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Go Jump Off A Bridge.

January 17, 2011

Go Jump Off A Bridge.

You have to take a breathalyzer in order to walk a bridge in Sydney.  You know the lawyers and insurance company got their claws on this tour package.

The Sydney Bridge Tour.  ($530 per couple, plus pictures)  Why so much money to walk a bridge, you ask?  Because it is owned by a corporate tycoon, there is only one bridge, and he has got the rights.  It’s not like you can say…”your price is ridiculous, I am going to go climb that bridge over there.”

Very cool tour, very high up.  I like Sydney a lot.  The city has a lot going for it, great harbor areas, diverse people, busy, but not rude, and clean for a city with nearly 4.5 million.  The Sydney Bridge is one of the main focal points…and you can literally strap on a harness and walk up to the top.  So let’s tramp some steel!

This tour is a well oiled machine.  After your breathalyzer (need to be at .05% or less-I blow that when I am sleeping) you put on all your gear in assembly line fashion.  Stand on the yellow dot, turn left, raise your right arm, cough, etc.  Then you have all your gear on and you are ready to go.

For all you techies that like to tinker and figure stuff out.  Once you strap to the cable at the beginning of the tour, you never, ever leave the cable.  So for 3,300 steps, you are attached to the bridge.  I found this amazing because you had to go around bends, up and down ladders, etc.  The little gadget that makes this all possible was developed by a Brit, who wanted to sail alone, but kept falling in the ocean.  So he developed this system that never comes off the cable line, even when you have joints and anchor points.  I found this extremely awesome.  You may be reading this saying “what the hell is Geoff talking about now.”  But for anyone who has zip lined or done a high wire, you know you always have to clip on, clip off with two sets of carabineers.  Not with this system.  Google “latchways fall arrest systems”if you want more information about how the contraption works.  Now that Brit guy sell millions of them…and I am sure has a bigger sailboat.

Do Not Be This Guy. Bridge Builder caught in his equipment, who lived.

Moving on.

I really enjoyed the tour. The girls liked our tour guide who I am sure, gets to write off his hair gel every April tax season.  Because in our 30 mph winds, his hair didn’t move an inch.  Kinda like the Jimmy Johnson of bridge tour guides.

When I was in college, I painted houses with other college kids who had no experience setting any type of scaffolding up.  This often made for some scary and comical scaffolding stories, which usually end in “I then fell 16 feet, rolled across the lawn, made sure I was alive, cleaned up the spilt paint off our customers Lexus and changed my underwear.”  So, on the tour, when I was on any type of grated and narrow bridge walking area, I got that tingly feeling in my lower regions. Like, something bad is going to happen and I am going to soil my painters pants again. I imagine the bridge engineers are smarter and more cautious then an undergrad studying rocks with a paintbrush in hand…so Nikki told me to “stop groveling, your wussy behavior is making me nervous, so man up and walk that plank.”

 
 

"You down with OBP? Yeah, you know me." Original Bridge Painter. (OBP)

 

It’s Like Watching Paint Dry

Speaking of painting.  There are many of you reading that may have some connection to the painting world.  So here are some interesting facts and pictures about painting this monstrosity called The Sydney Bridge.

It takes 7,075 gallons to paint the bridge in one coat.  Not to toot my own horn, but Sharper Impressions Painting buys about 4x that amount every year.  USA! USA! USA!

Each time they paint the bridge, it is like painting 75 football fields.  We have over 150 college and NFL football fields. USA!  USA!  USA!

16 people died building their “bridge”…159 people died building the Brooklyn Bridge.  US…oh wait.

They paint it grey to cover wear and tear.  I would paint it Scarlet and Gray!  Double Chant Time…USA! GO BUCKS!

3-1…the Yanks win.

 

Suck on this you SEC hillbillies! Buckeyes aren't afraid to climb bridges and win bowl games!

 

Bridge Bending Truth

At the top of the Sydney Bridge Tour Kelley Hannan asked me “Do you think there are sharks in the water below us?”  Knowing that we would be swimming in Bondi Beach the very next day which you can see is the same ocean water as the bridge, and knowing that Kelley hates sharks… I responded “absolutely not.”  At which time our friendly bridge tour dude, with the only hair that doesn’t move in a typhoon, overheard our conversation and gleefully bounded down the bridge towards the pretty girls and proceeded to inform Kelley of this little juicy insight.

 “Oh yes, tons of sharks, bull sharks, you see that building over there?  That is our Navy dive center, less than a year ago, a Navy diver got his hand and foot bit off by a bull shark, he is now back to diving with a cool, new bionic hand.”  (everything to our tour guide was “cool”) 

Kelley then struck me in the back of the head in disgust of my outright lie… it is a good thing I was tethered in.  Kelley has a vicious boxing one-two punch.  (For you very attentive readers who are keeping count, this is now the 2nd time I have been caught lying about the presence of sharks on this trip)

 

Fun with Numbers

If you jump off the top of the bridge, it would take you 5.2 seconds to hit the water.  That would be the longest five seconds of your short life.

Upon connection of the two arches during construction of the bridge, each worker was given a 2 shilling bonus to purchase a beer in celebration.  They built a bridge and got one beer.  I walked a bridge and bought many beers.

Only one bridge builder ever fell and survived.  He was 155 feet up, he held a 20 lb drill and hose, (which helped break the water surface before he hit).  He covered 2 eyes and 2 ears and hit feet first.  His 2 boot soles blew out and the rest of the boot went up to his thigh from the impact.  He only suffered 3 broken ribs.  He returned to work 17 days later.  That man’s name was… Badass. 

(actually Vincent Kelly was his name and he learned how to hit the water feet first from the Navy and high dive training)

Bridge Quotes

Geoff to tour guide:  “you say this is the 3rd largest metal span bridge in the world…who is number one?”

Typhoon Hair Tour Guide: “we really aren’t supposed to talk about any other structures other than our Sydney Bridge.”

Geoff:  “oh yeah?.. well I bet the other bridges are in America, because we have the best bridges.”

THTG:  “well maybe you should go tour those bridges then.”

Geoff:  “maybe I will.”

(Actually China has the longest span bridge called Lupu at 550 meters, 2nd place is the New River Gorge Bridge in the States at 518 meters.  But that Spikey Haired Punk Tour Guide doesn’t know this.  Chant with me USA!  USA!  USA!  We are number 2!  Number 2!)

My Endearing Tribute to Meat Pies

This is The World Famous Harry's Meat Pies in Sydney. I ate two, and a half.

This is Colonel Sanders of KFC fame eating one of Harry's Meat Pies back in the day...take that finger lickin' good!

This is the finest meat pie sign I have ever seen. Picture taken in Te Kuiti, New Zealand.

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