Did I Do That Right?

I ate a bunch of Cheetos and Cool Ranch Doritos. I almost never eat them… and if I do its one of those little bags that come with your soup and sandwich… But not this time. I ate a whole mid-size bag of the crunchy-puffy-cheese-worm things…. and several large handfuls of the Cool Ranches. Later, I went to the bar by myself and had a couple beers and hot wings. When ordering, I knew it was going to be a mistake but I wanted something for the beer to fall on so I did it anyway. They were quite good and contributed to a delightful conversation with my bar-neighbors about which side of the wing was the better. I’ve always held that the drumstick side was the good side, but my new friend disagreed and said the flat part was the best.. This was an eye-opener, because I often suspected that the flattish part was just filler chicken to add to the plate, rather than an actual part of the wing.IMG_6265

Fortunately, this was not the entirety of our conversation and I found my two newly-engaged friends to be delightful companions for the evening out.

I think the Cheeto/Dorito thing was a moment of self destruction.. I’ve been thinking about a cigarette or even a chew lately and instead chose junk food, which I’m not convinced is any better but I know my indulgence would not cascade into a week of self loathing and regret.. Just a day or two with an entire night of short-story nightmares and restless sweaty palpitations due to the overwhelming amount of salt and fat I’d just foisted on my unsuspecting system.

Why did I do this?

Well, there’s never a good reason, but if I had to muster one, I would blame it on the hours and company I’ve been keeping at work.

My entire job is basically sitting in a truck for 11-12 hours a day for 6 days a week next to a gentleman old enough to be my father.

He might actually know me better than my own family.

Minus a couple key details.

He’s a conservative Republican Baptist, doesn’t like the drivers here and normally drives 5-10 miles under the speed limit, is fundamentally opposed to wearing a seatbelt, and is furious with all the tailgaters. He has guns. Lots of them.

I can’t convince him that Obama has uttered one intelligent word since he was elected.

“He’s an idiot. The worst thing that’s happened to our country. We’re going to Hell in a handbasket.”

IMG_6217

He sneaky found out it was my Birthday and showed up that morning with a little birthday carrot-cupcake. He loves deer, sunsets and Canada geese.

“Look! There’s my girls!” He’ll sneak out of the truck and watch them pecking the ground. He wants some at his house because he heard they’re good warning alarms. He rents us Pixar movies and sounds like a little boy when he’s talking to his wife of twenty years. He’s still in love with her. Every minute.

…Just like family.

We don’t talk to anyone else here at the site. It’s just us. Him and Me.

Bar company and my new love-interest have been my link to the natural world.

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with getting the bike and my life ready.. I’ve had some fantastic support with donated gear and advice.

I’m doing as much work as I can on it by myself. I’ve got the thing registered here in Maryland, changed the brakes, rotors, sprockets, and chain.IMG_6301

I almost destroyed my new brakes because I forgot to tighten the caliper bolts.. I couldn’t figure out why there was a terrible noise coming from the rear until I parked it and saw the thing loose with a wide scratch in the steel where the actual caliper was grinding away my new rotor. It wasn’t catastrophic.. I got lucky.IMG_0013

 

I don’t have any more free time though. I’m going to have to steal some from somewhere else to get ready. My new bags need to be mounted, and I’m saving $250 on the custom racks. I’m building them myself.
Rather than buy a low seat, I’m going to shave the one I have and hope to get it low enough that I can get two toes on the ground without putting lowering links on it. My friend gave me a wooly sheepskin for it… he knows better than me about how an enduro seat feels after hours in the saddle. My BMW has given me a false sense of long distance comfort.

I haven’t flown since Summer. Every day I watch the vultures circling. I note their altitude, rate of ascent, glide ratio and where they are finding thermal triggers.

Every day, all day, we park on a grassy ridge about forty feet high and five hundred feet long. On days the wind is just right, I’ll spend hours wondering how much trouble I’d get in if I put up the wing and just flew around a little bit. IMG_6191

There’s only two days left of work after today… well, two and a half. I feel a little like a crazy lady.

Doctor, Doctor!

