Let's talk Paragliding, BLM Land and National Parks


Yep, that's me. The Torey Pines Gliderport is a great place to find some fun and try something new. The views are amazing and the feeling is surreal. If you ever get the chance, you must try this. I'm certain I will do it again. They hook you up, tell you to start jogging and off the cliff you go! Totally different experience than skydiving, both are exciting. Skydiving is, well, over the top and paragliding is sight-seeing while being a sight to see.

The beach below me is Black's Beach, a clothing-optional beach located in La Jolla CA. We are to high up too see any bare butts, but they are down there. The trek to that beach is a bit tricky but as you can see in the middle of August, it is not crowded. There are also some spectacular houses overlooking the ocean that we cruised by. I wonder what it's like to have nudists down below and paragliders flying above... Darin and I shared the fun with this beautiful couple and my friend Wendy who came along to enjoy the day.

Now comes the time to put our new America The Beautiful parks pass to use. Early September 2019 Darin and I hit the road again, Grand Canyon or bust. We left late in the day and aimed for some BLM Land to spend our first night. Since we left home later than we normally do we took the interstate. I'm not a huge fan of I-10 but it does serve its purpose. As we approached Joshua Tree National Forest we kept an eye out for Cottonwood Spring Rd. We were headed east so we turned north off the exit to get onto Cottonwood Spring Road and drove about 1/4 - 1/2 mile then turned right on a dirt road, found a spot! Simple, easy, just pull in, sleep, pull out. No problem. That is exactly how it went. Just before dark we parked and had a nice quiet night of sleep. My coffee routine took place as usual in the morning and we were off and rolling. This was our morning view.

By early afternoon we were on Hwy 89 driving through Prescott Arizona. Prescott has a great park and a string of bars and restaurants called Whiskey Row. We had to stop there, right? We no longer imbibe but the food was good at The Palace. Continuing on our journey we stopped in Jerome, this is a must-see spot. We walked around quite bit there and bought some trinkets,

From Jerome we continued along Hwy 89 to Sedona where we took in some sights that never disappoint. This church is breathtaking! Chapel of the Holy Cross

After visiting the Chapel we found a great parking spot to back into and hiked down through a tunnel under the Hwy to Oak Creek.

After a refreshing dip in the creek we headed to Flagstaff, this is a beautiful drive, take your time and enjoy Mother Nature showing off. It was time to find a spot to park for the evening so we headed up to Snow Bowl, a ski resort located on the majestic San Francisco Peaks, 14 miles north of Flagstaff. There were a few parking lots to choose from and the sunset was absolutely amazing. We couldn't catch one, but those clouds would light up with lightning strikes.

Once the show was over we pulled out our Coleman and grilled some burgers and played some cards amongst the aspens.

Next up, the Grand Canyon. As promised, we're gonna see some National Parks! I decided to show this next picture because of the grayscale on the other side of the green trees. It looks photoshopped to me, different right? Everyone has seen the beautiful colors of the Grand Canyon and the dramatic crevices never get old, but this shot speaks to me.

The views we get from atop our van are the best! Here are a few more and a shot of our campsite on the South Rim at dinner time.

The South Rim is very popular and definitely worth seeing, but we wanted more, so we spent the next day driving around to the North Rim. This is an absolute must! You have to go the extra mile, well, many miles, like 289 miles... Along the way there are plenty of places to stop and take in some gorgeous views and even a swim or two. This is Marble Canyon at 8:30 in the morning and the Colorado River. We stopped at Lees Ferry for a swim and some fun.

The North Rim is still quite a ways but well worth it. Bright Angel Point is the hike you want for the great views and striking landscapes. We got there at 3pm and still had time to take the hike, cook dinner, catch the sunset and roast marshmallows.