THE OUTBACK BUGGY SAFARI

Lake Gairdner, South Australia. November 1995

By now you should have picked up a copy of the Spring 96 American Kite magazine and read "Salt Pillar". We'll wait while those who haven't, have. Now we can continue.

The site is truly awesome. Word cannot aptly describe how BIG the place feels. I have spent many hours cruising the dry lake beds of the southwestern desert. I am used to big places, but this one made me feel small again. Looking towards the main part of the lake, you cannot see the other side! The earth curves away before it is visible.

In this shot of Scott Skinners UL Peel, you can see into "the gap". Looking northeast from our camp there is nothing but a vast white expanse stretching beyond the horizon.

And it is shiny white. The salt crystals that form the surface are faceted and reflective to such a degree that it is dazzling to be there without dark sunglasses.

The water lurking just below the surface is brought up when one applies pressure, like riding over it on a buggy. Hit 5 mph and the salt starts to spray and the rider is peppered with salt.

The wet salt sticks to everything. The buggy, the pilot, the lines and kite. It dries quickly and standing on the lake for a couple of minutes is usually enough. Then just brush it off. Join the ranks of the "Salt Licks" the name we gave ourselves after watching the crew walking off the lake bed after the first day.

It took some getting used to, this huge salt pan, and more than half our group were entry or intermediate level buggy riders venturing reluctantly into the middle of the narrow arm we based ourselves on. Right from the first we were caught idday wind lulls. We would head out right after breakfast, around 9 am, and get right to it. The winds would usually drop off to nothing about midday and come up again by tea time. I don't think we ever left the lakebed before dark.

Once, during a long run of 9 miles, I napped a couple of times. Not really sleeping, but my head was down, my eyes closed, my breathing slow. I believe I was aware of what was going on, but the naps lasted for a few minutes each. It was the morning after the night before, and I needed a little shut-eye cause I got to bed so late and the tequila was still nearby. Out in the middle of the lake, nothing within miles - literally! Locked into a nice 6 mph breeze. On the harness, kite trimmed nice, about 30 degrees above the surface. Cruising very relaxed and smooth. Just fell asleep. Lucky I had my clothes on.

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Buggy Pilots International is an organization dedicated to spreading the fun and glory of Kite-powered Buggy-riding around the world.

The common ground of wind-powered traction kiting transcends all boundaries except those of wind, gravity and drag.

BUGGY OR DIE!!

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LAKE GAIRDNER SO. AUSTRALIA:

The place we had heard about was remote. Above Adelaide and a bit west, beyond the bush, into the outback of South Australia. A giant dry salt lake. Huge! Over 100 miles long and up to 30 miles wide in places. We were being drawn to this like moths to a flame.

Our accommodations were being provided by Joan Andrews of Mt. Ive station about 30 kilometers away. Each day we drove out to the lake and each evening we drove back to our bunkhouse and dinner.

Check the map below. [One of the many fine graphics you miss if you don't get a subscription.. windwiz] Mt. Ive is at the bottom right, and the road leads to our access point on the lake. Directly across that narrowest gap is about 3 1/2 miles.

Nobody made it through that big gap into the main part of the lake. Nobody!

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IN SEARCH OF... THE HIDDEN PASSAGE:

Scott Skinner spent nearly every lunch time trying to find a road through the bush surrounding the lake shore that connected with the main road back to the station. I think he just wanted to make one round trip and not have to come back the had headed out.

There was a track heading into the bush from the back of the Blue 'Roo and another that we came in on at the far end of the clearing.

This passage proved illusive however, and at last report Scott was still circling around out there somewhere.

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LAKE GAIRDNER 2

We're going back to Lake Gairdner in November 1996! The exact dates are probably Oct 30 - Nov. 10, 1996 Joan of the Never-Never welcomes us back with great anticipation.

Round-trip airfare from the U.S. is about a grand ($1000). Stay 12 days and get a nice kite festival as well as some time to enjoy the area. The second week will be at Lake Gairdner. About another grand should cover it.

