Tag Archives: Travel Tribulations

FLYING – Part One – HANG ON, DUDE

I’ve had a life long dream of flying. I want to float on the air waves (air currents?) like a bird

Not in an airplane.  They’re loud and scary and its taken me years not to puke every time I travel in one.

Skydiving is not an option as:

  1. See above air travel problem and;
  2. NO WAY I would have the stupidity courage to step out of a plane into thin air.

Parasailing is a possibility, but after my husband told the story of a friend of his on a Mexican vacation, who broke his leg on take off and they continued to fly him around with the injured leg swinging in the breeze, I think not.

Hang gliding.  That’s my ticket to soaring through the air along with my feathered friends.

Two years ago, on a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, it took me a week to screw up the courage to call and make an appointment.  By that time, there were no spaces available.  Whew.  Darn.

This year’s trip to the Outer Banks included my daredevil nephew, Josh, who – upon hearing my dream – promptly called the local kite company and booked the two of us for the very next day.  Ack! Yeah!

Husband, in an attempt to get me to change my mind, repeated the parasailing story, adding more graphic detail about the broken leg and it’s position as it flapped away in the air.

“Bah!” I said.  “That was in Mexico!”  We went there once on our honeymoon and  rented a car and (as our local friends had counseled) requested one with seat belts.  The door-less jeep was delivered to the wide flat drive in front of our hotel.  We inspected it, located the seat belts, whereupon the uniformed employees handed us a large rock and disappeared.  We got in the car, pulled the buckles toward each other and felt the straps hang loosely in the air.  Yes, the seat belts came with the car, they just weren’t actually attached to the car. And the large rock? That, we discovered at our first stop as the parked jeep slowly rolled toward the ocean, was the parking brake.

But, I digress.

In the United States of America, where I was planning to hang glide, companies do things with safety in mind, as they know they will be sued otherwise.

In the United States, you pull off the highway toward a sparkling new building.  You then follow the hand written signs, through the freshly paved parking lot to a corn field, where you find a hung-over woman, with her shirt on inside/out, sitting at a folding table outside a dilapidated RV.

The woman informs you that in order to participate in a tandem hang gliding flight you have to have a hang gliding license. But, no worries, the test consists of eight yes/no questions on a tattered piece of paper.  One of which is “Are you aware that the FAA does not certify hang gliders for tandem flights?”

In America, a barefoot young man puts you on a ragged golf cart and careens around corn stalks to take you to the meadow airfield where more barefoot men stand around saying “dude” a lot.

Barefoot Hang Gliding Dude lies down, face first, into a hammock suspended from the A-frame poles of the glider.  Then, Golf Cart Dude straps you into another hammock that dangles over the top of Hang Gliding Dude.  He points out to you two fabric handles attached to the sides of the lower hammock. “Dude, use these if you feel like you need to hang on.  And, Dude, whatever you do, don’t grab any of the poles holding the kite together.”

Airplane Dude, with his grey hair in a pony tail, shouts “Dudes! I’m ready!” and climbs into his ultralight plane. A long black shoestring is attached from the back of his plane to the cross bar on the hang glider.

Hang Gliding Dude, swaying in his hammock, says, “Hang on, dude” and before you know it, you are bumping along, through a narrow patch of grass, in the middle of the a corn field, suspended by a couple of nylon straps, wrapped around a few aluminum pipes, covered in a scrap of nylon fabric.

Awesome, Dude.

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

I Own a Crack Den for Wasps

No Flip Flops

No Flip Flops

I finally gave up one of my Crazie Town mid-life crisis dreams.  The one where I tour the United States with The Ugly Duckling; the 1955 camper I bought two years ago from the flip-flop-wearing not-a-killer, Ed.

No sitting with her on a beach or on a mountaintop.  No Tin Can Tourist Rally or Sisters on the Fly event for us.  But, she has made it possible to fulfill another mid-life crisis dream.

Before the Vintage Camper vision, I’d dreamed of having a little cabin on our 113 acre family farm.  I’d gotten pretty close, meeting with a shed-building company and designing a 10×10 rustic hut.  A week from installation, they called the county for a building permit and were rejected.  It seems that even though across the road there is a plastic skeleton sitting on a broken toilet and next door they have 12 English mastiffs chained up, I’m not allowed to have a structure without running water.

With a lot of tears a little creative thinking, I realized I already owned the perfect little cabin — on wheels.

Ugly Duckling to the Rescue

Ugly Duckling to the Rescue

I drove  hill and dale looking for the perfect place to park her.

IMG_1125

And finally settled on a knoll overlooking the pond. Before you go, “ahhh” I should tell you that this has got to be the world’s ugliest pond. What ever Bubba my dad hired 30 years ago to screw it up  fix it, managed to make it worse.  It’s not deep enough to sustain anything but a few frogs and an acre of pond scum.  But, it’s water and I’m dreaming of the day the crops produce enough money when I can screw it up fix it.

Maybe it is the OCD in me, but I’ve enjoyed carving out my own, personally-designed campground.

I cleared out piles of cedar branches.

Wrestling with Nature

Wrestling with Nature

I bought a picnic table and, against my straight brothers’ wishes, painted it shocking pink — to the delight of my gay brothers.

LGBT Friendly Campsite

LGBT Friendly Campsite

 

Built a fire ring

PERFECT!  Maybe? Nope.

PERFECT! Maybe? Nope.

and, like the giant sofa the movers place in your house that you decide needs to be six inches to the left, I moved the fire ring and rebuilt it again.

Let There be FIRE

Let There be FIRE

I also discovered that the Ugly Duckling is like a crack den for wasps. Not the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant kind, but the one with wings and a painful sting.  And, shortly after that, I was crushed to discover that in an 8×8 space, you should never use a broom to chase them away.

Wasp-1/Mayor-0

Wasp-1/Mayor-0