I know this is written a day late but I was simply wiped out last night. We had a great Easter fly at the park yesterday morning. John and I had intended on getting to the park early and putting up the club banner and some of the other banners that I have for a ground display in honor of Easter. Well, John wasn’t feeling well when he woke up and decided it was best that he stay home. Of course that meant there was one less person to carry a kite bag. So plans were revised. I left the dragon kite bag at home and took an anchor and line bag and two long bags of kites and banners. Not too much to carry up the road.
There were already some fliers there when I arrived. And I wasn’t late for a change. I put up my two new quilt banners ( or as my friend Don calls them “those damn banners” ) and one yellow crab and one of my new red crabs. Just a small ground display.
Several families came out to enjoy the beautiful day and fly kites. There were quite a few visitors from out-of-town flying their stunt kites and deltas. Some larger kites were put up by a couple of the regular fliers. You could say we put our colored Easter eggs in the air instead of in a basket. One gentleman put up a larger Sutton and hung a KAP rig from it. KAP stand for kite aerial photography. A remote control triggers servos mounted on a hanging platform which moves a camera in all directions to aim it and controls the shutter. With a digital camera you are limited only by the battery and the size of the memory card as to the number of photos you can take. I’ve been a little interested in doing this, so this gave me a chance to see a KAP rig. I’m not going to jump into it just yet. But it was nice to talk to someone who does it regularly and see how it works close up. Maybe someday.
The day only kept getting better and better. Winds picked up a little and the sky was a brilliant blue with only a few clouds. I hadn’t had a chance to fly my cartoon pair at home yet, so this seemed the perfect time. Up went Pepe Le Pew and Penelope Cat. They flew side-by-side while I was able to get some photos of them together. At times it really seemed like Pepe was chasing Penelope.
So after putting up the ground display, visiting with friends and other fliers, and anchoring my two kites in the sky, it was time to have some fun. I borrowed the quad-line kite known as the Vamp Devil by Flying Wings and set about to practice. I love flying this kite. And that is quite remarkable since it wasn’t too long ago I made the statement I wasn’t going to fly a quad-line kite. But this one has won me over. It flies slower than most quads and not quite as precisely. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. I’ve figured out how to put the four lines on a winder so I’m not spending a half an hour untangling lines before flying. That in itself is quite a feat. Though most ling-time quad fliers would disagree with me. One young lad on the beach with his family must have enjoyed the show the kite put on, as he kept telling his mom to “watch out for the bat”. And that is exactly what the Vamp Devil looks like.
It was past noon and time to go home and check on John. We were supposed to go out for Easter dinner with friends and so I was hoping he would be up to it after staying home in the morning. I stopped off at the kite shop to return the Vamp Devil and visited for a while. Then home to get cleaned up.
Hope everyone had a good and restful Easter. I know I did.
Today we took some time off from necessary things at home to fly at our home field. The idea was to go flying before the crowds arrived at the beach. This is Easter weekend and it looks like a busy one. Well, we arrived to find the parking lot three-quarters full. So much for beating the crowds. The fort was celebrating Earth Day by having area groups set up booths to encourage conservation, recycling, habitat preservation, etc. There was also live music and food, of course. The beach had a lot of fisherman and walkers. We fit right in as our car still has the roof top carrier on it. Yes, we looked like tourists. Ugh!
The temperature was fine. Not too hot. And the winds were light but not too light. The weatherman was wrong, however, because he predicted blue skies and sun. It was very cloudy and there was a short light rain while we were on the beach. And the rain started right after we got a couple of kites up. John wanted to pull them in right away but I felt like it wouldn’t last. And it didn’t. I put up the Kokopelli kite up. It took me a while for me to figure the best settings but I finally got it to hang in the sky above us. I also put up the EO Atom by Prism. It was the first time I flew this kite. It bounced around in the sky like a fighter kite. Totally erratic. I like it. It does need to be anchored off by itself or it will take out a nearby kite in a heartbeat.
John dug out his first kite, a rainbow delta with ribbon tails. He hadn’t flown it for a couple of years. It was ready to go as soon as it came out of the bag and flew like a champ. He also put up his New Tech Paper Airplane kite and his Prism EO 6. He put transition tails on the Paper Airplane and, I believe, it flew better than it had before. By the way, EO stands for “expandable object”. Both the Atom and the EO 6 fold flat when not flying. Pretty nifty little kites. All of these kites just hung in the sky. Well almost all, the Atom kept coming down as the wind picked up a little. There’s always one problem child in the bunch.
When everything seemed to be anchored and stable, I took out my old-style New Tech Spirit Quad. I’m just learning to fly the quad line kites, so I prefer to fly this one when no one is around. One, because I need the practice in an area with no other kites around so I don’t get tangled up with anyone. Two, I don’t want to embarrass myself too badly in front of the other quad line fliers. Unfortunately, some have attitudes about flying quad lines and I don’t need that on top of just learning. Today I may have found a method of winding the lines so I don’t have to spend thirty minutes untangling them before flying. And I spent some time making adjustments on the line settings to get the best feel and control. No panic today. And a definite improvement in my flying. I even did some controlled spins and got lines untangled in the air. This was a great day for my self-confidence. And I really like the Spirit Quad.
