Report From the Road: I Skydive Moab!

For a long time I have known that before I die I was going to jump out of an airplane. I can’t tell you why I have known that, I just have. The first time it became clearly focused in my mind was when the Senior President George H.W. Bush jumped on his 75th birthday. For some reason that just really grabbed me that a man his age and his accomplishments would do something as outrageous as that. But he wasn’t satisfied with one jump, he has since done it on his 80th and 85th birthdays as well. After his jump for his 85th birthday he is quoted as saying:

“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner,” he said. “Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.” George H.W. Bush

WTF!!! How did I end yp out here! Why aren't I in that airplane?!!!!!!

WTF!!! How did I end up out here! Why aren’t I in that airplane?!!!!!! Come back …….

Those are wise and profound words! My problem was that I was sitting in the corner drooling on myself even as a young man! What I needed to do was just as simple as “Get out and enjoy life.” I know how obvious that sounds, but it is pretty amazing how few of us actually do that—I certainly wasn’t. Adulthood and modern living seemed to get in the way and all the fun and joy steadily disappeared from my life. Eventually, all that was left was going through the motions of living.

They take this photo to prove you are doing this of your own free-will!

They take this photo to prove you are doing this of your own free-will! But I am pretty sure I was hypnotized or something!

So I have known for some time that before I die I was going to go skydiving; it was just something I had to do. So when we got into Moab and I started trying to decide what adventure to take next, I started seeing signs for Skydive Moab ( Finally the idea sunk through my thick skull,”Why not go skydiving while you are here?!” I can’t think of a place I would rather jump out of an airplane than right here in the astounding beauty and profound energy of Moab, Utah!

They take you on a 20 minute flightseeing flight as they climb to altitude. It's worth $190 by itself

They take you on a 20 minute flight-seeing flight as they climb to altitude. It’s worth $190 by itself!

By nature I don’t do things fast, I like to go slow and deliberate and mull things over for a while, then decide and take action. So I assumed this would be another of those things. The first step is always to gather information so I headed out to the Moab airport to find out prices and availability. I got into the hanger and met the owner and started asking questions. The price was $190 for a tandem jump from 10,000 feet. They offered to video tape it with their GoPro video (and also still photos) for an extra $80 (I asked if I could just take mine, but it was against regulations). I’m not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without getting pictures!! So I did that as well.

It's an old, well-used plane and every ounce is stripped out of it. Very bare-bones--not even any seat-belts!

It’s an old, well-used plane and every ounce is stripped out of it. Very bare-bones–not even any seat-belts!

He said he had an opening that next day, did I want it?

Man, that brought it down to a simple “Yes” or “No.” No deliberation, no pondering; I simply had to decide right now: “Yes” or “No.” It seemed like an important moment and I didn’t want to mess it up so I said “YES!” He wrote me into the schedule and that was it, the decision was made and irreversible: I was going skydiving!

You ride up between the legs of your instructor and then climb onto his lap where he hooks you together.

You ride up between the legs of your instructor and then climb onto his lap where he hooks you together.

So I arrived the next day and found out it had been too windy that morning so they had to wait for it to settle down. That had pushed the other people ahead of me back so it was going to be another hour before I could jump That was actually a good thing because I sat around and  watched several other people take-off, jump and then land. It turns out the landing zone was literally less than 100 yards from the hanger, so you could watch other people jump from the plane and fall as teeny-tiny dots until their parachute opened, then you could follow them all the way down to their landing. The more I watched other people and visited with them after their jump, the more I was sure I had made the right decision. This was going to be FUN!!

The other guy just leaving the plane.

The other guy just leaving the plane.

The weather turned out to be just right. It was mostly clear but with enough clouds to make the sky interesting. And it was windy, but not too windy. It turns out that you want some wind when you land. They have total control over the chute so you always land into the wind and if there is enough wind it slows you down so you don’t hit as hard. On a calm day they don’t even try stand-up landings, you just skid in on your butt. But on a windy day like this one, everyone was doing easy stand-up landings.

Now this is really living on the edge!! We are sitting on the doorway outside the airplane ready to go.

Now this is really living on the edge!! We are sitting on the doorway outside the airplane ready to go.

