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Catching a break at Wyoming’s South Pass.

Since our last entry, we’ve had a wonderful three days with our friends in Wyoming. Catching up, getting tours of the area, and feeding giant trout in the Sinks Canyon, we were kept busy and happy. As difficult as it can be to leave sometimes, there is a quiet solace we find in the open road. Most days, at least. The day we rode across Wyoming and Utah to Salt Lake City was nothing but loud chaos. Fighting 40mph gusting head- and crosswinds was mighty exhausting, to say the least. Nothing much you can do but keep your head down and hope the semis don’t blow into your lane.

Taking a breather at a Utah rest area after a ferocious battle with the wind.

Once we got into Park City, we took the route through Provo Canyon to miss the bulk of the traffic up in SLC. We stopped for a bite to eat at a delicious Chinese restaurant on our way to the South Side of the Point of the Mountain, where we were going to be camping for the next few days. Our campground neighbors were two NYC guys who were freshly minted P2 pilots; they were sticking around for a couple more days to get in a few more flights. Ross and Tyler lead interesting lives, compared to our ideas of normal. Ross captains sailboats all over the world and Tyler lives on a sailboat and builds furniture for a living. They were incredibly interesting to chat with, whether it was while flying model airplanes over a gaping hole in the ground or discussing ‘para-waiting’ activities under the stars.

Some of these ‘para-waiting’ activities (which are basically things to do about town while waiting for favorable flying conditions) include a post-flight brunching at a cafe at the local prison, catching up on a few films at the dollar theatre, taking $4 showers at a nearby private campground (let’s just say we only did that once), or hanging out in the upstairs of a nearby grocery store updating our blog.

Britt on the inaugural flight with her new wing.

When conditions were actually good for flying, we tried to get in as much as possible. Brittany has a new-to-her wing, a Swing Arcus 6 Compact, that we’ve discovered might be a little big for her, at least in high-wind conditions. But after kiting it for a bit on a mellow day, she was able to get two flights off (before letting frustration get the best of her). The first flight saw her landing in shrubs as she wasn’t used to the extended glide ratio of this wing. The second flight went perfectly (but, naturally, we forgot to film it). She attempted to kite it on another day with higher winds, which just ended up with her getting dragged around (hence the aforementioned discovery). Teachable moments!

Ehren just after launch.

Ehren got in a ton of flights (well, eight, to be exact) and is becoming more and more confident in his ablilities with each successful landing. He flies an Ozone Buzz (the original Buzz, circa 2004), which he has flown since before getting his P2 rating, so he is incredibly comfortable with the way it handles. He has been working on getting closer and closer to the hill, finding the lift bands and working on his crabbing. He is also bettering his ground handling skills, manuevering his wing from side to side, and being able to tap the ground with the wing tips and recovering (a good skill to have for cliff launches).

With this sport (like any) there’s always room for improvement, and we are looking forward to applying and improving what skills we have at the different flying sites and conditions that we will come across along our way south.

South Side? More like ‘Cold White North’ side to me.

We will be heading to Nevada soon, even though the recent snows and cold temps we’ve had (with more to come!) seek to discourage us. Another update should be posted before we cross the border into Baja, entailing the remainder of the U.S. portion of our trip. We’ll see ya then!

Ehren and Brittany

 
 

4 Comments

  1. Rebecca D Knowles says:

    Our hearts hurt for you two at the news today of a tragic accident in Bemidji. Britt, your mom has been our beautician and friend for 17 years. We’ve been looking forward to following your elefants! May the grace of the universe hold you closely. Sincerely, Becky and John

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      We deeply appreciate your sentiments, Becky and John. We’ve been bowled over by the outpouring of support from far and wide. My mom let me know how many people have left her messages and stopped by the shop to send their condolences. Vicki was the foundation of the Inkel family, and we crumbled when we heard that she was gone.
      —Britt

       
  2. Julia Waldsmith says:

    I didn’t know anything about this tragedy until reading this post, my heart breaks for you and the Inkel family. My heart is with you both, wishing you peace and comfort at this time.

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      Thank you, Julia, for your heartfelt words. It was a shock to all and it will take a little time to help my dad out with all the paperwork that follows, along with getting him back on his feet. We are looking at leaving again in late August/early September as we have our bikes stored in San Diego with every intention of completing the trip, especially for my mom as she was one of our biggest supporters (as mothers always are).
      —Ehren

       

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