Sunday, March 23, 2008

3/22/08 The Jump (Part 2)

NOTE: I"m using a new program for publishing this blog. You can now click on each picture to enlarge it. A drop box will appear, click on open and the picture will enlarge.

Today I did the most courageous thing I've ever done in my life. I skydived. This is something I've wanted to do for the past 30 years.

In my early twenties, when I was in the Army National Guard, I had joined a jump club that had been formed by Guardsmen with jump experience. I had attended several meetings and our first jump was scheduled. Just a few days before it was to happen we had gotten word from the powers to be that since this wasn't a Guard sanctioned event there was no insurance so it had to be scrapped.

Though I didn't pursue it with a civilian outfit the thought of doing it never left me. This is one of those that made my, "Things I Want To Do Before I'm Too Old or Die" list or what is more commonly known today as my Bucket List -- short for "Thing I Want To Do Before I Kick the Bucket" list.

This past Thursday I woke up and decided it was now or never. Though we hadn't been there we had heard of Skydive Arizona in the town of Eloy less than 10 miles away.

Most everyone here has been there to watch the first time jumpers and the teams practice or competing for title in formation skydiving.

Skydive Arizona is recognized as best facility in the nation. Skydivers from all over the world come to this field.

So on Thursday I said to Bob, "Hey hon, what would you say if I told you I wanted to go skydiving?" He replied, "I'm not doing it with you." Within a few hours I had my reservation made for 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Word went through the park pretty fast and the number of winter residents who wanted to go to watch grew quickly.

Thursday evening as I walked home from the Carnaval Room I had a queasy feeling in my stomach. My first thought was that I had was that I was coming down with a 48 hour bug that was racing through the park. If it was I'd be out of commission come Saturday.

I didn't feel nervous at all Thursday, Friday or Saturday morning but yet the queasiness still came at irregular intervals. I didn't see this as related to the jump,,,,maybe I should have.

I slept well on Friday night.

Saturday brought us a perfect day, sunny and warm.

I had to be at the field by eleven and shortly after we arrived our friends started arriving too. I would guess there were about fifty from the park. Little did know how long a day it would become.

I let the office know I was there and twenty minutes later I was called in to watch a video and sign my life away and fill out documents that wouldn't give Bob a snowballs chance of collecting anything in the case of my demise.

Then the wait began. I was given one of those round discs that you get in restaurants when they are busy. It has red lights and it vibrates to let you know they have a table ready for you.


They told me it would be about 30 minutes before it was my time to get ready but that time was to be extended several times. They start jumping at 7 a.m. and had 84 jumps scheduled. That doesn't mean 84 individuals that means 84 jumps and there could be several people or a lot of people in each scheduled time slot.

So we waited and waited and waited some more. I walked from group to group of

Quail Run friends to pass the time.

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To pass the time we watched the formation teams do ground practice.IMG_2303 IMG_2301

Finally, two hours later it was time for me to go. That buzzer thing I was holding went off and the butterflies started!


It was time for hugs and wishes for luck. Here's me and my good friend Don, you may know him as the Peacock of the Park, but to me he's my good buddy!


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I met Wes, the guy who would film my video.


Next I met Mateo, the man whose hands my life was in. Thank heavens it is a requirement of all tandem instructors that they have at least 500 jumps under their belt and Mateo has much more than that.


Next it was time to put on some hot, tight, nylon suit that someone had gotten grass stains on, oops, I mean it was time to suit up.

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Next came the harness that would secure me to Mateo.

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I didn't know this was on the back of my harness, if I had I may be writing about something entirely different! I still don't know what its about because I couldn't get past the word DANGER!


Here's Mateo giving me instructions about the altimeter I have to keep looking at when we're freefalling so I know when to open the chute.


Me and Mateo are now best friends. We should be, after he had to tighten all the straps he got shall we say, pretty familiar.


I'm all suited up and thinking I'm one stupid idiot for doing this ready to go!


Stay tuned for Part 3

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