Sunday, October 2, 2005

Birthday present

You don't want to do a "ramp strike" here. It's been done.

The 'hood.

Lake Tahoe

I had a birthday recently (if you must know, I turned 60, God help me!) and Mrs. G gave me some dynamite presents. Besides way too much Italian food at Lanza's, an ice cream cake with all my favorite flavors, and a sport shirt with WWII airplanes on it, she gave me something I wish I had done years ago and will do again: a sailplane ride.

I took my ride this morning at Soar Truckee, which is just down the road apiece and located on the crosswind runway of Truckee-Tahoe Airport. The joint is run by Joe, from Philly, and his wife Samantha, a tall redhead from Down Under somewhere to judge by her accent.

Before takeoff, I told Joe I was going to post my experience at the Brain and he said this had better be a good Republican blog. Uh-oh. I had visions of him bailing out, insurance policy in hand, yelling "You're on yer own, Lefty!". Didn't happen.

What did happen was we got more or less hauled into the air on a long rope by a crop duster. The Piper Pawnee towed the Schweizer 2-32 up out of the Martis Valley in a buncha ascending circles and waved bye-bye. Joe says once you take the crop dusting apparatus off to clean up the lines, and without the weight of the salad poison, the 250hp engine hauls the Pawnee around pretty good. The 2-32 is one of about 60 in the U.S. out of a production run of 87. Interestingly enough, this model was the basis for a powered military observation plane, the YO-3A. Schweizer Aircraft is now owned by Sikorsky.

The ride was totally bitchin'! Joe took the plane up above the tops of the mountains and caught a thermal updraft in the process, like an express elevator. I think we topped out well over 10,000 feet. You could see a hundred miles, from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Shasta. All you could hear was the "whoosh" of air around the thing, and we could talk normally. The ride was real smooth with only a couple of "yahooeys!". It was a half-hour ride and it went by too quickly. I can't wait to go again, and have told Mrs. G she must go for a spin. It may take days to get the shit-eatin' grin off my face.

I highly recommend this safe, fun, and joyful experience to everybody.

Joe and I agreed, Democrat or Republican be damned, we were both smart enough to be here together.

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