Sunday, August 15, 2010

Zipping down the Zipline!

Aha!  Another milestone!  I broke out of my big girl bondage to take the Flightline at Wild Animal Park.   My Breast Cancer 3 Day team decided to take the trip together.  Gloria, Loree and I spent the morning at the Breast Cancer 3-Day Expo (which was amazing since we met and recruited our fourth team member!) and then hustled to Escondido for our adventure.  It was a fantastic trip...well worth the several, although subtle, reminders of my big girl status. The Flightline experience begins weighed.  There are strict stipulations regarding weight.  You must weight between 75 and 250 pounds.  I assume that the decision to actually weigh everyone came from the frightening thought of arguing with a large woman who swears that she is under 250 but is most obviously in the 300 pound range.  Would you want to take that on? either.  As a fat girl, I can tell you.....we get very cranky when our weight comes up. 

So...on the scale I go.  Its a huge metal square actually in the ground.  I looked around for a neon light above me bellowing my weight to everyone around.  The attendant was good...he didn't even blink an eye.  He just stamped my hand and handed me some forms.  Yeah!  I passed the first test!  As I was walking to the next check point, I glanced at my forms.  What is  Oh....that looks oddly familiar....and wow....that'!  I quickly turned it over and handed it to the next attendant.  No such luck.  He flipped it right back and reached behind him for a harness.  A big one. the grand scheme of least there was one that fit!

We got a quick class on putting the harness on.  Ties, buckles, clips everywhere.  This is good, since they would be responsible for keeping us safe 60 feet above the ground.  We also learned the difference between the flight position (arms bent and pulling the straps to the shoulders) and the landing position (arms straight and laying back into the sling).  After the harness is on, we walked up a ramp to the Fledgling run.  It is small and only about six feet off the ground.  The attendant, who I must comment weights about 90 pounds, sizes us up.  She picks four of us....we all notice that size is definitely a factor since we are all bigger than the other four remaining visitors.  This is a bit depressing since out of eight people, I was chosen second.  No problem.  I can take it.  She explains that on this run, the brakes can only be set as a group.  The next run can be set individually so we can go with whoever we want.  Good, I think.   Little did I know....

We get strapped onto the line and hover for a few moments, swinging in the air.  The attendant reminds us again to keep our legs apart.  No knees haven't been able to touch in years.  I get into flight position and she releases the brake. towards some very calm gentlemen on the opposing platform.  He has two orange sticks up in the air signaling me to stay in flight position.  As he moves the sticks downward to signal the landing position, I suddenly hit a series of brakes designed to slow me down.  BAM....BAM....BAM....Very loud...vary jarring.....Very effective!  I stopped....and before he had to jump out of the way!   Fifteen seconds and it was over.  Thank Goodness that this is the short run.  I swayed for a few moments and then he brought me over a step ladder to stand on while he disconnected me.   Loree and I watched the remainder of the group take their trip and then jumped aboard a truck to take us to the Mainline. 

The Mainline starts on a platform 60 feet above the ground.  It looks more like 160 feet.  You can't even see the wires for a few minutes.  It looks like you will sailing off into....nowhere!  Gloria, Loree and I were all going first.  Our guide began telling us what number we would be.  I was number 3.  I was reminded of the whole "independent brake" issue when I heard our guide on the radio.   We have a R on line 2, a F on line 3 and a W on line 4.  I'm assuming that meant Regular for Loree, Wispy for Gloria and Fat Girl for me.  This was later confirmed when we heard the responding radio later say...."We can't take a F on line 1.....the brakes won't take it!"  In the end, do I want the Fat Brakes?  You bet....Forget my pride....I don't want to have the little girl brakes and end up on the other side of the platform...falling into the lions den!  Don't think that they weren't looking up and sizing me....a meal fit for the whole pride!

The ride was great.  Two minutes of soaring like a Condor, as the add states!  The animals were running around beneath us....most likely thinking...Wow...That's one well fed Condor!  Eventually the other platform came into view with the attendant holding the orange sticks.  Down they go - I push into landing position.  Here we go again.... BAM...BAM...BAM...BAM....I stop....and then slowly start moving of the platform....hanging in the air....I start flapping like a Condor...trying to get back above the platform.  I must have looked ridiculous since the attendant yelled...."It's'll come back!"   I did...and then swayed in the air while Loree and Gloria joined me.  Each of us got unhooked and walked back to the gate to complete our journey. 

It was a great day.  One I will most likely repeat.  I'm almost ready to do the sky diving but since that requires me to make some stranger strap up with me, I think it's more socially conscious to wait.   I can't decide if I want a 250 pound guy that will at least absorb some of my weight or some 150 pound guy that will make us less likely to fall like a rock!   Sooooo....that may still be a distant goal at this point.  But...that's OK!  I'm still going to live right now in other ways.  I'm still focusing on taking the weight off, but plan on just living while I'm doing it.  I started reading a book by Loretta LaRoche called "Lighten Up!".  To give you an idea of what she writes, she has another book titled "Life is Short-Wear Your Party Pants".  I'm enjoying her point of view.  Eat less...exercise more....and stop perseverating about it.  I may just be able to make this work!

Love to you all!


  1. Even though I was there, Sheri, you made it better for me. Reading your impression of the zipline made me laugh out loud, instead of just smiling ear to ear as I did while it was happening. I will treasure our flight experience forever, as one of those soaring moments in my life when I did just what I always wanted to, with the best friends, and it was fantastic!

  2. I'm so glad you did that! I can completely picture the whole scene and it sounds awesome. I would be afraid that I (in my present F condition) would go sonic fast. I enjoyed this very much!

  3. Friend, thanks for making me laugh at life!
    Reading your account of our experience makes me laugh all over again. It was a blast!! Great memories, and we will go skydiving soon. Hey maybe we should go after the 3day, as a celebration!!