Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventure Skydiving Center in Rome,Georgia 2009


My biggest fear in life is heights. What is the best way to overcome this fear? Skydiving! I have talked about doing this for years now but never really had the opportunity. Now the time and opportunity finally came up with a willing friend to come along for the ride. Since it's my birthday and my "Year of Adventure", I thought why not? Better to just do it now than to put it off for more time. So we searched on the internet for local skydiving centers. There were too many to list. However, when I called each one, they were all linked to the same company in Georgia. They had explained how all the local centers have been closed down and consolidated to just the one in Georgia. Ok. Well, Rome Georgia isn't too far of a drive. We can make a day trip out of it. Oh. Did I mention I have bad bronchitis and swine flu?! Yeah. well, I was miserable but this didn't require me to exert myself. All I had to do was show up and jump. Gary and I decided we are going to do this. No turning back now. Let's just pay our money and make the appointment. Next thing you know, we are driving to Rome Georgia. Only a few hours away, it was a nice scenic drive. It was just what I needed. What I needed was to get some fresh air and get out of the house for a little while. When we got near the regional airport, We got kind of lost. We called the people for directions but they were quite unhelpful in helping us find our way there. By chance, we turned down a gravel road and found ourselves right where we needed to be. It was a small air strip and the far end of the airport. It had an old unused hangar and two large grassy lots that surrounded it. the people running this venture were not the most professional of people. As far as skydiving, they knew their stuff but the business end needed a lot of improvement. They needed people skills. we started out by filling out a stack of forms asking us about our health, a bunch of waivers, and emergency contacts. We watched a short 5 minute video of what I still don't know. It wasn't about safety or rules. Then we waited our turn. We were the third group in line to go up. As the first group geared up and jumped on the plane, our adrenaline began to pump. About 15 minutes later, the first group began falling back to earth. Then the second group began gearing up. As the first group landed safely, they were screaming and cheering. This was getting very exciting now. The plane came back, picked up the second group and off they went. We could hear this group screaming  as they jumped out of the plane at 14,500 feet in the air. Finally, it was our turn to get geared up. We were given basic instructions to lean back and tuck our feet when we jump. The gear was placed on kind of loose but they said they would tighten it when we were on the plane. Not the most reassuring words you could trust at this time. The plane pulls up, we jump on the plane via a lawn chair. We sat rear-facing in the plane with our butts against the instructors. As we ascended, the instructors began tightening our gear and strapping us to them. The plane door was open the whole time so you had this amazing view as we soared through the air. 5 minute warning! Now the moment of truth. Can I do this? I was to be the first one to jump in our group so I couldn't look bad. I scooted in my catcher's position towards the edge of the plane. Looking down, I felt this overwhelming feeling of freedom and comfort. I was not scared at all. Then the count began, one..two..three..jump! All I could remember was lean my head back and tuck my feet under and behind me. Then we're off. Surprisingly, it wasn't a feeling of falling that I felt. It was a feeling of floating. The rush of air hitting you in the face and clouds flying by. I was totally free. Not a care in the world right now. Except for the part about I hope my chute opens. It's like floating on pillows. This must be how birds feel. After a minute of free-falling, we deploy our main parachute. As sudden stop and then you're gliding. Another totally different experience than free-falling.  Now you are flying. We do some more acrobatic twists and turns. the drop zone nears you and you can't help but think that was quick. We pull in fast and pull up suddenly, raise my legs and we slide back onto the earth.  We're back! The feeling never leaves you though. You may have your feet firmly planted on the ground for the rest of your life but you will always yearn for that one minute where you were weightless. I can not wait until I get to do this again! I miss that feeling!

My Skydiving Video

Gary's Skydiving Video