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New Zealanders have sometimes been described as sensory-deprived souls with too much time on their hands.  It was there that the world was given bungee jumping among other things.  And, one day a guy got inside a big plastic ball and began running around like a hamster to see what it feels like.  It's a strange thing to do, but ... what the heck?

Thus was born ...  

   Zorbing!

These photos were taken near
Brisbane, Australia where I joined
the ranks of proud Zorbanauts.

The ball is 15 feet in diameter (about 4½ meters), and inside is another smaller ball suspended by nylon strands.  Between the two, there are a couple of feet of air. This cushion is what keeps you safe when you're hurtling down the side of a hill at speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour.  As the ball rolls around, the person inside becomes pinned by centrifugal force. 

There are TWO versions ... the wet Zorb (which I think is the most fun) and the dry one. In the wet version, a small amount of water is placed inside the ball with the Zorbanaut. Rolling down the hill in this situation gives you a good idea of what your socks feel like in a washing machine.

There's talk about taking the art of Zorbing to the next level by installing big mechanical bumpers that someone would operate by pushing buttons. The ball (and the Zorbanaut inside) would then be batted right & left as it rolls down the hill in what amounts to "a giant pinball game".  

NOTE TO SELF:  
Never BE the ball in a pinball game!        





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Jumping from a perfectly good building 

BASE-JUMPING  without a parachute!

The  
Auckland tower  in New  Zealand  is the  tallest building
in the  Southern Hemisphere.  A cable  was attached  to my
back instead of a parachute when I made this jump.

Usually, when everything works right, this slows down your fall
keeping you from  crashing  into the street  
1,076 feet below
where  your  body  would  probably  receive  severe skeletal
damage.

Auckland Tower
   

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Bungee Jumping  A leap of faith

This probably shouldn't be classified as a SPORT since it doesn't require any more skill than a roller coaster does. All you have to do is SCREAM.

AND ... hope the bungee cord doesn't break, or stretch all the way to the bottom!

I bungeed from a bridge near Mount St. Helens in Washington. Actually, it wasn't much fun ... the freefalls were short, and each jump jerked me around a lot.  You can get a headache doing that.


 

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Dick McMahon

TV tower at WSM in Nashville, TN

1,369 feet

 

Because towers like this are built to be flexible in the wind, it feels strange to be at the top of one.  Instead of swaying from side-to-side, the higher portions will move vertically "up-and-down" as lower portions move "out-and-in" with the breeze.  The feeling is like being on an elevator that suddenly DROPS a few feet then goes back up again.




 
Dick McMahon


Who ya gonna call?

Not far from Nashville near the small town of Chapel Hill, the ghost of an old trainman can be seen each night on the railroad tracks.    

Many years ago,  before he was a ghost,  he was decapitated by a passing locomotive after falling and being knocked unconscious.  His head was never found, and each night his ghostly body walks up and down the tracks looking for it.  What is seen today is the light from the lantern he carries. 

A few years ago a friend of mine, Andras Schoffer, and I rode motorcycles down to Chapel Hill and camped where it all happened.  Sure enough at about 3 a.m., the ghost’s lantern appeared a few hundred feet down the tracks.  In a rush of bravado we chased after it, but apparently the poor ghost was scared away because the light soon disappeared. 

It wasn’t until much later I began asking the obvious questions …

How could a headless body SEE to find its head when its eyes are IN the head?   And why would it need a lantern for light?   I suppose the head could have yelled out "Here I am" when the body walked by, but without ears how could the body have heard what the head was saying?      It's all very mysterious.



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It'd be great to hear from you!

Questions? Comments?
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LINKS to other pages ... 

   
   SAILING  
      The art of getting wet & often very sick
   SKYDIVING  
      Surviving a head-on collusion with a planet
   SHORT FILMS   
      They don't need to be long to be GREAT
   GLAD TO BE DAD  
      But sometimes it can be scary
      Why are we here anyway?
   BEING AN ACTOR   
      FILM ... can be a CUSS word that starts with "F"

   
Thanks for visiting this web site.  It's dedicated to my son and daughter, my grandkids, and especially to a very understanding wife.  
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Being called an ADVENTURER is "cool".  INSANE has an ugly sound to it.