January 4
New Year in San Diego

Snow Storm

Snow and ice storms hit Oregon hard as the year ended. We'd been looking forward to a New Year visit to warm, sunny San Diego. But as the departure hour approached, we began to worry about simply making it to the Portland Airport. Our flight was at 7 a.m., but a normal two hour commute can turn to four in bad weather and even more if roads are impassable or blocked by accidents.

All the staff at PDX seem to know us. I wheeled our bags up to the United counter and the gate agent smiled. "Oh -- the kite people!" she said.

I wondered if it was my boyish charm that she remembered, the stunning good looks of my wife, or the seven enormous bags we were toting. In any event, we were soon seated in our plane, watching them de-ice the wings through our window. We touched down in San Diego in time for lunch. And six of the seven bags arrived with us. The only thing missing was the duffel full of line and anchors....

The plan was to spend a few hours on the 31st flying on the grass at Mission Bay Park and then join the San Diego Kite Club for a rousing New Year's Eve party. The following day, we'd fly at Mariner's Point on the sand.

Of course, without flying line, doing any kind of show was going to be tough. We borrowed some line and lofted a Blue Meanie a few feet into the light breezes.

Blue Meanie

These were perfect conditions for fighter flying. Aficionados were lined up for the elimination bouts with Johnny Hsiung and Steve Bateman taking top honors.

Fighter School Fighter School Fighter School

Fliers then spread around the park to hone their skills or share tips with newer enthusiasts.

Crown Show

Finally, toward the end of the afternoon, our delayed bag showed up and with some heavy line finally available, we popped the new Crown out for a maiden flight. With two pieces side by side, it was easy to see the differences between the Spiral and the traditional Diamond pattern.

With warm breezes blowing through the park, it was easy to forget about the rain, snow, ice, and slush back home. We packed up at dusk and headed for the party.

New Year's Day was nearly perfect on the beach. That means bright sun, sparkling water, and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, it also means next to no wind.

We spent the better part of the day easing big kites up and watching them fall back down. But that was ok, since this was a gathering of kiters and not a show for the public. Sure, we would have preferred to have flown more. But instead, we had to settle for hanging with friends from all over Southern California. Darn!

Flying Friends

Speaking of friends, we did manage to get two new 20 foot versions of our "Flying Friends" up off the ground. These are big windsocks that really seem to draw attention. And depending on how you rig them to the flying line, you can hang a show that ranges from G to PG to Adults Only....

So as it turns out, we only opened half the bags we took down to the beach. And we were still the last ones to pack up.

Winds had been uncharacteristically light, we're told. But this was the 12th time the SDKC met on New Year's and I'm sure the flying and friendship will be fantastic next time for the 13th.

Susie and I, along with our traveling partner Matt Vohs, really want to thank the San Diego Club for inviting us down.

Matt Man at Sunset

Friday, we off-loaded at the Lindbergh Airport and headed back to the snow. The drive home was long and tedious, ending well after midnight. And then we woke on Saturday morning in our own beds! These mid-week trips are disorienting!!

The week is shaping up to be a busy one. We have G-Kites arriving Monday which means lots of shipments to those of you waiting for Ghosts and Delta Conynes. We depart for KTAI next Sunday at midnight. And somewhere in between, we're still hoping some one will show up to finish the kitchen....

Spiral Crown

We're pretty darned pleased with the new Spiral Crowns unveiled over the holiday. But are they better looking than the Diamond ones?? Hard to say. Maybe we should let you judge.

Through January 10, we'll take $150 off big ones, selling them for $750 instead of $900, Or you can have a medium for $450 instead of $550.

And of course, you can choose style or color.

Just so they don't feel left out, we'll discount the Flying Friends 20% too -- in either the 10 or 20 foot versions..

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