The failure of the Kickstarter campaign has hit me pretty hard. I had not anticipated failure.

I’ve been reading some quotes “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”~ Truman Capote.. I’m not so sure, but it helps.

My summary of failure.. There’s always something to be gained by failure.. in all cases, it has either made me smarter, tougher, or more willing to take another chance… 

Since that, I’ve made it to the other side and am looking forward to making a new push next year.. with new tools, new friends and more energy.

I’m not going to kill you with the emotional roller coaster this thing has been… I will tell you that all kinds of stuff is happening… along with the preparations for my solo trip.

I met a girl…. actually, I met a couple. One was fun but fizzled, the other and only one that I spend time with now was/is a totally unplanned surprise. I met her at a Jazz club in DC over a month ago.Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.48.29 AM

Cathy, who I met on Match.com invited me to the club… we had been there one time before. There weren’t any sparks, but she was strangely interesting and liked good food and music. She wondered if I would mind if she brought another friend from the dating site with her… I thought it sounded awkward, but in lieu of a better plan for the evening, I agreed to go.

I was late but the band hadn’t started playing yet. I found them at a tiny table near the stage. I smiled at Cathy, and turned to her friend…

I introduced myself but had to look away quickly.. I could feel my face flush. I was afraid to look at her… to make a scene of looking. Robin is handsomely beautiful, short salt and pepper hair… something strongly feminine about it though. She excused herself for a minute.

I leaned over the table and hissed.. “WHO the Hell is THAT??” Cathy laughs, shushes me and says she’ll talk about it after the show.

I spent the next hour and a half studiously avoiding Robins eyes.. actually, that general direction of the room. I knew trouble lurked there. I’d been looking for something casual and fun… not heart stopping desire. I could feel her smiling at me.

Show over, we exchange numbers and plan to meet the very next day. We all say goodnight.

Monday evening, we meet for a walk. Her house is large and airy and the estate has miles of walking paths carved through old second growth forest. It is elegant and comforting.

IMG_3198We stroll and talk. We don’t know a thing about each other and make the usual inquiries, politics, religion, smoking, hobbies, exercise. Polyamory… wait. Huh?

This tall, dignified, family doctor has multiple open relationships. It is her lifestyle… has been for over two decades.

I remember trying this out on a couple people I dated but there was something.. missing. It didn’t work. Actually, it was a disastrous jealousy fest that had at times made me fear for my personal safety.

Our conversation lasted hours through her collection of books, women, dogs, activity, and kindness.. I still struggle with details of her lifestyle.

I can’t imagine having the energy to bring meaning to more than one person.. To me, a relationship is more than sex and dinner and bank accounts. It is a pledge we make to each other.. and it is simple.. I’ll help you if you help me.. and it seems important in our “fend for yourself” culture… How many heart attacks and broken bones, birthdays, anniversarys, weddings, promotions and tears can one possibly be present for? How many lives can you hold in your hands.. your heart?

I feel like I have enough love for more, but not the time.. To be sure, I barely have the time for one.

So I ask myself questions..

Have I fallen into complacency with general acceptance of social norms? Is what is expected of us correct and healthy? How many other people engage in… and are happy with this lifestyle?.. What personality craves this behavior?

I wander to my own odd history, of why I do what I do. Why I’ve exempted myself from my culture, why I choose a nomadic life, why my address means little, because it changes from month to month.

I find myself lonely quite often… my mouth spends more time on the rim of a wine glass than touching a lovers lips… until now… Which is .. to be sure.. confusing and distracting… and delightful..

Instead of planning, I find myself searching for ways to build a stable life, to make a place for myself to meet friends and create community…

I scour the real estate pages late at night, usually after the second or third glass of Malbec.

But it is with the knowledge that I am leaving on my moto in just over a month that I feel this search is futile.

I know with each molecule in my bloodstream, I must explore, connect and record at least one extraordinary journey. I will find my tribe, the people that speak my language.. that of speed and wind and air and freedom. Those of us either running away or to. The ones that seek to wrestle fear and complacency, to replace rules and walls with wonder… experience. In a way, it is childish… In a way, I’m glad it is.

