Archive for September, 2008

Rock-n-Roll Fantasy

September 24, 2008

Alright friends, quick question:  What do guitar legend Jimi Hendrix and I have in common?  Give up?  Well, here it is:  We’ve both taken the stage to perform at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium. 

I got the chance to play the Fillmore recently as a participant in the Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camp.  After a full day of rehearsals with our “camp counselor” Kip Winger (yes, that Kip Winger,  front-man for the multi-platinum ‘80s rock band of the same name), my four bandmates and I took to the same stage that helped launch the carreers of  Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and—well—more rock legends than you can count.

While the one-day “On Tour” program has wrapped up for this year, there’s still time to get in on the outfit’s week-long Fantasy Camp program in London.  If the opportunity to play alongside The Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason isn’t enough of an incentive for you to get out your checkbook, you’ll also have the chance to record at The Beatles’ Abbey Road studios and play live at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club.

In the meantime, check out the Xperiences page at XTRORD.com for the full story on my extraordinary experience rocking out at the Fillmore.

Advertisements

Let The (Winter) Games Begin!

September 18, 2008

If you’ve got a touch of the post-Olympic blues in the wake of this summer’s amateur athletic extravaganza in Beijing, take heart.  Tickets for the 2010 winter games—officially known as XXI Winter Olympics—in Vancouver, British Columbia officially go on sale two weeks from today.

 In the meantime, I’ve discovered a place where you can participate in one of the winter games’ premiere events without the years of training and self-sacrifice it takes to become a world-class athlete.  I’m headed to the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah—site of many of the events in the 2002 winter games—this weekend to run one of the world’s fastest bobsled tracks.

While the park’s “Comet” bobsled ride is slightly faster on ice, the wheeled sleds they use in the summer still hit 70 miles-per-hour and subject riders to up to 4 Gs in turns (versus 80 miles-per-hour/5 Gs in winter) as they drop the height of a 40-story building in less than a minute.  Sounds like a pretty wild ride to me!

Look for the full story on this extraordinary experience coming soon to the Xperiences page of XTRORD.com.

Need For Speed

September 15, 2008

I’m heading out to western Utah’s world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats later this week for the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s World of Speed. 

But here’s the really cool part: I’m not going as a spectator.  I’m going as a participant, thanks to a little-known program that allows anyone with a high-performance machine to get a taste of land-speed racing by running their car or motorcycle flat-out (or at least close to it) on the salt.

The USFRA calls it The 130 MPH Club and it’s designed to let anyone with a driver’s license and a street-legal vehicle explore its true performance potential in a safe environment.  There are a few simple rules  to ensure you and your vehicle come back in one piece, but otherwise the event is open anyone who can pony up the $140 price of entry to this world where the need for speed trumps all else.

Now, before you go thinking that the standard for admission to the club—two passes down the measured-mile course at between 130 and 140 miles-per-hour—sounds like a piece of cake, consider the fact that the USFRA’s website says right up front “It only sounds easy.”  To see what they mean, read this story from a guy who found out the hard way what they were talking about.

If you’re able to make it out to the salt this week, look for me in the silver Porsche Cayenne SUV.  If you can’t make it out for this year’s event, check out my story of this extraordinary experience coming soon to the Xperiences page of XTRORD.com. 

Fierce Feathered Friends

September 6, 2008

Just came back from a quick afternoon paddle on a local lake where I must have spent 15 minutes watching an osprey catch dinner for her nest full of young. As I watched, my mind drifted back to one of my more extraordinary experiences at a program that allows ordinary folks to get up-close-and-personal with a remarkable bird of prey.

I’m talking, of course, about falconry programs like the one at Manchester Village, Vermont’s Equinox Resort. Their British School of Falconry—the oldest such program in the U.S.—offers several experiences that let you get a taste of this sport that was so popular with the likes of Alexander the Great and Kublai Khan that it’s been dubbed the Sport of Kings.

My wife and I did their  45-minute Introduction To Falconry program, which can be paired with an hour-long Hawk Walk that allows you to free-fly your very own Harris hawk on a leisurely amble through the lush Vermont countryside.  For a more authentic falconry experience, the school also offers half-day sessions  in September and October where you can actually take the birds out on a hunt for small game such as rabbits and quail.

If Vermont seems a bit too far out of the way, you might want to check out the half-day Falconry Experience offered by the West Coast Falconry Academy.  You can also learn more about the extraordinary commitment of time and money it takes to become a falconer here.

 No matter where you end up handling these impressive birds, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll never look at a soaring bird of prey the same way again.