Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Land Sailing

Arrived Friday about noon, emptied the trailer somewhat furiously, as the wind was building. Assembled the Rocket first, and blasted off on another gleeful cruise over my favorite piece of real estate on the planet.

This ride heralds the beginning of a week of non stop breeze that would please most any sailor. The rigs keep rolling onto the playa, and eventually we have a record turnout. All the regulars appear, and a few new as well. The boats roll out and back in, adjustments are made, repairs when necessary.

Saturday breeze builds throughout the day, til I'm running the smallest sail on Scooter, making careening dives downwind, with a white knuckled, terror induced tension, that's interspersed with burst of giggling. Hanging on in those conditions is the stuff of my dreams, and I'm living 'em! By sunset the gps reads a top speed of 62.8 mph, and I roll back into camp just in time to dine with my compadres, another in a series of gourmet meals miraculously produced here in the wilderness.

Sunday has everyone fully geared up, and the course flags are up. Boats are on and off the playa all day, with the big boats off to tour the entire lakebed. Glenn finds the biggest ruts on the playa, and his rear axel succumbs. Phil's wing malfunctions and finds it's way to the dirt. Rescue vehicles are dispatched, and all are returned safely, if the boats have suffered. Spirits remain high, and evening life around the fire still sparkles. Ah, what a fine group of crazies I am blessed to be a part of!

Starting to get partially satiated on sailing, so we start to explore the basin on bikes. Will brought his new WR250, and I drug along a couple more, one to share with my motorhead buddies. We find a loop over a pass north of Micky Hot Springs, a road that runs up the east side of the lake, a few two tracks into the bluffs on the other side of the lake. Maybe an evening blast to the hills just above the playa for the sunset. A perfect compliment for landsailing, certainly for a guy who needs fairly constant fun input.

Midweek the turning block in Johnny's Rocket's mainsheet system tears free of the bulkhead, I do a dirty repair, which also fails, so the big boat is down for the count. But the Mini Skeeter is finally getting dialed in, and we're beginning to get some friendly competition going, with a strong six boat fleet. Turns out it's a real gas to run a course with,craft so closely matched, and we chase each other around for hours at a time.

Eventually everyone's filled their cups, and the last of us pack up Thursday morning, and some of us head for the other side of the Steens, for some more exploring and a bit of fish wrangling. Will and I run the Steens Mountain Loop, and brave some snow cover near the top. Spectacular views of the playa, and numerous deep gorges carving westard into the high country, are on tap.,

I saddle up Friday morning for a leisurely drive northward thru the Great Basin, back to my cozy home in TumTum, with a bagfull of sweet memeories.

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