Hey Team,

I’m a big fan of being around people in general…but I especially like being around large groups of people who have a lot in common with each other and nothing in common with me. Those are always guaranteed learning experiences. And this weekend was no exception.

Set-up in Virginia

It’s amazing how much you can learn about a sport like hang gliding without ever even leaving the ground. (You heard right folks, #23 still stands. More on that later though.) People (and this is true of any of those afore-mentioned learning experiences) throw out a LOT of jargon when they’re in a like-minded environment.

For example I now know what it means if you happen to use terms like “L and V,” “Milk a cloud” or “Ride a thermal.” In fact if you were to say to me, “Well, Brett, it looks like an L and V day but if you can milk that cloud you might be able to ride a thermal.” I’d be less inclined to call the police and have your ass arrested than I would have a week ago.

All of the hang gliders I talked to (the people not the actual gliders…that would be an awkward conversation) were down to earth (especially considering how much time they spend not being…) and friendly and all this weekend did was serve to whet my appetite for the opportunity to actually do some hang gliding.

Launch

Speaking of which, I went to the hang gliding and paragliding festival with Alek this weekend with the blind hope that someone would bring a tandem glider and I’d be able to hitch a ride. No such luck. But here’s an interesting little “Amtrekker Fact” some of you may not know about me: I’m the luckiest man alive. If there’s a prize to be won or a raffle to be entered, then I win. It’s almost not fair so I don’t usually buy raffle tickets anymore.

But luck always finds a way (good or bad, luck is sneaky like that). Alek, literally the guy I met on my very first Amtrekker train ride and the guy that told me I should be at this festival this weekend, won the grand prize instead. (The double threat of being the guy I showed up with AND standing next to me during the number calling was too much for the raffle to fight off.)

The grand prize was a Ten Tow Package at a local aerosports place. Referring to a hang glider being towed by an ultralight to get airborne…not to be confused with Ten Toes. I made that mistake. So, as it turns out, Alek had JUST purchased one of these fairly expensive packages and in an incredible display of generosity decided to call up the aerosports place and trade his prize for a chance for me to fly there…tomorrow!

How cool is that?

So the rest of my day will be spent trying to figure out how the crap I’m going to get to Ridgley, Maryland and back and, weather permitting, this time tomorrow #23 will be no more!

I’m done.

Brett

Welcome to the wonderful world of the kindness of strangers:


Why NOT be a kind stranger?