Who are the Roadchix?Our JourneysRoadtrip TipsLinks to All Things RoadtripContact the Chix
Chix in the Air







Darcy's Story

(Which One of Your Crazy Friends...)

Darcy Flying HighLuckily for Gwen, Mom's far away from DC, but I'm getting ahead of myself...

I've always wanted to jump out of a plane, especially since I've never had the opportunity to do so. All that changed when Gwen asked if I wanted to join her and some friends on their skydiving adventure.

Suddenly, the possibility was real and my urge to skydive wasn't so strong anymore. Thinking of the bragging rights I'd have once I jumped, I decided to tag along anyway. Still, something about replying, "I'm game" to the invitation e-mail made my heart race uncontrollably.

The night before jump day was the most nerve-wracking. For reassurance, I called a cousin and a friend who had skydived and loved it. No one was home.

Waking up at the crack of dawn on 9/16 must have been tough for everyone. Personally, I hadn't been sleeping. Bright and early, I went to pick up Joe, a guy I had never met who would be my captive audience for the 15-minute drive to Gwen's. Poor guy had no warning that I tend to babble when nervous. "I hear you don't even feel the G-force cuz you're already traveling at 70 mph when you plummet from the plane." It's possible Joe didn't appreciate mulling over the details like that.

Once at the drop zone, I was struck with how laid back the whole affair was. There was a short instructional video, waivers to sign, a "propellers chop off heads" warning, blah, blah, blah. Suddenly, my name was called. I walked over to the hanger and was handed a fashionable jump suit to try on for size. (The appeal of these pink and blue suits really cannot be overstated.) Then came the harness and hat (of sorts). I was directed up a ladder and into the plane. So much for introductions. "Uh, are you my tandem instructor? What happened to my dry run?" Bobby cracked a devious smile.

The plane ride was pretty scary. Bundled in all of our jump gear, we were roasting, so someone casually opened the door of the plane. As the cool, fresh air rushed in, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, except me. I don't see what's so comforting about riding in a plane with an open door, especially when you're not strapped to anything yet. This may be a strange fear for someone who's about to jump out of that same door.

Big Smiles Before the DiveI looked at Joe, who was next to me, and we exchanged some "nice to have met you" pleasantries, just in case. I thought it was probably a good idea to suck up to Bobby at this point, so I asked him if he wanted to be my new best friend. He said OK. I told him I didn't mind breaking a leg, but could I please not die? He laughed and replied, "I like you a lot, but I like me a whole helluva lot better." Perfect. I was strapped to a man who valued life, what more could I ask for? Which reminded me, time to ensure I was actually strapped to this man. I spent the next 5 or so minutes doubting the strength of the four (only four?!) clips that separated me from an unpleasant death, and asking repeatedly if Bobby was SURE I was hooked to him. Needless to say, he didn't want to be my best friend after he found out how annoying I could be. Understandable.

"OK, now just waddle with me over to the door, NOT GRABBING ONTO ANYONE'S CHUTES." Yeah, that would have been bad. Bobby wanted me to put my toes over the edge of the door while keeping my heels (and thus, body) in the plane - like this is some everyday activity. After firmly planting my feet somewhere along the threshold of life and possible death, I vowed not to open my eyes again until we were in a stable free fall. Did I just say stable free fall?

Next thing I know, we're racing through the sky and my eyes are amazingly open. I really had to concentrate on breathing evenly. It was such an effort with the wind rushing up my nose. It seemed like a very long time before Bobby gave me the thumbs up to open my arms into the free fall position. Unlike my friends, I don't remember feeling cold or appreciating the view. I was just concentrating on steady breathing and repeating, "please God, let my chute open" over and over. At one point, Bobby grabbed my hand during the free fall, which steered us fiercely to the left. That didn't make me very happy.

At long last, I felt a jerk and realized we were probably out of the woods. Evidently, my posture didn't relax, because Bobby suggested I actually move a little to look up at the perfectly good chute so that I could enjoy the ride. The rest was bliss, wildly spinning in huge circles while looking across the blue sky to the Chesapeake or to Delaware. Bobby's also a pretty good tour guide. At one point, he informed me that I was in sole control of the chute and our lives. That didn't make me happy either.

The landing wasn't exactly smooth, but I can't complain. After having just jumped out of a plane, a little crash and burn on the grass was fine by me. I was elated the rest of the day. The weather was perfect, excitement was in the air, and I got to act all cool & experienced since I had made it and everyone else was still awaiting their turn.

In addition to meeting some great people, here's what I learned:

- Tell your parents about hurling yourself out of an airplane AFTER you've landed safely on the ground.

- Tell all of your friends/coworkers beforehand, so it's harder to chicken out.

- If at Parachutes Are Fun, Inc., request Bobby. It seems that he tolerates paranoia (meaning questions) better than some other instructors. Just don't let him fool you into handing over your phone number.

Thanks Kristy, Beth, Gwen, & Joe. It's a day I'll never forget!

Our Adventures

Photo GalleryFrom the preparation to the soaring to the landing, it's all in here.
View Photo Gallery >>


Total per Person: $199.00

Roadchix T-Shirt Get your t-shirts, mugs, license plate covers and bumper stickers for all your roadtrip needs.
Grab Some Gear >>