by Laura Ausel
Also known as Ted & Laura's Excellent Adventure.
This story begins with a drive. A long one. And, typical of long car trips, the conversation covered many topics. CReW lies & horror stories, dreams of 16-way pull-outs, and juggling. Not just any juggling. I juggled while Ted was driving, but had to stop on a couple of occasions when he got more interested in coaching my juggling than watching the rush-hour idiots outside of Greensboro. Ted juggled while I was driving but he didn't have to stop, because I didn't have to divert my attention from driving to coaching - not that I could coach anyway. Ted juggled while HE was driving. . .it was funny, and scary, and got some interesting looks from passers-by. After a while we quit juggling and conversation wandered into bumper sticker design. The winner of the design contest (and we're looking for someone to build the prototype) was a bug shield with a mirror image of "I N C O M I N G !!" printed on it. Sort of like the ambulance folks have on the front of their wagons. Last but not least, Ted shared the secret of how to get selected for the team. We finally rolled into Covington at about 11:30p.m. swearing that if we ever make this drive again we'd start a lot earlier.
Friday dawned sunny and clear, but deteriorated rapidly after breakfast. I kept swearing that it'd clear but neither Ted nor Spencer Stuart, one of the DZ owners, believed me. The Weather Channel seemed to agree that it would clear by afternoon, but at lunchtime there was still a lot of low overcast. Weather deteriorated from there, with severe thunderstorm warnings and some really strange looking clouds rolling through. At one point we were all standing on the porch watching it hail like crazy, and some bold pilot taking off in a Cessna. And, typical luck for those who travel far while jonesing for a jump, the weather forecast was modified for the worse shortly after the hailstorm. Drats! Oh well, we'll all be there for the 6:30 a.m. call, even if we only end up playing one-bounce.
Saturday morning's roll call revealed the cream of the Georgia Base, other holders of the current world record, plus an out-of-town wanna-be (me). The first two loads went up and played in the sky, dusting off the rust and working on piece flying skills. The third load only got to five thousand feet before the clouds moved in, but made a reasonable show of things anyway. After that, the skies opened and the rains came. Not ones to waste down time, several of DQ's most experienced camp organizers gave a lecture on training the trainers, full of tips on what any aspiring CReW instructor needs to know. By mid-afternoon, and after a few jumpers had made the "sacrifice" of leaving, the skies cleared and each group was able to make two more loads. The day closed with each of the three groups completing their first planned point, and part (if not all) of a second point.
Sunday morning showed the weather to be completely inhospitable to jumping and, after a closing debrief, several folks who had long drives (Ted & me included) decided to head out. As usual, it was a great weekend - weather notwithstanding - with many opportunities to expand or share skills with fellow CReW dogs.