I went to take photos of two of my sons, Tyson and Graham, doing a tandem skydive yesterday near Baldwin, Wisconsin. When I got there, they surprised me with an early birthday present: "We’re paying for you to go, Dad." I needed no arm twisting. As I wrote back in July, I don’t have a bucket list. But as a bit of a thrill seeker, my list would likely have more than a few adrenaline rush experiences, skydiving among them.
I love extreme roller coaster rides but nothing I’ve ever ridden compares to this. Dangling your feet out the door of the plane for 15 seconds at 13,000 feet is thrill #1. A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n. The first 15 seconds of the plunge is thrill #2 and it was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt. Nothing else comes close. The next minute of free-falling is thrill #3. Weightlessness rocks! Add spins to it for an extra kick. The final 10 minutes of turning and spinning after the chute is deployed is thrill #4. They hand you the steering straps so you can experience how easy it is to control the chute. Landing is thrill #5.
John Bucsko, co-owner of Skydive Twin Cities (with me in the right photo), was my tandem guy. He said this has been their best year ever despite the recession. It’s a first-class operation. The staff was fun and friendly, the plane was top-notch, and all their preparation routines smacked of a rigorous approach to safety. I watched them pack their chutes. It was like a prayer service. Complete silence as the focused completely on the task at hand.