The first thing I had to do was sign a huge stack of legal documents signing away all rights to sue in case of injury or death. It listed everybody I couldn’t sue and then listed all of the other people who couldn’t sue for me if I were dead. It must have taken a small army of lawyers a long time to come up with this Liability Waiver because it seemed to cover just about every possibility including gross negligence. But that wasn’t all; after signing that I had to watch a video covering it all again and sign a document saying I had watched the video and I fully understood I might die doing this and if I did neither I, nor my heirs, would sue anybody for anything. Whew!! I was already tired out!

As soon you jump, he does a 360 roll so you look straight down at the ground and then come up to see the plane flying away! It's a very strange sight to see!

As soon you jump, he does a 360 roll so you look straight down at the ground and then come up to see the plane flying away! It’s a very strange sight to see!

Finally the time came for me to go. First, I got instructions from the owner of the company. He showed us (there was one other fellow going up to jump with me at the same time) the airplane which was very odd because it only had one seat, for the pilot! We were going to sit on the floor between the instructors legs. After we had climbed to altitude we had climb up on his lap and he would buckle us together. The other fellow and his instructor jumped first so they were right beside the door, so getting out was easy for them. But for us we had to kind-of butt-hop over to get in position.

Briefly, you are falling head first toward the earth!

Briefly, you are falling head first toward the earth!

Free Fall is sensory overload! Nothing you have ever experienced can prepare you for the noise and wind.

Free Fall is sensory overload! Nothing you have ever experienced can prepare you for the noise and wind blast.

After learning how to sit in and exit from the plane, my instructor helped me suit up. They do a really good job of keeping things very simple for first-time jumpers like me. There are just a few things you have to remember to do and they half-way expect you to forget even them in the adrenaline rush that hits you when you fall out of the plane. While you are in free fall the wind noise is so strong you can’t hear each other, so they have taps and signals they use to remind you what you are supposed to be doing. .

After you free fall for awhile, he deploys the chute. It isn't painful at all, but you swing wildly when it does and it scares you.

After you free fall for awhile, he deploys the chute. It isn’t painful at all, but you swing wildly when it does and it scares you. 

it looks like it is going to open...

It looks like it is going to open…

All you have to do during free-fall is spread your arms, arch your back, and bend your legs at the knees so your feet are high. That puts your mid-section lowest and the laws of physics say the heaviest things fall first. That keeps you face-down as you fall. Of course I forgot to do all those things! But, just like they had told me would happen, the instructor took my hands and spread them (you can actually see that on the video), and pulled my feet up to where they were supposed to be with his feet. Once the chute opens you can talk to each other and you don’t have anything else to do except enjoy the ride. He even gives you the controls for a little while and you have control over the chute. I was pretty intimidated by the whole thing and I really didn’t do anything with them but hold on to them.

So far so good! In this shot you can see how far we have swung over toward the horizon.

So far so good! In this shot you can see how far we have swung over toward the horizon.

It's open!! We're going to live!!!!!

It’s open!! We’re going to live!!!!!

The next time you have to do something is during the landing. Because he doesn’t know the exact wind conditions until he is about to land he doesn’t know if it will be a butt-skid landing or a stand-up landing; so you don’t know either. Your job as the student is to either hold your feet and legs up as high as you can if you are going to land on your butt, or to put them down to land standing up. But because you can hear each other by then he just tells you what to do moments before you actually land. We had a good wind, so just as the ground was rushing up at us he yelled, “Legs down!” I then dropped my legs and we did a nice stand-up landing! But somehow I hit at a bad angle or too hard on my left leg and my knee took a pretty good shot, it hurt quite a bit. I could barely put any weight on it. In fact if you listen on the video you can hear him telling me to “Stand up buddy…,” probably because we were at risk of falling down under my weight. But I was able to stand up and so we were okay.

After the chute opens, everything changes. You can talk to each other and relax and absorb the sights and sounds you are seeing. This part really is awesome. Here I have the controls.

After the chute opens, everything changes. You can talk to each other and relax and absorb the sights and sounds you are seeing. This part really is awesome. Here I have the controls.

No else knew I had hurt my knee, I wasn’t limping and I never said anything. But that evening it had started to stiffen and was swollen. The next day I could barely walk on it. I was sure it was just a very minor sprain so I took the day off from all activity and used it as an excuse to have Judy baby me which of course she was glad to do (women are such suckers that way!). The day after that it was much better and within a few days it was almost back to normal.

