Adventure #9-Tandem Hang Gliding

Joie De Vierve and other Fancy Words

We began as we always do….in some parking lot where anticipation is the first course.  This time it was not a surprise.  We were supposed to go over a month ago, but the weather did not cooperate.  This gave me (Kat) the opportunity to research and get myself all worked up to the point of actually googling: “How many fatalities were there in 2010 while hang gliding?”  I wonder what number would have been acceptable to me?  I was not going to leave them without a prayer warrior so I went anyway.  Plus, the car rides are always one of my favorite parts and this particular ride did not disappoint.  Dare I say it was the Pièce de résistance? (French word referring to the best part or highlight). 
There were so many fancy words used on the trip that I thought I had possibly missed an adventure where my now brilliant adventure girls took some weird SAT prep course. 

We met at Panera and while waiting for my caramel latte (italian for coffee drink) I overheard a woman say, “Wow that is so awesome.”  Without even turning around I knew that it was one of us telling a stranger that she is part of an adventure group and letting her know ALL about it….whether she wanted to hear it or not.  Check, Check.  (It was Tracy this time…a task that Maryhelen usually completes for us). 

We piled into Tracys minivan and before the seatbelts were even fastened, Tracy describes someone and says, “I really love her “Joie de Vivre” (french meaning cheerful enjoyment of life).  Why, Why, Why do I not live on a commune with these girls?  I laugh until I cry EVERY time!  On this ride Stacy said some really big word, too.  But it may have been the moment my brain exploded so I forgot what it was…


I am not proud of the fact that I am not clear on some of the inner workings of the world.  I learned a lot and feel strangly connected to Aretha Franklin.  If you are not a part of this group, but follow the blog (thank you) call me. I will explain my affinity for Ms. Franklin privately; for some things a woman does not discuss outside of the safety of the minivan.  And by the way, I am not the only one who had a little break in common sense thinking today…Tracy, after laughing at my expense, let us know we were in Woodbridge because “there is the IKEA.”  Umm…more than one IKEA in the world and we are in Maryland, Tracy.  So at least I am in good company.

Patty and her one liners
Get Patty a little nervous and her comedic timing is flawless.  She is the one who came up with Aretha.  She also let us know that “Bladder over Glider” was a must.  Picture the thought of being 2500 feet in the air and strapped to what we knew would be a handsome man and realizing that loss of bladder control was definitely on this beautiful horizon.  They WERE very handsome, by the way.  Our instructors always are….Sunny and Adam.  ahh…Perfectly sweet and incredibly encouraging.

I know a lot of people may have been disappointed that the founder of this group (me) did not participate.  On the way there the girls were trying to figure out what it was that was stopping me.  “Are you afraid of heights?”  “Are you afraid of the glider breaking?”  etc. etc.  I replied “I have an EVERYTHING!”  My husband also said he was worried about this one.  I told Chris that Tracy is completely fearless and will do anything anyone puts her up to…He responded with the typical old man comment, “Would she jump off a bridge if dared?”  After relaying this to Tracy her response was, “Tell him that if I was tethered to the bridge I would.”  She really is amazing and so funny.  I will tell you I will never again research beforehand. I am forever grateful that I was never shamed or felt to be anything other than a wonderful friend for coming and supporting!  That is the real deal.  True Friendship.

Pilots License in about 5 minutes

Before departing to NeverNeverLand the girls had to sign a few papers and get a quick overview of the hangglider.  Maryhelen signed and dated hers May 21st, Two Thousand, the year of our Lord, Eleven. Although the instructors obviously knew what they were talking about, Stacy wasn’t sure that this tiny rope REALLY could hold up to 5000 pounds. 

PS….Check out Maryhelen in the background.  The look of complete, “What am I DOING?”

I HAVE to go first
Everyone was thinking this, but Heather just got it out first.  She is one of our go-get-ems.  She never seems to be nervous.  And when she has completed the adventure she always says, “that was awesome.”
So when she arrived back on solid ground and we were screaming, “how was it?”  and she responded with “It was good.” it made us feel a little more nervous. Did that mean it was awful….did she see the world REALLY ending from her vantage point in the sky?”  What did “It was good mean?”  Well, we found out it meant, “It was amazing, but I am about to puke.”  Here she is on video taking off…. Our Fearless First!  She was followed by Patty and then one by one my precious brave buddies got in that sack and took the ride of a lifetime. 

The Amazing Aero-Dynamic Adventure Girls!

Sacks and other things we find a way to make inappropriate
So, there was a tandem sack that you needed to get into before gliding.  I mean, come on.  That is just waiting for an inappropriate remark.  I can’t remember who said that she was “most afraid of getting in the sack.” but it had us rolling.  Add to it our instructor saying “well, I can add a little more pressure” a few minutes later and forget about it.  Life doesn’t get any better than when there are double entendres (french) thrown around.  MH also let us know that she was talking about doing this one day with someone and repeatedly called it HANDgliding.  The kind man finally told her it was actually HANGgliding.  I am not sure what handgliding is, but I am almost positive Tracy would do it if she were tethered in some way. 

The Quiet Warrior aka No Cracker
We had a special adventure girl with us this month.  Shannon is Kelly’s biological sister and I am still wondering if she will ever join us again.  Shannon, I apologize that we did not allow you, as our guest, to go first and I am super sorry you did not receive a congratulatory cracker.   Please come back and I promise you we will not starve you.  You were just as I knew you would be; gracious, funny and courageous! 
When Shannon headed up, Kelly said with complete sisterly pride, “Look there she is!”  It was so sweet.   
Here is Shannon before and after!

Memo Pad Memory Loss
I always keep a memo pad throughout the day of funny and exceptional moments of our adventures that I can record in this blog.  There were so many and to be perfectly frank (unknown) I cannot remember the origins of the following notes in my memo pad. I know they were hilarious, but I am at a complete loss.  Even without explanation they seem and are funny so I will include them below. 
1) Put a sock up there
2) It is like a facelift
3) Cause that’s normal
4) Acid from Tummy
5) My neighborhood is not in Gangstaland
6) He’s got you in your special place Heather

I wish I could explain, but I can’t. 

MH just can’t seem to remember that we are a mix of DZ’s and KD’s.  It is a running joke, but I really think she has it right.   We have grown closer throughout this first year as BG’s and now the lines are so blurred that we forget that one year ago some of us had never even met.   And that, my friends, is the exact definition of joie de vierve.   

Final Note: Suzy does not like to hold hands and MH is an excellent bridge driver. 

Thank you to Tracy for planning such a fabulously frightening adventure! We completely missed Lisa and Tina! 

NEXT month: Kat has planned a way to commemorate our One Year Anniversary!


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