Wish you were here (WYWH)...
An unmistakeable tingle of exhilaration tickled my scalp as I lined the motorbike up with the ramp projecting forth from Mount Chiliad.
Fingers clamped tight on the brake, I gunned the throttle, inching the bike forward. Rubber smoke burned as the back wheel chewed dirt.
Adrenaline rushing, Dan Peek's soft vocals drifted in over the radio, bringing a bipolar serenity to the moment...
'I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
La, la ...'
I emancipated the brake - the engine squealed like a furious warthog as it crotch-rocketed me up the ramp, off the mountain face, and into a stunning clear blue sky of certain death...
...Were it not for the parachute I had found twenty seconds earlier.
A big grin stretched across my face as I jettisoned my steel-stallion, free-falling briefly before pulling the cord on my pack to open the chute.
And at once all was Zen.
I floated through the air mesmerized by the stunning Californian vista below, as wind currents softly whispered.
A recurring critique of the GTA games, more so San Andreas and IV, is that their anti-hero protagonists and underworld plotlines yield a grim, morally questionable, and ultimately depressing player experience.
I get this, and absolutely, the vast majority of my GTA hours have been logged committing criminal misdemeanours, atrocities and nefarious acts of chaos. But every once in a while, I would lay down my AK, and set out to peacefully explore its enticing expanse.
This was the story of one of those days, when I discovered an unsuspecting dirt track leading off from the gray highway, and happened upon my first ever GTA base jump atop Mount Chiliad.
Even now, I still vividly recall it as one of my fondest gaming moments, and there wasn't a bullet ridden NPC in sight.
Though the motocross bike did explode in a ball of flames.
I hope I didn't injur the Yeti.