Motocrossing, Ferris Wheeling, Skyscraping, Airport Running

I’ve had a strange few weeks of adventure, quite unique from my camera’s standard set of shots (Lake Tahoe, my dog in the snow, skiing. snowboarding, climbing…), so I thought I’d take the TMS Adventure of the Week series on this little trip with me. Enjoy the weirdness. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled outdoor adventures next week!

WHO: Lis

WHAT: motocross watching, Ferris wheel riding, skyscraping, airport running

WHERE: Reno, Nevada; Chicago, Illinois; Chicago O’Hare Airport

WHEN: February/March 2012

GEAR: Patagonia Aliso Down Jacket, Keen socks, Smith Optics shades (who knew Smith sponsored Arenacross?!), Patagonia MLC bag, great for all your airport-running needs, and a slew of outdoor clothing to deal with Chicago’s temperamental weather

Atypical adventure #1 hit on February 18th, when Chris scored us tickets to the Arenacross event in Reno. His friend works for the tour so we took full advantage and got finish-line seats for the action. I’m no motorhead—this was my first motocross/arenacross event—and I’ve got to say it was pretty exciting to watch. Those guys (and a few gals that competed) go HUGE! It’s amazing how in control they are with the competition right on their heels.

Next up was Chicago. I went to the windy city for a conference but found myself footloose on Leap Day, a meteorological anomaly that had us outside in 60-something temps, sunny skies and light wind. And luck was with us again on the Navy Pier, where they were offering up free Ferris wheel rides to celebrate the 29th. We got some amazing views of the city, though I may or may not have had a 15-second panic attack on the way up. It was tall and abnormally windy in that little box!

Towards the end of my Chicago sojourn, it was proposed that we visit the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), which at 1,450 feet and 110 stories high is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. We of course headed straight for the Skydeck on the 103rd floor where you can walk out onto this pocket of glass that juts out of the building’s side. If you didn’t guess by my Ferris wheel reaction, I’m afraid of heights, so I almost threw up as I stepped onto what looked like my death 1,353 feet below. The view was amazing though; we were right on level with the clouds breezing by. On a clear day you can see up to 50 miles away.

My final adventure hit unexpectedly. We had arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport 1.5 hours early. After a failed attempt to check our bags on the curb (computer down), we waited in the ultra-long line inside to only face another computer failure (we were not showing in the system). United had just merged with Continental two days before so we probably should have read the news and got there 3 hours early! After waiting in the designated “problem” line, we were finally helped by a human, found (very slowly) in the system and sent on our way. But a long security line had us delayed again. Nice security man told us we were in trouble time-wise so he had us go back to United to get an escort to the front of the line. Once through the scanners and shoe tying, we had mere minutes. I knew what had to be done. I RAN LIKE THE WIND! Bags bouncing all over the place, dodging children and the elderly, bypassing escalators for stairs both up and down, speeding past the lazys on the moving sidewalks. But when I got to our gate, I was a few minutes too late. The doors had been shut, so I had to watch our plane reverse and fly away without us.

And that concludes March’s first Adventure of the Week. No, luck was not with us at O’Hare if you want to know how that ended. We were esentially stuck there all day, and shoved on a Delta flight at the end of the day. I was joyfully seated in the very last row of the cramped, four-seat-wide plane, right next to a 6-month-old who threw up the entire last hour of the flight. And he pooped in his shoe.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or motocross spectate, Ferris wheel ride, skyscraper gape, airport run) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Leave a Comment