Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zip Lining with Snoop and Opie

Having a wonderful time here in the Smoky Mountains doing all the stuff that I could never do back home. That’s always my goal on any vacation. I mean, why would anyone go to Hawaii and eat dinner at Shoneys? So, when I am in Pigeon Forge I want to do Pigeon Forge stuff like go zip-lining.

I saw a sign on one of the winding roads leading up here that advertised something called “Zip-Line Adventures” with the provocative invitation to “zip-line through history.” Turns out that the zip-lining through history part was bogus since the original owner with the big plans to build giant replicas of iconic images of American history in the valleys below the lines had moved on from the enterprise and the current owners had never bothered to change the road signs. It’s this type of bracing honesty that I find so refreshing down here. Imagine how differently we would all feel about government if they would just admit that they are incompetent every now and then instead of blaming every screw up on a lack of proper funding. But, I digress…

The best part of our zip-lining adventure was the ride in the back of the pickup truck to the top of the mountain. This brought back a flood of memories from my childhood when grownups were fond of throwing gaggles of middle schoolers in the backs of pickup trucks with nary a seat belt in sight. Only this particular ride was even more harrowing since the “road” was nothing more than an oversized foot path and the driver of our vehicle was named “Snoop” and drove like someone who had made this drive so many times he could do it in his sleep, which is to say…way too fast!

Once at the top we found the company headquarters which used to belong to a 90 year old woman who lived alone until her children insisted that maybe she might be too old to make the trip into town every day. Now the place looked like a perfectly beautiful home that had been transformed into a crack house/hostel that doubled as a meth lab. All previous customers had been allowed to inscribe their names to every flat surface of the place for posterity with permanent markers which gave the place a certain post-apocalyptic look.

Jon was having none of it. He opted out of participation despite the presence of a six year old child in full harness. It would be just Patrick and me. If Jon lives to be 100, I will probably never let him forget it.

The aforementioned Snoop and his assistant…wait for it…Opie, started with a safety demonstration which included the wonderfully reassuring phrase, “We have an 82% survival rate!” It was unclear whether this statistic included the truck ride up and down the mountain, but that’s a quibble I suppose.

I had paid for a four line trip, since the seven line super package would have taken too long and I had plans to do other dangerous stuff on this day and couldn’t spend all afternoon with Snoop and Opie. Here are some pictures and a video of our adventure.
It was all great fun!