Posted on May 9, 2017
A few weeks ago my boss called me into his office to ask whether I would be interested in representing our firm at a fundraiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. I of course was happy to take part, especially once I learned that it happened to be their annual Over The Edge event in which the participants rappel off of the Omni in downtown Nashville.
I have discussed over and over and over and over that I am afraid of heights. However, I have also discussed my quest to overcome that fear by seeking out situations that make me second guess myself. So far, so good. If flying lessons turned my dread of air travel into love, then eventually, one day, I’ll be able to jump and fall off of things without hesitation (hopefully during some sort of planned excursion).
Before I went over the edge, we got a brief training session on how not to fall to our deaths or get stuck on the side of a building. I appreciated the tips.
I’m joking. I felt safe the entire time. There were lots of ropes and harnesses and gears and double and triple layer safety measures.
Before I could start my rappel, I had to crawl over some scaffolding to get to the edge of the building. This was surprisingly nerve-wracking considering what I was about to do.
However, the worst part was the first steps going down the building. It was a little hard to get started because, well, I weigh as much as a wet chihuahua. You control the rate of your descent with your weight and guiding rope through the belay. So, my size made it difficult to get horizontal with the wall.
When I started my descent, I was hanging from the side of the building, but still had my feet at the top of the ledge. This felt very unsettling. However, I felt completely secure once lowered myself down a bit and got my feet flat on the side of the building.
I fed the rope though the belay and I walked myself down the building, taking time to waive at my supporters below and the hotel guests who gathered at the windows to watch.
It only took a few minutes for me to completely lower myself down the 26 stories, but every second was thrilling.
The event was exactly what I hoped it would be. I had a wonderful time and we helped raise money for a wonderful organization in the process.
Over The Edge helps non-profit organizations throughout the world raise money for important causes like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. If you are interested in a chance to rappel down a building without getting arrested, keep an eye out for Over The Edge when it comes to your city.
Posted on December 19, 2016
Knitting a scarf has been one of the most arduous experiences of my life. Not law school. Not the bar exam. Not the Tennessee Vols’ 2016 football season. Knitting a stupid scarf. Why? Because the yarn never, ever ends. Just when you think that you are nearing the end of your project, the yarn ball just keeps on going. There were times I honestly questioned whether the yarn was reproducing and creating more baby yarn for the sole purpose of mocking me.
I started my scarf the Tuesday before Thanksgiving thinking I would have a fun little weekend project. Perhaps my hopes were unrealistically raised by being told one skein of yarn would magically transform into a fully knitted scarf with about 5 hours of work. Wrong.
I spent days and days working on the scarf. Part of me wishes I timed it so I knew just how much I invested in the process. Part of me is glad I don’t know the answer to that question.
I took a class at Craft South to get me started with my first project. I am really glad I took a course because I had Jenn, the instructor, there to give me guidance as I went along and got into trouble. I think I would have become too frustrated with the process if I started on my own and did not know how to fix my mistakes.
After a bit of hard work I finally finished. I went through the entire skein and ended up with a scarf that is taller than me. I finished it just in time for Nashville’s first first “snow” of the season and I am sure it will keep me warm and toasty on my New Years ski trip.
I know I seem rather annoyed by the process in this post, but it is really all in jest because I actually loved my knitting class and the finished project. And, believe it or not, I will probably keep knitting. Now that my expectations have been properly lowered, I am ready to forge ahead and try another project. It is actually a pretty great thing to do to quiet your mind, keep yourself busy while watching TV, or enjoy on a ‘knitting date’ with a friend.
Posted on October 24, 2016
I grew up with my mom sewing little outfits, stuffed animals, and all of my Halloween costumes for me. She always had a project going, usually for my benefit. I, however, never picked up the craft. It was probably a good idea to not let my tiny fingers near the machine. However, now that I’ve grown, I thought it would be fun to take a sewing class so that perhaps one day I could use the sewing machine I inherited from my mom.
