Zipping away under the city of Louisville kicks things off

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

We got our vacation off to a zipping start last month.

And what might have been more appropriate, we started it off in the dark.

Three years ago, Terry and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

This year, we celebrated on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky.

It leaves me to wonder where we’ll be celebrating our wedding anniversary in another three years.

She had done the Bourbon Trail – a string of a half-dozen or so bourbon distilleries all within a 60- or 70-mile or less drive of each other – in bits and pieces with her father on several of their trips back and forth to Florida over the years, and had dragged me to Jim Beam one time on our return from Florida, but it was still Terry’s dream to do the whole trail at once.

They do offer you a free t-shirt if you visit all of the distilleries and get your “passport” stamped at each one, so was there was that incentive, but I think that was just a bonus for her.

All right, it was a bonus for me, too – one I really didn’t need, since tours and tastings at Bourbon distilleries is right up my alley, too.

Since we were heading to Kentucky, we decided to add a couple of days in Louisville to our itinerary – again, with motivation for both of us.

Louisville, among other things, is the home of the Hillerich & Bradsby Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory and museum – reason enough for me to visit Louisville.

And it’s also home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, which has always been Terry’s alltime favorite sporting event.

So it was a given that we would spend a couple of days in Louisville.

That’s when Terry started researching what else there was to do in Louisville and discovered it is home to an underground zipline course.

She discovered a converted 100-acre limestone quarry that offered, among other things, what it claims is “the world’s first and only all underground ziplines and adventure tour!”

That was all it took for her to decide we had to try it out – and for me to get dragged along, willingly or unwillingly.

Terry decided we should start our trip with that and I acquiesced – maybe I figured it could only get better after that.

After an all-day drive to metro Louisville – on my birthday, no less – we were up bright and early the next morning and heading for Mega Caverns.

We were on track to be there half an hour before our scheduled start time for the obligatory orientation session, but, even with the GPS in the car, I somehow managed to miss first the exit off the freeway and then the turn for the road Mega Caverns is on.

Actually, I can’t blame Mandy the GPS for this one – we didn’t have the address entered in her memory banks so she couldn’t tell us where to go, for the first and only time on our trip.

They did wait for us and, after our guides showed us how to get all harnessed and helmeted, we were ready to set off zipping.

We were really underground, in a once-working limestone quarry that, among other things, served as a massive fallout shelter during the height of the Cold War – although fortunately they never had to use it for that.

We started out with a short little zip in a well-lighted room to get us all acclimated, then were whisked deep into the bowels of the cavern in a Jeep with the stereo blasting AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”

If they were trying to scare us, it was probably a bit of overkill.

The first line was called “Zipline to Hell” (do you begin to sense a theme here?) and was a couple hundred feet long.

Our helmets had two lights, one white and one red – the white one for the walks between lines, the red ones for while we were on the zipline.

When our guide told us to turn on the red light as we got ready to take off on the first line – it was dark enough you couldn’t see the other end of the line otherwise – one of the members of our group starting singing “Roxanne.”

I just wished I’d thought of that.

The lines got progressively longer until the final one, about 900 feet long – roughly the length of three football fields.

I am happy to say that made it all the way through all the ziplines without having to change my clothes – or close my eyes.

But I did my level best to keep us at ground level for the rest of our trip.


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