Look ma, no hands!

Look ma, no hands!

So your question probably is, “What was it like, was it fun?” That’s a hard question for me to answer. The whole thing is such a huge shock and it happens so fast, I didn’t really have time to feel anything. During free-fall it is just a huge sensory overload. You’ve never done anything like this before (you just jumped out of a fucking airplane!!) and everything seems wildly bizarre! The wind is rushing past you like you’ve never felt before and it has an all-consuming noise to it. In my case my long hair and beard were flying straight up into my face and mouth.

Everything is happening so fast, you are just trying to take it all in.

Everything is happening so fast, you are just trying to take it all in.

Then the chute opens and throws you all around and you have no idea if that is normal or does it mean you are about to die?!! After it deploys everything is suddenly calm and quiet and just floating by. And that is a huge shock in itself just by the suddenness of it. But it is a good shock and the rest of the ride is very pleasant. You can talk to your instructor and he readjusts your harness to make you more comfortable. You can look all around and absorb the incredible view that is before you.

I can't say enough good things about my instructor! He isn't just a teacher, he is a cheerleader, videographer and entertainer as well. He did all those things superbly! Here are are doing a traditional handshake after the jump.

I can’t say enough good things about my instructor! He isn’t just a teacher, he is a cheerleader, videographer and entertainer as well. He did all those things superbly! Here are are doing a traditional handshake after the jump.

The whole time you are floating in you don’t have a lot of sense of falling but you are looking down at the airport and after a little bit it becomes obvious it is getting bigger. As it gets bigger and the instructor starts to maneuver you towards landing, your mind starts to wonder what landing is going to be like? You feel another rush of anxiety as it approaches; Are you going too fast? Are you too slow? Should you be swinging around like this? Will you break your ankles? But then you land safely and all is right with the world.

I made it!! Safely back on terra firma!

I made it!! Safely back on terra firma!

So my answer is that no, it probably wasn’t fun for me in the normal sense of the word fun. But, it was an incredible experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world! And it was a necessary step toward making it fun. I think I will have to do it again so that this time I can actually enjoy and savor the experience! Wanna join me!

85 comments on “Report From the Road: I Skydive Moab!
  1. Avatar Les Doll says:

    WOW, wow and wow!

    Nice going, Bob! Awesome write up and video – makes me want to get on down there and give it a go. Whew!

  2. I can’t believe you have just made me want to jump out of an airplane. I never thought I’d say THAT.

    p.s. Love your flowy beard.
    LaVonne Ellis recently posted…DecisionsMy Profile

  3. Avatar Nicole says:

    Hi Bob

    I’m SO HAPPY FOR YOU! I had a feeling, you might jump after you mentioned skydiving in a previous post. You were a natural out there. The fear never goes away and it shouldn’t. This is one sport where you can not be cocky. If you are, it will get you one way or an other. However after a few more jumps it becomes a healthy kind of fear not like the sensory overload you experienced on your first jump.

    You give one of the best description of a first jump that I’ve seen. You didn’t leave anything out and you were very honest about it.

    Welcome to the club Bob.

    Keep enjoying your adventure tour!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Avatar ILDan says:

    As always, thanks for being an inspiration.

  5. Avatar Myddy says:

    I love the pictures, and the whole thing looks very exciting! I would probably be very hesitant for the knee injury though. I don’t think my already “fragile” knees could handle a hit like that. It’s neat that they video it all and have pictures though! They all turned out great!
    Myddy recently posted…Thoughtful Tuesday..My Profile

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Yeah, the knees came as a surprise to me, but since it was my bad knee I think it might be unusual. It was a very minor sprain and is healing up well.

  6. Avatar ILDan says:

    It was pretty trippy to finally hear your voice in the video. Don’t know why, but I had always thought you’d sound more like Tommy Lee Jones…

  7. Avatar Joni says:


    What can I say…Awesome!!

    This has always been on my bucket list and I have to say a HUGE thanks to you for kicking that one for me. I suffer from a mild form of altitude sickness and have always failed the pre-jump test…one of these days…

    Sorry about the knee!

