Why Top 45?

These are the things that float to the top of my list of activities that I want to do for the year 2012 when I am 45 years old. The list is comprised of things that I have either never tried or have wanted to try and just didn't have the courage or time to do it. Follow along and watch my progress and feel free to comment or add words of encouragement to help keep me going for the next 365 days!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fly Like An Eagle

     There were many things that I _did_ do when I lived in San Diego for three years, and many things that I wanted to do that I didn't.  I worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center for three years and it is located across the street from the Torrey Pines Glider Port.  For three years, I kept saying that I needed to go and check it out and I never did.  During those three years, my friend Greg, spent a good bit of time there, getting his pilot's license and spending hours learning how to use the equipment and fly on his own.
     When I was compiling my list of 45 things, I remembered how fondly Greg spoke about paragliding and how peaceful it was.  I told myself when I was making my list that it would not involve anything life threatening and technically speaking I guess paragliding could be borderline life-threatening, I had not heard about anyone dying from it.
     I called up the Gliderport on Tuesday morning and they said that conditions were right and the winds were favorable for flying so I put on a baseball cap and took off to fly above the cove.  My instructor/tandem pilot was Bob.  His description reads as follows:
"Bob Hammond is a lifelong resident of La Jolla.  Bob has been a Gliderport participant for over 40 years.  In the mid-70's Bob hang glided in the mountains, and in 2004 he transformed his dreams of free flight into paragliding.  Bob reflects a very patient and mellow approach to training newer pilots.  He works with students at their own pace to ensure that they receive a top quality learning experience.  Bob holds USHPA Advanced Paragliding Instructor and Tandem Instructor ratings."
Bob was definitely patient and gave me clear instructions on how the take off would happen.  He didn't just say, "Ready, set, jump off the cliff!," but it wasn't too much more difficult than that.
      It is amazing how the gentle wind completely grabbed hold of the chute and yanked us into the air with barely any sensation of falling.  We turned toward the north and we were off!  We spent about 30 minutes gliding alternatively past the Torrey Pines Golf Course to the north and multi-million dollor homes to the south of the gliderport.  One home that Bob pointed out to me was valued at about $80m and was owned by the man who started one of the grocery chains in California. 

Torrey Pines to the north.

I wasn't going to tempt fate and carry my camera or iPhone with me and risk dropping it the 400 yards to the beach so I have to rely on the photos taken by the gliderport photog.  And here is as close as he got proving that it was actually me.

It's Me!
I really enjoyed the ride and the peacefulness of floating above the Torrey Pines Cliffs.  However, since I did start to experience a slight attack of dizziness due to inner ear issues so while I probably won't paraglide again, I am very glad that I have tried it at least once and it is tough to beat the view from these seats!
Fly like an eagle!

Coming up soon:
List update and UT Football!

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