Tomorrow is the weekly fly with our friends. It is a holiday weekend so I expect there to be more fliers from out-of-town. And more people walking the beach and admiring the kites we put up. I am hoping Don will remember to bring the Vamp Devil. I was hoping to have one of my own but they have been back-ordered. I must be patient. But I WANT it!!!!! Maybe by Memorial Day it will be here. Hope. Hope. Hope. I feel like a little kid who can’t wait until Christmas.
The Blue Ridge Kite Festival was canceled due to the violent storms that tore through the region. But that doesn’t keep kite fliers from flying for long. The following Sunday there was an informal kite fly for the fliers that came for the festival and for any others who wanted to come out and fly. There were no vendors or music. And there were no crowds. But there were quite a few kite fliers of all ages and competencies and lots of color in the sky. The weather was nice. Cool and sunny with lots of wind. Not too much but very gusty. It made keeping some kites up a little difficult but not impossible.
The park where we flew was simply amazing. Large, large open fields. Room for all kinds of activities, walking trails near the river and a picnic area. The ball fields were away from the open fields so there was no conflict between different activities going on at the same time. Parking was not a problem. Though it probably would have been during the festival. As huge as the park was, it would have been very crowded with the thousands of people who attend. For an informal kite fly, this park was wonderful.
There was a large trilobite kite in the sky when we arrived. And a manta ray joined it for a while. The stunt kite fliers were out in force. Lots of Revolution quad-line kites and several delta dual-line stunters. The sky was filled with deltas and easy flyer kites. There were some custom-made flat kites and several foils and Suttons. John got his orange Sutton up and it just hung in the sky above the field. I attempted to fly the Kokopelli but the winds were too strong and erratic. After a lot of bridle adjustment, I got Penelope Cat up for her maiden flight. I readjusted Pepe’s bridle and tried to fly them side-by-side. It looked more like a fighter kite flight than two della portas. After untangling lines several times, I pulled the those kites down and set them by the car. I also had the pan flute up for a while. It did not like the winds either so It came down, too. Did have the chance to visit with some of the other fliers. Most of which we hadn’t seen since Labor Day of last year. Got a couple of invitations to other kite festivals and competitions in the surrounding areas. So, what does one fly when the single-liners aren’t cooperating? Why, dual line stunt kites, of course.
I put up the six-stack Hyperkites. They danced around in the winds a little but were a blast to fly. when the winds got gusty, they tried to pull me down the field. I wasn’t quite prepared for the pull the first time but I recovered and enjoyed it. At one time, I was pulled out of my flip-flops. I should have known better and worn shoes in the grassy field. I guess I’m too used to flying on the beach. I retrieved my shoe when I landed the stack to catch my breath. It was great. I then tried to fly the Silent Dart. It did not like the gusty winds at all. I kept losing contact with the kite as it bounced around instead of tracking across the sky. This made me uncomfortable so I didn’t fly it for long.
In the meantime, our daughter put up the Trick-n-Track and flew like a champ. She hadn’t flown a stunt kite in over a year but had no trouble remembering how. The Trick-n-Track buzzed in the strong winds and put on a show with a transition tail following along behind. Our daughter loved it and gave us some hints that she may want one of her own. Especially now that they found a place to fly. Our son-in-law flew the Symphony 2.2 for the first time. This is a soft kite that really has some pull. He ended up on his butt several times but always came up laughing. He picked up flying quickly and actually loved being dragged across the grass. We may have created another “kite monster”. I know what the two of them will want to do the next time they come home to the beach.
After five hours in the park, we had enough. Most of the other fliers left to travel home. We were staying an extra day so we could have an evening to rest up. And spend some more time with family. Despite the weather, it was a great weekend. Now we travel home ourselves and clean up the kite gear and get ready for the next adventure.
Today was supposed to be the Blue Ridge Kite Festival in Salem, VA. We traveled from the North Carolina coast to Salem to be a part of this gathering. Looking back at reports from previous Blue Ridge Festivals, we were anticipating very, very large crowds and somewhat limited flying room. And meeting up with acquaintances from last year’s Mile High Kite Fest. We watched the weather predictions daily leading up to today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t looking good. We left most of our larger kites home because the winds looked to be very high and there was a better than average chance of rain. In fact, there was almost a certain chance of rain.
Unfortunately, the weatherman was right. Of all the times the predictions are wrong, this time he was right on the button. It stormed today. Not just ordinary thunderstorms but downpours that produced flash flooding in the city and small fountains of water knocking the manhole covers off of the storm sewers in the streets. Needless to say, the festival was canceled. The thought of high winds, downpours and lightning was enough to keep the kites in their bags. I was somewhat relieved. I wanted to fly but I am super cautious when it comes to non-ideal weather. So instead of flying, we spent a nice afternoon with our daughter and son-in-law visiting a museum, having a casual lunch and going to a movie. Not a lost weekend at all.
The bonus comes tomorrow. There is an informal kite fly by the visiting kite clubs. No vendors or major advertising, just kite fliers and their kites. Of course, we’re going. And the weather should be great. Warm and sunny with winds that have calmed down a bit. I may even have enough room to fly my Hyperkites. We’ll see.