    Keep on keeping on…



    • Avatar Bob says:

      Joni, sorry about the altitude sickness, that would be a problem for me out West. I spent nearly a year above 8000 feet and 6 months above 10,000. That’s what we jumped from so it didn’t bother me at all.

      If you spend time at altitude do you adjust to it?

      • Avatar Joni says:

        Hi Bob;

        Yes, I do adjust to it, and fairly quickly thankfully. I can ride in a small plane though there are a few minutes here and there when I get dizzy/weak. Take offs and landings are interesting – particularly when a friend handed me the controls… (Dave, we could have been killed! *too funny*)
        I rode with Canada’s Snowbirds once…doing g-force was fun!!
        On pre-test for jumping they say I could get really disoriented out there and possibly get hurt. I’ve been trying to jump out of a plane since I was 9! *laugh*
        When I’m driving if I go over about 5000′ I have to stop to adjust for about 15 minutes every 1000′ or so, I get to enjoy the views that way but out of a plane I would spend the whole jump disoriented.
        Thanks Again!

  8. Avatar Nelda says:

    Bob, that is just awesome. I’m so happy you’re doing such fun adventures!

  9. Avatar Rick says:

    Is it cold up there when you are free falling?

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Rick, it was a cold and blustery day. Standing around waiting we were cold, but once I got in that plane I became totally unaware of the temperature.

      When I jumped it was such sensory overload that I was totally unaware of whether I was warm or cold.

      My instructor said they had been quite cold during their first jump of the day, but jumping is old-hat to him. He has more than 8000 jumps!

  10. Avatar Joe S says:

    Wow! This is quickly becoming an EXTREME ADVENTURE blog!

    Well done Bob.

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Joe, we live in such a safety oriented world that the bar for what we consider adventure has dropped to a very low level. But jumping out of an airplane is a true adventure no matter when you lived!

  11. Avatar OpenSpaceMan says:


    Don’t go killin’ yur self before we get a chance to meet in person. Looks like great fun…but I had a few parts taken out of my left knee from dunkin’ a basketball one to many times and don’t think I could handle the impact.

    *I’m pretty sure you screwed up by having the film crew at the Grand Canyon instead of a few weeks later with the Jeep tour and skydiving.

    Annnnd how come that dude was wearing a helmet and didn’t give you one?

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Openspaceman, I know it may sound silly, but the risk of death in a tandem jump is extremely low! More people are killed by lightening strikes than in tandem jumps.

      But, it’s one thing to know that intellectually and another to say “Yes, sign me up!” and then actually get yourself out of that airplane.

      Meeting me is a pretty dubious pleasure, but I’m pretty sure i will be here for it to happen!

  12. Avatar Jeff says:

    `Stayed at the Apache there about a month ago- so much to see and do in the area! Nice jump! So are you going to become an adrenaline junkie now?
    Thanks for sharing all these experiences with us- certainly gives me lots of ideas.

    • Avatar Bob says:

      No, Jeff, I am far from an adrenaline junkie! But it occured to me I wasn’t all that excited to go back to the AZ desert to my routine life. There may have been a permanent change in me and my need for minor adventure.

      • Avatar Joni says:


        I have a bust out of the AZ blues idea for you…after RTR…Belize? Wanna’ play tag? Anyone else??


        • Avatar Bob says:

          Sorry Joni, there is way too much I want to see and do here in the good ole US of A! Belize is not in my future. I do plan on doing more international travel, but just for trips, America is my home.

  13. Avatar Cyrus says:

    Awesome Bob! I have had a lot of different experiences and have a huge range of hobbies but even I haven’t skydived! I sure want to some day, and I want to try this too:
    Cyrus recently posted…What is slacklining?My Profile

  14. Congrads Bob. You will never be the same. Your experience could only be topped by doing it for your son’s 33rd birthday with him jumping out of the plane behind you, then coming up in front of your face while you are in free fall, and kissing you. Then my son when on to land on the ground before me, and was waiting there with my five year old granddaughter to greet me when I softly landed like sitting down on a cushion… both of them smiling giant smiles. I also had a videography diving with me who caught it all on tape. Really great photos you took. Maybe one day we can jump together. Again, congradulations.

  15. Avatar MADVAN says:

    Been following you for a few years. Bob, you are living the dream like few will understand.

