Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fun Things We Did in Kauai: Flew Trikes

Birds in Paradise

I stumbled across a review of this place in our guide book and immediately thought it sounded like fun. Somehow I talked Diana into doing it too, so on a rainy Thursday morning we drove the hour and a half from the North Shore to the Port Allen airport. We made one wrong turn, which turned out to be the right turn, but we didn't realize that until we'd already gone back to the other road, so we had to correct our correction. In any case, when the right lane becomes a turn-only lane, you want to turn right.

Rain and motorized hang gliding don't necessarily go well together, or rather wind and motorized hang gliding don't go well together. When we got there, we sat around and chatted with the pilots as we waited for the weather to clear. One of them was originally from Modesto. He, while talking about a non-Modesto related topic to the other pilots, made the comment "that's pissing a little bit too close to the couch," my new favorite idiom.

In any case, the weather cleared and we zipped into flight suits, strapped on a microphone and a helmet, and somehow sandwiched ourselves into the back of our respective trikes behind our respective pilots. To get the full sense of just how uncomfortable the seating arrangement is, try jamming your crotch against the back of a total stranger without having a particularly good place to put your feet or head without knocking into something hard or metal that your not entirely sure you should be touching and do all of this about a mile above the ground.

Then, top it off with the fact that legally this isn't a motorized hang gliding ride, it's a lesson. So, reach your hands up above your head, grab the bar, and by shifting your weight, control what direction you're flying. Thankfully, the pilot is still controlling your airspeed and altitude.

Once I figured out my left from my right, it was all good, and the driving pain in my leg from the seat trying make friends with my thigh bone and the fear that I would do something wrong and end up crashing into a skydiver subsided and I was able to enjoy the spectacular views. Unfortunately, because of the weather we weren't able to fly up over Waimea Canyon or down the Na Pali Coast, as I had hoped. Instead we went along the South Shore over to Po'Ipu and back. Still, tremendous fun and stunningly beautiful. I don't think I'll ever forget looking down at a helicopter several thousand feet below me hovering over the water, or looking over at Diana flying her trike as her pilot took pictures of my trike in the air.

We did not buy any of the pictures (the one above is from this guy's blog when he did the same thing). We looked at them, but other than posting one here, we weren't quite sure what we would ever use them for. Besides, flight suits are not exactly flattering and the memories are the whole point of the adventure.

That and the one hour of flight time in a motorized hang glider that we can now transfer into a flight log if we ever wanted to get our license. While we both certainly enjoyed it, I don't think either of us will be logging any more lessons anytime soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.