Flying over San Quentin
At that point, I got a bit frustrated and told Kurt I was heading
over the back. It didn't look good, but hoped I might be able to work ahead of
the NW wind shift to pick up lift along the western edge of San Pablo Bay and
head northeast with some crosswind. Turned out I got drilled after leaving the
ridge, and was looking at the College of Marin in Kentfield as a bailout
landing. Thankfully, I was drifting fast and was able to avoid the washing
machine air of CoM and make it out to Redwood HS closer to the bay.
As I was planning my landing, I unzipped high at almost 900' (given the wind and
turbulence) for landing when I got hit with a ratty thermal over 500 fpm. It
drifted me closer to the bay, and I also gained enough to consider jumping over
to San Rafael for possible landing next to Home Depot out on the marsh. As I
crossed the Larkspur Ferry terminal, I picked up another thermal for a few
turns, drifted over San Quentin Prison, and then got a solid 700-800 fpm thermal
to above 3,500' and out over the bay. Too late to turn back at that point, so on
to Richmond and San Pablo. I stayed north of the bridge and below 4,000' to
avoid the Class B airspace until east of Richmond where the airspace bottom
climbs to 6,000. Cloud base was about 4,500' at that point, and I ran along the
edge of a street towards Concord's airport.
Unfortunately, Concord was in a bit of a blue hole when I arrived there, and the
altitude needed to cross over Buchanan Field above 2,500' was disappearing
quickly. Safety became my #1 concern at that point, and decided to head north
towards the river delta towards more open ground and hopefully less turbulence.
I landed at Waterbird Regional Preserve while being thrashed by unstable 15+ mph
winds and a total flight distance just over 50 miles.