  16. Avatar Lynnzie says:

    Hey You adrenaline junkie,

    Now I dare you to go bungie jumping or learn to fly an airplane or learn to soul travel what are you up for next?

  17. Avatar DougB says:

    What a man! I can stand getting tossed around sideways on coasters and such, but not the sensation that I’m going to pile-drive six feet into the ground. Without that guy in back doing all the work, they’d still be wondering why I never pulled the chute! Great video they gave you, too. My hat’s off to you and your knee. It’s a good thing you carry a spare.
    DougB recently posted…Motivational QuoteMy Profile

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Thanks Doug, you gotta face your fears! When I get down to QZT in a few weeks, wanna go jump with me?

      • Avatar DougB says:

        Good one, dude. Like you, I already am, many days. It just doesn’t happen to revolve around flinging myself out of airplanes. Yep, taking risks can be fun and rewarding to explore, and to perhaps push through self-perceived limits. That can be a very good thing. Hey, this isn’t so bad after all! I did it! This is do-able!

        But adrenaline rushes for their own sake just aren’t my bag. I’ve pushed through some physical fears, like snorkeling though I can’t swim, while others stick. Those are the ones that just stay unpleasant, and I’m not sure what the victory is in repeating them.

        In some ways, it’s moot now. From more recent experiences in some of the stuff I like to do for kicks, I’m now forced to actually pay attention to those lame cautionary signs prohibiting people with heart conditions etc, and think. Walking away is a bummer.

        Pushing past one’s emotional or physical limits can be a growth experience. My claim is that recognizing and respecting one’s limits can be a growth experience as well. So can learning to recognize the line between challenging and foolhardy. So let’s just rent a couple of fast bikes instead, and find us some greasy-spot pavement! Tuck in, and first one down to KOFA wins!
        DougB recently posted…Dream BigMy Profile

        • Avatar Bob says:

          Doug, oddly enough I am not an adrenaline junkie either. I can’t really explain why I knew I had to jump out of a plane, I just did.

          A big part of the Liability Waiver deals with heart conditions, so they probably wouldn’t have taken you anyway.

          Big fast bikes are WAAAAY to risky for me. If I forget that, I just have to take a quick glance at all the scars on my arm from a slow small bike, and it all comes back to me!

  18. Avatar Desert Rat says:

    You did it! Great description adn photos. Now it’s time to go do the zip line. :))

  19. Avatar MrNoodly says:

    Skydiving is on my list, but I need to lose weight first. They have a 220lb limit for tandum jumps.

    • Avatar Al Christensen says:

      I’ve bungee jumped a couple of times, though. That moment my body sensed my center of gravity shift into fall mode, my mind sort of shut down, as if saying, “I don’t want to know about this.” Then I was suddenly bouncing and swinging upside down.

      • Avatar Bob says:

        Al, that’s a good description of what happens. Your mind shuts off. The advantage of the free fall and the floating down is there is some time for it to turn back on and you are aware again.

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Right MrNoodly, that should give you some motivation.

  20. Avatar Andy says:

    Good job Bob! I know the feeling. When I was in Australia I did one jump. It was our first time but we jumped alone with a round parachute. The parachute rip cord is attached in the plane so you do not have to pull it. I would not have pulled it anyway. Like you say when you jump out the plane you just freeze and wonder if you are going to die. With that setup there is no free fall, the chute opens almost immediately. It’s almost impossible to control a round chute so you just land where you land. The ground rush is incredible. One minute you are dangling under the chute and suddenly the ground is just right there and you hit hard. All they taught us was to roll sideways when you hit so that the impact goes up the side of your leg and then up across your back. We had 30 minutes training, did not sign anything and then jumped. Then we had a beer party afterwards and some people jumped again in the morning. Hangover and all.

  21. Avatar john says:

    This is what I thought of during your description and during the video. From the Moody Blues:
    There you go man, keep as cool as you can.
    Face piles
    And piles
    Of trials
    With smiles.
    It riles them to believe
    that you perceive
    the web they weave
    And keep on thinking free.
    Inspirational as always Bob.

  22. Avatar oldnavy says:

    OK, you are officially my hero of the day.

  23. Avatar Bob says:

    Kim, that’s EXACTLY what I said!!

  24. Avatar gary green says:

    dang bob, that was great ,nice video and pixs. you well remember that!!! had any dreams? you to cool, keep them adventures a coming!!!!

