X Marks the Spot

The Drive: Xenia, Ohio
Miles: 204
sky trippin’:  The Dawn Patrol Rendezvous World War I Fly-In will touch down at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, half an hour away in Dayton, Sept. 21 through 23. (937) 255-3286
You may pale. You may vomit. But jumping from a plane at 13,500 feet is worth it — once you’re done, of course, and reflecting on the experience safely on solid ground.

The team at Skydive Greene County, in Xenia, Ohio, has been throwing people out of planes for 45 years. Instructors and parachute junkies hang out on the back porch to watch divers land in the drop zone, marked with a huge white “X.” They’ll even let you tent camp on the drop zone for free, and you can couch surf on a first-come, first-served basis. But when it comes to the actual jump, they’re all business.

You’ll watch a video about the seriousness of what you are about to do and sign your life away with a stack of papers that require signatures and initials left and right. All formalities, but the idea that something bad could happen settles into your bones, so it feels even crazier to grab goggles and head with the rest of the fools to the hangar.

Once the altimeter shows you’re nearing the height of your flight, you’ll be fastened to your instructor and go over the procedure once more. Hands on the harness, rock back, 1-2-3, jump, head back, arms up, arch your body like a banana.
Yeah, it’s not that hard. The initial shock of jumping from a plane subsides quickly during the 60-second free fall. After the parachute is pulled and you clear the clouds, it’s smooth sailing, and the view is amazing. (937) 372-0700, www.skydiveohio.com
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