Craft South has a variety of sewing, knitting, and other crafty classes. For my first foray into sewing, I signed up for their pajama pants making class (sample above). Fortunately, Craft South also offers sewing machine lessons for those talent-challenged folks out there like me. Otherwise, by final product would result in something like this:
I was the only person there for my sewing machine intro class so I managed to get the benefit of a private lesson. The first class got me acquainted with how to use a sewing machine, the different types of stitches and techniques, and, most importantly, how to sew in a straight line. The class also got me excited about getting to try the real thing.
Two days later I got to take my first practical sewing class. We started by selecting the right size pattern and cutting out the fabric. This part was easy enough, but when you have plaid or another patterned fabric it takes a little extra work to make sure the design lines up.
I am really glad I took the sewing intro course because after Lauren, our instructor, set up the sewing machine, I was able to just run with what I needed to do. I would have been pretty lost had it been my first time using the machine.
The first thing we sewed was the button holes. These look complicated, but they are created with literally just the push of a button. All you have to do is hold the fabric still. Next, we moved on to sewing the leg of the inseam on each side, which was basically just a straight line. Check. I had that under control. Then we combined the left and right sides of the pants by sewing the rest of the inseam. This was a little more complicated because the fabric curves. While I am sure this part will get easier with the more experience I get, but for now, sewing on an angle is a little tough to do smoothly. After that we sewed up the outer legs, which was the easiest part of the sewing process (more straight lines).
We finished up the pajamas by folding over the waist, stringing through the elastic and drawstring, and hemming the legs. Voilà! Adorable pajama bottoms!
After I finished the class I went home, slipped on my newly made PJs, and watched some baseball. Life is about balance right? I can do sewing and sports in one night. I made the pants a little bit long because the fabric will shrink when washed and because the longer pants keep my feet nice and toasty.
I absolutely loved my sewing class. While my obnoxious need to do everything perfectly was tested, the class was actually relaxing and I loved being able to have a finished product within just a few hours. I can’t wait to take another class and and eventually get to use my mother’s sewing machine for my own creations.
Posted on July 11, 2016
Three years ago my best friend and I piled in the car for a 2000-mile drive from Knoxville to Phoenix. In an effort to constantly outdo ourselves, this time we embarked in a 3,032-mile, 11-day, 12-state journey.
A vital part of any road trip is the right playlist. Jill and I put an unhealthy amount of time compiling the right tunes for the trip. Below are 50 of our favorite road songs. Crank it up and use it as the soundtrack to this post (or your next trip). Good tunes never get old.
St. Louis, Missouri
No trip to St. Louis would be complete without a trip to the Old Courthouse and Gateway Arch. The Old Courthouse was the site of the Dred Scott trial where, during a less-than-enlightened period of our history, Dred Scott unsuccessfully sued for his freedom from slavery in 1857. It is required reading for every law student’s first semester of law school.
We got up early the morning to take the first ride to the top of the arch. We are total nerds who purchased tickets for our 8:10 a.m. ride in advance.
But just because we were in a hurry didn’t mean we couldn’t stop and make new friends.
The Gateway Arch rises 630 feet (192 m) above the city and (after a very unique elevator ride to the top) gives gorgeous panoramic views of the city. You can see for 38 miles on a clear day.
I loved my visit to the top so much that I decided to return for another visit at the end of the day. This time I was in the last car up to the top and in the last group to leave.
It was yet another great, but completely different, view of the city. I could see two different sets of fireworks in the distance.
Saint Louis has so much more to offer than the Arch.
With our early start, we were able to fit a lot into our day. Our next stop was at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The grounds were beautiful, but it was hotter than Hades outside.
However, they did have a boxwood garden, which, due to my odd obsession with the smell of boxwoods was my favorite part of the gardens.
After some time in the heat we went in search of the legendary Ted Drewes for a delicious concrete (try the turtle). It lived up to its reputation and was totally worth standing in the rain.
Jill lives in Arizona, and was utterly unprepared for the Missouri humidity. (Living in Nashville, it felt like a normal summer day to me–miserable, but something you just have to fight through). She headed back to the hotel and I took off for the City Museum.
The City Museum is a bizarre and magical place that blends an oddities museum with a multi-story jungle gym/amusement park and descends into caves below. Yes, really. One of the big draws is a 10-story slide, pictured above. For you legal nerds out there, this building was originally the home to the International Shoe.
