Today we took a drive to La Jolla, a beautiful seaside community north of San Diego. We drove around in a few of the neighborhoods, envying the views of the ocean. Then we went to downtown to look around, where we didn't find much besides touristy boutiques.
We had lunch at a nice little place called Cody's, eating outside in the southern California warmth. Then we walked a block down to a seaside park which had some truly spectacular views and even a small beach.
Our next destination was a place I'd found on the internet. The cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, just north of La Jolla, are the home of the Torrey Pines Gliderport, where hang gliders and parasails rule. I was thinking about perhaps, possibly, MAYBE taking a tandem ride, and once I got there and saw them, there was no more maybe about it. I thought Mike might go too, but he was happy to just take photos.
My instructor was a handsome young man named Antonio. He does this for a living, giving tandem rides and presumably instructing. He put me into a kind of harnessed "seat" where I would hang in front of him once we were airborne. While Antonio raised the sail to catch air, it took a third person to keep us stable; I wasn't strong enough to help. Then Antonio quickly took his correct position, grabbed the control toggles, and we were off!
We floated slowly toward the cliff, a few feet off the ground; then we were over! The first view of the beach below was breathtaking, 200 feet down at least. We drifted out several hundred feet over the ocean before turning to head south. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, blue above, deeper blue below. I was flying!
The flights are limited to a certain range, so we basically floated in a giant ellipse for a couple of revolutions. The flight was about fifteen minutes. It was glorious. If I were much younger and MUCH stronger, I could sooo get into this.
After a perfect, easy landing practically in the exact spot where we started, it was over. What a ride! I collected a few high-fives from the spectators, and we were on our way home.
On the freeway going back, I spotted this incredible building across the road; it looked like Elsa's ice palace from Frozen. I'm amazed that I was able to get a couple of pictures while moving at 60MPH. I remarked to Mike that it was so elaborate, I thought it might be a Mormon Temple. And sure enough, when we got back home and I Googled, that's exactly what it was.