Ahhh! Woooh! What's happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Okay okay, calm down calm down get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? Its a sort of tingling in my... well I suppose I better start finding names for things. Lets call it a... tail! Yeah! Tail! And hey, what's this roaring sound, whooshing past what I'm suddenly gonna call my head? Wind! Is that a good name? It'll do. Yeah, this is really exciting. I'm dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There's an awful lot of that now isn't it? And what's this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me? Hello Ground!
- Whale, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
So Dana & Larry came to visit in June (yes we know it's now July) with a laundry list of things to accomplish - visiting Alcatraz, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing redwood trees, a campus tour, wine tasting, and jumping out of a plane. Oddly enough, many of which KK had done without me, so I had promised Dana I'd wait for her on these adventures.
Last part first. Skydiving was AMAZING!!! Jumping out of a plane always seemed like a fun, but scary idea; until I realized, the professionals you're strapped to jump between 6 and 8 times a day. Oh, and they probably don't want to die either. To which Dana, Larry, and I thought it might be good idea to talk to our tandem pro just to see how they were feeling that day. Good spirits? Excellent. They have the routine down to a science, and you don't get much say as your basically pushed out the door. In Dana's case carried because she was in the back of the plane. In my case, a gentle roll out, as I was the first one out the door. Immediately, it was one of the most relaxing and freeing experiences of my life. You're basically weightless and can't do anything but look around at the serene views. Ok, maybe you can also scream. 60 seconds of free fall, another 5 minutes floating under the parachute, and worth every moment (and penny). Larry actually steered his chute, which I'm a bit jealous of, so if anyone wants to go, let me know...
Alcatraz Island is actually only a tiny speck of land in the bay, which we see all the time when we look out to the bay. I was expecting a boring history lesson, but I actually surprise myself by now highly recommending the audio tour. Unless you've been living under the rock, you at least know it was a prison. It is also home to an old abandoned military fort, the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the US, and a massive amount of bird habitats. Other past residents include Al Capone, tribes of Native Americans during a slightly hostile takeover, and several children. KK wrote about it from her first summer here, but the prison guards used to actually live on the island and their children played on the grounds outside the prison walls. They took a ferry over to SF each day for school. Dana, Larry, and I happened to visit the same day one of these kids was on the island to sign copies of her latest book about life in and out of the prison grounds. (She's no longer a child.) However, she was still a child living on the island during the worst escape attempt. When she heard the sirens, she thought it'd at least make a great excuse for being late to school.
Our other adventures with Dana and Larry we're equally thrilling but perhaps repeats to all of you loyal readers. You can read about the first time we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge here. You can also read about wine tasting here, here, here, here, and here.
And now for some pictures.
Best seat in the house.