In the middle of our St. Louis day we took a brief excursion to Collinsville, IL to see the Chokia Indian Mounds. Chokia was the largest settlement of the Mississippian culture and was located on this site from 600-1400 A.D.
There are 80 mounds (originally 120) scattered around 2,200 acres, with the largest rising 100 feet. It is believed that either a temple or the residence of the chief was at the top.
While we were there, we took a short drive over to see the world’s largest ketchup bottle. As we were finishing up, a gentleman pulled up to take pictures as well. He said he drove over 100 miles out of his way to see it and that he travels the country taking pictures of water towers. He is my spirit animal.
Independence, Missouri – Truman Library
The next morning we headed West towards Kansas City. However, first we had to stop to visit the Truman Library. Our last road trip included an impromptu stop at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was so enjoyable that we now try to incorporate any presidential library we come across into our itinerary.
The Truman Library did not disappoint. If you have an interest in Truman, World War II, or the 1940s and 1950s, then definitely pay it a visit.
Just down the road from the museum is Truman’s home. He lived here with his wife as president when he was not at the White House.
Kansas City, Missouri
We were struck with a torrential downpour as we neared Kansas City and we worried that our sightseeing plans would be thwarted. Fortunately, the skies cleared for a very lovely day.
Unrelated side note: At this point, for an inexplicable reason, we started listening to Ace of Base’s “The Sign” on repeat for approximately 30 minutes. We had a few Ace of Base interludes throughout the trip. Please do not ask why. I don’t have an answer for you.
We started with a visit to the WWI Museum and Liberty Tower. From the top of the tower you get quite a lovely view of downtown. The WWI Museum has a wonderful collection and worth taking the time to see.
That evening we took a Segway tour of the town (read more about it and see pictures here) that took us through Westport, Country Club Plaza, and past several art museums. However, I wish I had more time to spend there and was able to see more fountains.
Kansas City is known for its fountains and apparently has the second most number of fountains of any city in the world, second only to Rome.
St. Joseph, Missouri – The House Where Jesse James was Shot
The next day we hit the road towards Sioux Falls, SD. The first stop of the day was the house where Jesse James was shot.
It was a small museum, but really one of the cooler ones I have visited. I’d rank it as worth a detour. Jesse James was a notable Old West outlaw known for his bank, train, and stage-coach robberies. It is estimated that he killed at least 16 people.
On April 3, 1882, James took his guns off and stood on a chair in his home to straighten a crooked cross stitch pattern that hung on the wall. A member of his gang, Robert Ford, took the opportunity to shoot James in the back of the head in an effort to collect a reward. Instead, Ford was tried for murder and sentenced to death. Two hours later he was pardoned by the governor. (You can see the bullet hole in the top right of the picture).
Omaha, somewhere in middle America . . .
We made a quick stop in Omaha to go “bobbing” on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (standing with one foot in Iowa and the other in Nebraska). Being on the bridge is an interesting experience because you can feel it moving beneath your feet.
We also took a few minutes to see a series of impressive statues in Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park.
Sioux City, Iowa
Just stopped in Iowa for a minute. Gas here is confusing.
First impression: 80 m.p.h speed limit? Way to go South Dakota!
Second impression: Your interstates are really loud to drive on.
Overall impression: South Dakotans are the nicest people I’ve ever met.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls was an unexpected delight. The Big Sioux River goes right through downtown and creates a gorgeous set of waterfalls.
Falls Park is just a quick walk from downtown. The pictures do not do it justice.
It was by far the most relaxing stop on our journey (which is really saying something).
Here is your own moment of zen:
Mitchell, South Dakota – Corn Palace
Whenever I told people about this trip, one of the first things they would say is, “you have to visit the Corn Palace.” It was supposed to be a-maize-ing. Perhaps we got there a little early, because while it is definitely good roadside kitsch, it was not the most exciting stop on the journey.
Midland, South Dakota – 1880 Town
One of my favorite detours was to 1880 Town in Midland, SD. It has 30 buildings that date back to the 1880s to 1920s. It is great if you need to stretch your legs and walk for a bit.
