I originally had the thought that I could write this at 12:31 a.m. and schedule it to be posted at a “normal hour”. But I decided to forego that idea and present this, as is, when I’m done writing it. I figured it might be more interesting to just let my thoughts stand as they would at this hour, not leaving room for censorship when I’ve already had some sleep.
But this is not really about insomnia. This is about me doing perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. It also happens to be the most fun thing I have done in years. Of course, there’s a story. Get some coffee and settle in. It’s not long, but I think it’s a good story.
When my husband and I were planning our vacation in Vegas, we were trying to decide what we were going to do there. Neither of us are big on gambling (save for spending some time with the Star Trek penny machines…what?…Jason and I have embraced our geekdom), and we were going to be there for longer than most people stay in Vegas. You see, when my husband and I were engaged, we did a rather stupid thing. We spent a long weekend in Vegas and we came home owners of a timeshare. Yeah, yeah…make your jokes. It was because of this timeshare ownership that we ended up with two weeks that we either had to use or lose. So we used it. Yes, dear readers, we spent two weeks in Vegas. I know.
During the subsequent planning process, I stumbled on Flightlinez. Now, I have wanted to try zip lining for…well…many years. I know this reference will totally date me, but there’s a movie called “Medicine Man“, starring Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco. I’m not sure it was widely seen, but I saw it. There’s a scene in the movie where they zip line among the trees in the Amazon rainforest, and I remember thinking to myself, “oh man, that looks like so…much…fun!“. So when I saw Flightlinez…I knew I had to do it. There was one minor hitch: I am terrified of heights. By terrified I mean it took me literally years to get up the nerve to finally go to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. We went to Paris last year…and I did not go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. So sue me. I did, however, go to the top of the fake Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. Baby steps, people.
So on Day 9 of our trip…May 31st…we decided to finally go and do it. I knew that if I didn’t go then, I might never go. Jason was a good sport, volunteering to zip line with me. I would love to tell you that I would have done the zip line without him, but I am not 100% certain that would have been the case.
Because the zip line is located at the Fremont Street Experience, I figured that the only logical choice was to do it at night with everything lit up. The line itself starts outside the covered area, but most of it is underneath the canopy of Fremont Street. The whole thing happens by way of gravity. You start from a five-story height, and you end up on a platform that is probably less than one story high, where you go down just a few steps to the ground after they take you out of the harness and send you on your way. There are four lines and they send people four at a time by going down the platform…sending one…two…three…four. I was in position three, and Jason in position four. Here’s how the whole thing went down:
I was actually calm on the car ride to the downtown area (where Fremont Street is, for those not familiar with Vegas). We found the Flightlinez office and stood in line…I was still fine.
We went inside, signed the waivers “hey just so you know, you can die if you fall“…and I was still calm. Serene, even.
The Flightlinez people told us to go around the corner of the building and take the elevator to the fifth floor (essentially the roof of the building)…and once again…I was totally calm.
We stood in line for about 20 minutes or so on the rooftop, where you can see the platform area where you launch from. There were some obviously nervous, clearly tipsy guys making jokes about who was more scared in line ahead of us. I was still cool as a cucumber.
We got to the front near the platform and we got our harnesses fitted and fastened. I’m still totally calm and cracking jokes.
We stepped on the platform area, and you get a better sense of just how high you really are. Still, I’m fine but I do feel my heart rate increase just a smidge.
And then…then they attached my harness to the zip line with a loud “click”.
This is when I felt myself panic.
Now, the last thing I want to do is have a full-blown panic attack while flying four stories downward on a line over Fremont Street.
The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air over Fremont Street. I was so terrified that I didn’t have enough voice to even scream. I started to feel my heart rate skyrocket in a very “panic attack” kind of way. So I spent the next 30 seconds of my flight time (it lasts maybe 40 seconds) taking deep breaths and repeating in my head “just calm down, you’re going to be fine“. In between repeating that mantra in my head, my thoughts alternated between “HOLY CRAP WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!?!” and “THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING!!!“.
After getting to the end of the flight, I was shaking and excited from the adrenaline rush. I had trouble standing on the step stool they give so they can properly detach you and get you out of your harness. I was giddy from the rush and the relief of standing on something solid. As we put our feet on actual, solid, beautiful asphalt, I declared loudly that I needed a drink.
Yes, they sell you pictures at the end of it. And yes, we did buy them. No, I will not be showing those to you all. Sufficed to say, I look completely serious and terrified. Jason actually looked more like he enjoyed it, though he told me that he was pretty terrified himself. I still cannot believe that I actually went through with it. I don’t know that I will ever do it again, but at least now I finally know what it’s like.
In case anyone is heading to Las Vegas and is interested in doing this, here’s a video of it that I found on YouTube. It’s not the best quality, but it shows you exactly what it’s like to be on the zip line. Enjoy!