Probably one of those experiences of a lifetime. I know how elated all those who were there last year felt. I think two grand makes it affordable to a wide range of kiters.

We don't want a huge crowd. 20 or 30 is enough. They will come from all over the world. Some are not even buggy riders or just beginning. But everyone gets to play. You can do it too!

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THANKSGIVING/AUSSIE STYLE:

We were out on Lake Gairdner for our second day of sailing the salted plains. While we were being peppered with salt, Joan of the Never-never was back at Mt. Ive fixing up a surprise dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving for the Americans in camp.

She had called the postman in the nearest town, Port Augusta, and reminded him to bring the turkeys. He did not know what she was talking about, but Joan called her daughter next and made the arrangements.

Turkeys and cranberries with all the fixins were in the morning post. Joan spent the day putting everything together. When we returned from the lake at sunset, we were ushered into the dinning room and truely surprised at this little bit of home in the middle of the Australian outback.

This group of buggy riders were quickly becoming friends and sharing something special. Sitting around our Thanksgiving feast, in a remote part of a foreign land, surrounded by our friends, we had much to be thankful for.

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DALE DOES BLACK ROCK:

Buggy brother Dale Vanderhoof of Weed California, maker of the Black Feather Fighters, has been wooed by the mast and sail boys and purchased a Manta Landsailer. The Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada is not so far away for him and so has become a regular site of some fine desert sailing.

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THE REGULAR HOW-TO-BUGGY ARTICLE:

The biggest secret to successful buggy riding is to develop skills before you develop speed. The image of cruising at speed is the result of basic skills and control. Injury is usually the result of foolishness, not the buggy.

First: Use the smallest kite that will work and medium winds. Work the kite to gain speed. When you stop working the kite, speed should drop off. Never let another (or yourself) talk you into more than you can handle.

Starting: Get comfortable with the kite and controls before jumping on a buggy. If the kite crashes, get off the buggy and relaunch, then remount. Remember to point the buggy a bit downwind before starting off again. Many pilots leave the buggy pointed where they want to go, and so get popped out sideways when they relaunch.

Going: Keep the kite overhead and drop it into the power in the direction of travel to gain speed. With quads, remember the bottom lines only brake the kite, not the buggy.

Stopping: Put the kite back overhead to reduce power. Learn to spin the buggy in a 180 degree circle to stop quickly. Don't worry, it is very stable and will not overturn (usually). Turning upwind also scrubs off speed. Try not to let the kite get too far behind you.

Surface: Grass and sand require a bit more power than hardpack or pavement. The faster the kite goes, the more power it generates.

Winds: Medium winds of 8-16 mph are probably best when learning. The bigger the space you have, the easier and safer it will be. Clear areas downwind are also important when you have to release the kite.

Be responsible and safe... And go buggy!

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SAFETY STUFF:

Remember to use your safety gear whenever you buggy! Set a good example by using the appropriate equipment. Helmets are usually a good idea. Especially when racing.

Most buggyers always use gloves, long pants, heeled shoes and eye protection.. Remember, buggy safe and Have Fun Out There!

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Windborne Kites

A complete selection of top-quality Buggys and Power Kites.

Complete parts & accessories.

Call or write for our FREE Kitealog¨

Windborne Kites
585 Cannery Row #105
Monterey, California 93940
Toll-Free Orders: 1-800-234-1033
Fax: 408-373-0688 Shop: 408-373-7422

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BUGGY SUMMER:

Fritz Gramkowski, ready to graduate from college this spring, is planning on spending part of the summer exploring various dry and salt lake sites in the western deserts.

Sounding like a dream, and no doubt deserved after the gruelling years spent acquiring a college education, unwinding takes time.

Plans are afoot to meet up somewhere during his sojourn and buggy some together.

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THE WIND CHARIOT:

The most notable new buggy taking its place in the market is the Wind Chariot from Steve Kent at Kites Etc. Constructed of chrome-moly, powder-coated and with chrome foot pegs and head bearing, the materials are different from the stainless steel of other designs. Steve says this is not a problem but the design is still early into its life.

