Bucket list check | 29. Ride the tallest SkyCoaster in the world

Remember when I did the slingshot in Orlando with my friend, H, because neither of our husbands would do it and we just couldn’t bother with doing this alone? Well, again my husband and I were in Orlando already staying in a hotel on the same strip as both Old Town and Fun Spot, so she met us up there again. The Skycoaster is so much more intimidating than the slingshot and I knew this when we did the lesser of the two first.

I woke up with a stomach ache due to nervousness and ate the smallest breakfast I could stomach due to anxiety. We got there semi-early after checking out of our hotel, so we perused the shops of Old Town waiting for my friend to get there, in my favorite shop Black Market Minerals to be more specific. Every time I walked under the beast or watch someone get released and start flailing, I had to swallow lumps in my throat and ignore the awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Once she showed up, I’m pretty sure we sat there close to it and watched others get dropped from 300ft feet. We finally worked enough courage up to do it instead of backing out as I’m sure we both would have ended up doing. I don’t back out of much but I can assure you that I was checking out the bumper cars next door. Also there was a helicopter writing words in the sky about God so I felt like that had to be a good sign, right?

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The next dilemma was figuring out who would pull the cord to release us once we reached the top. There was no way it was going to be me. They make the taller person go in the middle and the shortest will pull the cord at 300 ft. Unfortunately at 5″2′ that doesn’t leave a lot of room to relax for me.

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We ended up in our loading dock to get strapped in when a group of people approached the outside fence asking if we were going to actually do it. After a few nervous laughs, we said yes. She told us that she wanted to do it but that none of the people she was with (assuming her kids and grandkids) wouldn’t do it with her. It all kind of happened so fast but we ended up recruiting a third person to ride with us. She was so cool for agreeing to go with us on the spot. In turn, she ended up being the cord (I’m so sorry Mary, for volunteering you) but she was totally okay with it!

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I had to take my glasses off for obvious reasons but H was worried about losing her shoes. I think the most funny part of this was hearing the guy say “You’re worried about losing your shoes? You have a whole boot on.” Anyway, we got strapped in and linked arms with H in the middle. This entire time I thought you lay on your belly on a platform, but it’s not a platform at all. You get into a harness-type contraption and it has an apron-like function that holds you in. It lifts you up and then tightens up so you fall forward. It looks like you’re totally going to fall on your face but you end up being all right and momentarily dangling.

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It starts lifting you up slowly and I felt all right. We saw a big turtle in the water below us actually. I asked if it was done lifting us about five seconds later and was informed that we weren’t even halfway up yet. That’s ridiculous. Once we heard the OK to pull the lever, we went soaring! It was a surreal, thrilling experience. We swung back and forth a few times. I screamed quite a lot and everyone heard, but do I care? Nope, not even a little bit, because it was a big deal that I did it in the first place. The view was amazing, it felt like we were flying, and there were even birds flying with us. It was definitely an experience worth having.

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I’m glad I could share this with two other amazing people, a really good friend and someone’s grandma. My husband told me that he could actually hear them saying “grandma, you’re so brave!” How cute is that? I would definitely do it again and actually plan on it within the next week.

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Bucket list check | 24. Go rock climbing

There are just some bucket list adventures I have a hard time with because of my panic-stricken fear of heights. When I was younger, I could ride roller coasters no problem but I would shake if I climbed a tree that was too high. When I am in total control, my legs tend to get weak and shake uncontrollably. When I am not in control, I feel fine as I would being strapped to a machine or in an airplane. It is kind of backwards when you think about it but it is a true story. I won’t be incredibly detailed in this post because of that anxiety that comes with heights.

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This is basically the same thing with the treetop trek we did before ziplining, jumping out of a tree, and climbing the lighthouse in St. Augustine. Even with shaky knees and tears in my eyes, I still manage to have fun and it is all worth it — once I get back down to safe ground.

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look at how scared I was… lol

It was hard to get into an activity that solely relied on your upper body strength to pull you up and your legs to be the foundation of getting you to higher elevations. This was just an indoor rock climbing gym, thank God, but still. I felt like I was way too high.

Once I reached the top to a few that I didn’t really think I could do, I felt accomplished and happy. I’m just glad I have a supportive husband to tell me I can when I’m stuck at the top thinking “Oh my God, I’m never coming down” and thinking of every single way I could get down without having to climb down. I’m now feeling the burn. Oh, I eventually made it back down to the ground because that slide I was imagining for easy access down was never going to appear.

There were little kids out doing me. Like they were fine and it was blowing my mind. Children are fearless. I think at one point I was trying to climb down and I just couldn’t deal anymore so I simply let myself fall. This just makes me laugh now. Now we know I embarrassingly teared up once or twice in fear, haha, but my husband? Oh no, he was definitely in beast mode though. The muscles he built up in the military really helped him because his upper body strength is intense. He climbed high and accomplished heights with no fear. He was inspirational in fact.