I hope she will still want to see me when I return… but I don’t hope in the way I did when I was 19. I hope in the way of a woman with 40 years of relationship wreckage.. of a woman that has grown too hard in a mans world, who has made a strange and interesting life for herself.. full with the knowledge of my tenuous hold on even that… but still, it is hope.

Maryland

I dreaded coming to the East Coast. I grew up here. I’ve always felt like more of a West Coast personality, but now, having chosen a contract that allows me to work on my new project without interruption, and being able to immerse myself in the culture and personalities of the DC/Baltimore area, I find myself enjoying my time here.

The local BMW motorcycle shop is ten minutes from the camper, I get to see live Jazz as often as I’m willing to drive into the city, I’m dating again and am meeting some brilliant personalities.. connected to wide smiles and big laughs.. I am so grateful for this, it is like gulping sunshine. Gallup, NM IMG_4784Gila Bend, AZ and Wendover, NV don’t have the concentration of quality lesbians that urban Maryland provides. Alas, the vistas of  I-95 are nowhere near the arid splendor of the Four Corners region, but I think that is the beauty of living a Nomadic life. I carry them around in my heart.. inside me all the time, waiting for the opportuntiy to be told about over a plate of Vodka Rigatoni or Marylad Crabcakes.IMG_3720

I’ve even flown here… well, in PA at Blue Mountain with Pennsylvania Paragliding. No big flights, but still, it’s something. What has been even better is meeting the crowd that flies and lives here. They are warm and bright. I forget too, how much I miss the people that “speak my language” I can talk freely about bubbly air and LZ’s, windspeed, house thermals, clouds and “switchy” wind with abandon! Ahhhh. delight. Even if the conditions are not right, my community is here. and sometimes that’s enough.

Today I am wrangling support for “Women Wheels and Wings”, its a big push so far, but the networking is leading me to meet with some people that are making a difference in our world every day. Educators, filmmakers, writers, and even adventurers. Reaching out has been a reward that I would have never guessed.. even if the campaign is a failure, (which is a constant terror) my experience has thus far been magical. I’ve been feeling like the luckiest girl in the world lately.

 

Not So Secret Secrets New Journey

I am reposting from Livetoflytoride.com

If you’ve already seen this post, then it’s the same.. If not, carry on! i think it’s fabulous and I hope you love it as much as I do!!

I am ridiculousty proud to announce that we have launched the Kickstarter campaign!

We’ve got TWO backers already (in addition to the people that have privately given their support) I’m hoping you will share with your friends and riding/flying buddies about this Campaign!

heres the link to make a contribution or SHARE!!!

http://kck.st/1eD8KFZ

Here’s the text and photos for a quick, no-click read…

THANK YOU!!

A story of extraordinary female adventure spirit as we fly and ride our way from from New Mexico to Santiago, Chile.

I’m Wendy. I’ve had a few lives. First as an artist in Denver, then as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and now, as a writer and filmmaker. I want to show you what extreme adventure travel looks like from a womens perspective.. but not just mine. In this film, we will capture our real life moments of a two-woman journey from Gallup, New Mexico to Santiago, Chile as we fly our paragliders and ride motorcycle through each country, finding other female adventurers along the way.

I’ve been riding motorcycle for ten years and have more than 100,000 miles on and off the road. Kari will be learning enroute. She rides a Piaggio now… so, she’s not a total newb! Kari will be helping me film and open doors with her paragliding community contacts.

Kari Castle: From Bishop, CA, Age 50,  3 time Hang Gliding World Champion, multiple National Paragliding Champion, Red Bull X-Alps Veteran, free flight Instructor and Guide. Ambassador to our beautiful sport, she is unwaveringly good natured with a ready smile and large laugh every time you meet her.

Check out Kari at Karicastle.com

The women I am interested including in the film are ones we meet on the road, quietly exploring the world. I have met them before and find their stories to be often more extroadinary than well established women who are sponsored and have public profiles that limit candid conversation. I have a goal of featuring five amazing gals in the film. (Besides us) I am hoping for many more than that.