Borrowing as much from the Land Lizard from Australia as from the original Peter Lynn design, the Wind Chariot has a self-limiting front fork that will not turn too far before coming into contact with the down tube, and seat tubes that bolt into flanges welded onto the top of the rear axle. The rear axle is further reinforced by a truss piece welded across the bottom.

Where the Land Lizard could just rotate the rear axle to relieve small bends caused by strenuous use, this prevents that same simple solution. Steve says the axle won't bend, but they have all said that to me. (My current Peter Lynn strong stainless steel axle has not bent after 1 1/2 years of use.)

The Wind Chariot weights a bit more than the PL Classic or Comp. Wheels choice can add or subtract a good bit of rolling weight. The plastic wheels are good for all but the advanced riders. The alloy wheels are lighter, better balanced an easier to change tires, but still a bit expensive. Bearing choices are also very important for continued use. Cheaper usually is. Better to go with the best quality and pay whatever the price than save a few dollars and have failures than cause one to really pay the price.

With all the less-expensive components, the price is not much different than the PL or Flexi stainless steel models. I am sure it will have its fans, but that is true of the sport of Buggy Sailing. As long as it works.

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FREE T-SHIRT!!!

For a limited time (until they run out), every new subscriber to Buggy Newz will receive a free Buggy Boogie Thang 2 t-shirt. Specify large or x-large.

These lovely 100% cotton Oneida Power T's are top quality. Ash (gray) with a 3-color screen on the back and a front logo. This is the famous shirt everyone is talking about! And you can get yours Free!!

One year subscription to Buggy Newz is $ 20.

Please include $ 3 shipping for the t-shirt.

Please send it to me. Either at home: 208 8th St. Pacific Grove, CA 93950, or at the store. This is not Windborne business, but it is an easy way to send me things.

The ongoing project to produce and mail Buggy Newz is becoming expensive. Not outrageous, but it eats my personal money. And I need a better (faster) computer. Unfortunately, not all who receive Buggy Newz support the endeavor financially. Some are swap arrangements, some promotional, and there is never an obligation, of course, and I continue to send new issues regardless, but the costs do mount up.

I started Buggy Newz to provide a way of sharing some buggy stuff and give us a way to communicate. I really enjoy the learning process and desktop publishing. I enjoy all the riders I have had a chance to meet and the good times we have shared.

I was further inspired and started organizing the Buggy Boogie Thang in January 1994 to have an alternative to competitions for buggy riders to gather and learn skills and share some of the awe of the high desert dry lakes. That idea seems to be working as well.

I made a bunch (218) of t-shirts to sell at this year's Buggy Boogie Thang-2, held last January at El Mirage Dry Lake, but I guess I overestimated the numbers. Everyone would "have to have" one of these beautiful shirts. I thought.

I spent a lot of my time out on the lake cruising in my buggy instead of "running the store" and selling shirts. I sold half of them. The rest I freeze-dried and they are still alive, but in hibernation.

It strikes me as fair to combine the t-shirts and my current effort to relieve costs and give supporters of Buggy Newz a free souvenir that can only make one the envy of others. A limited edition t-shirt from what will soon become part of the history of the Buggy in America! Save one for your grandchildren! Get one for your boss!

Please subscribe to Buggy Newz and get your free t-shirt now!

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AERO ERGO SUM

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THAT NEKKID BUGGY THANG:

It started as a joke but buggy riders around the globe have joined the unclad ranks. From the first buggyers to "dare to bare" back in 1993 at the southern California mecca of buggy riding El Mirage Dry Lake, to the rash of riders with nothing to hide who take advantage of every opportunity to ride rude, the Nekkid Buggy Experience is gaining members every day the wind blows at a buggy site.

To qualify for the prestigious Buggy Nekkid Pin, photographic evidence must be submitted to Buggy Newz before permission is granted to purchase pin. These are $25 each. They are hand made sterling silver collectors items. The Nekkid Buggy Pin.. Get yours!

