Tuesday, February 15, 2011

THE Trip, Tramming WAYYYYY Out of My Comfort Zone

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(Note to my readers, this is a long post.  It is a post about facing some of my fears, only semi-successfully.  I tried to inject a tad bit of humor, tried.  Now, if you don't like long posts, or don't want to read my sniveling, you are forgiven.  But, I hope you will come back for the next post on Reflections as there will be some photos of this day trip, you might enjoy those!  And, now back to the snivel, err, trip report.)

THE Trip, is in part, a test and a challenge to step out of our comfort zones.  Man is more brave, and some of the things we have done just don't faze him.  Some of the challenges have been enlightening, fun, and have caused some smiles, broadened our horizons, our understanding, our appreciation, our awe.

However, this day, this event, this activity took me WAYYYYY out of my comfort zone.  Again, Man had no issues, he had a blast.  I, on the other hand, am still shaking hours later.

And what is it you ask that got your comfort zone in a knot??  The Palm Springs Tram, that's what.

We all have fears, yes, you do, admit it!  OK, don't, but, I am telling you I do and I know what they are:

1.)  Steps with no backs OR that have holes in the risers.

2.)  Looking down from heights, if over 2 stories.  Like the malls, 3 or 4 levels, with those clear walls, where you can see into the main floor, all that way down there.  EWWWWWWWWWWW

3.)  Heights in general.  I can climb a step ladder as long as I don't have to go to rung 4.  I can go up the first 3, Ms. Nimble, up up and away.  But, when I go to lift my foot to rung 4, I realize I am now paralyzed.  That foot will NOT go to rung 4.

4.)  Trams or sky lift rides in amusement parks.  And, NO, I have never been on a roller coaster, huge fear factor there for this gal.

5.)  Elevators that go up more than 5 or 6 stories.  Anything after 10 is unnerving.  Anything, where you have to go up multi stories in one elevator, and then, move to a second one to get the next 1000 (ok, exaggeration) stories is also way out of my comfort zone.  One trip to the top of the Empire State Building cured me of that. All that rocking back and forth and the tapping of the sides of the elevator shaft with the elevator car.  Nope, I won't go up there ever again either!  Once was enough for Ms. "Nervous Scared of Heights" Carol.

Now, all of this does not make a lot of sense when you hear that I was a student pilot so many many years ago.  I had some qualms, but, they were minimal, and I found ways to deal with them.  Sorta creative ways, another story, another day  - -   but, who said fears were rational??

I mean, I am dealing pretty good with the newness of rattler snakes, spiders, desert, etc.  OK, the rattlers are sleeping at this time of the year, I say, let em sleep!!  I have yet to encounter a spider, or taranchula or anything like that, so far so good.  The desert is harsh, and dry, and demanding, and fairly unforgiving, but, again, since this is the coolest season of the year, so it has been interesting to visit, not scary.

So despite hiking in gravel and Man's shoe's encounter with cholla, most of the trip has been just wonderful.  Oh, there was some HOT HOT HOT food in New Mexico I could not deal with, and ya, Man LOVED it!  There was that night in the desert near Quartzsite when I thought I heard someone walking around the units at 4 in the AM, yea, that spooked me just a little.  And, yes, we left home with 3 dogs with pre-renal and pre-heart failure, not knowing if we would return with Mr. G, or have to find a vet along the way.  But, all in all, the challenges have been met to our satisfaction.  The comfort zone was stretched, just enough to say, yep, that was a bit out of my comfort zone, stretching the zone a bit more each time.

UNTIL, THE TRAM!!!  Here is the opening paragraph from their web page:

"Aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar, you will experience a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. Begin the 10 minute ride at the Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft. and end at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. No matter what the season, whether you are enjoying spectacular views or hiking in a pristine wilderness, a one-of-a-kind experience can be had by all."

OK, these words set the comfort zone on fire, as in got my attention:

"breathtaking" AND  "sheer cliffs"

AND, how many feet in 10 minutes??  almost 6,000??  mmm, can we say yikes??  (See below for more on speed, and, oh, by the way, if felt a LOT faster than what they say.)

On this web page, you can read about the engineering required to build this tramway, helicopters, 23,000 missions by helicopter were required.

Other facts:

The trams can travel at 21 MPH.  There is something called gradient, the average is 26 degrees, the maximum is 42 degrees  (GULP!!!  that sounds like a bunch to me.)  Each tram car fully loaded can weigh as much as 35,600 pounds.  According to this web page, the Palm Springs Tram "has the steepest vertical cable rise in the U.S. and the second steepest in the world."  By the way, it is a good thing I did not find the Wikipedia page on the tram before the trip.

And, all strung from those wires, yea, I know, strong, huge, blah blah blah.  OKKKK, Carol is way way out of her comfort zone.

See those wires, err, cables.  What WAS I thinking??
But, Man wanted to go, A LOT!  So, I went too.  I chatted about it a bit on Facebook before we left, saying I needed some tranquilizers or adult beverage(s) to get me on that Tram.  What I actually did, is just got in Big Butt and played ostrich, sticking my head in the sand of the desert.  I just went, no thinking allowed.

And, I was fine, we drove up the mountain to the parking areas, got on the bus to take us to the Valley Station where you board the Tram. I was fine, from purchasing the tickets, waiting for our Tram, boarding the Tram and even the first portion of the ride up.

At this point I want to point out that the floor of the tram rotates.  It actually moves the entire 10 minute ride up the mountain side.  You don't have anything you can hold on to, you just keep moving.  There is no feeling of stability with a rotating floor.  You get to see the walls of the mountains, the crevasses, the valley, lots of stuff, all around, moving, moving, moving.  Anyway, back to the story - -

I was fine, until the third tower.  See, at each tower there is a bit of a 'bump', a roller coaster type feel, roll up to the tower, and as you pass it, you sorta dip down and then roll forward and upward again.  The first and second tower the bumps were there, but, not overly alarming.  But that third one was a bump of a different matter.  The dip was deeper, and longer, and I swear it was more than one bump.  But, don't believe a thing I tell you about that third bump, cause once it dipped hard, I was a gonner, my knees went to rubber, I could not look out, I even stopped taking photos for a few moments (YES I DID, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??).  I was over the top of my comfort zone.

One of the towers.  I make no apologies for the angle, as in, no, it is
NOT a straight photo.  This is NOT the infamous third tower, either.
I did take some more photos, as the act of taking them kept me a bit calm, well, kept me from screaming the meemy jeemies, or something like, LET ME THE HE*% OFF THIS THING! But, for the most part, the rest of the trip up is a bit of a blur for me.  By the time we got off the Tram at the Mountain Station I needed to go sit down for a bit.

Our time at the top of Mount San Jacinto was fine, I mean, I was on terra firma, maybe at 8,516 feet, but, it was SOLID!  There was a bit of snow, beautiful scenery, a pretty nice sunset.  We had dinner (great food, even if it was cold instead of hot), I had an adult beverage to help me get back on the Tram to take us down.

We went down the mountain after dark, the lights of Palm Springs and the valley were very pretty and I could not see the sheer cliffs or the depth of the crevasses.  I am not sure I could have done another "daylight" trip.  The bumps on the way down are not nearly as pronounced either, cept that third one, I noticed it!

All in all, it was an incredible day, filled with some awesome scenery, and my fear.  I wrote this post while the memory was still very fresh, so a night's sleep did not diminish my comfort zone terrors!  (LOL).  Have to say, at this moment, I am going to say, NEVER, EVER, NO MORE Tram rides for this gal.  But, then, I always preach, never- - - - ever- - - - say- - - - never- - - - cause you may regret saying never- - - - something may come along to change your mind- - - - from never- - - - to maybe- - - - to - - - -

NAHHH, this is a definite, NEVER EVER, NO MORE Trams!  Not for this gal, not in this lifetime.  Don't even ask!  I just ain't up for that challenge again.

Sure, I am glad I did it, but, I don't have to do it again!

*More photos to follow!  I took 250 plus photos, I won't bother you with all of them!  I promise!  LOL



Nolichucky Roots said...

Undying admiration. Once you mentioned the floor it was clear that's one spot I will never be.

Grandma MG said...

What a brave woman you are!!! And, you did this to please Man! Thanks for sharing your ability to "face your fears" and then blog about it! Awesome!!! The rest of your "Trip" will be a "breeze" now!!!

Mary said...

My husband took his mother on this when she was about 85. She had begged him for years to take her. She LOVED it and wanted to do it again :) Hubby wasn't too keen on going but he was glad he made his mom happy. Good for you for meeting your fears head-on!

Joan said...

OMG, I wanna go too!! Sign me up.

Bill West said...

WOw, Carol, better you than me.Heights scare the
beejeezuz out of me but that tram ride would have seen me screaming like a baby to get off. Or riding most of the way up with my eyes closed!

lindalee said...

No way Jose.....I, like you have a terrible fear of heights. You are much braver than I.

Barbara Poole said...

Good for you, and look at the photos you took, and the experience to write about. I now look up to you Carol, because I wouldn't have done it. (Don't let that go to your head.)I bet coming down was pretty, sure hope you took some pictures.

IrishEyesJG said...

I bow down to you, and I second the undying admiration that Nolichucky mentioned. WOW WOOOOOOOWWWW. What a BRAVE woman you are!!! Cheers! Jennifer

Greta Koehl said...

Absolutely Awesome. So everything is "downhill" from this? I don't like heights much, either, though being in a vehicle might be OK. It's standing on heights and looking down that ... gulp ... is challenging for me.

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

I agree. You are brave. No way would I have gotten on that thing! :-)

Missy said...

Way to go! I overcame my own similar fear to ride the much shorter tram in Albuquerque several years ago and I'm so glad that I did.

hummer said...

I was not sure that you knew the floor would keep moving. Since I don't do heights any more, you would not find me on there. Is the tram the only way up? You were brave, and I look forward to the photos you too.

Anonymous said...

I went through the same thing in a cable car in Barcelona - hiding behind the camera helped! :-) Jo