Where are they? Noone knows unless you do… this. We speak their language, and love their ginormous souls. We are living it and tracking them down for you.

We will document a cutaway view of the trip, showing you step by step preparations, training, our stops and the incredible women we meet when we get there! We will interview other women by calculated chance as we Fly and Ride South through the Americas. We hope to find women by meeting them at the flying sites, hostels, campsites, interviewing the local pilots, and researching rider resources like Women on Wheels, Womens Coalition of Motorcyclists, Horizons Unlimited and ADVrider. Also, through Kari’s network.

Currently I know of only one woman that I specifically want to meet with. Camila Antonorsi in Colombia. She is one of the very few women doing paragliding tours. She’s also a skydiver and a dentist.

You will see footage from (among other places) Valle De Bravo, Mexico – Lake Aitlan, Guatemala – Lake Ilopango, El Salvador – Caballito, Costa Rica –  Roldanillo, Colombia – Lima, Peru – Canoa, Ecuador and The Atacama Desert in Chile.  We will be blogging our movement daily (if internet access is available) and give you a front seat to this 10,000 mile search as we travel South at livetoflytoride.com

We are not including specific times and dates for personal safety reasons.

Why do you have to be so extreme?

Well, we love it. For a raft of reasons. But first, I think that this kind of adventure is not really so extreme after all. We as a culture are buried in misconceptions and misguided judgement of what this kind of travel is really about. Those of us that gather information from television and radio programming which are driven by ratings are not getting an honest firsthand perspective. What you get is shock, hilarity and horror. Perhaps there will be all three in this documentary, but we are shooting for an honest and candid view of our own and other womens experience.

In preparing for this project, I’ve been given a lot of alarmist advice.. including instructions to watch “Taken” 1 and 2. and even had a coworker threatening to make a “football pool” of what country I would be raped/killed/kidnapped in first.

If anything, it has hardened my resolve in creating an honest perspective of what a motorbiking/flying South American adventure is really like. For a woman.

Here is the short story of what flying and riding means to me.

After a return from Iraq, I felt disconnected and anxious. I needed to find something to shake off the gloom that had settled on my heart. I found that something flying. It created a Zen-like focus that allowed me to leave that weight on the ground. The community, the focus and the wild freedom of flying through the air is unmatched by anything… except perhaps by a twist of the throttle, accelerating into the canvas of a brilliant new landscape. I can’t imagine not riding.

In spirit, we have a third woman with us. We lost her earlier this year in Golden, Colorado at Lookout Mountain. She would have loved this Adventure as much as we do. Pilot, world traveler and moto rider, Meg VanSciver’s name will be on my bike as a reminder of her wit, bravery and beauty.

How did you get this idea?

When I was in Colombia a couple years ago, I was healing from a broken rib and badly sprained ankle at a little Irish bar that had some cheap rooms above it. While I was having a beer at a table outside, a tall blonde woman rolled up on her motorcycle. My eyes almost popped out! Who was this? I had seen many other male riders, but their presence wasn’t remarkable to me. I hadn’t seen any women. I immediately introduced myself and wanted to know every bit of her story… so she told me.

My mind wandered and I thought.. well why can’t I do this with a paraglider? Also, I wondered.. where are all the women? Here’s Sherri, having an amazing time. Here Iam, recovering from an amazing time, (broke my rib in a paragliding accident) where are the rest of us?

Fast forward almost a year to October when I met Kari Castle at her all womens Paragliding clinic in the Owens Valley. There they were! Almost two dozen remarkable women with huge spirits and beautiful paraglider wings to match. Since then, I’ve been reading about and searching for other women who love the freedom of motor and flying sport. I am a current member of Women on Wheels, the Womens Coalition of Motorcyclists, and the United States Hanggliding and Paragliding Association.

The Documentary idea was born from a friend doing her own documentary about lady paraglider pilots! I loved her film and wished for more, but there aren’t any.

Please join us and be a part of our story. Pledge what you can and if you can’t, then come and visit, ride or fly with us. Remember, it’s all or nothing at Kickstarter, so even if you can only afford $5, it still counts!

Wendy’s first book, “Paragliding Confessions of a Lady Bomb Tech” is being published this year in time for Christmas.

Kari is sponsored by: Oakley, Flytec, Ozone, OR, and Pocket Fuel. She is regularly featured in HangGliding and Paragliding Magazines and online articles. She has a clientele that numbers in the hundreds and a fan base in the thousands as well as being an icon in the sports of Hang Gliding, Paragliding and Kite Surfing.

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Brand New Day

I have terror. I have a great job and I am forty years old. I have no children or partner. I have crazy ideas. I think the real problem is, I wasn’t built for an office.

As I sit in my cubicle, I can hear the white noise of the aircondititioning overhead. The air is almost exctly the right temperature. and still. Every once in a while someone walks by quietly. They can’t help it. Heels, loafers, sneakers, they all sound alike on the gray, installation-standard carpet that covers everything except in front of the elevators.

I stare at the screen in front of me. I just figured out how to make both of my monitors work at once. That was my major accomplishment for the day… at least it was tangible evidence that something actually happened.

The words of the document I am reviewing blur and then snap beck into focus.AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! WHAT AM I DOING?????photo

I hate myself for not being “normal”.

I want to love this relative stability. I want to love having been hired for a career that is respectable and…. in many peoples eyes, exciting. I want to love the amount of things I am learning about government rules and standards and safety… accident reporting.

Maybe it is because since taking this position I have been painfully lonely.

I have no team… well, not a close, physical one… not one that owes beer for getting a truck stuck in the mud… or meets up after work to make dinner and cocktails..

I miss my old work…the wacky, argumentatitive, often lowbrow men (and sometimes women) that staff the bomb picking field…. (We call ourselves migrant bomb pickers) it’s pretty accurate. We go for a season or two and then we find new work. Some of us live on the road full time. There is nowhere for some of us to go back to…. we are a merry band of gypsies.

And then of course, my mind wanders to the sky… I have been cooking up a new plan. A new adventure. I am going to make a video and try to pimp myself on a couple crowd-sourcing sites to fund it.

Please be kind and give me a couple weeks to build it. and then I will present you first, my wonderful reader, the video edit before it goes out.. I will tell you my secret in your ear.

 

This is the end of Volume One. The next blog post will be at this same address, but up until this point, What I have now is going to print and will be soon available electronically through Amazon.

Why you so sweaty?

Dec 27 5:00PM
I am finally sitting at the airport with my cocktail. I have finished packing…. You may remember some airport issues that you have had, but I can tell you, the explosive swipe test is quite accurate at the TSA checkpoint.. in London Heathrow, Chicago O’hare and in Dallas/Ft Worth. I have come through and been chosen on several occasions to submit to a swipe test. I have had to do a lot of pre and post talking with the local law enforcement to explain my peculiar set of circumstances on two separate occasions. Fortunately, with the EOD community so small, the average six degrees of separation usually dwindles to two or less.
Not wanting to “pop positive” on checked baggage or have the fortune to meet more of my own on terms not-quite-equal, I opted to choose items for my trip that would not be of suspicion. This was difficult and required several checks. I made certain that my Demo bag didn’t go this time but had forgotten some of my other items as I was packing

1. After I settled all of my video gear into my very handy C-4 satchel (man-bag) that I normally pack my electronics in when I go to the range… I realized that the Lot numbers and the not very clandestine “M183” nomenclature on the bag could raise some eyebrows at some point… unpacked.

2. Flying gloves… I have used them almost every day for many months also at a bombing range for picking up everything from time fuze to blasting caps to bulk explosives and a flotilla of other items that will have every probability of setting off alarms at unfortunate moments. Packed, unpacked.

3. Notepad… that I have used reliably for the last year of recording grid findings, accomplishments and where my crew would  sneaky write random notes on pages for me to find later.. but has been handled by many sets of heavily contaminated gloves, set down on blast seats and carried with the  demolition materials. Almost packed.

Yes, I think there is a remote chance I could still get waylaid but I feel I have done my best to avoid another interesting conversation with an excited TSA employee.

