This is my final recap. It’s a long one!
Thursday – this was the big day of sky diving at Casa Grande Airport through Phoenix Area Skydiving. Yep, we (myself, Mom and husband) went sky diving! This idea was in the works since Christmas. We got up early and my parent’s friends drove us to the small airport. After some confusion we found where we were supposed to be and basically signed our lives away on a release form. The plane can hold 2 people at a time (plus our tandem jumpers and the pilot). My Dad surprised my Mom with a gift of 2 tandem jumps at Casa Grande with anyone she choose besides him. Ha! Mom asked her girlfriend and she said heck no! She asked me and I thought – eh, why not?
I knew my husband would also like to go and we were able to book him to go with a random person after Mom and I went up. His partner ended up being a fun, younger, adrenaline-loving gal from Ohio. On her last visit to AZ she rode a bull! Crazy. We got harnessed up and our instructions and we were ready to go. My Mom said she wanted to jump first which was fine with me. I got in the plane first with my partner. He was awesome – very re-assuring and had a fun attitude. I mean those are pretty much job requirements for these guys, right? Mom came in with her guy and soon we were in the air. I’ve been in small planes before so that wasn’t scary to me. But I was nervous for sure. Our jumpers were telling each of us more tips and what to do – pointing out landmarks, etc. We got strapped together, goggles on and harnesses tightened. Naturally, I listened very close to my guy and just trusted in him. My life was in his hands, well, I guess his back.
This is in the plane. Kaitlin paid for photos and I swiped these off of Facebook. This is also the guy I jumped with. You can see Mark sitting and waiting to jump behind them.
I was enjoying the desert scenery and seemingly out of nowhere (it was loud up there) the door opened and my mom was putting her legs out. She fell from the sky! At that point I got scared. But my guy pretty much man handled me and we were out the door. My instinct was to close my eyes. I don’t know why?! Before I knew it, he was giving me the tap to open my arms and “fly”. Shortly after that, he pulled the parachute and we were gently floating through the quiet air. He gave me knuckles and commented about our flip out the plane. I had no idea! Soon I was controlling the parachute making us go right or left. After a bit he took controls over and was making us roll all over the place. It was fun – the best way I can describe it is a roller coaster x100.
Also from Facebook – not sure I was as calm looking as Kaitlin is here!
Before you know it, you are ready to land. He gave me some tips and we were on the ground super easy. He landed standing but I couldn’t get my legs to work – they were so wobbly. He yanked me and we ended on our feet which was cool. He quickly – actually alarmingly quickly – unsnapped us from each other. For some reason, us being tethered together for my life seems like it should have taken much longer to unhook from each other. I think I must have done good – he thought I should take up jumping and eventually go solo. I think I’m good for now though. My Mom’s partner suggested everyone to try it at least two times. The first time you are so scared and don’t know what to expect. The second time you get to enjoy it more.
(Photo above from Facebook) I didn’t purchase the additional video filming and photos. Our family friend did take our video on her iPad and it was neat to watch it back. I’m so thankful and glad to have this life bucket life experience with my Mom and also husband. Would I do it again? I think so! After we got our bearings, our ears unplugged and our stomachs settled it was crazy to think what we just did.
I also have to mention that this is something I never would have done a few years ago. There is a weight limit and I wouldn’t have passed. I also wouldn’t have felt comfortable. For that I am proud. One of my reasons for losing weight was to do more things and this most certainly qualifies!
We jumped from about 9:30-11:30am between paperwork, jumping and driving. We were hungry and our stomachs were queasy so the next stop was for food. We went into Casa Grande to McMashers Sports Bar & Grill . It was a beautiful day and we dined outside. I had an amazing chicken salad with strawberries and blueberries. So refreshing. We chatted with a few people out on the patio from Minnesota. The thing about Arizona is most all the snow birds are Canadians and Midwesterners escaping the cold. Most of them are retired. Pretty much all of them are insanely happy and friendly. I can’t remember the exact numbers but the city of Mesa and neighboring communities suffer such a large loss of population that many businesses are only open part time in the summer. The resorts go from thousands of people to mere hundreds. What a crazy impact!
After eating, we made the haul out to Queen Creek to visit cousins of ours who recently (like within the past day or two) bought a gorgeous home there. It was like straight from a magazine. I could so see myself living there. It was wonderful to visit them and sit outside and enjoy their pool.
We finally made our way back “home” and just ordered in some Papa Kelsey’s Pizza and played more cards. This was the only night we didn’t go to the pool. We were wiped from the day’s excitement and just wanted to sleep.
Friday was our last full day – insert sad face here. I decided to go for one more outdoor run – just a lap around the park for a little over 2 miles. I was still tired but couldn’t pass up the outdoor running! We had plans to meet up with our former Hazen neighbors, Faye & Dave. Their winter home is in Gold Canyon, AZ, just a few miles from Mesa. Like most metro areas, the cities just run together. They happily picked us up to show us their home, their resort and treat us to lunch. Of the resorts we had visited, theirs definitely had the most activities available. And let me tell you – Faye & Dave don’t sit around so this fit them perfect. Pool classes, woodworking, jewelry making, dances, show and tell, wine tasting, pickle ball, golf, hiking, softball (huge sport there), you name it, they had it. As they showed us around the resort they were constantly bumping into folks they knew. In fact, one of the golfers (89 years old) informed us he skydived on his 80th birthday and if he makes it to 90, he is going again! After showing us around on their golf cart (golf carts and bicycles are the main transportation), we had a beer outside on their patio and then went into town for lunch at BJ’s Brewhouse. They like this place and know I like beer.
My kind of appetizer. I enjoyed a wonderful flight of their brewed beer and some delicious Mediterranean tacos. We split dessert and had their famous Pizookie’s. I have never had these before but these giant warm cookies topped with ice cream were delicious! We had to leave after that but greatly enjoyed our time with our friends.
We headed back home and I was in touch with my Mom. I really wanted to visit a local brewery while here and they had been to one she thought I might like. I thought about skipping but hey – I’m on vacation. So I said let’s do it. My Dad came to get us and we were off to Chandler to the San Tan Brewing Company. They feature several beers and a full menu. They have outdoor seating and an open air restaurant. They also serve breakfast – if only I had more time I’d love to try more food. We weren’t hungry much from our big lunch. I got a flight of beer (the best way to sample as many flavors as possible) and their Cilantro Lime Hummus. They have an excellent happy hour. Since my table mates aren’t big craft beer fans, we decided to go to the Irish Pub in the same plaza. I don’t know if this was a revitalized area of Chandler or what? They had a ton of fun stores and bars all in walking distance.
Always go with the flight.
Cilantro lime hummus with veggies and spent grain beer bread.
Just a sparkling ostrich wearing flip flops on our way to Bourbon Jack’s – a contemporary country bar. After that bar we went home and slipped off to the pool, sauna and hot tub for our last night of drinks and swimming.
We were able to have a lazy Saturday morning packing up and getting to the airport. After a quick lunch at Rubio’s we were to the airport for our 4:30pm flight. We landed back in Bismarck at 7:30pm on Saturday, Feb. 28. We ran to Dan’s Supermarket to get a few groceries and went home to our pets. I really think they were happy to have us home. I enjoyed landing on Saturday and that way we had all of Sunday to get our lives back together – clothes laundered, house picked up, meals made and one last vacation nap before reality hit on Monday morning. What a great vacation and great memories. I hope you enjoyed my recaps!