Overall, it was fun but pretty scary if you don’t like that heights thing. I liked being able to climb knowing that I was strapped in when we were on the auto-belays. It was nice being able to just drop because you kind of feel like you’re flying, although I was panicky about that at first too. I still had fun with my husband and I still look forward to dates like this. We bouldered, free-climbed, and used the auto belays. I even dropped from a point once I reached the top and I was pretty proud of that.

I am fearless in every other way but nope, sorry, heights are not my thing.

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I made it to the top and got a nice work-out! It all worked out perfectly because we were limited on time. There was an option to do a “quick climb” and they showed us how to use the equipment. It was inexpensive and well worth what we paid. Once I master “mind over matter”, I am going back to own some rocks.

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Bucket List Check | 25. Ride the World’s Largest Slingshot

Just as I mentioned in the Ice Bar post, this year’s Valentine’s Day brought my husband and I to Orlando, Florida. Now, everyone in Orlando sees this and some may even be curious about it, but not everyone stops to see what the fuss is about. I was also really excited because of Celina’s experience with the World’s Largest Sling Shot bucket list experience on ‘My 52-Things’.

Since I had moved this little beauty to my bucket list, I made a vow that I would finally do it. I was going to do it with my step-dad one year for my birthday but he didn’t want to that night or something, I think he was sick, and it was already cold. I don’t remember but anyway, you can only ride if you have one other person with you.

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My husband is terrified of anything that shoots you into the air straight up and heights combined into one lovely package. He will probably never do this with me because it was hard enough getting him to ride Doctor Doom’s Fearfall at Islands of Adventure. He didn’t quite enjoy it either. I felt badly. So, one of my great friends from high school and I got together and decided we would plan a day to do this together. Since we were already going to be in Orlando, she drove the trip to meet me there, because her husband was also never going to do this with her. It was perfect circumstances.

We missed the turn and ended up taking an hour detour for what was only five minutes away without traffic. I’m not kidding and the traffic was horrendous even past midnight when we were going to find food afterward.

I was absolutely terrified. I knew it wouldn’t be too bad but stuck in traffic staring at the ride made me almost want to throw up in anxiety. When we finally arrived, I looked for her and the people she was describing in her text messages. Finally after not seeing me, we realized we weren’t at the same place. I forgot there were actually two slingshots in Orlando, so she drove to me. The worst part is that we planned to be there at 8:30 p.m. and she made it to the first one no problem. Thirty minutes after finding out we weren’t at the same place, we finally met up, and sat in the queue to freak out with each other. This was at 10:30 P.M. due to traffic and a location mix-up.

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We finally loaded up and were pulled down into the base of this “volcano” in a reclined position. Volcano eruption noises start rumbling beneath us and then we shoot up into the air at a force of 3-5 G’s and over 300 feet in the air. As we watched the people, it looked like it was no big deal. When we were actually on it, it definitely did. I didn’t stop screaming and it went really, really high into the air. It flips you a few times, bounces you back up and down at least three or four times, then it stops you in mid-air before they pull you back down. When you watch it, it looks like they’re stopping in mid-air much closer to the ground. I feel like we stopped at the very top and just lingered there.

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I made the decision to wear slippery tights and I seriously felt like I was going to slide out every time we flipped. I remember one point just feeling the top of my thighs hitting the restraint bars and sliding out a little bit, it was so scary, but so worth it! I remember shooting straight into the black sky and finally getting right side up to look out at the city lights brightly lighting the night. It was pure bliss besides the constant screaming and demanding the ride to stop stopping. I talked so much to avoid the nervousness of what we were doing. The video made me laugh although we probably can’t hear anything due to how loud I was screaming. At one point, I didn’t even know which direction we were facing because I couldn’t see the ground or the night horizon. I assume we were going side-ways but that is just crazy.

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We survived and I loved it. We both did and now we’re both hooked. I would definitely do it again.

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Bucket list check | Jet skiing in the Ocean

With summer ending in two weeks, we decided to conclude our summer adventures by going jet skiing together.

When I was a teenager, I lived on a lake with my family. It was actually my favorite place to live during my childhood. While sitting in that house with the cool second story attachment on stilts completely made of bay windows, I would often look into Lake Hendry as if our souls were one, just me and the lake. I have always been one with the water. When my parents first introduced me to the exciting act of jet skiing, I became obsessed. Every single day I would beg just to go out for one ride. I even remember going out on the lake one very cold winter morning. Finally I was introduced into some of the sports associated with jet skiing such as kneeboarding and surfing. I was never allowed to use the surfboard but I really took off with the kneeboarding. I thought I was so cool when I was 13 years old because I could pull myself up and glide by myself. I remember going out in that mucky lake water and not even letting fear overcome me since the water wasn’t clear and there were definitely alligators lurking about. It was nostalgia and something I loved so dearly, which in turn created sentimental memories.