Among the growing collection of authorized Nekkid Buggyers is this unusual shot of New Zealand's own Philip MacConachie. This shot was taken at the first Buggy Boogie Thang in 1994 at Ivanpah Dry Lake outside Las Vegas.

Scott Dyer, the photographer, was changing cameras and forgot to switch from manual exposure to auto. The shutter speed was too slow and the image blurred. He also double-exposed it. Not what one would call a great shot, but interesting. Not really showing everything, but obvious it is all showing. Not all that clear, but Philip blurred is still identifiable. Like I said, an interesting picture.

Buggy Newz remains the only kite-oriented publication to print nude photos of the players. Not because we have to, because we want to. Nothing is sacred. And life is too important to be taken seriously.

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BUGGY BOOGIE SPRING THANG
May 30 - June 2, 1996
El Mirage Dry Lake
Buggy or Die!!!

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MARK'S TANDEM BUGGY:

Mark Leigh from Australia brought his tandem design custom buggy to Lake Gairdner. Different from the standard tandem where the second rider is on another buggy trailing behind, Mark brings the passenger onboard. Nestled right behind the pilot, weight stays centered, below the hubs and between the axles.

Small outboard foot pegs with stops keep passenger feet and ankles out of the way and out of the pilot's ribs. A built-in backrest for the rear passenger and a back support for the pilot make for a very comfortable ride. The pilot is secure and able to use weight-shift effectively.

Runs very well with just the pilot onboard. At last, a pick-up buggy!

Mark incorporates a square-tube chrome-moly frame, powder-coated for protection and a trussed rear axle for added strength. Mark likes a little camber in the rear axle as well.

Mark can be reached at 5 Jarrah Place, BELMONT, Victoria 32216 Australia. He builds only custom vehicles sized for his specific customer.

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Roger Ripstop says "SAFETY FIRST!"

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EL MIRAGE SPRING THANG:

We are gathering at El Mirage for the traditional Spring Thang, but at a different time than usual. Our normal "weekend before Memorial Day" weekend has been taken by the So. Cal Timing Assoc. and their 200 mph race cars.

The weekend after Memeorial Day will have to fill in this year. May 30 - June 2,1996. We will gather at the usual spot: Walt's Bay, about 4-5 miles up the lake on the right hand side.

Be prepared. There are NO services at the site, but a couple of motels are about 10 miles away.

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BARESSI'S BACKYARD BUGGY:

David Baressi from Massachusetts is a high school shop teacher and builder of fine stuff. This buggy created using bike parts is his latest creation. David is well known in his region for his beautifully crafted rev handles and his gorgeous hardwood quad handles.

We all know how rich school teachers are, so no surprise that Dave scrounges his parts. It is how he puts them together that shows more than just a casual "weld'em together" technique.

Instead of a solid rear axle traditional in classic buggy designs, David has used two front forks laid horizontally and trailing backwards. The seat is welded to the inside fork arm and the necks are welded together and to the frame.

As is typical of bicycle type necks that can turn completely around, a stopper under the frame is needed. With the inverted u-shaped fork, David added a tab to prevent turning to sharply.

The net seat slung between the fork/frame has padding added to increase comfort. This is the initial report from David and I have not ridden it. I have no reports yet on how it compares to other designs. We await word...

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BUGGY BOOGIE THANG 3

WE'RE GOING BACK!!!

The KTA has just announced the 1998 Trade Show will be in San Diego again. In January. That means El Mirage!! Only a 2 hour drive away.

It seems the BBT's are a bi-annual event. As long as everyone is coming to the trade show, stay an extra week and have the buggy time of your life!

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NOP RUNS ON ALL FOURS!

Nop Velthuizen of Holland has a homebuilt buggy that converts from 3-wheel to 4-wheel layout. This is the origin of the plans in his book Stunt Kites 2. The buggy has a steering linkage when in 4-wheel mode and a trussed rear axle.

