Thursday, February 21, 2008

Travels to the Desert!

It is funny how you find yourself standing at the edge of fear, looking it in the eye, swearing it will not conquer you and then in one brief moment when you loose your concentration, you loose the battle... fear wins. It only takes a moment of doubt, a moment when you look away from the goal, the moment you wander and in that moment, that millisecond you lose and fear takes over. THIS, in a nutshell, explains my fifth attempt at skydiving. I say attempt because I made it in the plane, to 13,000 ft and then froze, I was gripping the bench I was sitting on so tight that had I actually jumped, I am sure the bench would have gone with me. Yuppers, this girl is still at 4 jumps and might stay there forever. My goal is to jump solo, but that is just a preference and not a requirement to be knocked off the bucket list!

The rest of the trip to AZ was spectacular (and once Derek gets home with all the photos I will post some!). It was a relaxing, sun soaking, book reading, parachute packing good time! We managed to go to the Pima Air and Space Museum where we checked out all the planes of old, including JFK's Air Force One. This was the same Air Force One that they brought his body back in and I can honestly say I felt some weird vibes as I stepped in. It was more of a looming doom than a horrible spirit feeling I think, but there were spirits all over the place that day. Some in the Bomber memorial, that sat in a friendly, reminiscent way. It was a great time checking out planes that have brought us to the brink of technology and advancement in transportation. We also went to the Missile Silo where there was a nuclear missile (disarmed of course) that was one of many created in case the Russians attacked during the cold war. It was fascinating to see the way the cold war was described in America, almost like it was not their fault and that the Russians made them do it. Like "Mutually Assured Destruction" was something to boast about. It was eye opening and educational. A wonderful day! I was able to visit my uncle and aunt in Gold Canyon (Near Phoenix) and had a great supper with them. They made sure that I was not going home empty handed and was given fresh fruit from their trees and leftovers... who could resist? The next highlight was the hot air balloon ride. This was spectacular and terrifying all rolled into one! The view was amazing and it is unreal to think that the only thing holding you up is the hot air in the balloon and a wicker basket. Apparently that was just too much for some as they decided it would be fun to jump out of the basket... They had their full gear on, and on the count of three one by one they disappeared, only to be found again on the ground....... it was the craziest thing I think I have ever seen, totally wild and scary but incredibly luring as I am now curious as to what that feels like!!! One thing is for sure, I have to jump out of a few more planes to get that privilege!

The one big highlight for me was the wind tunnel. This is a machine that simulates free fall up to 90% while not having to jump out of a plane. It is an amazing learning tool as every minute in the tunnel is equivalent to one skydive. I managed to get about 45 mins in the tunnel which made me much more comfy with how I feel flying around. I have much more control than an average skydiving student now, I should hope so with the time in the tunnel!!! :o) Having just watched the footage again, it is miraculous how much one can improve in just minutes, but when you think about it... skydivers have to work their butts off to get that kind of time in a season and I had it in 4 days! When Derek gets back I will try to post some footage so that all can see how much I have improved! :o) I call this wind tunnel my new boyfriend... :o)

Until next time my friends, I have clearly run out of words! Not something that happens everyday but every once and a while... I bid you Adieu and I will leave you with this quote... it is something I have been pondering since my 'botched exit' many days ago. It is because of my belief in this quote that I don't think this is the last time I will do it... "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed" ~ Booker T. Washington... I hope that in all of your lives, your successes are as true, exhilarating and humbling as your failures!