Last Friday, the Husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by soaring high above our fair city. Yup. Through Groupon.com, we purchased discounted tickets for scenic sailplane rides with the Bay Area Glider Rides/Hollister Soaring Center, located at the Hollister Airport. The local outfit has been offering scenic rides, soaring lessons, and glider towing services at the airport since 1993. About four or five years ago, it was purchased by Bill and Sharon, who are originally from Vermont.
Bay Area Glider Rides is the only operation in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas to offer glider rides to the public. Depending on the ride, you soar over 4,500 to 6,000 feet. Two of the scenic rides fly around San Benito County, while the third soars above Monterey Bay.
The sailplanes can accommodate two passengers, but the Husband and I purchased individual rides. The weight limit is 328 pounds for passengers, which uhm the Husband and I exceed. That was fine, more room in the back to sit.
For the Husband's trip, the sailplane was towed to the west, where Pilot Bill and the Husband glided above Fremont's Peak. I was interested in seeing what it looked like above the Diablo range, so that's where Pilot Bill took me.
Here's how ditsy I can be: I thought that the Central Valley starts immediately behind the Diablo Mountains. So, I was very surprised to see a narrow valley beneath the eastern side of Santa Ana Mountain, and that there were a couple other ridges beyond that valley.
Pilot Bill and Jake, one of the Bay Area Glider Ride employees, said it was a clear day for soaring. One of the best days in a long while. From the sailplane, Pilot Bill and I saw the San Luis Reservoir. I thought I could see the Sierras.
Another thing I didn't realize is how near we really are to the ocean. The Husband says that Hollister is about 23 miles from Monterey Bay as the crow flies. Caw, caw.
Would I soar again?
Is Hollister the county seat of San Benito County?