Tag Archives: Bucket List

On our bucket list, Skydiving

My husband stated “for my 50th birthday, there’s something I always wanted to do.”   I couldn’t imagine what was on his bucket list, that he hadn’t already accomplished.

His answer was “jump out of an airplane” and my response was “okay, is that with or without a parachute?”  Gosh, he was serious!
Lee's Birthday Tandem skydive 1Well, we celebrated his birthday by driving to the local airport and watching some skydivers.

It looked so effortless, that we both signed up for our tandem skydives.

Lee's In Flight Tandem 2

The jump begins at an altitude of over 1 mile above ground.  The drogue chute (see the yellow tail behind the parachute) is released to stabilize the jumpers.

After free falling down to 5,500 feet, the main parachute is opened.

Lee's Tandem Safe Landing 3 Now learning how to guide this huge tandem chute begins.

The toggle straps have double hand holds, so the trainer and student work together on making turns and landing in the pea gravel.

Lee was the perfect student and had a stand-up landing.

Neva's First Skydive Tandem 1It’s easy to smile at the camera and not be nervous when your feet are still on the ground.

We had a camera man take videos of our first jump.  I was so scared, I had to watch the video to make sure I actually did this skydive.Neva's First Skydive Tandem 2

The worst part for me was when the pilot opened the plane’s door.  The tandem master leaned out that open door to visually check the jump area.  Being buckled to him meant I was hanging out the doorway too.

The camera man exited and was hanging onto the plane’s strut.  At this point, I was more concerned about survival, than geeking the camera mounted on his helmet.

Once we were in free fall, it became the most amazing experience I could ever imagine.

After completing our skydives, we both knew we had to go out that open plane door again for another tandem jump.

What started as my husband’s birthday wish, became our newest hobby.Neva's Tandem Safe Landing 3

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Our bucket list includes a quest to visit all 59 National Parks.  The Capitol Reef National Park is in an isolated area of Utah, which allows for a peaceful hiking experience.

It’s located on the Scenic Byway 12 route which travels through 3 national parks, 3 state parks, a national recreation area, and a national monument.  Yes, I will be linking these areas for your enjoyment in future story’s about our travels through the 124 miles of the Scenic Byway 12 route.

Capitol Reef natl park

The trails in the Capitol Reefs National Park took us up and around some cliffs for a panoramic view of the many spires, ridges and domes.  The park was named Capitol Reef, because the whitish sandstone domes resemble the Washington D.C. “Capitol” Building.  The “Reef” refers to the high uplifted ridge, which presented a considerable barrier to early settlers.

Capitol Reef red flower

I’m always amazed at how flowers manage to bloom in such inhospitable environments.

Capitol Reef white cactus flower

Capitol Reef purple flower

I would appreciate your helping me identify these cactus beauties for me.

I believe the red flower is the Crimson Hedgehog cactus, but the white cactus and the bluish lavender flowers are a mystery to me yet.

On our bucket list, Gliding in a Sailplane

My husband and I took our first ride in a Sailplane over 15 years ago at Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix, Arizona.  We enjoyed it so much that instead of crossing it off, we’ve kept this on our bucket list.

On a recent trip through Arizona, we returned to the Turf Soaring School at Lake Pleasant for what is now my fourth sailplane ride.Getting strapped in Glider

It was like stepping back in time, when we were greeted again with hello’s from Bebop, their white parrot mascot.  The owner claimed that this (blankety, blank) parrot can live for 100 years.  Well, Bebop must be almost as old as I am.

Release Glider tow rope

Part of the pre-flight check list is making sure the release handle will detach the 200 foot rope from the tow plane.  As you can see, I got to practice this important task of tugging the yellow, ball shaped release handle.  The training includes all aspects of gliding, but I wanted to relax(?) and enjoy the flight.

Glider LiftoffCarl Baxter, the aerobatic instructor, asked what kind of G-force ride I wanted.  Since he would be seated behind me, I would have to verbally let him know if and/or when I needed to stop the aerobatic ride.

Glider under tow over Lake ParadiseI’m a confirmed adrenalin junkie and like to get my money’s worth.  Well, I certainly did!

He performed some loops, rolls, wing overs, a cloverleaf (90 degree turn), and my favorite, a hammerhead stall.  Buzzing the airport

I have to admit that a few times while my mouth was saying “oh wow, this is fantastic”, my brain was thinking “oh crap, this is scary.”  Then he flipped the plane to an inverted flight and watched the ground zoom by, as we hung upside down.  Glider returned to earth

Since there weren’t too many thermals to keep us airborne, we did a low (dive bombing type) pass.   This then took us up and over the airport buildings, so Lee could get our photo.

We then turned back towards the runway and came in for a smooth landing in front of the airport.

I found this video on-line of a flight that was taken last year at the Turf Soaring School.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WtEpVE5_aE   This will give you an idea of what we saw and some of the aerobatics we enjoyed.  Note: the creaking sounds are the plane’s wings, not my body.

On our bucket list, a Hot Air Balloon Ride

­If you need to get somewhere fast, a hot air balloon is not the way to travel.   That’s why our bucket list included the experience of floating through the air like, or in this case with, a balloon.

Balloon 1Our children decided to fulfill this wish and surprised us with an anniversary gift of a hot air balloon ride.

They told us we would be picked up at 6 a.m. and to wear wind breakers.  We weren’t allowed to ask where, what or why!  Although having to get up that early in the morning, helped narrow down the bucket list of possible surprises.

Balloon 2

Balloon 3

 

Our certificate said it so well.  “We broke the bonds of gravity and ascended towards the heavens over the historic mountain town of Park City, Utah.”

Balloon 4I’ve read that you can’t really steer it, ­and it only travels as fast as the wind blows.  But we landed as planned, and on time, in a field with the chase vehicle waiting to pick us up.

After completing our ride in the “Dreams Aloft” balloon, we celebrated our safe journey with the traditional champagne toast.  We then received certificates that are proudly displayed on an office wall.

We can only describe flying in a hot air balloon as one of the most serene, enjoyable activities we’ve ever experienced.   If you are an adrenalin junkie like us, check out this high flying experience at the website: www.pcballoonadventures.com and then let us know about your balloon flight.

National Park Senior and Disability Passes

blog-natl-logo1[1]America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands
Senior Pass – Cost $10
A lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass can only be obtained in person at the park and is non-transferable. The Senior Pass provides a 50% discount on charges such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.
This pass replaced the discontinued Golden Age Passport which my husband proudly carries at all times.
Visiting all the National Parks is on our bucket list. This will be a daunting task, since there are 59 parks and over 398 areas in the National Park System. So far we have visited 22 National Parks.  We hope the federal budget cuts won’t someday decide to cut the Senior Park Pass money saving perk. Enjoy this link for locating all the parks in every state: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm

Access Pass – Free
A lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. Documentation is required to obtain the pass. This pass replaced the discontinued Golden Access Passport.

Note: Golden Age and Golden Access Passports will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass.