One of the many photos I'm planning on putting on the Trek America-section. Here I am with a REAL cowboy, Rusty who's 80-something and lives in the middle of nowhere! No electricity, no roads, no nothing, just Rusty, his wife Betty, a few horses and visitors from all over the world every now and then. Where he lives? Somewhere in Arizona...

We were there for two days, learned how to make our own "indian-tacos" and slept under the stars (I remember asking Rusty if there were spiders or snakes there, and he just said in his Charles Bronson-voice: "Nah, just a few scorpions, but if you don't bother them, they ain't gonna bother you!" What a relief..! :-(


Las Vegas Parachute CenterThis is one of the things I remember the most about my big adventure trip through Nevada/Arizona and Utah - the parachute jump! I always wondered what it would be like to jump out of a plane, from 13000 msl - just fall and fall and then... Pull the ripcord and find out if the parachute would open..! :-)

Well, I turned that dream into reality, and I'm glad I did, cause it was the most thrilling experience I've ever had!

The scary part wasn't the actual JUMP, believe it or not, cause I' d been preparing myself mentally for the jump long in advance. The scariest part was the papers I had to sign before I got on the plane..! I still have that contract, it said:

WARNING! Skydiving, parachuting, and all of its related activities can be dangerous and there are risks involved in your participation. You can be seriously injured or even killed as a result of your participation in skydiving and its related activities".

And I was supposed to SIGN that paper - so that nobody could sue the company if anything happened to me. I had to ask if they had many deaths...! But apparently, skydiving was pretty safe, statistically speaking... Hm. Ah, what the hell, I was THERE, and I wasn't gonna chicken out! Parachutes

I got my 20 minute education/instruction, tried out the "jumping-clothes" and stuff, and off we went! The plane was small, with no chairs. You had to sit on the floor. We flew higher and higher, until we reached a hight where the houses looked like toys... I had to crawl towards the door and open it. I stood there and my instructor who was behind me, told me to put a foot on the metal plate outside the plane and hold on to the thing that held up the wing so to speak. My other foot was still IN the plane, and as I was looking down I asked myself how on earth I had gotten myself into that situation.

- Oh my GOD! WHY am I doing this? I asked (or rather yelled, cause the plane made PLENTY of noise!)

- Because you love thrills! the instructor screamed and laughed. And then he added:

- Are you ready?

I looked down and wasn't sure if I was ready or not, but I didn't have time to think, cause he just pushed me out and screamed:

- Here we gooooooooooo!!!! Yaaahhhooo!!

Man, it went FAST! And I mean F-A-S-T! I fell like a canon-ball, and suddenly I saw the plane we had been in seconds before, from underneath... The free fall made my ears explode (almost) and I couldn't see anything, cause I got so much air in my safety glasses! I had so much air in my mouth that I must have looked like a hamster or something, and we just fell, fell, fell for about 50 seconds (which is the freefall part).

Jump 1[ PICTURE: You can't really tell it's me, but it IS..! I guess it's kinda hard to take a good photo from below..!]

I was told that the reason why my ears hurt so much was because we fell at 120 m.p.h! Jeez..! But then, we pulled the ripcord and the whole adventure stopped. We just braked up there in the sky and then it was just silent.

I saw the ground from above, and everything looked so small, and it was so quiet up there... I've never experienced something like that before, it was amazing. But the real thrill was the free fall. Once you open th parachute, it's not as exciting anymore, cause you KNOW you're gonna survive..! But when you just fall from such a hight, you feel so totally free.! If I get the chance (and the money!) I'll definitely do it again - and I'd recommend it to anybody who's been thinking about jumping out of a plane: Do it! (but don't forget the parachute!)Jump 2


[PICTURE: On our way down...! Preparing for landing! Ouch, how my ears hurt..!!]