I think we stayed here for close to an hour sightseeing.
Eventually I wandered up to an old church to visit with some longhorn. They were not particularly into talking to me and wandered away shortly after I took this picture. Rude.
Badlands National Park
If you ever get anywhere close to Badlands National Park, definitely take the time to pay it a visit.
This was the first location we got to use a National Park Annual Pass I purchased while in St. Louis. The pass gets you free admission to national parks for a year and paid for itself on this trip alone. (I just have to be sure to use it once I get home.)
The Badlands have been a work in progress for the last 500,000 years.
It is full of beautiful and colorful buttes, deep canyons, and towering spires.
Every stop along the loop had a different and spectacular view.
I only wish we’d gotten there earlier in the morning. The heat made staying out in the sun long periods very uncomfortable.
To give you some context for the scale of the Badlands, this is a picture of me admiring the landscape.
Wall, South Dakota – Wall Drug
Unlike the Corn Palace, Wall Drug did not disappoint. Wall Drug is the ultimate tourist stop and has a little bit of everything. Those who told me to pay it a visit definitely undersold it.
The best part was my psychic reading from Zoltar, who gave the most on point fortune ever told.
Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood was one of the stops I looked forward to the most. Deadwood is an Old West town that was home to legends like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. It is nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The historic downtown area is a mix of tourist kitsch and beautiful old buildings. I never get tired of the look of small town South Dakota.
I got to meet Wild Bill himself outside of the legendary Saloon No. 10. The walls of the saloon are covered with Old West memorabilia and it was a fun place to see a show and enjoy a cold sarsaparilla.
However, things did not end well for Wild Bill. About 30 minutes later he was shot by Jack McCall, who you see trying to escape below in a good ole fashioned shootout.
We made our way up to Mt. Moriah Cemetery to visit Wild Bill’s grave.
Calamity Jane’s dying wish was to be buried by his side. As you can see, her wish was granted.
We started the fifth morning of our trip with a visit to one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
There were only a few people in the park when we arrived which provided a pretty intimate setting for viewing the monument.
It absolutely lived up to all of my expectations. George, Tom, Franklin, and Abe are literally larger than life. The faces of Mt. Rushmore are 60 feet high.
After leaving the park we met a friendly mountain goat and her kids. She complimented my hat, but otherwise didn’t have much to say. She went on with her breakfast and we continued on with our journey.
Our entire drive through the Black Hills was filled with wonderful beautiful surprises.
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial is just a short drive from Mt. Rushmore and worth putting on your list. Crazy Horse was the leader of the Oglala Lakota, the tribe that called the Black Hills their home.
Once it is completed, it will be the largest statue in the world. It is significantly larger than Mt. Rushmore and all four presidents will fit inside Crazy Horse’s head.
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is just a stone’s throw from Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse and it is not to be missed. In addition to beautiful scenery, there is a wide variety of wildlife. We saw prairie dogs, burros, and 2 herds of buffalo.
The burros, commonly called “begging burros,” went on a car-to-car hunt looking for treats and some friendly face scratchings.
One burro would not budge from in front of our car. Below is a picture of my failed attempt to reason with the burro to get it to move. Lesson: Lawyer skills will only get you so far if you do not have fresh apples with you.
Despite the adorableness of the burros, the highlight of our journey through the park was spotting the buffalo.
There were a few hundred of them right off of the road. Custer is home to 1,500 buffalo, which is one of the largest herds in the world.
The buffalo are mammoth in size, weighing in around 2,000 pounds, which I am pretty sure is more than our car.
Torrential rain and tumbleweeds.
Nothing prepared me for the sheer massiveness of the mountains in Colorado. Even if all you do is drive down I-70, this state is worth a visit. I don’t know what I liked more, the dramatic rocky cliffs or the tree Bob Ross-esque tree-lined mountains.
Estes Park, Colorado – The Stanley
We spent the night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The Stanley was the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. It was built in 1909 and is legendarily haunted.
I initially intended to do an entire blog post about my stay at The Stanley, but despite taking a ghost tour, staying on the “haunted” fourth floor, and being told by two different hotel staff members that I would “definitely experience activity,” I have absolutely nothing to report.
Rocky Mountain National Park
We woke up the next morning and decided to skip time in Denver for an impromptu trip into Rocky Mountain National Park. (Yet another good use of our National Park Annual Pass.)
The detour was definitely the right decision.
The drive up the mountain took about an hour as we winded through steep drop offs and scenic views. We passed several people on bikes on the way up, which was ridiculously impressive.
On our way we encountered a heard of elk resting and grazing in a field and we pulled off to chill with them for a while.
Despite it being late June, there was still plenty of snow on the ground. If you know my love of snow, you’ll know that I was extra excited about this.
We drove to the top of the trail and then climbed the rest of the way to the peak. I think things might taste better at 12,000 feet because the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had was at the visitor’s center at the top of the trail. I’m talking serious chocolatey deliciousness.
Morrison, Colorado – Dinosaur Ridge
What is a trip out west without dinosaurs? We stopped at Dinosaur Ridge to satisfy our inner 10-year-old nerdiness.
Dinosaur Ridge is home to dino bones, dino footprints, and a variety of interesting geological formations.
The highlight for me was seeing dinosaur footprints up close. Growing up on the East Coast this was not something I had access to.
I was even allowed to climb the rock face and touch a fossilized alligator claw mark. It was huge.
Idaho Springs, Colorado – Whitewater Rafting
We finished our time in the Denver area by going whitewater rafting in Idaho Springs. You can read an entire post on it and see more pictures and a video here.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado – Doc Holiday’s Grave
To wrap up our Old West tour we stopped in Glenwood Springs, Colorado to visit Doc Holiday’s grave. Doc Holiday was one of America’s most celebrated gunslingers. The grave is part of a rather unkept cemetery and it took a little bit of a hike to get there, but it was worth it. They are actually unsure exactly where Doc Holiday is buried, but they know he is somewhere in the cemetery.
One of the trip highlights was our time in Moab. Not only did we get to spend time in the area parks, but we did a little glamping while we were there. There are additional pictures in a glamping post that you can read about here.
Dead Horse State Park
Dead Horse State Park gets its name from the use of the mesa top as a corral for wild horses. Cowboys herded the horses across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The horses were then fenced off with branches and brush. Legend has it that, for some unknown reason, the horses were left corralled without any water and they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.
You may also recognize it from the final scene of Thelma and Louise where the ladies go crashing into the river below. (Sorry for the lack of spoiler alert, but you’ve had 25 years to see it.)
Cayonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is yet another jewel Utah has to offer. Short hikes can can get you to some truly beautiful sights. However, the trails can be pretty poorly marked leaving you to guess as to whether you are actually on a trail or wandering aimlessly through the park.
The park is full of a wide variety of geological formations including arches and (possibly) meteor craters.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural stone arches. We started our day by seeing the famed Delicate Arch.
The hike is listed as one of Arches “difficult” hikes and should be done early in the morning and with plenty of water. In fact, two people died on the trail the week we were there.
Part of the hike was pretty strenuous and was directly uphill. (Those tiny things are the people ahead of me).
Many of the trails in the area parks were marked with cairns, or piles of rocks, as a guide.
Delicate Arch was a pretty impressive sight (it is the one you see on the Utah license plates). It is 65 feet tall and basically in the middle of nowhere. (I am in the bottom right of the picture, for a size comparison).
There were also some petroglyphs right off of the trail that date back to between 1650-1850.
But Delicate Arch is just one of thousands to see. My favorites were the double arches in the windows section of the park.
Zion National Park
We made a slight detour on the way to Vegas to see Zion National Park. We didn’t have time to do any hiking or take the park shuttle, so instead we just drove the 12-mile road that went through the park and stopped to take pictures as we went.
But even though we could not see much of it, the park was still beautiful.
And the sights we did get to see were absolutely worth the detour.
Las Vegas, Nevada
We finished our trip in lovely Las Vegas! We turned the car in and finished our vacation on foot.
Most of my trip was mostly spent either at the spa or taking a relaxing stroll down the strip in my introvert gear (floppy hat, big sunglasses, and Sinatra pumping though my earbuds). However, the highlight was a doors off helicopter ride right after sunset. You can read about the ride and see pictures and a video here. It was a wonderful way to end our journey before flying home.
Overall impressions of the trip
This was my first vacation in 3 years and it absolutely exceeded all of my expectations. There was not a single let down. I love traveling, I love seeing the countryside, and I love getting out and experiencing new places. I feel very lucky to not only live in such a beautiful country, but also to have the means to be able to see it.
One of my favorite parts was seeing the landscape change as we crossed the mid-west. Traveling through the Ozarks, the plains, Badlands, the Black Hills, farm country, Rocky Mountains, and the desert shows just how big and vast the country really is. Specifically, I don’t think I fully appreciated just how much farming is done in this country until I spent hours and hours driving past it.
Now that I can cross these places off of my travel list, I just have to start planning the next road trip. I am thinking about the Pacific Coast Highway or a tour of the North West.
To plan this trip I used one of my favorite websites, Roadside America. It is a great travel guide for unusual attractions, tourist traps, and all things kitsch. Trip Advisor’s lists of the top things to do in each city filled in our itinerary nicely. We were able to fit in so many amazing things because every stop, except Rocky Mountain National Park, was planned in advance using one of those two websites.
If you plan on doing any traveling this summer (or any other time) get a National Park Annual Pass. It is only $80 and gets you in to all National Parks for free. If we paid for each of our stops it would have cost us over $115. The pass paid for itself in about 9 days. It lasts 12 months from the month you purchase it, so you have plenty of time to get in as much adventure as you’d like.
If you plan on doing a trip like this I suggest investing in a good thermos for water. I got a 40oz Hydro Flask (in Vol orange) that kept my water icy cold all day long. I am not sure what I would have done without it. Many of our hikes would have been miserable, if not dangerous, without ample amounts of water.
Posted on July 7, 2016
My best friend and I finished or 3,000 mile road trip in Las Vegas (follow the blog to see a post on the trip next week). For me, Las Vegas is not about gambling, pools, and parties, it is about a endless possibilities of New Things to do. (See my previous Vegas posts on swimming with dolphins and taking a trapeze lesson).
My friend wanted to spend the day watching soccer so I went on my own hunt for how to fill my day. I decided on a helicopter ride, because why not? I started cold calling places to see where I could get a solo flight at the last minute. Skyline Tours delivered. Not only could they take me up, but they let me book my own private helicopter. I really don’t like to share.
I was given the option of flying “doors off,” which is exactly what it sounds like. There is nothing between you and the air. At first, I was hesitant about flying doors off and was going to opt out of it. However, I was persuaded otherwise and I am very glad for it.
Flying doors off was exhilarating. It provided an unobstructed breathtaking view of the city below.
We took off at the North Las Vegas Airport and flew down the length of one side of The Strip, looped around, and flew up the other side. We flew so close to the Stratosphere that it seemed like I could reach out and touch it.
This experience is one I would absolutely repeat, despite my fear of heights and flying.
Here is a video of my ride:
If you want to do your own tour of Las Vegas, visit Skyline Tours and they will give you a night you’ll never forget.
Posted on June 7, 2016
I constantly hunt event calendars for ideas of New Things to do. It is much easier showing up at a pre-organized event than creating your own adventure every week. While perusing Eventbrite I came across a flower crown workshop and photoshoot. I was never particularly “girly” as a child (or now), so making a flower crown was definitely something new for me.
Making a flower crown is pretty simple. First, select the flowers you want. To make one like mine, choose a mix of small and large flowers and an array of colors. I was lucky; they actually had flowers that matched my new favorite dress.
Once you pick your flowers (pun slightly intended) get a bit of wire and measure the size of your head. It is better to have it be a little too big than too small because you can always tighten it at the end. Then take three pieces of wire and braid them together until you reach the appropriate length.
Now you can start adding your flowers. Trim the stems on the flower to 1/2 to 2 inches and insert the stems into the holes of the braid. If you need extra help securing the stems, just wrap them tightly with green floral tape.
Just keep adding flowers until you are done. When you are finished wearing your crown, you can dry the flowers by hanging them upside down in a warm, dry place.
When we were done making the crown we had an awesome little photo session. Here are some of the results:
These are the unedited raw images (that is how awesome Miss Mayter is). Once I get the final shots I will upload those instead.
Posted on May 24, 2016
When I was little, my mom asked me the old cliché, “If all of your friends jumped off of a bridge would you do it too?” Now that I am older, apparently I am the bad influence encouraging other kids to jump. A few days ago I texted my friend Cody out of the blue and asked him if he’d make the 3-hour drive with me to jump off of a 125-year-old bridge in Kentucky. Luckily he is as crazy as I am and agreed.
The day before we left, Cody realized our destination was in Eastern Time. I’ve lived in Nashville on and off for over 13 years and I am still not used to being in Central Time. We left Nashville around 5:30 a.m. I am not a morning person. Yet, my excitement for the day was a good replacement for my morning coffee (although I had some of that too).
The idea of bungee jumping did not scare me. I’ve gone skydiving, hang gliding, and flown a plane, so jumping off of a bridge felt like the next logical step. Fearing nothing, and being a bit full of myself, I signed up for a triple jump package that included a “head dip” into the water. Once I saw the murkiness of the river, I asked if I could just touch the water with my hands (called a “hand slap”) on my third jump instead. (The water is usually quite clear, but recent heavy rains flooded the river).
The number of bungee cords used depends on the weight of the jumper. Because I am rather small, they had to switch the cords out for me and I was the last person to go for the day. But, the weather was lovely and watching others jump made the time go by quickly.
When it was time for my first jump, I did not hesitate. I was excited and ready to go.
As I stepped off of the platform I wondered if this was what Wile E. Coyote felt like when he realized the ground was no longer beneath him.
Suddenly I was flying through the air.
I had no way to tell which way was up.
It was hard to know when I was falling and when I was flying back up to the sky. The one thing I did know was that I absolutely loved it.
Once I finally stopped bounding through the air, I hung by my feet spinning like a top above the river. It was like a little bonus ride.
You are probably wondering how we get back up to the bridge. No, they do not drag you up by your feet. They send down a rope which you attach to your harness and you are hoisted up head first. It is actually a rather nice ride to the top. I could have hung out there all day.
Here is a video of the big jump:
Here is the same jump from my perspective:
Once I returned to the top, it was immediately time for jump number two. Despite loving it the first time, when I stepped toward the edge I was suddenly filled with terror. I just could not make myself do it again. I could not figure out why I could jump so easily the first time but be so certain that I could not do it a second time.
I had to sit down and collect myself. I used that as an opportunity to review the tape, so to speak, and convince myself that it was safe to go again. I refused to let the fear win. About 20 minutes later I was ready to step back out on the ledge. Alan from Vertigo Bungee, who I am convinced needs to be my personal life coach, soothed my nerves and got me back out on the ledge. I took a few deep breaths and jumped again.
This jump felt a bit more erratic than the first. I flew back up hitting the cords above me. The second jump did not fill me with the positive emotions that came with the first jump.
Once I made it back up to the bridge, I felt completely disoriented. I had to sit down for a while as my head and stomach spun. I was utterly unable to move for what seemed like an eternity. I have never been prone to motion sickness so this was a new experience for me. However, I suppose if you spin around upside down long enough you are bound to feel sick.
I finally collected myself and Cody helped escort me back to the car. As we neared the end of the bridge I turned around to give it one last look. This was a horrible mistake. The simple act of turning my head was more than my tiny body could take. I made it to the edge of the bridge just in time to puke my guts out. Just writing about it now, I have to reach for the dramamine we picked up on the way home.
I still have one jump left in my package that I can use this season. I have not yet decided if I want to use it. At first, I thought that two jumps were more than enough for me, but in just 36 hours my opinion on that has softened.
While my jumps were not my first steps down my path to adventure and personal growth, they were important steps. I was able to cross one more thing off of my list that intimidated me. I strongly believe that all fears in our lives must be overcome. Whether it is heights, death, or getting your heart broken, we end up much happier when we learn to embrace both the journey and the fall.