Monday, September 20, 2004

Sun, sand & hangin'

Got back Saturday night from a great week in the Outer Banks! Hurricane Ivan cut a broad arc across the country, completely missing us, so we had great weather for the whole week. Must be clean living...

I went with an old high school friend, and his wife and little girl Kyra, 15 months. I swam in the ocean almost every day; the beach was uncrowded and the water was phenomenal. I spent hours in the warm surf, swimming and watching the pelicans. Kyra got her first taste of the ocean too - she enjoyed having her feet dipped in the water, but being a wobbly walker, didn't care for the shifting sand. She has a sweet disposition and smiled all week.

We also visited the aquarium and Elizabethan Colony on Roanoke Island, and fished, and I got my first taste of hang gliding. Kitty Hawk Kites runs a school on the huge dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park - the same place that Wilbur and Orville Wright tested their gliders in 1901. It's tailor-made for the purpose - the dunes are about 60-70 feet high, and you can run and take off into the wind no matter which way it's blowing. (And the landing sites are all soft sand, in case of an abrupt landing!) I did the 1-hour ground school and 5 solo flights - it was amazing! The instructors were great, despite the slacker appearance (my certificate proclaims that my instructor's name was "Dude".) They steady you on your first runs, making it almost impossible to get hurt, and they do the additional hard work of carrying the glider back up the hill. (It weighs just 55 pounds, hard to believe.)

I just had a great, amazing week. It reminded me how important vacations are; I probably wouldn't have gone if my friends hadn't asked me along, and I'm so glad I did. I feel totally relaxed and refreshed, and the memories will carry me through the winter - the tan won't, alas...

Now, how much did he say those hang gliders were?