A little bit more on where I liveIt should come no surprise that this is what I see all day, every day. I live in one of the many hangars at the airport, which in addition to skydiving, offers a flight club, pilot lessons, glider flights, and general airplane storage and services. We have a cutesie airport cafe here, too. This is one of the biggest skydive centers, and a lot of people live here. It's also the cheapest dropzone probably in the whole country. A tandem skydive is only $100 and your AFF1 course is $1000, compared to $200+ and $2000+ respectively anywhere else. If you want to get into the skydiving thing, this is the place to do it. There are people here from all around the world, mostly for the cheap AFF training. It's free to pitch a tent. You could get a really nasty, dark, and smelly room in one of the hangars for $300 a month. So we got pretty damn lucky to nab the last space in the Dogpatch hangar, for $250, renting a trailer from Roger, who was paying for storing it here. Everyone else has their own Winnebago or trailer. One guy, Jacob (he's from Quebec, so it's pronounced zhack-O), just lives here in a tent. If you consider this all one small step away from homelessness, I assure you, it is! This guy is 58 years old, and the same no-good-punk he probably was since adolescence. Skinny and dark, he wears pajama pants and sunglasses. He wakes up and goes to bed with an echoing groan, and in between mostly sits around looking at nothing, chain-smoking and filling up garbage cans with Budweiser cans. He works here as a parachute packer, and is one of those special characters full of contradictions. One day he'll complain, "I have never seen business so slow" and the next day, looking up at the landing jumpers, he'll whine, "There's one of my clients, damn I don't want to pack a parachute!" He'll walk around with a cigarette and ask me if I'm doing something that's making the hangar smell. Friday 13th they did night jumps. It was beautiful and a full moon, and most importantly nobody died or got hurt. There is virtually nothing around, just flatness everywhere. The flatness of the airport, surrounded by highway and vineyards on all sides. Lodi, CA is also wine country! And touted Zinfandel capital of the world, if you were to believe the billboards. There's virtually no shade, but that proves an advantage at night. Starry night sky, totally unobstructed. 270 degree views of the horizon, and incredible sunsets every single day! <iframe width="960" height="720" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Q5t2Es2rBjg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
1 AFF stands for "Accelerated Freefall" and is the course you take to get your skydiving certification. Typically it's 3 tandem jumps and the rest you are on your own parachute getting instruction.