Dec 27 8:30pm
 I am on the plane. Exhausted from an enormous day packing the camper and my bags, loading the motorcycle, storing the camper, storing the truck, car and motorcycle trailer.

 Continental…. I’m not sure if it’s me or if the seats on this plane are much smaller than the Southwest seating I am used to. Or maybe the guy next to me is bigger than everyone.
 Many of you know my OCD that encompasses hugging, touching, crowds, crowded areas… frottage is completely taboo.
The flight attendant has a more generous portion of waistline than the narrow aisle will support comfortably. she is brushing my arm and head frequently with this corpulence. I am spooning my neighbor who is also a heavy breather and groaner. We are shoulder to sweaty bare shoulder in this cigarette box  busload of people. If I have ever had any wish to again sleep next to a man, it seems to have been granted this evening . It’s a short flight but it seems to be stretching out into the very distant and  unforseeable future.  

Dec 28 0300
I have an eight hour layover in Dallas/ft Worth. I have been productive and gotten myself extreme sport health coverage with Patriot. It seems like they are one of the few companies that specialize in this product.  $198/3  months. I really hope I don’t have to report on their reliability. Even more, I hope I can sleep for a little bit but I’m too excited to meet my friends later!!

Paralysis

Aside

I’m paralyzed. I have fifty things I should be doing but I’m sitting in my warm car wearing my last pair of clean clothes listening to my dog breathe. It’s almost flyable at the ridge, it might turn on, but that could take all afternoon and no flight. I think I have plans for tonight, but I forgot who I might have made them with, so that means I really have to do laundry or be forced in to smell-testing evening wear. Or a laundry bail- out… which is more likely to happen.
The Girl Next Door might want to shoot some pool.. Which I’m super hoping might happen but… who did I make plans with??
Maybe some whipping practice will focus me.

Countdown

I am entering the final weeks before my departure. Perhaps it is causing me to wax philosophical. I am unsure why this struck me as so worthy of consideration.. maybe my great love of  having a birds-eye view of the world, maybe my perpetual excitement of the ability to  see huge expanses of apparently still unspoiled natural beauty in my own country.

This was on my return flight from Denver. I had recalled this for a friend and she thought I should post it here..

I chose a window seat. I love sitting in the window but it’s a bit of a challenge to make it to the head. Durning drinks service, I squeezed out and made the single trip, I was trapped by the drink and food cart returning to my seat, so while stranded in the wait station, I was able to peek out the tiny  flight attendant porthole. I think I see the Grand Canyon. It’s huge chasm is at the perfect time of day for picturesque viewing. The bottom in deep shadows, striated reds and black and desert tans held down by a perfectly clear blue backdrop. I snapped a few pictures.. And kept wondering if it for sure was the Grand Canyon. Finally the attendant returns to the rear and asks me if I want anything to drink or eat. I said no, but did she know if that was the Grand Canyon?
Attendant: “I don’t have time to look out the window.”
Me: “you never look out the window?”
Attendant: “no. We never have time”
Me “not even a peek?”
Attendant: “no, we’re much too busy for even a peek.”
Me: “what about right now? Surely you have just a second, I think that’s the Grand Canyon down there”
Attendant: “I’m sure I’ve seen it before, this isn’t my first time over it”
Me: “Mine either.. How do you know if it’s the Grand Canyon or not?”
Attendant: “you”ll know it if you see it.”
Me: “I am never sure… I have been to some pretty majestic places and am always curious when I pass over”
Her face pinches up and i fear i may be rapidly approaching arrest..I know I’m pressing her, but I’m too interested in this persons curiosity level and almost don’t let it go.. But I do.
Attendant: “would you like something to drink?”
Me: “No. Thanks”
I felt sad somehow.

Maybe it’s just because they were overworked, underpaid women working for a bankrupt airline with little room in their cabin space for anything else, but it still makes me wonder how we can create interest in things outside our own scope where there is none, or very little. How do we stop paying exclusive attention to our Sprites and crinkly bags of peanuts… how do we encourage others to be thrilled with the world that we live in? How many more people feel like I do? I hope many.

Grocery list

I lied. It’s not really a grocery list… But I kind of wish it was.
It’s a to do list.