Nop agrees the buggy is best as a three-wheeler for overall performance, but really tracks great in the four-wheel configuration. The best feature is the ability to change between the two. The worst feature is the 30 minutes it takes.

Nop's book: "Stunt Kites 2" is a great book for the fledgling builder. The buggy plans are well illustrated and the book also includes plans for the soft foil "Sputnik" power kite as well as some conventional framed stunters.

There is a certain assumption of skills on the part of the builder, and Nop loves to try stuff and explore different avenues. Not all of them ultimately successful, but always instructive.

The reminder is that building is for the fun of doing it, buying is for those in a hurry and wanting established engineering. Nop provides inspiration to try new things. Ideas that deal with specific design criteria and show valid solutions. A great stepping-off point.

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ALVORD DRY LAKE, OREGON:

In southeastern Oregon, hidden in the dry and arid landscape, is a wonderful dry lake named Alvord.

This is a very remote area and towns with services are few and far apart. Enter the area prepared. Obviously this is great for those wanting to camp and explore.

Mike Eason in Washington is putting together a trip to check the area out as soon as everything dries out from the winter. Northwestern Buggy Riders are looking for places closer than southern California.

Reminder: The beaches around Ft. Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River can be great too!

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NATIONAL BUGGY CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Dean Jordan has begun the process to have the National Buggy Races at El Mirage Dry Lake, Sept. 30- Oct. 1, 1996, just before the AKA Convention in Santa Monica, California, Oct. 2-6, 1996.

Confused? Let me explain... The annual AKA Convention is in Santa Monica this year. El Mirage Dry Lake is about 2 hours away. It is a seriously big place with lots of different things to do. Buggyers from around the world are gathering at El Mirage over the weekend for 2 or 3 days of Buggy Races prior to the AKA. A sanctioned race course and series of race events will be held to determine the National Champion Buggy Pilot. Awards to be given at the AKA Convention banquet.

For any who have not yet had the pleasure... El Mirage is the Mojave Desert between Palmdale (on I-14) and Victorville (on #395). It is about 20 some square miles with numerous bays and coves along the shore to give the rider a variety of experiences.

It is an authorized off-road area, so we share with other users and appropriate care must be taken. Motorized vehicle drivers usually do not understand that sail-power has the right-of-way and one must keep a watch for cars and motorcycles and even other landsailers.

We gather about 4-5 miles up the lake on the right side. A spot just out from the pucker bumps that we call "Walt's Bay". Ask one of the El Mirage regulars for the story.

There are NO facilities on the lake. Carry water and anything else you might need. Adelanto (a very small town) is about 6-8 miles east. Gas and groceries are available. Most things close at night. There are three motels and a couple of restaurants

Victorville (bigger) is another 10 miles past Adelanto. Palmdale (a much bigger city) is about 30-40 miles west. Both have much more in the way of motels, restaurants and 24 hr. gas.

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BUGGY NEWZ is an independent operation. Non-profit as it happens.

The purpose is to spread the word around the world of the Kite Buggy and the people who ride them.

Conceived, Founded, Written, Edited, Published & Distributed by Corey Jensen.

The ultimate responsibility for facts and errors, for truth and fallacy, for all the things you find enjoyable, and because there is no-one else to blame, for the things you disagree with ... Falls on only one pair of shoulders.

Contact him or me in care of:
Windborne Kites 585 Cannery Row #105
Monterey California 93940 USA
Work / Kite Shop # 408 373-7422
Home # 408 372-7922 Fax # 408 373-0688

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STAINLESS STEEL AND YOU!

Got a request the other day for stainless bolts for a buggy because the other ones corrode. I suspect many others have the same problem and wonder if the solution is that simple.

Trust me, and Peter Lynn, if stainless bolts solved the corrosion problem, they would be installed on all the buggys. Metal-to-metal in or out of water creates an electrical current (even more so in salt water) and something has to absorb this chemical reaction.

