the first to arrive, and we dive into to setting up housekeeping on the playa. A lovely evening on Barbara's deck, enjoying good food, libations, conversation and her stunning views, energizes us for the fun to come.
The following day dawns clear and warm, Keith assembles US 2000, I explore on two wheels, and our compatriots begin to arrive throughout the day. By evening, a breeze arrives, and those with boats (mine awaits the arrival of the Eisenlohr Express) initiate the sailing. John has his new wingboat rolling, and announces it a success. He graciously offers it to me, and I tool around the playa in the fading light, sporting a monster grin.
Saturday opens the floodgates, and we have arrivals from Illinois, California, Iowa, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. Scott arrives with a trailer full of Mini Skeeters, and we assemble them with purpose, as the breeze is on. Soon camp is a flurry of activity as sailors settle in and gear up.
We eventually count 12 Mini Skeeters, five big boats, and a variety of other small boats. The playa is soon abuzz with casual racing around the marks, as well as freestyle touring on the big, largely smooth surface. Plenty of sailing to suit all comers. By evening, we're satiated, and assemble for the first of many glorious group meals, often hosted by Phil and Vicki, Bruce and Tami. What a magnificent group of crazies!
The wind shows up every day, and John continues his impressive streak of days sailed without a skunk, 45 now. We get a big wind day early in the week, which allows a full throttle, Phil Rothrock lake tour. All participants return with smiles, even though Phil returns with a less that straight mast. Another wonderful evening and 360 degree sunset sky. All sleep well.
Wednesday afternoon presents showers all around the playa, and by evening the sprinkles find camp. A few with schedules pull out at dark, and just beat the serious stuff. By morning it's dangerous to even walk, as the mud sticks ferociously to shoes as well as tires. So we wait for the rain to abate, and folks choose their window for escape as the showers diminish.
Thursday evening the sun finally shows again, and by Friday morning I and the other stragglers finally stuff all the gear back into the rigs, and bid the playa a fond adieu, with silent thanks for the gifts we've received.
Written by Dave Farmer of Spokane WA. Regularly sails on Flathead Lake, MT, and Laake Spokane, WA., as well as an active ice and land sailor.

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