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Gary, no dreams about the jump that I can remember. But, I’ve deliberately replayed it in my mind many times to try to cement the experience in my memories.

      Are you next Gary?!

  25. Avatar Mario says:

    Bob , what in the world are you doing ? have you “lost your mind” ? LOL , or having TOOOOO MUCH FUN has resulted in this miraculous character transformation ?you actually DID IT!

    I know that what you preach is absolutely correct and justified (considering the fact that I share a lot of these feelings and events in my own life) but “SKYDIVING” ? Man. . . . you have guts!!!
    I have to confess . . . extreme heights , airplanes , freefalls,where I’m not in full control give me the creeps , but I totally enjoy doing 175 ml/h on my CBR1100XX (very safe bike for high speeds) so for me it’s the “being in full control” factor that will make it a joyful or terrifying experience.

    Wise choice to videotape it ! It really is awesome and the pics capture the action perfectly. You remember in one of the Jeep Tour posts , there was a picture of you on the top of Engineer Mt. looking far and over the neighbouring mountain peaks and I mentioned that you remind me an Eagle preparing for his flight ! Did I read your mind ? I can’t believe you found a way to do it !
    A very inspiring post as always (never a dull day in “”)

    PS. (I hope that knee gets back into “shape” soon) !

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Mario, strange, but I am much more afraid of motorcycles than I am of skydiving. I had a Honda 2nd gen Magna with their de-tuned 750 race bike engine. That thing scared me so much I had to sell it (a Rice-Rocket engine in a cruiser frame was a bad idea!). In 5th gear at 75 mph it was at 4000 RPM on a 10,000 RPM bike. Drop it down to 4th at 80 mph and grab and handful of throttle and just try to hold on. I’d rather jump out of an airplane! I can’t even begin to imagine a CBR1100!!

      • Avatar Mario says:

        Bob , Magna was a great bike ,i had the 1st gen. 1982- V45 (750) and 1983- V65 (1100) very smooth motors with linear powerbands, i have to agree with you on fear for them considering your unfortunate accident (i also read your answer to Doug above), in the 43 years i’ve been riding motorcycles i have gotten away with keeping myself in one serious spills at all, but i think about it all the time, jumping out of the airplane (as in Skydiving) is a lot less risky than riding a motorcycle on city roads,there is statistical evidence of this.I have done my best respecting the power of the CBR1100 BLACKBIRD(152 HP) and it’s acceleration never seizes to give me a tremendous “high”(especially the 2nd gear),it feels like an F18 taking off,its just not a good idea to jump off it ( with or without a parachute LOL ), but with the anticipated lifestyle change in the near future , i think winter relaxation in the Arizona desert might prove a lot less risky and healthier for my already aching body. (with the occasional parachute jump when in need for a little adrenaline rush)!!LOL

        • Avatar Bob says:

          Mario, I’m still really torn about getting another bike. I go back and forth between three choices for a 2-wheelers”

          Electric bike
          Scooter or a Honda Trail 110
          Honda 250 Rebel.

          The bike I already have and will be upgrading to a better one. But I’m not sure I want to carry the weight of the Rebel. But too often I have to ride on freeways to make a 2-wheeler practical transportation, which only the Rebel can do. Any bike bigger than a Rebel is not even a consideration.

          So far indecision has paralyzed me except for the electric bike.

  26. Funny, my sense of adventure is much milder I guess. This brings to mind an observation I made years back. It appears if you are rich and famous the quickest way to die is to think you’re a good pilot. John Denver, JFK Jr., etc.
    If your TV series comes to pass, I’d stay away from small aircraft!
    Curtis Carper recently posted…Upgrading To Total Comfort!!My Profile

  27. Avatar Venture says:

    Holy Shit Bob! You’re awesome! I’m so excited for you and all the incredible things you are doing in your life. You are truly an inspiration! Keep pumping out all the great vibes here! I just finished hiking 100 miles across Zion NP! Are you still headed this way? Subway?

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Venture, I’m sorry, to be slow writing, but we are not going to make it over to Zion.

      We couldn’t decide what to do so we flipped a coin and Zion won. We started over and got about 30 miles and my knee started to ache. I had worried about that because my 2001 Chevy Express has so little leg room for the driver it makes me uncomfortable under best conditions and with my knee it made me miserable. Se we decided to head back to Flagstaff and cut the trip short.