Stainless to stainless sort of welds itself together and the frame soon becomes a one-piece sculpture. Some products like BoeShield T-9 slow the process but can't stop it completely.

Corrosive metal bolts take the load and are easily replaced. Managing where that corrosion happens leads to a long buggy life. That is the key. Replace your corroded bolts regularly.

It is no sin to perform some regular maintenance. As others have found out before, stainless steel buggys held together with stainless steel bolts need more than a WD-40 bath to ever come apart again. Don't fall into that trap. Give corrosion a place to go.

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Intentional Lunacy Has No Logical Criticism

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NEW QUAD FOIL:

Steve Shapson of Force 10 is importing a new elliptical quad-foil from Europe. Gone are the rectangular bags sewn in Asia. These new foils sport features of many current designs in bridles and sail. Sort of a cross between the QuadTrac, th nd the Quadrifoil Comp models, they are not innovative except that the entire industry is growing and changing. These designs reflect what is popular in Europe right now.

Gauze leading edge vents, cross-channels and sewn bridles are some of the features. Steve has not provided one for testing so this report is based on the observations of others.

For more information contact Steve at Screaming Tuna , 10920 N. Port Washington Rd. Mequon, WI 53092-5031. Call 414-241-8862 or fax: 414-241-5483

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BUGGY PARTS:

I have some Peter Lynn Buggy parts and some other parts. Let me list the pieces I have:

Red PL Buggy Bag - $45 Classic Web Seat (rb) - $ 30

Classic Seat Tubes $ 30/pr. Tandem Hitch $45

Skinny Spoked Front Wheel, Tire & Hub (w/Bolt) - $75.

Peter Lynn Video - $7.50 Rear Axle Bolts - $2.50

Call or fax me at Windborne Kites

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PORTUGUESE WIDOW-MAKER:

Attempts at home-built buggys take many forms. While most copy the premier designer Peter Lynn, some strike off on their own with mixed results. Regular reader Juan Carlos Ribiero from Portugal sends along this shot of a local builders first attempt at a beach buggy.

Lack of adequate side-rails on the seat and a positively scary front fork make any buggy rider a bit leery of trying anything radical or quick on this model. The lack of any rake makes steering very twitchy and unstable.

No turn lock on the fork makes broken legs and headers a very real possibility, even a common occurrence. Which causes one to wonder if more than one header is even a remote possibility for all but the most obtuse rider. After going ass-over-teakettle and breaking your leg once, would anyone want to do it again? Maybe Andrew.

The original photo is in color and the metal is a well-rusted low-grade steel. Leaves marks on the rider just sitting in it, I'll bet. Still, the owner no doubt has fun and it looks well used. The most important thing is to BUGGY! Be careful sure, but doing is the thing.

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TIDELOG:

If you buggy on coastal beaches, you quickly learn a respect for the power of the sea, and you learn the importance of tidal conditions on your buggy fun.

The Tidelog presents the tides and currents graphically (over M.C. Escher's "Second Day of Creation"). You see the whole week at a glance! Those freebie booklets available at tackle shops can be confusing. They don't show the tides, only times.

East Coast areas covered by the Tidelog are No. New England (Massachusetts, N. Hampshire & Maine coasts), So. New England (Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, Block Island Sound, eastern Long Island Sound), Mid-Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, western Long Island, western Connecticut, coastal Delaware and Virginia), Chesapeake Tidewater (Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore, Washington & the Tidewater area of Virginia).

West Coast books cover Puget Sound (Puget Sound & north into the San Juan Islands), No. California (S.F. Bay and Delta, south to Monterey and north to the Nehalem River in Oregon), and So. California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Catalina, south to Manzanillo, Mexico and north to Carmel).

The 1996 Tidelog is only $ 12.95 Write to Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas CA 94924. Phone orders with credit card: 415-868-2909

I have used the Tidelog for the last four years and find it invaluable. You will too! Tell them I sent you... Alan reads Buggy Newz!

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Buggy Pilots International
c/o Windborne Kites
585 Cannery Row #105
Monterey, California 93940
USA