A new day. A new experience.
I’m in Athens, Texas– named forAthens, Greece by Mrs. Dull Averiette in the mid-1800’s. Mrs. Averiette believed that the town would become the cultural center of the county.
We arrived last night and ate at Roma Italian Restaurant (607 East Tyler Street). Roma has received many favorable reviews, and for the money it’s an excellent choice. Dinner for my husband and me came to under $25 ($30 with tip). We both had an entrée and iced tea; dinner included a salad. The salad was simple – mostly iceberg lettuce – but was served with fresh-baked rolls. I’m afraid I cannot recommend the house dressing, which tastes like watered-down cocktail sauce. Frankly, after tasting it, I was a little afraid. But I ordered the chicken carciofi and it was fabulous. The more I ate the richer the flavor seemed to become. My husband enjoyed his meal; his only complaint was that the marinara sauce was a little too sweet for his tastes. The service was excellent.
This morning, we drove paved farm roads to New York Texas ZipLine Adventures in nearby LaRue, owned by Charles and Connie Shultz. Directions to ZipLine Adventures can be found on the Shultz’s web site, but the GPS took us there without problems. We arrived a half-hour early, and there was a gate blocking the drive. For a moment we doubted that we were in the right place. But there was a banner-style sign to reassure us, and the gate opened perhaps fifteen minutes later. The Shultz’s run their business from their two-story house, which was moved to the scenic, eighty-acre property in 2001. Their soon-to-be college-bound son created the zipline trails.
The nineteen participants were strapped into their harnesses, and each person was required to make one or more practice runs on a low-to-the ground line. The youngest was four (she rode tandem with her dad). The oldest was in her early sixties. The Schultz’s son, a cousin, and the son’s college roommate acted as our guides. They were helpful and kept the atmosphere jovial.
I’d never been ziplining. In fact, I’ve been afraid of heights all of my life. So when I suggested ziplining to my husband, he was quite surprised. But I decided I was tired of being afraid. In fact, I imagined fear as an invisible companion, and invited her along for the ride.
The strangest sensation was lifting my feet on the first zipline and feeling myself take off. I clipped along faster than imagined, and soon had to concentrate on braking. I didn’t really have time to be afraid.
The second zipline was faster and twice as long (approx. 200 feet). Most people, including myself, braked too early and had to be pulled the last foot or so to the drop-off platform. One woman was barely braking and risked crashing into the platform. By the time I reached the end of the fifth line, I was relying less on the guide’s signals and more on my own instincts. I landed in exactly the right spot. The last zipline, 900 feet long and 100 miles in the air, was the best! The experience definitely left me smiling and wanting more.
Afterwards, it was back to the house, where we were given fresh bottles of cold water (the temperature was 104 degrees), and treated to ice pops. Of course we bought the souvenir T-shirt.