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Bucket list check | Parasailing

Part 1 of 2 of our summer conclusion series. I know that summer does not technically end until the fall solstice on September 21 but there are a few adventures we want to shake out in an attempt to get summer out of our system. (Hellooo fall!)

I researched a few places to seek the safest and most reasonably priced. I remember making a joke about going to “High Times” and “Chute ‘Em Up” being quite odd names and almost sketchy. The smiley face logo for “High Times” might as well have had red eyes if you know what I mean. Anyway, to my surprise, when I called to make the reservation to “Pro Parasailing”, they are AKA “Chute Em Up” so nope, didn’t avoid that namesake. It was still a great decision despite the gang sounding nomenclature chosen.

As our beach is absolutely pumped on the weekends, we were racing time to get a parking space and arrive at our destination before it was too late. We made it within six minutes of our deadline and we found a great place to park that we will use for future references in order to avoid having to pay $20 just to park on the beach for an hour or two. We signed the preliminary paperwork explaining that we know what we are doing is dangerous but yada yada. Then four minutes later, we loaded the boat and comfortably settled at the very end of the opposite side of everyone else seating. There were six people on each side but lets just say we had our own cranny if you will. We flopped off our shoes as instructed to do so and we sat for a moment and talked among the waves and ocean spray. Then that’s when we saw them. The perky, flipping, adorable dolphins just enjoying the bubbly activities that dolphins do. There were a set of them playing happily and another set playing tag with a boat in a mass of foamy waters. I was entirely too delighted at the sight so I stared in admiration until they were too far out of sight to flip through my glistening vision.

We had to make a quick pit stop to retrieve photo batteries for those who wanted photo packages. Once we were back on track, we proceeded to the far out world of simply unfathomable water surrounding each direction you look. The first couple was strapped up and awaiting their turn to fly into the bright, blue skies. As they were ascending, the next couple were suiting up for their glide. Two by two, I watched three couples go before us and come back with the biggest indications of happiness on their way up. Then it was our time. Da Da DUN!

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Bucket list check | Geocaching

In the rain!

Geocaching was added to my list since for a few years now we have been wanting to go on a modern day treasure hunt together. This has been since we’ve watched the movie “Splinterheads”. We were absolutely fascinated by the concept. I suppose we never really mustered up the time. I will be careful not to reveal spoilers or give too much information to the muggles but I will just say that geocaching may very well be one of our new favorite hobbies.

Our adventure started as a 95+ degree Florida day. My husband and I took our “blonde child”, as we call the teenager I used to nanny, and went off into the hot sun by foot and board.
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Bucket List Check | Stand Up Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is hands down another one of my favorite experiences.

The other part of hubby’s birthday, we spent standing for five miles. It really isn’t even as hard as it looks.

The first half of the trip was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and the water was such a deep turquoise color. We saw turtles perched on logs from above. While standing up, you are provided a new perspective on something that is already so naturally beautiful. Imagine looking straight down at the crystal clear water and the fishes instead of looking over the boat to it. The only downside of standing was barely missing branches as you would completely clear on a kayak. You either had to really pay attention to see them coming and bend down to the best of your ability or deal with the monstrous scratches down your back. I managed to do both and it looked like I got into a rolling fight you see in cloud dusts on cartoons.

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Bucket List Check | Go Camping

For hubby’s 24th birthday, we honestly thought we were going to get rained out and we also really didn’t know what we were doing.

The first day we got there, it rained constantly. We had a reservation to pick up our kayaks shortly after we got there though so we left the campsite and went kayaking in the rain. It was 72 degrees; needless to say we were soaking wet in cold rain for three hours. My best friend even brought an umbrella. I’m sure we saw one other set of people on the river that day.

We arrived back to the campsite. The first thing we did was take turns taking hot showers in the bathrooms. Some wilderness excursion, I know, but we felt very blessed with showers there considering we were in 72 degree rain all day. We couldn’t do anything else for an hour or so though until it stopped raining. We were able to set our tent up under the canopy though thank God so just in case, no rain made its way into our tent. The tent was easy to set up although I was not the one setting up. I was reading the directions. I gave up around number eight so I just let them figure it out. 😀 During that hour, we huddled under the canopy and ate chips because we were also starving. We brought campfire food and well, you can’t exactly light a fire when it is raining. We probably killed off an entire bag between the four of us. Once the rain finally let up in the evening, we carried on with our plans.  The ground was still wet so we settled for sandwiches until we could start grilling.

