What 62 looks like?
60 is the new 40, my friends reassure me.
For my birthday adventure, I decide to test that theory by trying one of those newfangled sports that didn't exist when I was young enough to take advantage of it: sandboarding.
Sandboarding is when you strap your feet into something that looks like a cross between a surfboard and a skateboard, and glide down a sand dune. I'm too scared of water to ever try water surfing, and several skinned-knee experiences with roller skates have kept me from trying skateboarding. Sandboarding seemed like a safer alternative.
Driving through the Oregon Sand Dunes Recreation Area, a sandboarding place catches my eye so I pull in and ask about lessons.
"Is it safe?" I ask the instructor. "Am I likely to get hurt?"
"It's very safe," he tells me. "Even if you fall, you fall on sand. Sand is soft."
Hard to argue with that, so I sign up for a lesson.
My young instructor guides me through a couple basic runs down the bunny slope. My form could use a little work (bend those knees more and look ahead instead of down!) but I'm starting to feel a little confident. Maybe even cocky. They're right, any 60-year-old can do this.
But my instructor wants to take things to the next level, and try some turns. "Just turn your left shoulder slightly, and lean forward on your toes," he instructs me.
I tilt my shoulder, and lean on my toes. But instead of turning gently to one side, the board digs into the sand while my body slams forward and I face-plant into the sand. (Sorry, photo not available....)
I catch my breath, spit out a mouthful of stand, and reach for my aching chest. I am shocked to find that my left breast has NOT exploded like a watermelon thrown against a sidewalk. Because that's exactly what it felt like when my chest hit that allegedly soft sand.
Here's what those buff-bodied young instructor-boys don't realize: us girls have these female parts that don't get flattened down easily, even into soft sand.
Leave it up to me, to make a safe sport dangerous. I did get back on the horse and did a few more safe runs. But my bruised chest and rib cage still haven't recovered. Next time, I'm wearing a chest guard.
Dunes along the Oregon coast
Sand Master Sandboarding Park, Florence, Oregon