The past weekend was filled with unusual activities for us. On Saturday, BJ and I went to the Glacier Rally of the Rockies Classic Car Show here in Kalispell.
Chrome sparkled with glints of sunlight while azure sky ensured a good showing. Owners polished away dust motes while lookie-loos poked heads inside trunks and windows for a better view. With approximately 150 classic cars and trucks from the 1930s thru the 1980s, everyone had a chance to see favorites up close and personal.
BJ snapped photos of vehicles, the crowds, and lots of engines for those enthusiasts gathered along the street and in the parking lots. We spent a busy hour in the sun examining our favorites and speaking with the occasional owner. All of these lovelies would be winding their way through the Rockies in the days to come.
We went home so BJ could begin processing while I began writing down impressions and planning possible uses for the info gathered. I knew Sunday would be even more exciting, though in a different way.
We left home mid-morning Sunday to travel west along Highway 2 on our way to Marion, Montana. Several miles west of Marion there is a skydiving school and on Sunday they were holding a diving exhibition. Yes, you saw that right. It was time to watch people jump out of airplanes rather than drive classic cars.
We arrived at Lost Prairie, Meadow Peak Sky Diving around 11 a.m. and had nearly missed the first jump. Not quite, but we’d just parked the car in front of the beer tent when the ‘chutists began carving out air paths for a landing above our heads.
The wind was good and light, the kind a diver can maneuver in without difficulty. Bright punches of color dotted the sky while the drone of a light plane sounded in the background. Sun shelters, tents, and campers dotted the grounds across from the beer tent and porta-potties. The local ambulance stood at the ready off to one side.
Divers, crews, and families roamed and chatted, laughed and planned future dives. It was like watching the circus come to town; a smaller and very specialized circus. Parachutes were strung out on ground cloths awaiting the precise task of folding and stuffing fabric and lines into their compact carrying cases.
Thanks to the generosity of the diving school’s owner, BJ and I were afforded front row seats on the covered deck of the main building where flight announcers called out line-ups and flight times. Divers scurried in and out, handing in tickets to this flight or that. BJ readied camera and tripod while I enjoyed a comfortable seat with a direct line of sight on the landing field putting me close enough to see much of the action.
Interacting with skydivers is a marvelous experience. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, professionals of all stripes wandered around in shorts, jumpsuits or street clothes. From twenty-somethings to those in their sixties, skydivers came in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. And they all loved to laugh.
I think that’s what I’ll remember most from my day ringside at the sky circus. Diverse conversations—from a specialized hand-made device for locating gold in stream bottoms to elk antler chandeliers–filled the air. Talk of other diving areas crossed speech paths with speculation about who would ride the inflatable toys during a dive. Laughter came in liberal doses throughout. The atmosphere was one of a party where these challengers of the air could rub shoulders with like-minded enthusiasts.
They’d come from around the country for this event. Drop planes were brought in from Sky Dive Arizona in Eloy. Every half hour parachutes of all colors floated through the sky while club banners, pennants, and flags lined the drop zone, waving at divers above and telling them wind’s direction and speed.
In the end we came away from our weekend of exploration with a profound appreciation for those with passion in their lives, whether as classic car enthusiasts or as sky divers chancing disaster for the sake of flying free with eagles.
I hope everyone out there gets a chance sometime this summer to enjoy such events as those we chanced upon this past weekend. Give it a try. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Have a great week, people. Enjoy your life and take out your passion, dust it off, and take it dancing.
Until we meet here again, a bientot,
**NOTE: All photos printed with permission from BJJones Photography