I tripped and fell 13,000

I can see my house from here

Ever since I was little I loved airplanes. I was always building models of airplanes and even had a remote control airplane. I think some people thought I would eventually get my pilots license. Boy where they wrong.

The summer after I turned 18 (so my parents couldn't stop me) I did my first jump. Luckily, my home town of Albert Lea hosts Grandpa's Jump Fest every year. The picture above shows me with Cliff Roy doing my first tandem dive. I have only included one picture because if you have seen one picture of a person falling, you've seen them all. Also this is the only time I have payed a photographer to take pictures of me while diving. I have gone 5 times since. 2 of these times where with Shane and Gunner (Todd Gontarek).

Though we have only gone as a group twice, we have a ritual which we follow to the letter everytime.

On the morning of the dive we wake up, pile into Marmaduke (Shane's car), and bookit to the nearest Kwik Trip (for those of you unfamilar with Kwik Trip, it is a convenience store where you can buy 3 hotdogs for a dollar). Once we arrive we blow our wad of about $2.50 which buys us the 64 oz. Megabuddy filled to the top with Mt. Dew our any other caffinated beverage and about 3 packages of anything marked Urge.

Our next stop is Hastings unless there is a good yard sale in Lake City. We once saw ice racers for sale (Sail boat on ice skates) but did not have the cash to buy them. They would have been so much fun.

Once in Hastings, we stop at Shane's parents. They feed us and if we are very lucky, his mom made here spagetti which we refer to as "The Sauce". It also gives us a chance to break the seal since the Megabuddies are getting their revenge.

Now its off to Gunner's parents which is only a 10 minute drive. His mom usually has cake to force on us since we usually dive near Gunner's birthday. We have learned that No means Yes and Yes means Yes so I quess I will have some cake. Hey!, she didn't say anything about ice cream when she offered it to us.

Finally we are back on the road again. We dive at Skydive Hutchinson in Hutchinson. Once there we are entertained by Rose, even though she just took $100+ from us. I think she remembers us. She sits us down in front of the TV to watch some guy talk about the dangers of Tandem Skydiving. We laugh and spend the time signing papers saying that if anything happens, it is our own fault we were so stupid.

Next we meet our divemasters. Shane and I are tall and aren't the thinnest people so our divemaster is usually smaller than us. We make them work for their money.

Into the plane we go. Nothing like watching your friend jump out of a plane only to follow him a few seconds later. You know, if you look at your feet when you jump out, you might be able to see the plane because your head is pointed straight at the ground for a second. This is the best part of diving I think. There is nothing like accelarating from 0 to 120 MPH in a few seconds going straight down. You are usually twisting and turning which makes it more fun because your body hasn't established which way is up yet.

You fall for about a minute. The more times you go, the more the divemaster does. The last time I went in Hutchinson we were spinning in circles left and right and left and faster and then we stopped and pulled the Chute. Shane had the best time. He went through the center of a circular rainbow, through a cloud, and pulled his chute over some people playing volleyball. He then proceded to yell at them. He likened the experience to that of being in a game of Super Mario.

Now that the diving is done, the real man stuff starts. First its off to the Pizza Hut, if we are lucky we can still make the buffet. We have broken the 15 slice per person mark a few times but have never broken 20.

Here is the part we have been waiting for, the Stogies. We used to smoke Schwishers but have developed better taste and actually buy $5+ cigars now. (College education = Better taste?)Sometimes we roll all the windows up on Marmaduke to see how smokie we can get the inside of the car.

One last stop before we head home. We have to go to an extreme sports store of somekind. This is usually REI or some similar store. We look at gear. Gear comes in many forms. We prefer metal including cams, hexes, ice axes, crampons, and walnuts. We also like to try on the Gortex Jump Suits which we are all going to buy someday.

Since my Adventures with Shane and Todd, I have started diving in California at Skydive Perris. I went with 7 other people from work. It was cool. I got to go out the back of an Airvan again. We are going to start an annual ritual at work. Hopefully we can get enough people next year to fill the DC-3. I just really want to jump from it. It is such a cool plane. Aside from me, Gunner is going to start taking the AFF classes in the spring of 2000.

Update, 3 of us from work + 1 girlfriend went on August 5,2000.