 

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Bucket List Check | Helicopter Ride

For our third wedding anniversary, we crossed a few things off of our list of things to experience. Among the three, the helicopter ride was the most breathtaking experience. We were lucky we could even go because as you would have read in the other anniversary treks, black clouds were looming the entire weekend. The sky finally broke for our very last stop of the trip. The rides kept getting delayed because the rain was heavy in certain areas. We huddled with all the tourists under covered bleachers. Needless to say, we still ended up being semi damp because the rain was splashing onto the bleachers and bouncing onto our clothing.

Helicopter ride over Orlando, FL (9)

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Bucket List Check | Ziplining

I’m just going to say right now that this activity is possibly one of the scariest adrenaline rushes I’ve encountered. It wasn’t exactly because of the ziplining itself though. Most of it was because of the “treeptop trek” obstacle course in the trees we had to complete before we got to the zips. Rather, the courses we chose since we chose “The Black Diamond” course. The Black Diamond is the longest and most strenuous of the courses they have listed on their signs. Can you imagine fumbling with wires and making sure you’re clipped in high above the trees?  Well, I sure can and I’m the one that is afraid of heights.

We were trekking through a zoo so obviously you would expect animals right? Right! We climbed past monkeys that were climbing; It was climbing inception. The only other animal we saw were colorful birds and they paid no attention to us. We were the subject of conversation for everyone below us. One kid at the monkey exhibit even pointed at us and said we were monkeys. His mom smacked his arm and said not to call names. Brat.

Ziplining in Melbourne, FL (20)

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Bucket List Check | Go Canoeing

After our first experience kayaking on the Weeki Wachee, I figured our next trip would be a piece of cake. We decided to try canoeing out for size this time. I’m glad we did for the experience but I have to say without a doubt that I prefer kayaking to canoeing any day. Kayaking is much easier to steer, to move, and to avoid the awful spider trees. We also almost tipped the canoe any time we got the chance to do so. That in itself is another advantage; kayaks are a lot harder to tip. The weather and the water were both beautiful the weekend we went. We bought a disposable underwater camera and I’m sure I filled the film within the first two hours of being on the river. It is hard not to control picture taking habits when your environment is just so pristine and refreshing.

At one point in the middle of our endeavor, we wanted to get out of the canoe to swing from some ropes. Our problem was that we had no way to tie our canoe down. M ended up sacrificing her hair band (which looks like underwear) and tying it to a stump. We called it the party boat because it was staying on the bank because of her “underwear” and just looked awful from another person’s perspective.

This time down the river we finally saw manatees. I jumped ship to try and get a picture of it. It was a very difficult task obviously. I almost fell right out of the canoe and I was just scared to touch it. I understand they are nice creatures but I did not want to disrupt her swim, assuming it was even a female, but I did give her a little pet on the back. I would’ve gotten the picture but for even though she was so big, she moved pretty fast but very gracefully at the same time. I tried to keep up the best I could but I was already waist deep doing the awkward run you do in water. I didn’t end up getting the picture because my phone died right when I reached it. I wasted so much time and effort. Ah, I was just happy to have seen that beautiful fat mermaid sea cow in the first place.

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Bucket List Check | Go Kayaking

This was our first experience kayaking and we went in blindly, thinking we knew what we were doing even though we really didn’t. We went to the Weeki Wachee river which is crystal clear throughout most of the river. We had so much fun and it was definitely a learning experience.

If anyone needs some cheap marriage counseling or couples therapy, this would be the adventure for you. You’re stuck with each other for three and a half hours, in a boat that is very likely to tip if one person moves too sporadically, or if you run into “spider trees” as we like to call it. When you’re both deathly afraid of spiders, you have some teamwork to master. Both of us were out there frantically paddling and screaming at the trees as we plummeted into their spidery, webby branches. It was a fiasco until we got our bearing and learned what we were doing.

But once we did, we had a blast, and it even seemed easy.

We got comfortable enough to start climbing ropes or boards and jumping from them into the cool, crystal water. Any good river in Florida has pre-hung ropes and boards nailed up to climb and jump for adrenaline junkies like myself.

Then there was the “high tree”. It was intense only because I’m afraid of heights and climbing trees in general. Anyone that knows me knows how clumsy I am to begin with. We all stood in a line to climb these rickety decaying wooden steps. I should probably just leave this minute detail out but a handful of the boards were loose and some were flat out missing leaving large gaps. Once you made it to the top, you have to force yourself to actually jump since you were already up there. I closed my eyes,  screamed in front of the entire group watching, then plummeted into the aqua blue water. I got so much praise when I finally came back up. I felt such a sense of accomplishment afterward. The other thing I felt was mud — lots and lots of mud.

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