Listen to Merle on "Real Talk with Jim Lisa"
April 16, 2021
STILL CLIMBING IN RACE CAR WINDOWSI purchased a “timeshare” and am a member of the press, which has certainly had its benefits, so you won’t be surprised to read that I love to travel. My goal is to travel all 50 states and so far I have done at least half. This year alone I’ve been to Provincetown, Mass., taken a cruise along the Alaskan coast, gone down to Florida twice…Orlando, then Ft. Myers (Sanibel Island) and Tampa (Madeira Island), up to Rochester, and Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.
What’s important to me is that I do, or at least TRY to do, one thing that I’ve never done before. Now, that may sound easy for some people, but you need to know about my biggest fears: water and height. I can’t swim a stroke and stage freight for me means getting close to the edge of the stage.
It’s like this: I have no fear if I can hold onto or be surrounded by something. Shall I begin with heights? I’ve flown in a hot air balloon in the wine country of California, high rocks of Sedona, Arizona and the hills and plains of Milford, New Jersey and Bucks County, PA. At first it feels like rising in a glass elevator of a 50-story hotel.
When I went to the Teton Mountains of Jackson Hole, WY, I took an ENCLOSED tram to the top, but dared not walk to the mountain’s edge.
An Arizona trip presented no problem in getting a good view of the Grand Canyon, as long as there was something buried into the ground that I could hang onto. I even took a 6-seater plane above it.
Helicopter? The first time I took one was in Niagara Falls. I had also gone up to Quebec and was taken into the “Grand Canyon of Quebec”. Actually, I had NO idea where the pilot was taking me. He just suddenly dipped down into the canyon. Well, this time, I felt as if I were IN the IMAX movie. Hairpin turns.
Let’s plunge right into the other fear. Water. I’ve cruised to Caribbean islands I’ve never even heard of. My favorite cruise was in the Mediterranean, which included Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Ephesus…a “best of the broken buildings” tour. There were six cruises in all and I threw up on every one of them.
You’d think I’d learn and I figured that the Alaskan trip would be calm. Fortunately it was. Once there, I took and excursion in a seaplane.
Then there was the time in Paradise Island where I saw a brochure with information on walking along the bottom of the ocean. It said that you don’t have to know how to swim and you won’t even get your hair wet (meaning that water won’t go up my nose). I was in. They had me wearing a helmet that had an air hose attached to the top. I climbed down the steps of the boat, and when ready, they put the VERY heavy helmet on me as I continued walking down to the bottom. I did this TWICE in my life, so far. Errr…did I mention white water rafting when I was in Jackson Hole?
I went to the Tetons in the winter, no less. Now, I refuse to pay someone so that I can FALL DOWN their mountain, which is why I don’t ski. However, I went snowmobiling – 95 miles around Yellowstone National Park.
Up in Quebec, there was dog sledding where I was able to experience being both a passenger and a “driver”.
While I was in Orlando I did the “Richard Petty Experience”. That means that I got into a race car where the driver ran the track at 150 mph. There was a second race car racing along so they would cross each others path as well. Yep, the car even ran along the wall a few times. The WORST part of it was getting in and out through the car’s window…I write a great deal of dining articles here in the Big Apple, if you get my drift.
All of these experiences occurred in the last 12 years. I’m 52 now, and still climbing in car windows.
December 01, 2001 - Upstate Women
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