Monday, August 21, 2006

Midnight Madness Bike Ride

Saturday Night I did the Midnight Madness Bike Ride with Chad and Fatima. It is an 18 mile course that starts and finishes in Downtown San Diego. People rode every possible type of bike and many wore costumes or pajamas. The ride started at midnight along the San Diego Harbor towards Point Loma and looped the lengths of Harbor and Shelter Islands.

Chad at the finish of the Midnight Madness Bike Ride
Everyone had bike lights but it was still a little tough weaving our way forward through the large crowd of riders who started ahead of us. When the course reached Rosecrans Street, Chad, Fatima and I were able to get up to speed and haul ass towards Old Town and then back into Downtown to the finish.

Fatima and Noah at the finish of the Midnight Madness Bike Ride
We had a nice dinner at the Mona Lisa Restaurant in Little Italy before the race.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fun Weekend

I had a fun weekend. I went to a party at Suzie's house Friday night, Medieval Times on Saturday, and a beach party at Tide Park in Solana Beach on Sunday.

Foot to Nose is tough in Body Jam
Suzie's party was really fun. We played a drinking game version of Jenga and a game I have never heard of before, Body Jam! To play, you draw two pairs of cards to determine which body parts you have to use to carry two foam pieces to the bucket across the room without dropping them. I teamed up with Sara against Tiffany & Dave and Suzie & Kurt. After a tie and a triple play-off with Tiffany and Dave, Sara and I emerged victorious as the Body Jam Champs. I think all the Jello Shots helped get everyone in the proper game mood.

Foot to Chin and Hip to Shoulder, now how do we move?
On Saturday, I went up to Orange County to celebrate my grandmother's birthday. The whole family went to Medieval Times where we were seated in the Blue Knight section. Our knight kicked ass in the games of skill, never missing a ring with his lance, but he was the first one to die in the one-on-one combat. Boooo! The food was quite good, even though you have to eat with your hands. This was my first time at Medieval Times, I have wanted to go ever since seeing it in the movie, The Cable Guy, with Jim Carrey.

Tiffany and Dave almost to the bucket
I had fun hanging out at Tide Park in Solana Beach on Sunday. There was no waves but I had a fun time at the party throwing the Frisbee and playing wiffle ball. Blayne hit a nice walk-off double to lead our team to the win. The trash talker in the outfield wasn't able to get a handle on the line drive directly at him.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Helicopter Ride over North County

My brother, Joel, is a helicopter pilot and instructor at Civic Helicopters located at Palomar Airport, the busiest one-runway airport in the United States. He got his license last year and yesterday was my opportunity to go on a flight with him. I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to fly because of the heightened security at US airports because of the arrests the night before in England of the terrorist plotters who wanted to blow up airliners with liquid explosives. It turned out to be no problem at this small domestic-only airport.

Joel getting Helicopter ready
Joel took me up in the two seater helicopter that they called, 88 Spanky, the Love Machine. It is his favorite helicopter at work and was the one he flew to cover the Los Angeles and San Diego Marathons. It is a strange feeling taking off in a helicopter. You don't get that rush of speed you have in an airplane before takeoff, instead one moment you are sitting on the ground and the next you are going straight up. It feels like you are being lifted off the ground by a crane or something.

Noah flying in Helicopter with Joel
It was a beautiful day with hardly any clouds as we took off around 6:15pm. Within minutes, we were out over Baquitos Lagoon and heading for Leucadia. There was no doors on the helicopter so we enjoyed a nice cool breeze while watching the cars fight it out on the crowded freeway below. My head was on a swivel as I tried to take the whole view in at once. The ground seems so flat from the air, making it is harder to pick out landmarks I am so used to seeing everyday.

Aerial View of Leucadia from Helicopter
We flew over my house and out over Beacons Beach. The ocean was so clear below us and a few surfers gave us a wave as we flew overhead. We flew along at about 200 feet, the same height as the cliff, as we followed the coastline down to Swami's before turning around to head back to Beacons and buzz the house again. In such a small helicopter with no doors and a clear bubble, the sensation of flying feels so much more real than if we were in a bigger craft with smaller windows.

Aerial View of Swamis Beach from Helicopter
Leaving Encinitas, Joel let me fly for a while as we heading inland over Rancho Santa Fe toward Lake Hodges. At first, it was really tough because I kept overcompensating with the cyclic (stick that controls the rotors) but as soon as I concentrated on the horizon I started to get the hang of it. To fly forward and increase the speed I had to pull back on the stick until the front of the helicopter felt like it was about to go into a dive.

Joel taking off from Ridge in Helicopter
As we neared the high hills along the Del Dios Highway overlooking Lake Hodges, Joel took back the controls and headed in for a landing on one of the high ridges. We touched down at the end of a small dirt road at the edge of the ridge with a great view of the whole North Country area. I jumped out and Joel took off again to let me take a picture of the Helicopter in the air. For a brief moment, I thought he might play a practical joke and pretend to fly away and leave me stranded.

Noah with 88 Spanky at Palomar Airport
Flying back to the airport, Joel wanted to show me the runway and make a brief landing on it. Listening to him talk to the control tower in my headphones, I didn't even recognized his voice because he sounded so professional with all the flight jargon. The tower told us the airport was too busy at the moment so we just landed back at the helipad outside his hanger. I helped Joel and his boss wheel the helicopters back into the hanger before driving my car home on the boring roads. Heh!

  • Helicopter Photos