The Spa

And now for the finale of the great adventure week…a Day at the Spa! This is something I have been looking forward to all week. Spa Terra, at the Meritage Hotel in Napa is a beautiful spa located inside a series of wine caves. It is elegant and beautiful.

I choose La Dolce Vita package:¬†An indulgent retreat in their cave which begins with a Body Treatment including Scrub and Wrap, followed by a a full massage, and a ending with a Gentleman’s Facial. This is decadent! But Hell, I deserve it! Especially after adventure week.

The package includes a nice lunch which I indulge in after my treatment. Ahh what a morning! Too bad I can’t do this at least once a week!

And so Adventure Week ends! It has been a fantastic week. Great adventure, wonderful people. And I only sprained my ankle 4 times and lost a pair of Ray Bans! Not too bad. In summary, I’d say it was a winning week.

The Sky

The last adventure is upon me. Sky diving! For this adventure, my daughter Zenia has joined me. We take off in the morning for Cloverdale, home of Norcal Skydiving. Once we get there, we sign all of our rights away, watch a video and get suited up. We are doing tandem jumps, so our harnesses are simple with no parachute. We will be strapped into our jump masters and they control the chute.

Sitting in the plane

Sitting in the plane

A small Cesna takes us up to about 10,000 feet. There are no seats in the plane except for the pilot’s. The four of us plus the videographer climb in the back and get comfortable. Our jump masters explain what is going to happen and what we need to do. Its really quite simple. Sit on the edge of an open plane, stick your feet out and roll forward. At 10,000 feet, I watch my eldest caught do exactly that.

I think to myself…”Oh shit, my daughter just jumped out of a plane!” About 2 minutes later, I do the same thing…

We free fall for about 45-60 seconds traveling act about 120 mph.

Zenia Jumps

Zenia Jumps

I Jump!

I Jump!

The rush of the air against my body is powerful. We do a few inversions, spins and other maneuvers. I have no idea where Zenia is. Then all of a sudden, the chute is deployed and I shoot up in the air. At this point, the experience is very much like hang gliding; serene, quiet and peaceful. I spot Zenia’s chute in the distance. OK, she is still with us! We drift around turning from one side to another taking in the beautiful views. I really can get into this flying thing…

In preparation for our landing my flight master describes what I need to do.

My Landing

My Landing

Legs up and out in case we do a butt landing. He swings us into position and we come down right on target. We actually make it down before Zenia. I get out of the landing zone and wait for Zenia to make her landing. They do so with pinpoint accuracy and grace.

Zenia Lands

Zenia Lands

What a great way to end the adventures! Time to start planning the next adventure week!!!

We did it!

We did it!

The Plane

Adventure number 5 (assuming you don’t count everything I did on the 4th of July) has been tackled: a biplane ride over Napa and Sonoma Valleys with acrobatic maneuvers with The Vintage Aircraft Company and my pilot Tom Morris.

The Plane

The Plane

Ready to Fly

Ready to Fly

The plane is a 1942 Boeing Stearman BiPlane (N56749). We take off heading west from the Sonoma Airport, but immediately make a wide U-Turn and head over the Mayacamas Mountain over to The Napa Valley. We fly over the northern edge of the city of Napa and then head north following Highway 29. It is beautiful to see Napa from the sky! I can make out familiar landmarks in the city, even pinpoint my townhouse!

Napa from the air

Napa from the air

The flight up-valley is calm and beautiful. We cruise all the way up to Calistoga, then head east back over the Mayacamas. Another turn and we are heading south-west over the Sonoma Valley just this side of the Petaluma river. This is where the fun really starts!

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Its acrobatics time! Big ariel loops, inversions, corkscrews, dives and sharp climbs are the order of the day. Although I am locked into my parachute and seat harness, I brace my legs under the restraining bars in the cockpit. I want to lock myself in without encumbering my hands so I can film the maneuvers. Up, around, over, under we go! What a ride. Better than a roller coaster!

Eventually the acrobatics are done and we head east again towards the landing strip. Of course, the landing is perfect and another adventure comes to an end.