      Right now I am about 4 miles south of the Walmart in Cottonwood. I’ll be here for another 2-3 weeks and then we move south, probably to the QZT area.

      Join us and we can do some (very slow, old fat man, with a bad knee) hiking in the KOFA!

  28. Avatar Mo06 says:

    Bob, that was brilliant, thanks.

    I would love to have a go before I am too old & decripit.

    Wondering why you didn’t wear a helmet…?

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Skydiving is very heavily regulated so I just went along with whatever I was told to do. I might could have worn one if I asked, but I didn’t.

  29. Avatar Curtis says:

    Wonderful pictures and video Bob thanks for sharing.

    2 things I can be sure of when I visit your blog, humor and inspiration.

    This made me laugh out loud.

    “My problem was that I was sitting in the corner drooling on myself even as a young man!”

    You sir a a funny man.:P

  30. Avatar Lois says:

    Great post, Bob! Awesome photos! Nice little video! So happy you had a great experience and are ready to go again!

    Skydiving is probably my most favorite thing to do in the world but I had to quit jumping a few years ago because of health and finances (didn’t quite finish my first license). I’ve always hoped to get back to it some day and your post makes me realize just how much I miss it. Thanks for the reminder!

    By the way, there’s no such thing as a “perfectly good airplane”!!

    Rock on!

    — Lois

    PS. Now I gotta go hunt up my first jump video…
    Lois recently posted…To TV? Or Not to TV?My Profile

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Lois, I am always amazed at the varied and wonderful lives my readers have lived. I never would have thought of you as a skydiver, but you are!

      My dad always had a Super Cub in Alaska and I’ve spent lots of hours in the back seat of it. We always figured every landing you walked away from was a good flight and landing!

      • Avatar Lois says:

        Absolutely! Skydivers say the same thing (parachutes are piloted just as planes are). When I was little, I wanted to be a bush pilot in Alaska. I passed ground school and had a couple of flying lessons but never got out of the west coast. I can picture in my mind the hours you spent in that Super Cub – what a thrill!

        I confess, Bob, I do like the adrenaline… I’m a roller coaster junkie, piloting a small plane and a glider were big thrills for me, and I love the white water. These days my adrenaline rushes are more about making sure I have enough food to eat and gas in my car to get to the next location. Now that I’m on my own without a 4-legged traveling companion, I expect my travels will once again take on a more adventurous aspect.

        I’m loving your blog so much – you remind us all that life is to be lived, not looked at.

        — Lois
        Lois recently posted…To TV? Or Not to TV?My Profile

  31. Avatar Mark Alan says:

    I’m impressed Bob! Great experience, excellent blog. Donna & I are in Flagstaff today and would love to stop by a little later if you’re going to be there for awhile. Are you pretty easy to find?

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Mark, we have moved down to Cottonwood. We are fairly easy to find. In Cottonwood turn south on 260 and about 4 miles south of town you will see a sign saying “Thousand Trails” pointing to the left. When you see that road you are going to turn right instead onto a dirt road. That is FR 360. Go straight about 1/4 mile and you will see a road heading off to the left. That is FR 361. Take it for awhile and you will see my white Chevy van and trailer and Judy’s Silver Chevy Express van That’s us.

      Come by anytime, but email first just in case we are in town and you miss us.

  32. Avatar Royce says:


    Great write up! I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, speed across terrafirma for me, but have no desire to leave a perfectly good airplane. I am sure there is a big enough cowboy to force me out but I would be taking parts of the airframe with me. Keep on keeping on Bob.


  33. Avatar Eric says:

    I envy you that you are having fun to do all kinds of adventure and I’m staying in my house! Bah! Ok, just kidding. The skydiving is in my bucket list for long time. One day, one day! Well, I admitted that it is the fear hold me back!

    It is very encouraging to see all the pictures and read your blog that you put up which is the motivation I need to have plan to travel and International travel with lifestyle you have.
    Thank Bob!

