Pigeon Forge, Tennessee - 07/09/2011

Published at 10:23 PM in ,

Well, today we were headed into Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for one reason only: Indoor Skydiving.

Michael found this adventure online about a year ago and has wanted to go ever since.  Pigeon Forge isn't really on our way home, but it's not that far off track, either.  But let me tell you, this time, it was no easy task getting there.

All lanes were blocked here, not just 5 miles ahead

We had stopped at a gas station in Williamsburg, Kentucky, just eleven short miles from the TN/KY state line.  After topping off the tank, we hopped back on the interstate and headed south....for about 5 minutes.  And then, traffic came to a complete  S...T...O...P...

We have a CB radio in the motorhome, so we turned that on to see if we could figure out what was going on.  Apparently, there was a HAZMAT spill on the interstate around 2:30AM.  By this time, it was 10:30AM, and the spill still wasn't cleaned up.  Where we got on the interstate was Exit 11, and it was the last exit before the state line, and officials had set up a detour at another exit inside of Tennessee.  So we sat and waited and waited and waited.....for a LONG time. It took us over 3 hours to make it to the detour exit.  Once we got off, we were moving, for a little bit.

The north-bound lanes of I-75 had been shut down and detoured as well.  The problem was that the detour took a mountainous route on a two lane road.  So there were tractor trailers navigating these hairpin turns while competing for space with other frustrated drivers.  At one point, traffic there came to a complete standstill.  A truck was pulling a very large boat - much too big for his truck and the mountains - and stalled on this two lane road.  So now traffic had to take turns passing him.  This added an additional hour or so to our detour.

Creeping towards Tennessee

FINALLY we were back on I-75 south and moving.  The rest of the trip to Pigeon Forge was a breeze, even with the normal heavy traffic there.

We actually made it to the indoor skydiving place, called Flyaway Indoor Skydiving.  For about $30, you get a training class, all equipment, and about fifteen minutes of skydiving time.  You have to share the time with others in your group (maximum of five per group), but the time is much more than you think.  I personally thought they were in there forever!  We also opted for a DVD of their experience.  So this was a kind of pricey experience, but well worth it, and something we had promised.

The instructor was very friendly and did an excellent job training the kids in some basic moves they needed to know, including how to safely land on the side when they were moving out of the way.  He taught them hand signals so that they could communicate with each other over the noise of the wind.  The 'wind' is actually a large wind tunnel.  Professional skydivers use this facility a lot for training and stunt practice.

Ready to go!

The kids suited up, put helmets on, ear plugs in, goggles on, and climbed in the tunnel.  The wind started up and off they went!!

It was so neat to watch, and they had an absolute blast.  It was well worth the trip, and they insist they would like to come back again.

Kids ready to go - the instructor is flying!

Michael's YouTube video of him indoor skydiving!

More pictures in the Photo Gallery!

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