The big day was supposed to be 04/04/11... got up super early, picked up my brother and got to the meeting area about 40 mins early. We were all eager with anticipation, but still decided to get a quick bit to eat at Cracker Barrel. We all ate light... except my brother. He acted like it was his last meal and we all found that pretty entertaining.
We got to the meeting spot (a circle K near the mountain landing zone) and waited... and waited. Finally I decided to call and that is when I saw the e-mail from the instructor... the winds were too strong and not good for Paragliding... we had to reschedule.
We drove all the way back across town and since I am low on vacation days I went to work. The morning was not a waste though because we all had a great time talking and laughing.
The NEXT day, Tuesday 04/05 we did it all again (minus the last meal at Cracker Barrel) with way less enthusiasm and met up with the guy... We were a little worried about his sketchy operation when he drove up. There were a lot of jokes told on the way there. We nervously dropped our car off at the landing zone and then we realized what was going to happen. In order to get to the jumping spot we needed to drive around South Mountain... if you are not familiar (like we weren't), its far. It took us over an hour to get to the top. Since you fly tandem and this is a one man operation guess how much time you have to wait in between each jump! PLUS guess who has to drive the instructor up and down the mountain! We ended up being there for over 6 hours and my Kenny had to drive 180 miles up and down the mountain!! The dude was totally unprofessional and had such a thick accent we couldn't understand most of what he said anyway.
|The launch pad|
|Little Kenny waiting and taking pictures... on the edge of the cliff|
I was up next (we went in weight order- oh boy). We only had one false start and were up on the second try. It was amazing! When the sail (not sure what to call it so I am going with sail) gets filled with air it actually pulls you pretty aggressively in the wrong direction. Then you and the instructor have to have enough momentum to run off the cliff. Once you take off you feel like you are flying (well you are, so I guess it should lol) ! It is very similar to the end part of skydiving. Its quiet and peaceful as you float to the foot of the mountain. My flight lasted about 10-12 minutes as we floated the .8 miles to the landing zone. When it was time for our landing I messed up. He told me to run when we were about 4 feet from the ground, but directly below me was a nice big cactus so I jerked to avoid it causing us to crash... I landed pretty hard on my knee (I had knee protection, but it had wiggled to the backside of my leg and didn't help at all). The 'sail' had tons of sticks and cactus parts in it. We cleaned it and bagged it up.
Little Kenny was the last to go, after 5 hours of waiting (no complaining though). He was ready to go. His ride was the longest and they actually gained elevation, but still weren't able to cut through the mountains and over the towers like we had hoped. He really enjoyed his ride too.
After we got back together in our car we were all starving for Mexican food and Little Kenny treated us all to Casa Carmen's for lunch. By then we were all totally exhausted! After dropping Brian off at his house we headed home and talked about going to a movie, but Little Kenny passed out on the couch ; ) so we decided to stay in for the evening! Kenny was so proud that we were able to wear-out Little Kenny!