  34. Avatar Kenn Wehner says:

    Hey Bob, I just read your article on the jump… Ya a little late on the comments But…. Nice job by the way.
    The idea of falling without a net is the same as my wife and I are doing now as we travel in a 5th wheel.
    It reminds me of my first jump over Germany in 1983. We were 2700ft with static lines in a CH46 Chinook.
    The 1st guy to jump chickened out…the assistant jumpmaster (a Navy Chief) just grab me and walked me
    backwards to the ramp. The jumpmaster (US Army Special Force HALO Instructor) looked out the side of
    the ramp spotting, yell GO!!!! He scared me so much that I left. As I fell all I could see was the green
    of German country side. I didn’t check my canopy, but I found my steering line and started looking around thinking
    about all the possiblities for a landing.
    Since that jump, I’ve made 825 more… 14 in Berlin and even the Kenucky Derby. I jumped in a lake under
    canopy (which my mom had told me to do so many times before.) I’ve trained 100s to jump here in the US.
    I’m Retired now, but I still think back to that first jump, all the time. I am telling you this
    because full timing is like that 1st jump… scared… unknowning… and possibly with just a little bit of guts….
    Sure your going to have malfunctions (I’ve had 5) but you rely on things that you’ve learn and a good reserve to
    get you through the rough patches. We are now travelling and enjoying the USA like that old Chevy commerial with
    Dinah Shore… Or the Hope/Crosby song “Side By Side”… Older folks will get the joke.
    Finally… Stay true to your heart, your beliefs, and to your friends. The course we have choosen is not a straight one,
    but without detours or bends in the road there can be no adventure in life.

  35. Avatar Ray says:

    Hi Bob,

    I did this myself in the 90s in California, but at that time the law was different and you could take an all-day course called “advanced freefall” and then jump un-tethered solo the same day. There were two jump-masters who jumped with me at my sides that used hand signals to guide me through the procedure while in free fall, but as soon as I pulled the rip cord I was on my own til on the ground.

    There was a slight hick-up in my jump, but it worked out OK. Perhaps my jump masters were being overly cautious, but it worked out and I had a absolutely great experience. What happened was that I was a little dizzy when it came time to pull the rip cord because, unbeknownst to either of my jump masters, I had actually blacked out for a split second right after we exited the plane. Consequently, even though I went through the entire routine up to the point I was to pull the rip cord afterward, my hand brushed it aside as I reached for it. (In the video you could not tell at all that I had momentarily blacked out.) Anyway, the jump mastered said that the rip cord should not have moved when I went to grab for it any way, and they declared it an equipment malfunction. Who knows? But when it happened instantly, without any hesitation at all as seen on the video, my jump master on my right side reached out and pulled it. The rest of the solo jump went perfect through to landing.

    Afterward, they were very concerned with how I would react. They sat me down and asked me how I felt about what happened and, quite surprisingly to me, if I wanted to sue them? I recounted the whole experience accurately, as seen later on my video, and said that I wasn’t upset that they help me pull my rip cord, lol. – Certainly I understood that they didn’t want to take any chances and possibly lose a jumper. After seeing my reasonable (ie: non litigious) reaction they popped the champagne and handed me a copy of my video, lol.

    That’s the only time I did it, but I’m glad I did it at least once. I’m glad I got to do a “solo” jump, even with the hick-up. If I was going to do it just once at least I got the full experience. Not gonna lie though, it was freakin scary as hell, lol.

    Did you ever jump again? Also, your video link doesn’t work. Do you have a working link?

    Thanks for sharing your jump story!


  36. Avatar musicman says:

    I’ll go with you sometime bob. Lets go to the cliffs. Lots of hang gliders there because of the warm winds and keeps you up longer. I’m just joining but will be in quartzsite in Jan. All your videos convenced me, lol.

    CU soon

  37. Avatar Jess Bea says:

    Ah yes, the skydivers. They were the first kind of nomads I met and what got me really into nomad life. I’m glad you took the leap Bob, its something you just can’t explain unless you do it. Skydivers in general are nomads by nature, they go where the work is and follow the seasons just like you. I had the honor to say I was one of them for a bit when I was packing tandem rigs for a few places. It warms my heart to see that big grin on your face during freefall. Bravo sir. 🙂 One day here soon I’ll be back out on the road with the boyfriend and I hope to meet you and shake your hand one day. After finding your youtube channel it was a done deal. Happy trails Bob and as always blue skies brother.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.