Momma Told Me: Bucket List Tuesday: Land Sailing

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bucket List Tuesday: Land Sailing

I'll admit, I was a, well, typical, teenager. Around the time Momma was settling into her new marriage, and freedom, with my stepdad; I was driving cross country at 17 to be near my high school sweetheart. But that is a tale for another post. My point is that I took the expression of my independence, and often indifference, to sarcastic levels only my mother's daughter could master. A short time after my 18th birthday I moved back to Southern California, and rented a small studio near Momma. There was always some crazy project in the works at Momma's house, but I spent most of my time with my nose buried in my own business. As it turns out, this is something I've come to regret. As they say, "When opportunity knocks...." I fear there were many things I begrudgingly participated in, only to reflect back years later, thinking how incredibly fortunate I was to have the opportunity in the first place.
land sailing
I suppose I should begin by reminding my readers I was raised in Southern California just minutes from the Pacific Ocean, and a few hours drive from snow capped mountains. Something that does not get advertised very often is our proximity to the desert. Just a brisk 2.5 hour drive will take you up through the historic Joshua Tree national forest (to me, it's more like a desert full of creepy cacti), and down into El Mirage Dry Lake. What on Earth is a dry lake, you ask? El Mirage is a dry lake bed in the Mojave desert of San Bernadino county, CA. This stretch of scorched Earth spans an astounding 6 miles and is used, today, as a camping playground for off road vehicles and land based speed machines. I should also note this is the location where the vast majority of timed speed runs (think formula race cars, and sports automobile commercials), and the annual Bonneville Flats speed runs occur. If you Google this spot Wikipedia will also list the myriad of music videos, movies, and cover photoshoots that have been shot here.
In any case, San Bernadino County is where Momma was raised, and it will come as no surprise Land Yachting, defined as an Extreme Sport, is something she partook in as a child herself. Despite the annual dusting of snow each Winter, El Mirage averages 105-112F during it's peak recreation season. But what on Earth is land yachting? It's precisely as it sounds, and deceptively dangerous. By definition, land sailing is defined as the act of moving across land in a 3 wheeled vehicle powered entirely by air. As most things go, throughout the years this hobby developed into a thrill sport as the land yachts became smaller and smaller. One of the most common land yachts today, the Manta TwinJammer is little more than an aluminum frame with a fabric bucket seat and 9' tall sail. Remember how I said I was kicking myself for being such a 'teenager' when I had the chance to ride these? A Manta TwinJammer will set you back a cool $1800; and I spent most of my 3 days at ElMirage kicking my feet about how 'uncool' it was.
Of course, the truth is, landsailing was awesome; quite possibly the single most thrilling experience in my life so far. And that's saying a lot from a girl who passes signs for helicopter rides and hot air balloon trips on her daily commute. It looks kind of dull, right? A Manta TwinJammer is just inches off the hot desert floor, and can reach recorded speeds over 120MPH, with average stock speeds around 70MPH. Now imagine strapping yourself into an aluminum shell, inches off the hard, hot, ground and moving at those speeds with nothing more than your intuition to steer you past the racing ATVs and recreational vehicles. One wrong turn into the wing will send your land yacht careening onto two wheels and near out of control. It's a rush to say the least! And if you think you'd have to find a desert to experience this thrill, there are dozens of types of land sailing units; many will operate on any stable surface with a good wind. Momma used to sail hers in abandoned parking lots and on the beach. Myself? I'll be saving up some retirement money for a Manta of my own some day!

14 comments:

  1. This would be something my husband would be all over. He is the daredevil in this family. He already knows how to sail on the water so I'm sure he'd figure this out pretty quickly.

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  2. I have never done this before but it looks like fun!

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  3. Jenna, this looks insanely fun. I want to go on as many kinds of trasportation before I die. I didn't even know about this. Now I need to add it to the list!

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  4. Oh my goodness! That looks out of this world fun! I would love to go land sailing too! I didn't even realize they do this! Wow, I'd love to do it!

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  5. Oh my goodness! That looks out of this world fun! I would love to go land sailing too! I didn't even realize they do this! Wow, I'd love to do it!

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  6. I would love to do this! How did I not know about this before? Can't wait to add this to my list of fun things to do much to my husbands dismay. :)

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  7. That looks like so much fun! I'd love to try it out.

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  8. I LOVE your bucket list. Some great ideas. I would love to try this someday too.

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  9. That looks like so much fun, my husband would really enjoy this. I haven't made a bucket list but that's such a good idea.

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  10. DUDE, That is totally awesome!

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  11. That looks like crazy fun! I'd get hurt for sure, haha!

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  12. that looks like a blast something i would have fun doing :)

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  13. That looks like way too much fun! Now I'm adding that to my bucket list too! lol I am sure our whole family would LOVE that!!

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