Ranch SignEarlier in the day, we had called The Ranch to see how late they would be open. We were told they'd be jumping until sunset. Once we were on our way, Matt called them again to find out if they had online waivers and to explain our situation.

The woman from manifest, Emma, confirmed they were still jumping. Unfortunately, they did not have online waivers. We'd have to flll them out manually and get a briefing before we could jump. She'd do what she could to get us in the air.

The route between the drop zones was mostly back roads. At first, we were making pretty good time, but we ended up behind an RV that was going 43 in a 55. Ugh! I kept looking for a place to pass him, but I had no luck. I just wanted to run over him. I was growing increasingly frustrated and a bunch of people were now following us. That's when my gas light came on!

When we set out in the morning, we filled up the tank in Richmond. We figured we'd fill up after we left Sussex, but there wasn't time. I can normally drive at least 60 miles after the light comes on. It's amazing how many miles per gallon we were getting out of my 2002 Honda Odyssey with over 237,000 miles on it! If we made it to Skydive The Ranch, we'd be averaging 25 MPG!

Matt and I started talking about what we could do if we didn't make it in time. I am a big believer in signs - maybe we weren't supposed to get NY today. It wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't happen. It would put us on a different path - a potentially better path. If we didn't get NY, we could drive on to Vermont.

The DZ in Vermont was less than 4 hours away. We'd get a hotel, wake up in the morning, do a jump in Vermont and hit NY on the way home. The weather was looking great for Sunday and we'd end up with 3 states instead of 2 - not bad! But if we managed to get NY today, we would head home. It was nice to have a plan for both scenarios.


I'd been waiting and waiting for the passing lane.  When it showed up, I didn't hesistate. I blew past the slow moving RV just before the road markings went back to a double line. I was surprised when the three cars behind me also passed him (somewhat illegally).

Running on fumes and good karma, we arrived at Skydive The Ranch. It was 6:20. We could worry about getting to a gas station after we did our jumps. We took our unpacked rigs to manifest. Thank goodness the waiver was only one page front and back!

After Emma checked our gear, Matt tried to find a packer. None of the local packers were willing to pack our rigs. I can't say I blame them - it was the end of the day and they had probably been packing since the morning. We'd have to pack them ourselves. Matt put the rigs down and finished getting checked in and Emma put us on the sunset load.

Experienced Packing

The experienced packing area was huge and it looked as though they had enough lockers for more than 50 people. As soon as I started packing my rig, I noticed a broken rubber band. Matt went out to the van to see if he could find one, but had no luck. I stopped a local jumper, I think is name was Derek and asked him if he had any. I was so relieved when he came back and gave me one. I zoomed through my pack job and had enough time to hit the ladies room.

When Matt was finished packing, I found someone to give us a drop zone briefing (Roger?) I can't remember his name, but he was very nice. We put on our gear and went out to wait with the other local jumpers. Derek was waiting with a female jumper - Mallory. All the locals were friendly to us. It was just after 7 when we boarded the Otter. Oh how I love the Otter! It's my favorite skydiving plane. There's plenty of room for everyone and a huge door for group exits.

When we took off, I was so relieved. I was facing the front of the plane looking at the other jumpers. Everyone looked so happy and this shot from Matt's camera shows that I was too!

Sarah on the plane in New York

When Matt was spotting, his camera picked up a nice aerial shot.

From the plane over Skydive The Ranch, New York

The sun was going down fast. Once I was under canopy, it seemed so dark. After I put my tinted googles on my helmet. I could see better. I'm not a big fan of the sunset load, but it sure is pretty under canopy!

New York - Skydive The Ranch landing area

I had to lighten up the screen shot from my GoPro. As you can see, this drop zone has a fair amount of trees. On the previoius load, a few of the jumpers came up short and landed in the field near the bottom/middle of this picture.

Sarah Sunset

Look how dark it was when I landed! New York! Only 8 more to go!

Since Matt had the keys with him, we went right out to the car. We put our rigs in the back and Matt went to take a few pictures around the drop zone while I took off my ankle braces. I grabbed some SIS socks and $20 for the beer fund and found Emma inside getting ready to leave. She told me that they don't collect money for the beer fund, but they'd take the socks and give them to the new female jumpers. Perfect!

Both of us really liked Skydive The Ranch. They have an awesome facility, friendly staff, and locals and a very nice landing area.

Oh...and they were only 1.5 miles away from a gas station! Yay!