• PLACE: Parachute Center
• LOCATION: 23597 N. Highway 99, Acampo.
• COST: $100 for the jump and another $75 for video and photos
• HOURS OF OPERATION: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. any time of the year
• INFORMATION: www.parachutecenter.com or log on to www.facebook.com/lodiparachutecenter/info. Call 209-369-1128.
LODI — Recent temperatures on the ground have been hovering in triple digits.
But that’s not the case at 13,000, according to the Parachute Center located four miles south of Lodi.
Conditions were reportedly cool from high above based on recent posting on the center’s Facebook page.
Open daily, the Parachute Center is a great opportunity for first-time jumpers not to mention the adrenalin junkies.
“I did hear about this one woman who made a jump at least once a week,” said Max Garrido of Stockton.
He made his one and only jump about five years ago. Back then, Garrido recalled that a friend purchased the tandem jump package equipped with video and stills package (current cost is $100 for the jump and another $75 for video and photos) as a birthday gift. That same friend offered him the very opportunity a year earlier.
“Since I backed out (a year earlier) I had to make it up to him,” Garrido said.
He recalled his nerves getting the best of him the night before and even the hours leading to his maiden skydiving experience. He was instructed to eat something an hour or so prior to hopping aboard the plane. “I was too nervous (to eat),” Garrido recalled.
After watching the video, he joined a dozen jumpers on what was the larger of two planes.
“Don’t be the last one to jump,” advised Garrido, who could hear the shrieks and screams of those jumping before him.
As the last one, he remembered being nauseated as the plane dipped and doodled prior to his turn. Garrido nearly had a change of heart.
“I really wanted to turn around but then the big guy (jumping tandem) pushed us out of the plane,” he said.
Garrido, who vividly recalled seeing the curvature of the earth prior to his freefall, recalled the g-force of hurling earthward at unimaginable speeds. His face, he thought, resemblance that of someone’s pet pug.
“As (the instructor) yanked the cord, we shot up at least a mile in the air,” he said.
But Garrido’s wild ride wasn’t quite over. His tandem jumper executed a few rollercoaster-type maneuvers while the two soared in the sky, adding to his stress.
“I know he was trying to make it fun,” Garrido said. “All I wanted to do at that point was coast and enjoy the view from up above.”
By the time he plummeted back to earth, Garrido made sure he kept his footing in a safe position for the landing. From there, he had a sense of relief while still buzzing with adrenalin.
“When I finally got home I had a night of good sleep from all that excitement,” he said.
Garrido had a chance to tack on another skydiving experience about a year ago but backed out. He’s still up in the air on doing it again.
“It was fun but I’m not sure if there will be a next time,” Garrido added.
The Parachute Center has been in operation since 1964 and is one of the largest and oldest in the U.S. The independent authorized instructors employ the latest in training techniques while using modern up-to-date equipment. Instructors here are also licensed by the United State Parachute Association.
By VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter