“Simply the most amazing thing I have ever done!” was how my lady described our Valentine’s Day adventure.  Having friends who do cool things sure makes our lives so much richer.  Base jumping, sky diving, demolition derby driving, and Red Bull employee are just the tip of interesting things our friend Nick enjoys.

The original plan was for a mellow couple’s weekend at our bay home in Wheeler with cocktails and nine holes of golf in Manzanita. But, Saturday morning Nick asked,  “Hey dude, what do you think of paragliding in Gearhart this afternoon?” “Sure, I guess?” was the only answer I could muster.  We were greeted with big jolly smiles and hugs by Maren and Brad, proprietors of Discover Paragliding, on Gearhart’s beach. We started out with a ground school session that introduced us to the fundamentals of paraglider control, launching, and landing.

My lady decided it was best that she go first to keep her courage up and her fear of heights at bay.  Top Gun was all I could think of while she was putting on her flight suit, helmet and aviator glasses.  I wondered if I was Maverick or Goose and if “I had lost that lovin’ feeling.”  Turns out I am more like Goose and Alia always reminds me that I have never really found that lovin’ feeling even after seven years.

A few deep breaths and Maverick was ready.  Brad strapped her into his harness along with the tow line to the truck.  He radioed Maren that they were ready and with a punch of the gas pedal along with four strides they were airborne.  They gently climbed to about 2800ft and released the tow cable allowing them to fly and maneuver like a bird.  As they came closer to the launch zone all we could hear was screaming from my lady.  Alia’s smile was ear to ear and her ‘woo hoos’ could not stop.  All she could keep saying was “Woo hoo! I can fly like Mary Poppins! I can fly!”  The excitement was contagious for us all.

Having been born and raised in Oregon I have become short sighted in my choice of activities, resulting in rarely finding new adventures to experience.  What a treat this day turned out to be.  Once in the air I could not stop reveling in the beauty of the Oregon coast.  I could see all the way from the Astoria Column to Cannon Beach while never realizing we had cranberry bogs on the coast.  Soaring at 2500ft the evening light was bouncing off the clouds and Pacific Ocean, again reminding me on the 150th birthday of our great state how great Oregon really is.

Note: Discover Paragliding is fully certified by the USHPA, United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, as Certified Advanced and Master rated instructors.  Brad and Maren are not only in love with what they do but most importantly with each other since meeting in 1997. They are true Oregon Dreamers.

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