I’ve just returned home from Thanksgiving with my adopted family in Denver… Who are a group of now-dear friends that I’ve known for close to 20 years. They have shared with me nearly every joy and sadness that I have inflicted upon myself during that long stretch of time. As well as gotten me (and a couple of girlfriends) out of some pretty hot water. (Thanks Z!)

Now that I’ve gotten this big breath of fresh air, it’s time to get to work. I’m getting ready to go back to dive school for a refresher course and need to pass the Navy dive physical again. I have to swim 500 meters in under 12 1/2 minutes (you can doggie paddle this fast) do 42 pushups (all the way up, all the way down) do 50 sit-ups (easy) then run 1 1/2 miles in under 11:30. The run for me is the hardest. I go long…not fast.
So this morning I’m heading out to find a pull up bar and a swimming pool somewhat close to each other.

Breakfast.

Hook up and arrange camper for living in. (I just moved spots)
Scout (my sweet Aussie pup) is getting interviewed this weekend for his long stay at my cousin Carries house while I’m Adventuring.

Research how to get from here in Oceanside to LAX in a sane and inexpensive manner with all my things. Leave a day ahead and book a hotel so I will have an tear-accident-traffic and otherwise drama free time getting to the airport. For once.

Lunch. How bout Pho? I love Pho.

Find the old registration for my toy hauler, motorcycle and trailer. It’s buried in my car or truck or camper or storage. This is the game killer.. I unfortunately organize in a way that I call “Layer Theory”. Freaking disaster.
I’m sure this will come up again.

Get on my motorcycle and ride out to the desert. (5 hours) I will spend the night in Tecopa Hot Springs (my happy place) boil myself for dinner then early tomorrow, ride the rest of the way to Las Vegas (1 1/2 hours) where I will get all this stuff properly registered in Nevada.

Breakfast.

Ride home.

Unhook truck from camper (the one I’m living in) Go get the 5th wheel from the consignment shop (they can’t sell it and want me to pick it up)

Take it to RV storage, drop it off. Pick up scout.

Get ready for work.
That’s the plan.
What is really going to happen? Probably will look at the weather, the wind will be good for a nice flight at Torrey and I’ll be out the door. Sure I’ll feel guilty, but that never seems to slow the car.

Bombed out

The bomb disposal part… I’m in the Navy reserves now. I spent seven years active duty. I like diving and jumping out of planes and helicopters. I like shooting guns and blowing things up.. But I like paragliding more.

This is a key problem and part of the reason for this trip. In my civilian job, I work outdoors. Clearing bombing ranges. It has it’s ups and downs. Literally. Especially in Southern California. It’s actually a great job for me. I would wither in a cubicle. Even in the worst conditions, I can turn to a fellow and say “at least we’re not in an office.”…most of the time, he agrees right away. Every once in a while, someone gives me the crazy look and snarls “at least we’d be warm!”

But recently, my eyes have been turned skyward, watching the clouds, studying the birds..ravens, red tailed hawks, turkey vultures…the local soaring masters. And my chest tightens.

During the summer months, I would throw my wing in the car and drive myself to Torrey Pines for an easy, light wind ridge flight. But it is nearly dark when I leave the range now. You should not fly in the dark. It is mostly just silly and dangerous. Trees, power lines, fences, rocks. Planes can’t see you. That sort of thing.

So my frustration mounts.

And the bubble pops. I have somehow lost my mind and in the midst of a horrible economy, I am quitting my fancy job and leaving the country. After selling one of my homes for an overall loss earlier this year, I saved enough money to cover my bills for four months and spend up to $2000 a month. For two months. If I want to stay longer, I will have to drink less and be more creative in my choice of accommodations.

So with a month left, and the holidays bearing down, I’m trying to work, buy tickets, get Reserve time knocked out, get medically and dentally ready, research places, get my Brazil visa, sell the bigger ticket items… One camper at least, a car and my storage. Stay positive. I want the administration of this adventure to evaporate and be magically transported to the airport bar drinking a single malt scotch at the steak place waiting to get on my plane.

No magic is happening. Just slow progress.